the zine formerly known as ...

F ing Good Art
The Dog
now is known as ..
PGA - Pretty Good Art

Archived at

Number 8a
May 11, 2001
Welcome, Conventioneers

A tease from Charles Mutscheller:

"Mostly, I'm disappointed by the Art Institute, which apparently values contemporary art objects more than the ideas and discussions that gave rise to them. Despite its outward physical expansion, the museum exhibits symptoms of ideological atrophy."

Your help is needed

Recently, there was a fire that ravaged the 6100 South Blackstone Ave home of several important cultural organisations.. Blackstone Bike Shop [] The Baffler [], Big Fish Furniture, Dan Peterman's studio, several small offices and cultural initiatives, exhibition spaces and so much more. Truly independent cultural spaces are rare and this one must be preserved. It is a complicated, but worthy project. Please talk to Brett Bloom.

Joel Ross at Monique Meloche

"I Borrowed My Mother's Bedroom" is just that. If you like snooping and peeping in on other's sanctuaries this is for you. It's been done before to varying extents (see Tracy Emins and Paul McCarthy) however, where it was narcissistic before, it's voyeuristic here. Ross' attention to detail is so obsessively authentic that you get the sense that you just stumbled into her room while trying to find the bathroom and the mother might catch you snooping. However intimate the room, the raw exterior reveals nothing of the woman's relationship to it. The piece stands as sculpture in the stylish new swimming pool gallery. But it is the intimate details that linger, the movies she'll watch and the smell of her closet; it's the evidence of how completely one can occupy space without being present.

-- Shane Selzer

More artists should have colorful nicknames, and no one is more deserving than "The Thug" Joel Ross.. It is not just his sullen posture or the undocumented motel vandalism that is the core of interest in the piece that brought him our attention. Despite the report that his mother does have a guest room to live in, and that she was bought new clothes to replace those stacked in the replicated closet at Monique's handsome and odd new space, the real "punctum" is that, for the sake of an art gesture, Ross has displaced his own mother. Our exploration of the essentially mundane accouterment of a life is less important than that the artists' mother is deprived of these things - jewelry and diaries and clothing - that mean much more to her than to us. The aggressive side of abuse is an under-exploited avenue of artistic investigation.

-- Bulka


Are artists ever denied an MFA on the basis of their thesis show? Blah figure paintings and silly multi-media installations make me wonder. The following SAIC masters candidates, whose works are on show at G2 for the next few weeks, are deeply deserving of their diplomas: Lyn Parsons, for organic sculptures that exist somewhere between wombs, mouths, and aliens; Catherine Trzybynski, for interacting with clay as if head growths were sensual and not grotesque; Rebecca Walz, for kaleidoscopic Polaroids of enigmatic bluffs encased in thick, white, wedding cake-like frames; Stephanie Knowles, for paintings so sexy they make me want to molest her; Jane Palmer and Marianne Fairbanks, for recognizing that we eat what we are; Ronnie Wright, for obsessively pristine, starkly high contrast, built-in pictures of fixtures; Johee Kim, for creepy generosity in the form of a free telephone and notepad for doodling; Pete Goldlust, for quirky obsessions and introducing Dr. Seuss into the third dimension; Juo-Wei Ho, for impossible architectural drawings that map the unmappable city; the Pink Nun, for dogged anachronism, commercial appropriation, and unbelievably weird morals; Ron Song and Frank Olive, for a calm space and the most misrepresenting of guided audio tours to which an art exhibition has ever been subjected.

-- Lori Waxman

Jeff McMahon at Bodybuilder & Sportsman

To understand Jeff McMahon's paintings is to look at them as an inexhaustibly large group of infinitesimally well-painted god-awful pictures. "Pictures" is momentous in its are-you-kidding-me seriousness, its I'm-an-obsessed-man precision, its make-an-art-historian-blush stylistic breadth. Though it looks like a run-of-the-mill painting show (a dozen or so on the walls, 60 in total), not a single canvas should ever be allowed to stand on its own, as an individual painting over a couch, as any good object begs to do. Alone, McMahon's paintings are bad, so bad it hurts. Together, they are good. So good it hurts, too.

-- Lori Waxman

Art Star-Curator Model
The Program at 1707 W. Division
Taking Liberties at The Suburban
Viewer's Choice at Cynthia Broan
by Shane Selzer

It's the age of shameless self-promotion, right? The equation of the moment is simple: project bigness, achieve bigness. As with most models in a rapidly transit society, this Art Star/ Art Salesman is a two headed beast. On the one hand, clearly there are talented artists who are less than talented in their marketing capabilities, and these artists are in jeopardy of being ignored, overlooked, unconsidered. However, rather than uncomfortably awaiting their moment to be "discovered," i.e. taken seriously and given opportunities, some artists, strategy intact, are playing their own hand.

By adopting the particular visual language of a given profession, artists are almost seamlessly slipping into any format that compels them. In Chicago, FGA presents The Program, a video, which mimics television's well-known format. Artist videos are interspersed with regular shows, advertisements, and news. Nothing is related; context is replaced and replaceable at the click of a remote. Viewers have an illusion of control and yet Pedro Velez is running the show. He has picked the lineup, he has dictated what you will and will not see, who will precede whom, and who will follow. The Program serves as a curatorial effort to present new video work in the "what if" scenario of prime time TV but more importantly it is a piece all on its own which serves to showcase Velez as the artist in focus.

In New York, Andrew Andrew, a pair of self named "interventionists" put on a show called Viewer's Choice, in which viewers voted out a different piece each week. The final "Survivor" was awarded a solo show at the Cynthia Broan gallery. Modeled loosely after the famed television show, things were kept lively by having the Reverend Al Sharpton grant a week-long immunity to a single work. This innovative model of curating brought most of the attention to the uniformed, matching partners called Andrew Andrew. By giving the notion of choice to the viewers, the curator no longer appeared to sit on the other side. It all looked very democratic and yet the ultimate work in the show was once again, the show itself.

Simultaneously, Charles Mutscheller curates Taking Liberties at The Suburban in Chicago and he asks us to consider the models in which we obtain artwork and the possible variations that may exist. Those models employed by Mutscheller are: Steal, Receive, Participate, Appropriate, and Copy. Oddly, it is the Copy model that gets him into trouble. Didn't Sherrie Levine settle this some time ago? By angering the Marian Goodman Gallery, Mutscheller emerges looking more interesting and current than Dijkstra may ever be. The questions he's asked through this curatorial exercise expand in scope based on the harsh reactions they receive.

Here we go, down the slippery slope? Maybe, but so what. It's only art after all, and the rules are changing. Sound familiar? It should, the Internet is no small player in the lone cowboy's efforts to insert him or herself into the dialogue at large, while maintaining a distinct voice. We're starting to envision a world without the middle-man, that guy who always had a piece of you, and you were never quite sure why. Could we really do away with this manipulative position? The travel agent, the record label, the editor, the curator, the real estate lady. It is novel to think it's possible, or even totally beneficial to wipe out these figures all together; the truth is, someone has to be the schmoozer and not everyone wants the job. However, why not rethink them, why not manipulate the role of the manipulator, cast a new character in the slot? Think about who's protecting what here. If the artist becomes the curator, then the curator might no longer have something to lose by freeing up the red tape.

-- Shane Selzer

Eduardo Kac at Julia Friedman

Until now, I thought that the only benefit of the galleries' move to West Loop Gate was that the glassware and knickknack shops stayed in River North. This show needs either enough wall text to make it into a tourist-friendly Museum of Science and Industry exhibit, or enough price tags to turn it into a Hammacher Schlemmer outlet. I can't imagine what it would take to make it into credible art. One can only hope that the sophomore show will be something not stupid and insulting.

-- bulka

On and Off the Pier - Our Reccomendations

An exhibition of work from the MFA program at UIC.
Party/Reception Saturday May 12 6-10p.m.
Hours Friday 12-5 Saturday 12-6 Sunday 12-5
The Great Space (5th floor)
Art and Design Hall, UIC
400 S. Peoria Street (at Van Buren)
Chicago, IL 60607 312-996-6114

Frank Pollard at Dogmatic
1822 S. Desplaines
opening Sat. 6-10pm

Portable - one night only group show
Embassy Suites Chicago
600 North State St.
(ask for Keiler Sensenbrenner's suite)
opening Fri. 7-11pm

30 artists from Philadelphia alternative spaces
Opening Saturday May 12th, 7p -11p
Seven Three Split
971 W 18th St (312 733-2263)
(... and at) the Butcher Shop
1319 W Lake St (312.666.4566)
Rides available between locations. artists' talk: at the Butcher Shop
10:00am, Saturday 5/12
Exhibition continues through June 17th

at Joymore Gallery 2701 W. Augusta
opening Saturday May 12, 6p -12p
through May 31st 773-278-3375

Law Office says CHECK OUR SHIT at
the zingmagazine booth at the pier

Temporary Services 202 S. State
Helidon Gjergji Continues through Saturday May 19

Can Gallery
1308 W.Milwaukee 773-342-3653
Deutscher Pavillon
An installation by Peter K. Koch, Berlin
Opening Saturday, May 12, 6-9 pm

Standard Gallery
1437 N. Bosworth 773 486-1005
Stevie Rexroth, Brian Durance
Opening: April 13, 7-11pm

mn, 3524 S. Halsted.
"milk and honey," featuring video and sculpture by Johanna Bresnick and Kwabena P. Slaughter
Sunday May 13th, 12 to 5 PM.

iM5 - a show about genetics
May 11-12
851 W. Fulton Market
reception Sat 4/12 7-12p
[web site]

VIEW:SOURCE by LOFT Collective
"digital show & tell".1217 Milwaukee
Sat May 12 4-7p RSVP at []

"What are these things?"
Sunday 1:30 pm somehsere on the Pier. a forum on art mags, but not this one.

"Chicago Critics on Chicago Artists" - a C.A.C.A event Saturday, 4-6 On the pier, somewhere.

Friday, May 11, 7pm-10pm
Century Gallery 900, 202 South State Street 312.829.5873

Disco at Arena

Congratulations to Denis Dietz for winning the Law Office poker pot.

Disco could have been a fun party, were it not for pre-fest stress. The playful, gratuitous nudity is good, but somehow, even at a party, I was looking for more than bar art. Another chance to boogie down on Ana Laura Alaez's Austin Powers set, with DJ Jesse de la Pena and and Tobias Berstrup. Happenens Saturday 6:30 - 10:30 311 N. Sangamon, 312 421-0212.

-- bulka

SMALL PRINT: Assembled and distributed as a service to you, by a collection of artist/critic/curators including: Michael Bulka, Leah Finch, Tulip Inthefield, Shane Selzer, Julia Marsh, Pedro Velez, and Lori Waxman.

the best chicago art reference, and our archivist - []

URL of this page: