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August 2002, 32 posts, 1192 lines


Something that I read in a book today, a quote from Ad Reinhardt: "The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art-as-art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art." Also, having seen Richter and Gursky, I'm surprised to say that I liked Gursky more.

Al Ravitz


Here Are the bullet points
-This is stupid word play
-people will find art forever where they look
-rienhardt is certainly notable in in this catagory(career that ranged from cartoons to paintings from a zen cell)
-This difinition only serves to further imbed the problems of the systems that the new artists and there spaces are seeking to outwit
-Art ultimatly is what people say it is. if that happens to be impressionism or something else, it is always the theorists who are one step behind glorifying that which has already been.
-If you want to do something new then be an artist. Take your chances and fight for your place in history.
-Otherwise line up behind the new galleries we were here first and your meddling does nothing to put money in either the artists pockets or mine.
-if you are approaching this from a temporary service standpoint than you are doublby fucked because you are only applying a voice from the capitol extreme that doesn't serve the community, only the institutional hierarchy which they wish to subvert. oh but thats right they have no problems with showing with institutions just bitching about them and those that to be in play with them.
-quotes are ravenous, don't succomb to the double stantard.


A Ravitz wrote:

a quote from Ad Reinhardt: "The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art-as-art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art."

Well, I've always been a fan of the grand poobah Reinhardt. read his book of writings about 3 times, so I have to caution against taking quotes of his as things to believe. If I take most of his writings in a manner I think somewhat close to his intentions, he is writing from the role of cautionary or crank. A very productive crank mind you, more so than most the cranks around here. But anyway, instead of trying to put forward a way to judge or view art, his writings operate to complicate any assumptions you might take to reception or creation of art. They negate many troubling, and non-troubling, views of art, rather than really ever putting forth a program or prescription of how to view art. I think his writings are more geared to complicating the understanding of art objects. Ever read the chronological biography he created? It mixes small events from his life with big historical events, so obviously he felt "everything else" impacted art, and vice-versa at some level.

Also, having seen Richter and Gursky, I'm surprised to say that I liked Gursky more. Well opinions being what they are, I didn't like Richter soo much the first time, but three visits have turned me round, and I think the Gursky show is the most disappointed I've been in a show in a long time. Can't remember the last time I felt such a thud looking at stuff. diegobobby wrote:

Here Are the bullet points

And some knee-jerk replies.

-This is stupid word play

What he wrote? Or what follows?

-This difinition only serves to further imbed the problems of the systems that the new artists and there spaces are seeking to outwit

Hmm, if this definition really imbeds the problems, and affirms a system the newer artists and spaces are trying to outwit. ( Wasn't aware they[we] were trying to outwit anything.) I'd say the newer artists and spaces have across the board failed miserably. it is always the theorists who are one step behind glorifying that which has already been.

Then how come I always find long-ago-moved-to-the-back theories being put forward by artists as "new" "radical" thinking when the theory world got tired of that thought at least ten years earlier? Artists have always been some of the laziest, at least ten steps behind, theorists around.

Its always cool to bash theory and theorists in the art world, and that's crap. There is good/bad, forward/backward looking theory, just like there is in artwork. A large portion of working artists make the most opaque, ill-conceived and ahistorical objects, spin convoluted, illogical explanations around them, then point fingers and cry "foul" with theory for being jargon-filled, convoluted, specialist, or behind the times. Try looking in a mirror.

-If you want to do something new then be an artist.

Oh really? I see a lot of rehashed, tired old objects just reaffirming, or pathetically trying to function as, little pockets of historical precedents from the history of 20th century art that the artist(s) are apparently too lazy, or uninterested, to pick up a book, learn that 30 people at least have already considered the form, perfected it, and moved on.

A friend told me this weekend: "people, left to their own devices, are more than happy to reinvent the wheel."

The art world is offender number one in this regard.

-Otherwise line up behind the new galleries we were here first and your meddling does nothing to put money in either the artists pockets or mine.

Is this a chicken and the egg riddle? Which came first... I don't know where to begin with a messed-up thought like this. And certainly I see a lot of work where encouragement is the last thing it needs. It needs to be given a rest.

-quotes are ravenous, don't succomb to the double stantard.

What double standard? What the hell does this mean? Quotes are ravenous? You mean they are hungry? Quick, get some quote Chow, whose turn was it to feed them anyway?



You win. You are smarter tnan me. I'm sorry I ever thought that my opinions mattered and that the young galleries strove for anything more than being broke. I'm sorry I opened my doors and I will close them as soon as possible.

Your humble servant,



There are things in life that are sad. There are things in life that are pathetic. This message succeeds at being both. boo hoo



diegobobby wrote:

I understand now, you just like heaping bile on others, but don't seem to appreciate some level of criticism come back in your direction.

Well, man alive, no one suggested your opinions didn't matter (I answered them right?), and no one said you shouldn't have opened your doors. At least I didn't.

But if need be, you can listen to that sound in the background. It's the world's smallest record player playing "cry me a river."


Wow both you cats really turned this into a hum dinger of a conversation. Hope you can find some bullet points to keep this one going. Point being: Your just waiting: I'm just Responding




You started all of this off with the most poorly written piece of verbal spew this list has seen in ages, your current attempt at wit takes 4 days to kick in, and you were entirely absent from participation when Anthony and I and some others had what I'd say was an actual "hum dinger" of a conversation about a month ago - which I assume you read because you have posted here before that got started. English writing tip: try "You're" when you mean to say "you are". Wait for your own fucking response. Maybe something clever with all of the appropriate, but barely coherent, bullet points will show up in a week or two. Your cat,

José Spaghetti

(my new Other Group alias)



You are one of the shining lights in of life, a bright body in my Chicago art cosmology. I'm more lost without you. But what the hell are you doing?

Don't go super-nova on me here ace. I know it is important for you to maintain a scrappy, scarred, and bitter persona but this thrashing about with nasty sarcasm and unreflected ranting is getting us nowhere. You wanna get money from your gallery then pull a Bodybuilder. Your smart enough (take that Fischer, you grammar maven) and you can probably muster the energy and support for it. You've got a lot of friends (like me, and smarter ones too) who would help. You're gallery is in no shape to make money now and if you want it to be you gotta restructure it. Though maybe you don't have to go as far as Tony did, you know, over to the other $ide.

Yeah, speaking of which, Ms. Butler, a while back here on the other group, noted how factionalized the Chicago artworld is, she wrote (13 Jun 2002):

I began to learn a thing or two that day, my purity gone forever, my fanatasy of the purity of the Chicago artworld...sniffle...gone. Of course people, groups, and galleries factionalize (that's a word), find positions and allies, in all different ways, overtly and transparently, slyly and underhandedly, consciously and unconsciously, and this positioning works very much to their advantage, or they fall on their face with it. I don't think you, Diego, gain much by polarizing yourself against folks like Anthony, Marc, and Al. It's okay, after all, if not everybody wants to show their work at Dogmatic, it's even okay if not everybody wants to come and look at the work. We can still have alliances with each other, right? Shit, man.

Marc/José , Anthony:

Diego probably deserved (and wanted) all the shit you gave him, but I just start to ask myself what this discussion group is for when everybody is pouncing on each other. It's really fucking difficult for a lot of people to find venues to talk about their practice, ask questions and bounce ideas off other people, beyond one or two generous friends they might have. Anthony, Marc and even Diego, when it comes to having a network of totally great people to share ideas and support with, are in a position of luxury (yeah, luxury dammit). Not everybody wants or needs this but many do. People need critical space, not pouncing space, not hazing space.

Which leads me to breach what might be taboo subject here, that is, some of us feel naive on a few issues here and it's hard to face it: I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice that not many ladies feel compelled to participate in this group in a sustained way. I have a personal history with this phenomenon. I used to be in a flesh-world art discussion/crit group and all the women quit coming...I talked to one of them about it once, it was great. It is my opinion that there is some kind of attitude often associated with the female gender that is lacking in this discussion group. (I beg of everyone to tell me all of the ways that this is a misguided opinion. Thanks.)

Shout out to Pedro (if you still read this):

I was in Minneapolis this past weekend and saw your show at the Soap Factory, good shit dude. My parents liked it too, though they found it somewhat confusing. I think the confusion is part of it. Also in Minneapolis I went to the Walker. There I saw six Sherin Neshat videos which I liked just fine. But they do this weird thing where they make big prints of film stills and hang them outside the little screening room for people to look at. I always thought those prints were so the gallery had something to sell to collectors who are uncomfortable buying video. Seemed kinda pointless when you can watch the video right there.

Also at the Walker, a show about Hip-Hop, One Planet Under a Groove, with a really nice Sanford Biggers video among some other nice stuff. My favorite thing at the Walker was the Rivane Neuenshwander (sp?) show, a Brazilian artist, makes very quiet work. My parents were less confused by the work at the Walker than they were by Pedro's show at the Soap Factory, but they go to the Walker pretty regularly and feel very comfortable there.

That's gotta be part of it. They liked Sherin Neshat the best. I went to another space in Minneapolis that I've always been a fan of, Intermedia Arts, a long standing, nonprofit space almost like the Hyde Park Art Center.

They do a whole bunch on programming all the time, including the annual car art parade. I would recommend that anybody visiting Minneapolis check them out. They are right down the street from the anarchist collective bookstore, Arise. Also go to the Soap Factory, the Walker and the University's Weisman Museum.

Yes, YES, and also yes.

Love, Michael Woof


This is so incredibly dull, I feel like I am listening to a few five year olds fight on the playground. What happened to all the information this group used to provide?


I've enjoyed quite a few good shows at Dogmatic - and I've enjoyed a few cranky, sarcastic and bitter conversations with Diego/Mike. but, I would like to point out that one issue that repeatedly comes/came up was a lack of attendance at shows (by most gallery owners on Othergroup). Mike doesn't run his space like Bodybuilder and that's ok (it was an effort for me to even get on a mailing list, which I don't think ever happened by the way).

But, it's hard to understand how you can complain about people not coming to your shows if you aren't putting an effort into mailing lists and press releases and phone calls and meetings (all of which I'm sure tony does pretty well). guess it depends on who you want coming also. and, I'm not forgetting the location of dogmatic - it's true that it's at the least inconvenient - some people might even be afraid to venture down there. to Mr. Woof: my comment about the factionalized (thanks for the word) aspects of the art world and the political world, came from two different experiences:

1. the old othergroup meetings (yes, we did once have actual meetings). here we found out that everyone wanted to complain, but no one could align themselves together to do anything because each person/group had their own individual agendas. this is fine, but it also led to a disinterest and eventually an end (I think) to the meetings - nothing holding them together and no point.

2. an anti-war meeting I attended last October. there were easily 500 people there, yet there were so many different groups with their own issues trying to compete that I thought no massive movement could ever coalesce.

I honestly don't care about a lack of unity in the art world - it doesn't even interest me. Alliances aren't as important as a debate that doesn't feel like high school. but, the political factionalization does bother me. but, this discussion group is about art, right? (waiting for your reply Marc!)

and, Mr. Woof wrote:

hate to admit it, but I've noticed this too. Although I don't think we need to do anything about it. I wouldn't want any special effort made to include me just because I'm a woman. but, maybe I'm just stubborn. If any other woman reading this feels differently please say so! Also, many people (men and women) may be too intimidated or overwhelmed to even begin to comment on one of Anthony or Marcs messages. I have to just find the time to read them. But please don't stop! AND - we did have a couple really well written messages by Leah Finch. It's been a long time since she has participated - maybe she's getting paid for that writing now.

yes, it's probably easier to sell a photograph (or video still) than an actual video.

The idea of someone buying a video still doesn't bother me, but the exhibition of the video stills often has. the Walker could have left this to the galleries that represent Neshat. one more thing to remember - this is email, therefore people are apt (for better or worse) to sometimes type the first thing that comes to their head and hit send before really thinking. I hope nobody corrects my grammar. please.



Jesus! All of you need to relax.

I don't see why Mike is complaining about attendance. It is obvious... Dogmatic is out of the doesn't matter if you have Tom Friedman in a show down is out of the way. And yes, sort of a creepy neighborhood for those who don't live down there. And, he hasn't done a good show in a long, long, long time. So what if he is angry. Can we forgive?

Stop being such cry babies. Especially you Marc. I have seen you in action, didn't you once threw snow inside of Suitable gallery just because you hated the show? I didn't see anyone kicking you out of the space. And yes, you and Anthony can be real assholes sometimes. Deal with it. Some of your commentaries feel kind of snotty, you know, sort of like looking down on people. What I'm trying to say is that we are not perfect, and sometimes, we make mistakes. Let people say what they want and don't be so fast on passing judgement. And I would like to include myself in the category too, I've been an asshole too, many times. Some things I regret. NAE;

The Examiner is dead. Any comments on that.


I've got a few, but I'll reserve them for later.



oh, pedro.

Or maybe lessons learned?

Dialogue was dead, but then revived - and I was told that they are taking over NAE's subscriber base.

Can 10X10 get published more often? I mean, maybe they don't want to, but I would like it.



Ok, I used to be very sure that I was of the More Is Better mindset.

I mean that I thought that having many publications was a good thing, regardless of whether or not I thought they were pretty much full of strings of words and tiny photographs instead of interesting or, at the very least, funny, writing.

Something, at least, to situate yourself with or against, or an example of what you didn't want your own magazine or site to be like.

Having TenbyTen, FGA, New Art Examiner, Gravy, and Dialogue around here in the center of the country...oooh it was nice. But now, as it usually takes me longer to either hear about things or understand things,

I have no idea if I'll see a new issue of any of these coming out again, except for TenbyTen which I think is still here.

All of these magazines feel (felt) very different, and I and a lot of folks around here read them pretty regularly, so it's pretty spare right now, to say the least. Then again, liking one of these (like maybe the Examiner or Dialogue) enough to go the extra step at Borders and purchase them, that didn't happen that often.

Really classy, I know, but maybe one person agrees with me.

So I am starting to feel the light layer of dread and absence be lifted and now hoping for OtherNewBrightArtWriting to find. Any suggestions?



Dialogue was or is no different than the Examiner. Bad writing. But at least they had a much better selection of reviews from Chicago than the Examiner ever did.

12x12 is great but they need help too. Their distribution is fantastic because I can find it easily in places outside of Chicago. But they need to pay writers, just like Bridge. If you don't pay writers don't expect a magazine to survive. Money is always an issue. But 12x12 is not just about art, which is a good thing. Let's not try make 12x12 an art mag. It is good for what it is.

I don't think Chicago needs a magazine, at least not in printed form. If someone could keep an on -line magazine that would be great. Easier and cheaper.


Wait. I thought you hated 12x12.


By the way, The FGA is alive...the next issue is huge...2 reviews from Documenta, NY, and a lot of Chicago stuff. But as I said before, money is a problem.

I need it to set up the web site and I can't think clearly without money. It's hard to focus on the art when there is no money in the bank. I've never got any help from any Chicago based collectors or donors and I'm sure many of you haven't either.

remember, the FGA will always be there for Chicago.



oH SHIT, YOU ARE RIGHT.I've got my numbers confused. 10 X10 the magazine is great, I write for them, I love the 10x10.

I got confused because I was just talking to someone from out of town about the 12 x12 at the MCA. And yes, that one sucks, and it seems the world outside of Chicago feels the same way. But please, don't get me started on that.


lighten up indeed.

Yeah whatever became of that opiate for the masses. Maybe its time to start passing it around again.

Or given that this is the art world perhaps Old Style for the masses is all we can afford.


So it's a little slow at work today and I thought that I would check in my other group folder and see what's been going on in the chats lately. I was disappointed at a lot of what I read.

My spirits were lifted slightly with the talk of publications. Has anyone heard of the possibility of a magazine called "Mouth to Mouth?" My understanding was that it would come out in Chicago in September to help fill the New Art Examiner void and then try to go bigger after that.

Which is always exciting, as is Bridge Magazine. Although it is a literary magazine they support the rest of the art scene fantastically as well (basically I give them two thumbs up although it does not fill the NAE void, it does help to catch a different audience).

I also wanted to point out that all of these things come and go. Magazines, galleries, critics, artists... They're all business in their own ways (weather they make money or not) and they open and close like everything else, each one bringing their own specialty to the table. That's just way it goes (god I feel like I just wrote a few sappy classic rock songs with that paragraph, but I'll still stand behind it).

Anyway is anyone working on a fantastic project or scene a good show lately. I know the art scene isn't as bad as what I am reading.


PS does any one have access to a school or gymnasium?


supposedly Dialogue will be different - including architecture, music and design - maybe more like 10x10.

10x10 (not 12x12 - you're thinking MCA) is perfect for Chicago - because it isn't Just about art.

yes, but there is still the issue of paying writers - and wouldn't you be more willing to write for free if you knew there would be a printed issue? of course, you can also sell web pagee advertising - I'm not sure how easy or lucrative that is though.



I will miss the Examiner. Sure, there were plenty of issues I only scanned, and barely read. There were themed issues for which I didn't see a need.

There were articles and reviews I didn't agree with. But I never felt the exclusion that some accused the Examiner of practicing. I wasn't an insider and didn't have any special contacts. I just wrote letters to the editor, then asked to write a review of a show that I liked, and the editors welcomed the initiative. Other magazines with a like history are usually much tougher for a new writer to crack. But then again, maybe that's because they pay on time.

If there is any second guessing to be done, it has to be in the realm of the business plan, not the editorial direction. Sinking that much money into the upgrade without having enough cash to see through a year of heavy losses seems like a bad idea. I wish somebody from the Examiner could lay out the whole story for the rest us, just so we might collectively learn from the situation. The updates (from "Hey everybody, we're almost there!" straight to "No, sorry it's done, it's over, it's finished") didn't do anything for the prevention of future failures from similar mistakes.

Since it was brought up that the Other Group list seems to be heavy on the male voices, it is worth remembering that the Examiner in its later years was managed by a mostly or all female crew. And without making a big deal about it.

So it's gone, and a period in the writing of this city's art and cultural history is over. (Of course, it's only one among many histories; but even without a basis for grandiosity, the turning of a period is always bittersweet to those for whom it was relevant.) At the same time, I am really looking forward to whatever efforts come next, and to seeing the current publication projects succeed.

Dan w.


here's a response from Lorelei Stewart. by the way, I'm sorry if any of you get kicked off of the list. just let me know and I'll fix it. This is organized through and they are gettin on my last nerve. keri



If you want collectors and donors to support FGA you really have to work to make it happen and not just wait for it. Your statement below sounds like you are waiting.

I do think, though, that if people who care about the issue of criticism and writing in Chicago can get together maybe we can make something happen. I've been talking with several people who want to start an online magazine. Yeah, yeah, I know everyone wants to start their own and do the way they think is best but if you can't do it because you don't have resources, pool the resources.

The only thing is, Pedro, you think the writing in NAE and Dialogue was bad---but the writing in FGA is impossibe. No argument is built in the writing. The authors make statements as though they are facts and we readers should take their word because they assume that we value their superior taste, knowledge, authority or whatever.

Can we have a discussion about the meat of what is good writing and what is bad writing instead of just naming things??



Hi Meg:

There are two really awesome old style gym's in the humboldt park field house which is on the southwest corner of the park on north ave. Check it out! What do you have planned?



The FGA, as I've explained many times before, is a thing on its own. It is not aspiring to be The Examiner or Frieze or October or anyhting like that.

It is a zine (can you see the concept here?), the opinion of a selected group of people. We don't hope to be liked by everyone or even wish to. Ours is a dissident voice, raw in many ways and that's the way we want it to be.

The FGA was established as an alternative voice, alongside those other publications. So far, it has worked for me and the people that write for it. And it seems to be working in other places outside of Chicago. We are not going to give the academic rhetoric you and many others want. That's not up to us.

And I think we have been doing a pretty good job lately. I don't know how namy of you have read the last two issues but those are pretty good.

We did listen to some of your (Chicago) complains. That's the main reason why we stopped being so negative. And now we even describe some of the work and have longer reviews. But, people can't seem to forget those old issues. And I know they were terrible. I'll be the first one to admit it.

The money thing: I'm always bitchin about it. I do work for it but it isn't happening in this towm. And that's OK. I decided to stay here for a bit longer...and now I have to take it.


Meg wrote:

Or maybe that's just the way it goes in Chicago... Yes, businesses have cycles and things close - but suggesting that as the reason or excuse for the closure defeats what little there is to be learned from the loss or even worse implies that it is better to let it close. I don't live in Chicago anymore, but from my limited exposure, there seems to be a similar apathy to the closure of NAE that there was to Randolph Street. As much effort as there has been to fill the void that RSG left - nothing has yet to fill it.

There has been a great deal of independent activity since RSG closed it doors, but nothing has coalesced to provide the national presence for Chicago that RSG did. And though publications like 10x10, FGA and Bridge may address some of the short comings of NAE, they are a ways from filling the void left by its loss - and most likely don't aspire to fill that void.

This is a bad thing for the city - whether or not one felt alienated by NAE. NAE, whatever one's opinion of it, did a lot for Chicago and I hope it returns.

Meg - Blackhawk Park in Wicker Park has beautiful facilities, last time I was there (3 years ago) - they were very supportive of the arts and had several small arts organizations that work out of the park that you can hook up with - including Free Street Theater and a media based org. whose name I can't remember.



Dear O.G.'s

I admit my last post was a little bitchy. Sorry about that. I'm not getting much sleep lately. This one might not be an improvement but I will try.

Pedro "snowbunny" Velez sez: "Especially you Marc. I have seen you in action, didn't you once threw snow inside of Suitable gallery just because you hated the show? I didn't see anyone kicking you out of the space."

The Chicago art world could probably use a little more rabble-rousing to shake it out of its complacency but let's get this story correct - if only for Other Group archival purposes. The show was indeed shit but the most absurd aspect was a bunch of people standing outside in the snow and inside a completely unheated garage drinking cold beer in the winter. I was having a discussion with Derek Fansler who asserted that the frigid weather had nothin' on some other opening at Suitable when there was a blizzard (again, failing to acknowledge the absurdity of outdoor openings for indoor gallery-style art shows that include cold beer instead of hot cocoa when everyone is seriously freezing their asses off. My god, when it is cold, break form for once and serve something warm! If it has to be beer, maybe have hot Old Style? - or that hot fruity wine they make in Switzerland - Glüg - sp?).

Anyway, I asked if people made snowmen or had snowball fights at that opening and Derek said no. Then I asked if it would be okay if I were to make a snowball and throw it into the gallery. He said "Sure, just don't hit any of the art or the VCR." Not being one to turn down the opportunity to lob a snowball into a white cube, I made a snowball, gently lobbed it into the gallery making sure not to hit any art, and then left. So the answer is - yes I hated the show, but I threw a snowball into the gallery because I was given clearance by one of the proprietors. For all I know it was so friggin' cold in the gallery that the snow might have stayed frozen for the entire length of the show until someone swept it out with a broom.


(the asshole who asked for permission to be an asshole)


That was a great story Marc. But I prefer to think of you as a real rebel.

You asking for permission to be rebellious? That's so Blink 182.


Well, I'll try to make amends at your upcoming show at TBA by smashing an electric guitar against one of your photos (of course, being so Blink 182 as I am, the company that made the guitar will simply give me another one as a condition of our endorsement contract). Or maybe I'll get really drunk and accidentally vomit on Keri Butler...


Subject: Another Other Waiting for Godot

Hey all Let me just start off by saying, please please excuse the following mental chatter. (it's 3 in the morning and I've tried to fall asleep but my partner is a compulsive never-ending snore machine and even after I poke him, he falls asleep and starts snoring AGAIN!)

So here we all are in the city that workd...OH CHICAGO. What to do what to do...what is going on in this town? What has this chicago contributed to the world lately? Why has this island town by a lake fallen off the map?

So chaotic and lame, with always something to blame. Why is this town turning into a suburb of New York? - (I think it's small minded bullshit, no ones gonna luv u if you don't luv yourself, chicago.)

I dunno, help I need some funk.


First Question - What's the best dream you've ever had?

Question #2 - If you could be any superhero or your own design, what powers and/or accessories would you have?

Question #3 - Favorite piece of art ever made or written or executed and why?




Well, I'll try to make amends at your upcoming show at TBA by smashing an electric guitar against one of your photos (of course, being so Blink 182 as I am, the company that made the guitar will simply give me another one as a condition of our endorsement contract). Or maybe I'll get really drunk and

OH YEA!!!??? Just try it babe!