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.
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 antiquities decided not to wait for Next and Art Chicago to celebrate art in Chicago. This time the Merchandise Mart teamed up with Chicago Artist Coalition offering a vacant retail space for an artist residency program. The residency program began this fall and offered to six artists for a total of three months.
Artist Mark Moleski, resident at the Mart, deals simplistically with works on paper. Moleski fabricates stories based on his own interpretation of images that he sees in contemporary newspapers and magazines. With out really paying much attention to the text, Moleski creates interesting silhouettes of images and text. Moleski is commenting on how no matter how stories are professed, everyone has a different version.
Promoting and supporting art in Chicago all year-long doesn’t sound like a bad idea, now does it?