April 30, 2015

2015: Leaving Chicago


INTRODUCTION


April 23, 2015: "Leaving Chicago" is a sort of exit interview. It's an interview conducted via e-mail in which a brief essay and a few questions are made available to a group of respondents. Every respondent receives the same prompt. But that prompt might be engaged in whatever manner befits the story to be told. Personal storytelling by art world participants is the primary concern of this enterprise. Why did you come? Why did you stay? Why did you leave? Why did you come back? What's your story?

ESSAY

In 2009, the Chicago Tribune eliminated forty-year veteran Alan Artner's position as full-time critic of visual art. Most obviously, that action was evidence of a contraction in the field of daily, print journalism. But of greater import for the Chicago art world might have been the consequent absence of Artner's living memory.

In 2010, Chuck Thurow retired from the city's oldest alternative exhibition space--the Hyde Park Art Center--having served as its executive director since 1998. Also, curator Dominic Molon left the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, in Missouri. And James N. Wood, director of the Art Institute of Chicago for 25 years, died.

2012 saw the passing of venerable gallery owners Andree Stone and Donald Young. And Whitney Tassie, director of Monique Meloche Gallery for seven years, left Chicago for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 2013, Susanne Ghez retired from The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, having served as its executive director and chief curator since 1974. And Lauren Weinberg, the city's last full-time art critic in print, was lost to sweeping changes at Time Out Chicago.

Whatever was set in motion in the previous five years seemed only to accelerate in 2014. Curatorial fellow Kristin Korolowicz left the MCA Chicago for University Galleries at Illinois State University, in Normal, Illinois. Too, senior curator Dieter Roelstraete left the MCA Chicago in order to join the curatorial team of Documenta 14, even as his (Roelstraete's) partner Monika Szewczyk left her post--visual arts program curator at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts--for Kassel, Germany. More significantly, the University of Chicago also lost Stephanie Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Smart Museum of Art, when she was hired by the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Canada.

Early in 2015, The Renaissance Society's Hamza Walker, focused on his duties as co-curator of "Made in L.A. 2016," began a two-year leave of absence. Jocular commentator Richard Holland made good his exit from the Bad at Sports podcast after its five-hundredth episode, in which place, shortly thereafter, Whitney Biennial co-curator Michelle Grabner publicly confirmed her decision to relocate from Oak Park, Illinois, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Finally, non-profit organization Threewalls' co-founder and executive director Shannon Stratton announced her imminent departure for the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan, New York.

It's quite popular to opine both (a) that artists cannot be expected to stay in Chicago, and also (b) that the reasons for departure are so well known as not to warrant further investigation. That said, not one person named in the account above is solely an artist; rather, they're people who are best known as curators, critics, gallerists, and administrators. And, as written in the first paragraph, it's a matter of consequence when the living memory of such a group is disconnected from the community in which it formerly resided. For without longtime participants and talented newcomers together considering what is happening, relative to what has happened, historical depth in the dialogue of the city's arts is by definition impossible. Regarding dialogue now, anyone wanting more than a descriptive treatment of the present, or a promotional treatment of the future, will probably want to look elsewhere than Chicago. Evermore the city devotes its cultural resources to what--at the moment--seems likely to be popular, financially rewarding, and politically expedient. Witness that the "debates" of the time involve David Bowie, George Lucas, Kanye West, President Barack Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

What's happening here? Is it a moment of crisis? Is it a change long overdue? Or, is it just business as usual?

QUESTIONS

(1) Biography:

Hold old are you? Where are you from? When did you come here? Is Chicago one of many stops on your journey?

(2) Expectations:

For what did you hope when you came to Chicago? A degree? A job? What did you think that you'd find here? What was your first impression of the city?

(3) School:

Did you attend a school here? Which school did you attend? How long were you in school here? Did you receive a degree here? When did you receive your degree?

(4) Activity:

How long were you in practice here? Did you enjoy success on your own terms? Can you recall some peak experience? If you felt frustrated, what frustrated you? Poor sales? Lack of publicity? High rent? Crime? Inefficient transportation? Public apathy? Bad weather? What was the total amount of time that you spent as a resident?

(5) Notoriety:

How does Chicago know you? Does Chicago know you? Have you been misunderstood?

(6) Departure:

Was there an event which precipitated your departure? For which other city did you leave? What was waiting for you in that other city?

(7) Perspective:

Does Chicago look different to you since your arrival to it and/or departure from it? Do you have advice for someone about to begin what you've finished?

(8) Connectivity:

Do you expect to maintain a connection to Chicago and its art world? What's your incentive to stay connected? Have you left friends or family here?

(9) Information:

By what means do you stay abreast of developments in the arts in Chicago? Print? Social media? Visits?

(10) Place:

In the end, is place important? Is physical location a matter of consequence in 2015?

(11) Omissions:

Was some important subject omitted from this query? Please introduce any additional material which you believe to be relevant.

EDITOR'S NOTE

April 27, 2015: I hoped to remove myself from the interview process and afford respondents as much control as possible over their own writing. And so I settled on the use of e-mail to initiate a conversation, being careful to suggest that the enclosed questionnaire was malleable. For the sake of fairness, everyone had to receive the same prompt in text. The downside is obvious: Failing to tailor the approach to someone in particular, the end result is so generic, and so sprawling, that it doesn't suit anyone.

I expect that some requests to participate will be ignored, while others will be refused outright. A few responses will be promised but never delivered. The remainder of the writing should dribble in over the course of the next month or two. Everyone is busy. And, realistically, some people calculate that public questioning, disclosure, and association of this sort are all too dangerous to risk.

Some replies might not take the form of essays or short answers; I might receive poetry or photography. That's OK. I hope that when it's all taken together, as a collection, the material might offer some insight into this time and place. I'm genuinely interested in recording what happened here--before it all slips away.

I can't pretend to be wholly objective. In the event that it hasn't been made perfectly clear in essay above, I should say that I perceive this to be a transitional period in Chicago. For example, I don't have the sense that apartment galleries, or independent blogs for that matter, are being created at the same rate they're disappearing. Conversely, the number of post-graduate programs, residencies and mentorships (all charging a fee of some sort) seems to be increasing. Has it become terribly difficult to "break in" to the city's art scene? What do you think?

Finally, I apologize for any errors.

Paul.


RESPONSES TO DATE

June 29, 2015, Patrick Bobilin on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-patrick-bobilin-on-leaving-chicago.html

June 14, 2015, Corinna Kirsch on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-corinna-kirsch-on-leaving-chicago.html

May 30, 2015, Julia Haw on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-julia-haw-on-leaving-chicago.html

May 22, 2015, Mark Staff Brandl on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-mark-staff-brandl-on-leaving.html

May 12, 2015, Steve Ruiz on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-steve-ruiz-on-leaving-chicago.html

May 10, 2015, Jeriah Hildwine on Leaving Chicago: http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/2015-jeriah-hildwine-on-leaving-chicago.html

April 8, 2015

2015: Lyp Sinc Show 5 @ Defibrillator

Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Cara Megan Lewis and Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera as Diaz Lewis, at left, with Silky Jumbo, center, and Darling Shear, right, backstage at Defibrillator Performance Gallery, prior to the beginning of "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
"Lyp Sinc Show 5"
April 1, 2015
Defibrillator Performance Gallery
1463 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL

http://dfbrl8r.org/

"Each year artists from all disciplines, administrators, academics, and socialites from throughout Chicago place the action of lip syncing in a gallery context. Performers are encouraged to riff on the concept of lip-sync in whatever way they like with no holds barred."

Performers: Anna Trier, Darling Shear, Diaz Lewis, Jake Vogds, Ji Yang, Joseph Ravens, Julie Potratz, Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze, Kate Sierzputowski, Rose Hernandez, Sasha Hodges

Host: Silky Jumbo

DJ: Jordan Jaymes

A fundraising event for Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, June 4-14, 2015.

Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Defibrillator's Joseph Ravens, at left, with Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, center, and Cara Megan Lewis, right, backstage, prior to the beginning of "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, left, and Cara Megan Lewis, right, as Diaz Lewis, performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, left, and Cara Megan Lewis, right, as Diaz Lewis, performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, left, and Cara Megan Lewis, right, as Diaz Lewis, performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Diaz Lewis mixing with the crowd, post-performance in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Cara Megan Lewis of Diaz Lewis, post-performance in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Diaz Lewis @ Defibrillator
Above: Diaz Lewis mixing with the crowd, post-performance in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Anna Trier @ Defibrillator
Above: Anna Trier performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Anna Trier @ Defibrillator
Above: Anna Trier performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Anna Trier @ Defibrillator
Above: Anna Trier performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Rose Hernandez @ Defibrillator
Above: Rose Hernandez, backstage at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, prior to the beginning of "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
Rose Hernandez @ Defibrillator
Above: Rose Hernandez performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Rose Hernandez @ Defibrillator
Above: Rose Hernandez performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Rose Hernandez @ Defibrillator
Above: Rose Hernandez performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Rose Hernandez @ Defibrillator
Above: Rose Hernandez performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze @ Defibrillator
Above: Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze @ Defibrillator
Above: Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze @ Defibrillator
Above: Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze @ Defibrillator
Above: Jyldo and Mattrick Swayze performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jake Vogds @ Defibrillator
Above: Jake Vogds performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jake Vogds @ Defibrillator
Above: Jake Vogds performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Jake Vogds @ Defibrillator
Above: Jake Vogds performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Julie Potratz, backstage at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, prior to the beginning of "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
Above: Julie Potratz performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Julie Potratz performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Julie Potratz performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Kate Sierzputowski @ Defibrillator
Above: Kate Sierzputowski performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Kate Sierzputowski @ Defibrillator
Above: Kate Sierzputowski performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Kate Sierzputowski @ Defibrillator
Above: Kate Sierzputowski performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Kate Sierzputowski @ Defibrillator
Above: Kate Sierzputowski performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Darling Shear @ Defibrillator
Above: Darling Shear performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Darling Shear @ Defibrillator
Above: Darling Shear performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Darling Shear @ Defibrillator
Above: Darling Shear performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Darling Shear @ Defibrillator
Above: Darling Shear performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Ji Yang performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Sasha Hodges, backstage at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, prior to the beginning of "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
Above: Sasha Hodges performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Above: Sasha Hodges performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Joseph Ravens @ Defibrillator
Above: Joseph Ravens performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Joseph Ravens @ Defibrillator
Above: Joseph Ravens performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Joseph Ravens @ Defibrillator
Above: Joseph Ravens performing in "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Silky Jumbo @ Defibrillator
Above: Silky Jumbo performing as host for "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Silky Jumbo @ Defibrillator
Above: Silky Jumbo performing as host for "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Silky Jumbo @ Defibrillator
Above: Silky Jumbo performing as host for "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
DJ Jordan Jaymes @ Defibrillator
Above: DJ Jordan Jaymes performing for "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Giana Gambino @ Defibrillator
Above: Giana Gambino of Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival thanking "Lyp Sinc Show 5" attendees, at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Mateo @ Defibrillator
Above: Mateo posing outside "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Antonia Gurkovska @ Defibrillator
Above: Kavi Gupta Gallery artist Antonia Gurkovska attending "Lyp Sinc Show 5," at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Defibrillator Performance Gallery
Above: "Lyp Sinc Show 5" back door drink table at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Genesee Cream Ale @ Defibrillator
Above: Genesee Cream Ale at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Defibrillator Performance Gallery
Above: "Lyp Sinc Show 5" front door donations at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
Defibrillator Performance Gallery
Above: Defibrillator facade, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, after the "Lyp Sinc Show 5," on April 1, 2015.
Defibrillator Performance Gallery
Above: "Lyp Sinc Show 5" set list, at Defibrillator, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL, on April 1, 2015.
See also:

The Second Annual Lyp Sinc Show @ Defibrillator on April 26, 2012:
http://paulgermanos.blogspot.com/2012/04/pictorial-second-annual-lyp-sinc-show.html

The 2014 Rapid Pulse Vernissage @ Defibrillator on June 7, 2014:
http://chicagoartworld.blogspot.com/2014/06/2014-rapid-pulse-vernissage.html

Above:
Images (1-54) April 1, 2015;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.