Thursday, July 28, 2011

the toy formerly known as….

the toy formerly known as….
featuring artists Tom Burtonwood, Joseph Belknap, Sarah Belknap, CC Ann Chen, Todd Chilton, Meg Duguid, Jason Dunda, Brent Garbowski, Jeffrey Grauel, Brad Johns, Susie Kimball, Larry Lee, Allon Lieberman, Mican Morgan and Shannon Schmidt
Saturday, August 6 · 6:30pm - 9:00pm

2353 w 21st
Chicago, IL 60608

The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It’s our name and it’s our ideal.

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick configuration and the Minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2009 The LEGO Group. © 2009

Toys are designed to direct play, and to teach children the rules. We are directed. Play trains us. Instructions on the box; pictures of what it is supposed to look like. The rules.

But we don’t stay in those lines.

Images of play that revolve around destruction may upset the adult crowd. For adults, edgy is a value system. The best of us learn to harness the design to transcend itself. Well-designed play inspires, but the kids seem to do just fine bringing their own broken rules to the game. Perhaps the outlaw and the artist have always been linked because rules have to be broken to discover the new.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Renovation Creep: Joe Cassan, Dan Bruttig and Erin Thurlow

Renovation Creep: Joe Cassan, Dan Bruttig and Erin Thurlow

Opening Friday August 5th from 6pm-10pm
August 5- September 3, 2011

Three artists, Daniel Bruttig, Joe Cassan and Erin Thurlow will be sculpting, painting and directly intervening in the space of Antena gallery for their show, Renovation Creep. Simultaneously material and ephemeral, the work here resembles the haunted, transitory nature of urban apartment dwelling.

Renovation Creeps
History: We are, many of us, temporary occupants of someone else's property. For most people who live in cities, in fact, it represents the reality of the American Way of Life far better than the well-branded American Dream of home (house) ownership. It will most likely be an apartment, a collection of rooms 'distinguished' by a patchwork of occupant-renovations, handyman quick-fixes, cheap fixtures and bad paint jobs. The typical rental is a way-station for young up-and-comers, or a mortgage-free house for the lifelong renters. From the Victorian-era railroad, to the condo-style mod flat, each is home to a succession of denizens who leave behind a particular residential stain.

Palimpsest: A raw spot remains on a surface when a thing fixed there for a long time previously, is removed. It is anti-residue; clean space on an aged plane that has evaded the ruin of time. Move a picture frame that has hung for years on the too-long-unrepainted wall, and you will expose a lighter, brighter rectangle. This sort of mark shows along a floor after walls have been torn out, fixtures have been removed, and carpets pulled back. The minor spirits that remain, remind us that the apartment has had a history prior to our brief residence. Conversely, there is an organic quality to the gradual accumulation of paint, wall paper, and hole-filler that covers the walls, obscuring the details left from a more meticulous era. It is like a moss on the forest floor, covering the duff in a soft, uniform carpet.

Patina: The cabinets, some sort of revival in nineteenth century, frontier design, now just look anachronistic; plywood and melamine surfaces tarted up with Gothic drawer pulls and moulding. Worse, the details, narrow clefts and dimples, are caked and filled with a residue of dust (90% dead human skin), cooking grease and tobacco resin. Who knows how many Marlboros, fondue parties, cut fingers and splatted Yoplait Yogurts it took to create such a
(Also note: The jerry rigged wiring and fixtures that follow a succession of handymen, do-it-yourselfers and building supervisors resembles the growth of benign tumors.)

Labyrinth: Pull back the carpet or linoleum, scrape the wallpaper, remove a cabinet hung during a cheap renovation. What do you see? Another, older pattern of wallpaper? Pristine hardwood flooring, or urine-soaked, rotting press-board. Rip open a wall and you find a door behind it. Rather than unpainted drywall, the hole in the wall reveals another wall, floral wall paper graffitid with a handwritten grocery list. 'Your' flat is a labyrinth of histories, wandered by the ghosts of those who became lost there.

-Erin Thurlow

1765 S. Laflin St.
Chicago IL 60608
antenapilsen (at)
(773) 340-3516
Hours: by appointment only

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is this thing on?: The art of comedy

"Is this thing on?: The art of comedy"
Guest Curator: Miguel Cortez from Antena

Opening Friday August 12 from 6pm-10pm
August 12-28, 2011

"If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."
- Lenny Bruce

Contemporary art is too serious sometimes. This show will focus on the lightheartedness and humor in art. Most of us are part of the system and work 40+ hours a week and by the weekend we just want to unwind and be entertained. Then this show is just for you. These artists use irony, goofiness, satire, and sarcasm in their work. 

Andy Detskas
Ben Pederson
Catie Olson
Chris Silva
Darrell Luce
David Leggett
Lauren Feece
Meg Duguid
Nick Black
Nicole Marroquin
Paul Shortt
Rick Huggett
Sarah Perez

Born June 3rd, 1975, Andy Detskas grew up hopping around the Midwest, deep South and East coast. Like many artists, Andy began to work at a young age exploring drawing, painting and sculpture. Since graduating from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2000 Andy's work has varied as much as the places he grew up; exploring themes of human scale, urban ruin, defacement, landscape, ghosts, robots and typography. Andy's current body of work is focused on using discarded motel landscape paintings as a canvas for hand-drawn typography and strange comedic characters.

Ben Pederson was born in 1979 in Grand Rapids Michigan and received his B.A. in Studio art from Aquinas College in 2003. He went on to obtain his M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, which he received in 2007. After graduate school, Ben moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked as an art handler and continued to make and show work. Now residing in Madison, WI, he has shown in Chicago and throughout the midwest as well as staying involved with shows and screenings on the east coast.

Catie Olson is multi-disciplinary artist born in Decatur, Illinois, the pleasant home of two chicken cars. She received her BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995 in Agriculture, ventured to Chicago and received her BFA at the School of the Art Institute in 2000. Catie organizes SpiderBug, a mobile short film festival, along with her husband, EC Brown. The pair also run Floor Length and Tux, an apartment art space. Catie has an animation that will be shown in the International Pancake Film Festival in Boston upcoming in July. She has shown work in Chicago including Heaven, Swimming Pool, antena and minidutch galleries.,,

Christopher Tavares Silva is a multi-disciplinary artist who has been cold rockin' shit since his little monkey feet touched down on Planet Earth. Having recently returned to Chicago from a 4 year vision quest in the jungles of Puerto Rico, Chris is splitting his energy between creating collaborative and heart-warming works of art and music with his expansive band of misfit slackers - and charging ever onward with his tireless passion for data entry. Chris's work has been exhibited and published in places that would make you shit your pants, and since most of us prefer to shit our pants in the privacy of our own homes (I know - there's nothing greater) the details will be spared. It's simple - buy one of these reasonably priced pieces of supreme quality visual funk...or live a life full of regret. Pussy.

Darrell Luce, b. circa 1963, probably in San Francisco. Luce is the wild man of the workshop, which he joined in 1996, at the request of Alma de la Serra. He either refuses to discuss his past or concocts sly stories that in retrospect cannot possibly be true. A realist in more ways than one, Luce paints in an expressionistic style that borrows freely from old masters, publicity stills, and cartooning. His sarcastically entitled 'Life of Ignotus' series documents his skepticism with regard to Ignotus's ideas--which Ignotus fully shares. His series of paintings of de la Serra apparently documents his relationship with her, though no one has yet figured out exactly what that relationship is, since Luce never gives a straight answer and de la Serra limits herself to saying "you either trust Darrell completely or not at all."

David Leggett was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1980. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design (2003), and a Masters of Fine Arts form the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007). He also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2010). His work is influenced by relationships, both personal and cultural. Popular culture and imagery are often used in his work. He has shown his work throughout the United States and internationally. He received the visual artist award from 3Arts in 2009.

Lauren Feece
I have always loved making things and I have spent most of my life happily tucked away in my beloved studio. It helped to make me a bit unprepared for real life but completely comfortable with life in my sketchbooks and paintings. In my youth I struck out for success in the city of Chicago. Waitressing and pursuing a career as a working artist kept me very busy. One night on my way to an art opening with friends I met a very interesting musical and visual artist named Chris Silva. I like to think in hindsight that at that moment I knew I was meeting my future husband, but even if it wasn't entirely clear back then I knew instantly I was meeting someone very special. We were hardly apart and soon we had combined our lives, our living and studio spaces. We made our first attempts at collaborative work. Life was beautiful and full of art making.

For years we put art making first and "real jobs" second. Living simply and working hard we happily enjoyed life as full time artists. Over time, our energies focused on making and selling art work for years, began to run down. We wanted to recharge so in 2006 we moved on to a new opportunity. The Silva Family property in Moca, Puerto Rico was without a caretaker and we left The Windy City to take on that job.

From December 2006 to September 2010 we learned more than we had planned on. We encountered many trials as the abandoned house became a home. We got to be more green as the well was dug and the solar were panels installed. We learned how hard it is to grow a garden in the tropics. We learned to listen to the birds, bugs, and frogs, and to see the stars again. This was a life with many new challenges, but through it we got back to art making with a recharged and refreshed perspective.

In the fall of 2010 we returned to our sweet home in Chicago. Continuing to make a life full of love, we are wiser from our travels, and more committed than ever to our human responsibility to the earth, the animals, and especially to one another.

I continue to be motivated by the challenge of being present in the moment. The paintings and drawings I make are thoughts about the nature of things, musings on the everyday, and studies of the layers of meaning just under the surface. In my work I continue to be inspired by the connection of the artistic process to ritual, myth, and meditation. My work is a dance of brushstroke, line, swirls, drips, explosions and movements of paint. As I dance, I remember life, birds, clouds, color, flowers, trees, light, lace, pattern, people, blooms, webs, waves, vines, twilight, leaves, sunrise and sunsets...

Meg Duguid was raised in Columbus, Ohio, and received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA in from Bard College. She has performed and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, the DUMBO Arts Festival in Brooklyn, and 667 Shotwell in San Francsiso. Duguid has screened work at Synthetic Zero in New York, Spiderbug in Chicago, and at the Last Supper Festival in Brooklyn. Duguid lives and works in Chicago, IL where she runs Clutch Gallery, a 25 square-inch white cube located in the heart of her purse.,

Nick Black was born in Chicago in 1958. He has attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Massachusetts College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City, Uncle Freddy's Gallery, Highland, IN, and Joymore, Buddy Space, and Klein Art Works, all in Chicago. Nick has had key works at Art Chicago, the Stray Show, Version Fest, and the New Chicagoans.

Nicole Marroquin is an interdisciplinary artist whose creative practice includes collaboration, studio art, research, teaching, and strategic intervention.  As a classroom art teacher in Chicago and Detroit, Marroquin taught and collaborated with youth on art-based action research projects.   She makes art, exhibits and writes about participatory cultural production with youth and in communities.  Marroquin recieved her MFA from the University of Michigan in 2008 and is now living in Pilsen in Chicago.  She is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Rick Huggett
Raised in shrimpy Chagrin Falls, Ohio, the starting place for plenty of jokers including; Tim Conway and Tom Watterson (Calvin & Hobbs), I graduated from high school there and then attended Kent State University for a degree in Graphic Design.  Four weeks before graduating I took a job in advertising and never completed my degree.  I worked in advertising for two years before it dawned on me that I was both starving and penniless.  Moved to Canton, Ohio after taking a job selling material handling systems to the steel and aluminum industries and did the 50-60 hour work week grind for the next 20+ years.  During that time I acquired a wife, a house, 3 children, a dog, and a business degree from Malone University in Canton, Ohio. Now retired from sales I am currently pursuing a B.A. in Arts at Malone University with an emphasis in painting.  In other words, I am a 52-year old undergraduate who will graduate in December of 2011, so long as I pay off all of my parking fines.

Paul Shortt (b. 1981) received his BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2009. He has been in numerous group shows in Chicago, Nebraska, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. From 2009-2010, he directed a monthly, year-long series of performance art at the Fishtank Performance Studio in Kansas City, Missouri, called The Paul Shortt Invitational Performances. He has participated in the Charlotte Street Foundation residency program in Kansas City, and spoken about his work at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Shortt currently is pursing his MFA in New Media at The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and expects to graduate in 2013.

Sarah Perez
Born in the suburbs of Chicago, I lived for most of my childhood in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment with my mother, father and younger sister.  My entire family relies on love and humor to get through tough times, which has been a continued inspiration.  I feel this evident in my work, in addition to the combination of real and surreal that creates a delicate balance in our day-to-day lives.
Miguel Cortez is an artist/curator living in Chicago and born in Guanajuato, Mexico. He has studied filmmaking at Columbia College and art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently runs Antena, an alternative art space located in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. His artwork has been shown at Gallery 414 in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Krannert Museum and at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Other shows include exhibits in Dallas at Mighty Fine Arts Gallery, Glass Curtain Gallery and at VU Space in Melbourne, Australia.

Cobalt Studio is an artist run space. Studio artists, Adriana Baltazar and Antonio Martinez work separately and collaborate on occasion to produce thoughtful public art that is meaningful for it's communities. As a project/exhibition space, Cobalt's key purpose is to provide exceptional artists, established and emerging, with an opportunity to showcase their work in a gallery-like atmosphere minus the commercial pressures and b.s.

Cobalt Studio
1950 W. 21st St.
Chicago, IL 60608

View Larger Map

Friday, July 08, 2011


BEN RUSSELL presents


1716 S Morgan #2F Chicago, IL 60608
July 10, 2011 - July 31, 2011
Opening reception: Sunday 4-9pm, July 10th, 2011

Private viewings by appointment*
 *Two BPMs by Pooper & Pizza Dog will be performed at dusk during the opening reception.

Beautiful Friend, this is the end!  My Only Friendthe end!  Of our elaborate plansthe end!  After approximately 778 days,72 artists, and 12 group exhibitions of the most contemporary of the contemporary artsBEN RUSSELL offers you a misty-eyed finale to what has undoubtedly been the greatest curatorial collaboration this city may have ever known.  What with our lease expiring at the end of July and one of our directors leaving Chicago indefinitely for Parts Unknown,BEN RUSSELL : US will be our 13th and final show.  And so: in pre-memorium and now-celebration of the hyper-intellectual pseudo-aesthetic alliance betwixt Brandon Alvendia (aka Chicago's Best Artist) and Ben Russell (aka Chicago's Best Local Filmmaker) and ummm You (Chicago's Best Audience), the umpteen artists participating in BEN RUSSELL :US represent a veritable smörgåsbord of artistic alliances as drawn across fraternalfamilialromanticpedagogical, and altruistic lines.  Hand-picked for their collective sensibilities and their beguiling confidence in the generative power of directed camaraderie, these are artists that work together because they live/work/love together - they are US, plain and simple.

Inasmuch as US is "we" and "we" is BEN RUSSELL, we will exit as we entered, 25 months prior:  A Lazy Sunday Opening, With Grilled Meats and Un-MeatsLibations and Fireworks and Goodwill Aplenty.  A week shy of Independence Day, we will send bottle rockets to the sky while interrogating the monumental semiotics of national identification (OKÓN); we will hold hands and dive into the virtual summertime sea, hunting electric crabs and manatee-smiles (TM SISTERS).  We will consume live Ham Dances (POOPER & PIZZA DOG) and roast the last marshmallows and bask in the illuminating/illuminated minimalist monolith to the challenges of communication (HIDEOUS BEAST) as our psychic hearts and Six Degrees of Separation to Everyone Everywhere are mapped out in chalk dust and memory (CO-PROSPERITY SCHOOL). From Miami to Mexico CityBridgeport to Pilsen, and Inner to Outer SpaceBEN RUSSELL : US is the US in your USA, the WE in your WE THE PEOPLE, the NOSOTROS in your NOS(O)TR(O)ADAMUS.  BEN RUSSELL : US is Goodbye to our Past and Hello to our bright uncertain Future.

THE CO-PROSPERITY SCHOOL is an Artist-Run School for and about the advancement and understanding of contemporary Chicago Art. Through guest speakers and class member presentations we shine a light on the contemporary art scene of Chicago.  One of our goals is to break down the panel discussion dialogue of Chicago’s art and bring it to a more informal group discussion format in which shapers of Chicago’s Art World themselves tell of the contemporary scene.   Members can discuss their own work, or the work of others. Past guests have included Daniel Tucker, Hamza Walker, Paul Klein, Duncan MacKenzie,  Cody Hudson, Carolne Picard, Jason Foumberg, Carrie Gundersdorf, Tom Torluemke, Tom Burtonwood, Aron Packer, James Duignan, Nandipha Mntambo, and Barbara Koenen.

 is a collaborative effort between two artists, Josh Ippel and Charlie Roderick. Through organizing structured participatory events we attempt to encourage cultural activity outside the bounds of mainstream entertainment and fabricated desire.  Critical of the audience as a passive participant, Hideous Beast seeks to coordinate events in which an acknowledged exchange between the event (as entertainment) and the spectator (as collaborator) can generate meanings beyond traditional formalized modes of entertainment.
It is their intent as artists and beings in common to shift perceptions of authorship and participation within the realm of constructed entertainment and art generated activities. This might change, though.  HIDEOUS BEAST is always looking for others to collaborate with, both in carrying out our own projects and realizing others. Please contact them with any ideas for activities or events. 

POOPER & PIZZA DOG first met in Chicago in the year 2008.  Bonding over a mutual love for crude animations, fierce performances, excrement, and junk food, they hooked up and started playing together. They attended the FountainheadResidency in Miami in 2009 and performed as the double bill of "Pooper and Pizza Dog" at Locust Projects.  Since then, they have collaborated on paintings, animations, sculptures, set designs, and performances to create a habitually double-featured audio visual experience.  They have exhibited and performed at such venues as Art Basel's Design Miami, the MCA, Roxaboxen Exhibitions, and ACRE Projects.  They are currently working on implementing live reactive animations into their performances, a website for online Art Games, Pooper's new album, and a peyote-themed amusement park.

TM SISTERS is a collaboration between Miami-based Monica Lopez De Victoria and Tasha Lopez De Victoria. They work in the mediums of video, digital video performance, VJing, collage, social experiments, zines, clothing, installations, and interactive video created along with their brother Samuel. Their do-it-yourself ethic started by being home schooled together by their parents. They were raised with intense psychological and spiritual discussions regarding behavior, relationships, creativity, and truth.  The sisters’ work has been included in the international exhibitions "Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd Millennium" curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Daniel Birnbaum, and Gunnar B. Kvaran, the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, and PERFORMA 07. Their work has been seen and written about in publications like L’Officiel magazine, The Guardian, STEP Inside Design, the New York Times, Vogue Italia, and on the cover of ARTnews magazine for its 2007 “25 Trendsetters” article.

YOSHUA OKÓN was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives and works. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. In 1994, he founded La Panadería, an artist-run space in Mexico City; in 2009, he founded SOMA, an artist's academic/residency program.  His solo exhibitions include: HH, Baró Sao Paulo Brazil, Yoshua Okón: 2007-2010, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ventanilla Única, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City,Canned Laughter, Viafarini, Milan, SUBTITLED, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich, Bocanegra, The Project, NY, Gaza Stripper, Herzeliya Museum, Israel, Cockfight, Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan, Oríllese a la Orilla, Art & Public, Geneva, Lo Mejor de lo Mejor, La Panadería, Mexico City. His Group exhibitions include: Amateurs, CCA Wattis, San Francisco, Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London, The Age of Discrepancy, MUCA, Mexico City,Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY, Terror Chic, Spruth/Magers, Munich, The Virgin Show, Wrong Gallery, NY, Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin. 

BEN RUSSELL 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."  Past shows have included BEN RUSSELL : RUSEBERUSSELL :BLUENESS, and BERUSSELL : BEER.  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.

BEN RUSSELL 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.