Tuesday, September 21, 2010


BEN RUSSELL presents


1716 S Morgan #2F Chicago, IL 60608
April 24, 2010 - May 22, 2010
Opening reception: Saturday 6-9 pm, 
September 25th, 2010

Private viewings by appointment*
 *The performance by Tyler Myers will run between 6:30-8:30pm during the opening reception and will be followed by an afterparty dance party from 9:00 onwards.

At last, that empty void in your apartment-gallery-existence of the last few moons has been filled!  After doing a spell of world-wandering, your third-favorite curatorial team of Alvendia-Russell has returned to Chicago just in time (or a few months late, really) to celebrate the first anniversary of BEN RUSSELL, your second-favorite space.  That's right - after a year of eight shows BEN RUSSELL has finally turned ONE and, in honor of its movement into maturity, we are proud to present a look waybackbackbackwards with BEN RUSSELL: UR.  Taking its inspiration from the German prefix meaning "original, primitive" (and not, regrettably, in honor of the ancient Mesopotamian city or the Alanis Morissette song of the same name), this show is an over-the-shoulder glance into the history of history, a portrait of space-in-time.  Intended as both meta-response and self-conscious regard, we've gathered together enough local and international artists to throw the Standard Operating Procedure of BEN RUSSELL into a radical fourth-wall shattering vortex of confusion, a mad mix of art and art practices that are firmly entrenched in notions of disruption and repetition.

And so: join us as we turn our gaze towards the past we can never hope to regain - to the halcyon days of BEERBURNSRUNE and RUSE, to those Midwestern nights of RUBLES,LESSEN and BLUENESS.  Join us as we tilt our PBR to that memory of the past, then gulp the rest down in the name of the present and the future.  To smooth out that Blue Ribbon Burn, we are proud to offer the following checklist for your inner selves - an art-world mantra to calm the stormiest of seas:

- the BEN RUSSELL bench displaced by a pyramid made by former BEN RUSSELL residents (YOU ARE HERE) and subsequently transformed into a smaller BEN RUSSELL bench (GAINER)
-a fantasy portrait of the BEN RUSSELL mascot (MOTT)
- an abstraction of the fantasy portrait of the BEN RUSSELL mascot (CAUTIS)
- an audio portrait of BEN RUSSELL-as-space (MORÉ)
- a collaborative portrait of the BEN RUSSELL-audience-as-psychic-phenomena (MYERS)
- a curated and Sun Ra-themed 80:00 program of films/videos in response to a year's worth of un-curated program of 8 films/videos at BEN RUSSELL organized by a future BEN RUSSELL resident (A.L.K.)

And so on, and so forth.  We are meta-, we are beginning, and dammit if we aren't as serious as death which is, coincidentally, the start and end of us all.  This is UR-BENRUSSELL.  BENRUSSELL - UR begins now.

ALINE CAUTIS employs an intuitive language of gesture, mark-making and abstract forms to create paintings and works on paper that are at once fluidly psychedelic and tightly controlled. She is currently en route to Romania as a Fulbright research fellow to study both early 20th century Romanian Non-objective painting and the Folk Art that informs it. Her project is hosted by the University of Art and Design at Cluj-Napoca. Recent exhibitions include Mayerei Gallery Berlin, Devening Projects + Editions, Roots & Culture, Julius Cæsar in Chicago.

TREVOR GAINER was born in Colorado where he spent his formative years practicing campfire craft and building stone walls.Gainer obtained his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Currently his work can be seen at CLUTCH Gallery in Chicago until September 25th, and KOH-I-NOOR in Copenhagen beginning January 8th. Trevor lives and works in Chicago.

DAVID MORÉ grew up outside Chicago; he has spent the past fourteen years moving between Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota, Maryland, and Missouri; and currently is based in Chicago. In 2004 he was quite honored to play his self-built instruments at the High Zero Festival of Improvised and Experimental Music (Baltimore), performing with such luminaries as Daniel Higgs, Joe McPhee, and Le Quan Ninh. He has remained involved with the High Zero Festival as Stage Manager ever since. His artworks, performances and sound installations have been presented through Harold Arts, Gallery 400 at UIC, and Vega Estates in Chicago.

JESSIE MOTT is a visual artist who lives and works in Chicago. Her work includes drawings, paintings, collage and video that employ a menagerie of human, animal and celestial forms to explore desire and anxiety within fictive worlds. She received a BFA from New York University and an MFA from Northwestern University. 

TYLER B. MYERS primarily works collaboratively with the duo he co-founded in 2000, Cupola Bobber (on tour in the UK October - December, 2010). Venue highlights for collaborative work include the Plateaux festival at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt, Performance Space 122 and the CUE Art Foundation in New York, and Belluard Bollwerk International in Switzerland. Individual and one-off collaborative projects have been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, and PSI 15 in Zagreb. His published writings include: The Dictionary of Endurative Actions in The Drama Review (CB), Letter to Leatherface in Frakcija Performance Journal, Letter To Tolstoy in Make: A Chicago Literary Magazine, and Monologue For One Performer Taking One Step, Slowly in an anthology on SLOW (CB).  He has been a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow and an International Fellow at Lancaster University in 2007/08 and he has been a visiting artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bristol University, Columbia College Chicago, and Goat Island's Summer School. Tyler received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with a Nelson Raymond Fellowship, and an MFA from Northwestern University's Art Theory and Practice Department.

YOU ARE HERE (ZANNY BEGG + KEG DE SOUZA) is an Australian art collective which works across art making, curating, writing and discussions with open source software developer Andy Nicholson. Together they have a ten year artistic mapping project of Redfern, Sydney called the 2016: Archive Project.  In June/July 2008 they conducted a residency in Yogyakarta with Asialink and IVAA, The Indonesian Visual Art Archive and made a film entitled Cities Without Maps – Kota Tanpa Pet and in 2010 they were part of a two-month "residency" at BEN RUSSELL while working on ReMake Estate in Gary, Indiana.


"We are another order of being. We bring to you the mathematics of an alter-destiny. Look up! See the greater universe. Everything is in place—every star—every planet. Everything is in place—but you planet earth! Everything is in place—except you planet earth! You are just like you always were—in your improper place. Living your improper lives and dying your improper deaths. Change your time for the unknown factor. Time passes away but the unknown is immeasurable and never passes away. The unknown is eternal because you will never know what it is all about. Your wisdom will be when you say, I—DO—NOT—KNOW. Your ignorance will be your salvation. I am the brother of the wind. I cover the earth and hold it like a ball in my hand. I can make it in seconds to another galaxy. I will take you to new worlds. I will take you to outer unseen worlds. If you are fearful you will die in your fear. If you have fear you have the futile persuasion. We are the pattern for the spirit of man. If the spirit of man is strong—it will be and do as I, and my brother. Only fools seek to arm the wind. Only fools seek to arm the brother of the wind. I the wind—come and go as I chose. And none can stop me. I the wind—come and go as I chose. And none can stop me."  —Sun Ra, Space is the Place (1974)
FEATURING: Squiggle by Oliver Husain (21:40, BetaSP, 2005, India); 25/27 by Lief Hall (14:22, DV, 2008, Canada); In the Kingdom of Shadows by Francisca Duran (5:30, BetaSP, 2006, Canada); Sun Ra Home Movies by Richard Wilkinson (7:00, DV, 1970s, Europe and North Africa); Teh by Simon Dion Redekop (12:00 excerpt, DV, 2010, Canada); Seven Days by Chris Welsby (20:00, 16mm, 1974, UK)
TRT 80:00

A.L.K (referred to here by her initials due to unwarranted and overzealous Canadian-USA border restrictions) programs a monthly evening of contemporary short-form cinema and cinematic collaborations at the Pacific Cinémathèque Pacifique called DIM Cinema. She is also the Events & Exhibitions Coordinator and Curator at VIVO Media Arts Centre and the Signal & Noise Media Arts Festival. She lives in Vancouver, BC Canada where she is currently Artist in Residence at Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society, exploring the relationship between the liminal and ephemeral elements of cinema and the post-Olympic city.

 is an art space in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.  Co-curated by artists Brandon Alvendia and Ben Russell and situated around the front two rooms in the apartment of its namesake, BEN RUSSELL began presenting a series of month-long 5-person shows on Memorial Day Weekend in the year 2009.  Participating artists are invited to produce and exhibit work that is in accordance with the title/theme of each show, the name of which will be derived entirely from the 10 letters in the words "ben russell."  Future shows may include
 BEN RUSSELL : LENSBERUSSELL : REBELS, and BEN RUSSELL : US.  In keeping with the structural conceits of the French Oulipo language group and the spatial and material limits of what is effectively a rented apartment, BEN RUSSELL maintains a strict set of restrictions for all exhibiting artists by which: 

- One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work scaled at a minimum of three quarters of the thirteen by ten foot wall.
- One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work at a maximum of one half of the opposing wall space between the two adjacent doors.
- One artist shall produce a time-based work to be presented via a CRT flat screen monitor (and associated components) with Dolby 5.1 audio in the adjacent screening room.
- One artist shall produce work to be installed in the all-weather sculpture garden.
- One artist shall produce work to be performed for the duration of 15-30 minutes during the opening.

 features a rotating roster of Chicago-based and non-Chicago-based artists and will be open for viewings one night a month and by appointment, as needed.

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