All posts filed under: Archive Digs

Art Against the Flow and a Semantic Ecotone

As I walk into the gallery space, I’m greeted by vibrant and seemingly disparate groups of artworks. On one wall, there are bold, schematic line drawings of Chicago architecture. To my right are totem-like sculptures with intricate embellishments. Across the way is a collection of flat landscapes with skewed perspectives. This is Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow, an exhibition on view at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art as part of Art Design Chicago. Throughout the show, it seems that the curators Kenneth Burkhart and Lisa Stone refrain from hand-holding me through a chronological, step-by-step development of an artist or artistic movement. As I trace my way through the space, pausing at each work, I soon realize that the absence of a consistent, linear narrative may be the point. Intuit’s mission is to celebrate the power of outsider art, which they define on their website as “the works of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who instead are motivated by their unique personal visions.” With this in …

Chicago Archives + Artists Project: The Newberry Library’s Chicago Protest Collection

The Chicago Archives + Artists Project (CA+AP) is an initiative that highlights Chicago archives and special collections that give space to voices on the margins of history. Led by Chicago-based writers and artists, the project explores archives across the city via online features, a series of public programs and new commissioned artwork by Chicago artists. For 2018, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has funded a series of pilot projects pairing three artists with three archives around the city: Media Burn + Ivan Lozano, the Leather Archives & Museum + Aay Preston-Myint, and the Newberry Library’s Chicago Protest Collection + H. Melt. This series of articles will profile these featured archives and artists over the course of their collaboration, exploring the vital role of the archive in preserving and interpreting the stories of our city as well as the ways in which they can be a resource for creatives in the community. For this installment, we sat down with Catherine Grandgeorge, the archivist from the Newberry Library’s Chicago Protest Collection. The Chicago Protest Collection builds …

Heart & Bone Signs, Electro Pepper Gallery, and Labor-Based Artwork

Kelsey Dalton McClellan and Andrew James Welch McClellan have owned and operated Heart & Bone, Gold Gilded and Hand Painted Signs for the past six years, specializing in gold leaf and hand-painted signs throughout Chicago and nation-wide. The duo has now expanded their repertoire as they open their new gallery, Electro Pepper, in the Uptown neighborhood. Their aim is to use this endeavor as a flexible space to promote learned trades and labor-based artworks. Sixty Inches from Center sat down with Kelsey and Andrew to learn more about their path as sign painters, artists, and now, gallery owners. Emily Breidenbach: We’re sitting in your new gallery space, Electro Pepper. What can you tell me about it? Kelsey Dalton McClellan: The space we are in is multi-use. The front is a flexible gallery space and the back is our sign painting studio. Eventually, we’d like to have workshops and other events outside of art openings. At the moment, we’re kind of testing it out and receiving community response through monthly art openings. The majority of the time, we’re working in the back in our workspace, so …

Collector’s Corner: Rob Sevier of Numero Group

“Collector’s Corner” looks at the artistic, curatorial, and cultural forces behind the act of collecting. We visit the homes, businesses, garages, desks, and closets of artists and cultural producers who thrive from this occasionally unruly practice. For this installment, we talk to Rob Sevier about his record collection at the offices of the Chicago-based record reissue label he helped found in Little Village, Numero Group. In Little Village you can spend lots of time walking to the pace of the neighborhood – the loud clog of people and cars beneath its famous archway, the food stands posted up on residential corners attended by entrepreneurial parents and their indifferent toddlers, the intricate murals that invite passersby to stop and stare for a while.  The homes, businesses, even alleyways all have a role in what has made this area so distinct from others in the city. Part of what makes Little Village distinct is Numero Group: an archival record label founded in Chicago in 2003 by Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley. Numero Group started as a soul …

Hidden Gems in the Paul V. Galvin Library of the Illinois Institute of Technology

Last summer on a research visit with a colleague, I entered the Special Collections Archive of the Paul V. Galvin Library at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). In this space, I was looking through visual materials produced by students in the Design School made from the 1960s to the 1980s. This gallery holds works by many artists who are not seen in the public sphere today. This essay aims to provide crucial biographical information on several of artists and the contexts from which they produce their work. I begin by exploring the works made by Jose Williams who is responding to his experiences as a Black man in Chicago’s Bronzeville context. I then turn to the work of an undernoted woman represented the archive named Valeerat Burapavong. I hope to provide contextual insights and visual analysis on the works produced by these artists. I argue that the works produced in this period (1960s-1980s) challenge notions of race, ethnicity, and gender. Jose Williams: Constructing a Black Chicago in Serigraphy Featured in this archive are works …

Evanston’s Howard Street Gallery

Sixty Inches From Center’s Exchange Partnerships are our chance to spread the word about others who are writing about and documenting art and artists in Chicago, and doing it so beautifully. We have been longtime fans of our friends at Gozamos.com and their coverage of Latino art and culture from here to Milwaukee. This week we bring you a look into a brand new space in Evanston, Howard Street Gallery, through an article by Gozamos writer Andres Villela. Howard Street Gallery, located at 747 N. Howard St. in Evanston, brings to you street art in a refined form. It is a gallery and paint shop attempting to bring a positive message to the community. Howard Street Gallery is the combined effort of owners Tony P. and Yusuf. It was a business partnership that came from a like-minded vision to bring street art into the Chicago area art scene. Tony, a north side resident who has established creative ways to pursue his own artistic endeavors, had entertained the idea of opening such a gallery over a …

Sitting Down with Anna Cerniglia of Johalla Projects

Johalla Projects is an art space in Wicker Park run by three curators, Anna Cerniglia, Caitlin Arnold, and Melissa Marinaro. It opened in fall of 2009 and serves as a venue for emerging and mid-career artists. On Friday, November 8th I sat down with Anna, the director, to gain a better understanding of Johalla’s structure and mission. How did Johalla Projects first come together? When I started this, I only wanted this as an office to have all of our curatorial practices kind of based out of. But then we just started having more shows and more focus placed on us, so we started making it more of a gallery as time went on. We still use it as a home base because we do other projects besides what we have going on here. Now, this is more of a project space and I think now we’re trying to turn it into an S-corp, as we have more liabilities on us. And we’re doing bigger shows and starting to gather more artists. How does Johalla …

Just Scratching the Surface: Lisa Goesling

Lisa Goesling, another artist in the Chicago Artist Coalition residency program, has managed to literally create new meaning pertaining to how art fits into her life and career. Her seemingly microscopic scratchboards illustrate a variety of flowers and plant life that contrast equally the negative and positive black and white space. She illustrates such fragile and delicate images with such an abrasive technique. We had a short conversation and Lisa mentioned to me how the residency opportunity has given her the opportunity to really explore her artistic talent in a new direction. After listening to what Lisa had to say I now realize that it truly is amazing how art affects individuals differently. “I am an artist here and I am one of the lucky people to get to walk up to the Merchandise Mart every day and walk to the art space and be able to create. I feel unbelievably grateful to have this opportunity it came on the heals of my having cancer. That is how I started with the medium I use, …

Stretching the limits of Vision & Sound: Elastic Arts Foundation

Elastic Arts Foundation has made a home in various parts of Chicago.  Their latest location in Logan Square has served as a venue for every genre of music imaginable–whether its the music they make or welcoming in other musicians.  Their current space has also allowed the founders of Elastic, Samuel Lewis and Paul Giallorenzo, to open their doors to displaying the work of local and national visual artists.  The following is a selection from the interview Sixty had with Paul and Sam. Elastic Arts Foundation from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo. Music by Tall Black Guy Productions.

In Chicago, Art Advocacy Grows

Why leave vacant public retail space empty – then no one can enjoy it. Instead, why not put these spaces to better use reflecting something other than a corporate commercial agenda? We art advocates are aware of the artistic vibrancy in Chicago. The Chicago Loop Alliance is too, which is why they started the Pop-Up Art Loop initiative. Pop-Up Art Loop takes over empty store fronts all over the downtown Chicago area. For the past year they have filled a number of spaces with strong art exhibits showcasing Chicago-based artists like Christophe Roberts and Ed Paschke. Want to know what happens when Damien Hirst meets Shepard Fairey? Better check out the next Pop-Up Art Loop space this Thursday, October 7th. Innovative art spaces taking over Chicago is not a trend. Alternative art spaces have existed for many decades. This must be a sign of the times because art communities, organizational initiatives and alternative programming are growing almost innumerably in the most depressing financial situation that the city of Chicago has faced in a long time. Speaking of ‘time’, the Merchandise Mart  and all its …

Hyde Park Op Shop 3: Where PBR meets S.Pellegrino…

If you know EJ Hill then you’ve probably gotten food for your mind, body and intellectual soul from him.  You’ve probably entered a very inviting environment.  You are probably an amateur artist without even knowing it–just by being who you are and doing what you do, and participating when invited. For “Us”, the closing event for Op Shop, EJ invited the public to participate in a potluck in Hyde Park.  While I’ve been to the Op Shop on the corner of Lake Park and 53rd at an abandoned, former Hollywood Video, this particular Op Shop brought up old memories of good music and my days as a High Fidelity-esque record store snob.  See, this particular location was once Dr. Wax–the place that people in-the-know went to purchase tickets to the best shows and get the scoop on new music from the guru of all that’s good, Duane Powell.  It was Dr. Wax that introduced me to Jaspects, Bilal Salaam and 4Hero.  It was where I bought my Foreign Exchange tickets.  (Insert Deep Sigh Here). I …