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December 2004, 23 posts, 514 lines


Art Review: "End of the Line" at Johnsonese Gallery in Chicago

By David Lozano

November 9, 2004

A real life "Barbie" and her plastic surgeon swap places with the sour-faced farmer and his unwed daughter in an updated version of Grant Wood's American Gothic. Urban realities versus suburban myths.

Artist Jennifer Marie Rich's target is America's great cultural and social divide, a timely theme that is at the heart of a new exhibition titled "End of the Line" at Johnsonese gallery in Chicago. Rich is one of six regional artists featured in the exhibit whose photographs, sculptures and paintings examine the conflicted American psyche. (Are you in a red or blue state?) Here, familiar pop art gestures are used. It is after all a product of a consumer culture that transcends all boundaries, that is as voracious as it is ridiculous. In painter Doug Goessman's politically charged work, President Bush appears as Bozo the clown and Uncle Sam a war-monger. Goessman employs the familiar tools of the political artist--woodcut printing and hard-edge painting--to register his protest. But the fact remains: Bush is president.

Out in suburbia, photographer Stephanie Dean focuses her lens on a group of young boys on the cusp of adulthood. The images are at once romantic and unsettling. In one particularly moving photo, "David Cleaning His Shotgun," the close-up of the boy is brilliant in its straightforwardness. The expression on his face is pure innocence, but already the world is bearing down--for better or worse he is on his way to becoming a man. Less successful is photographer Chris Knight's depiction of a group of Boy Scouts as Klansmen, shown roasting marshmallows at a campfire made from a burning cross. The work is done well, but his critique on the conservative institution could be pushed a little deeper.

War is the focus of Jordan Scott's installation, which at first glance resembles a pharmaceutical lab. Here we find Petri dishes and an assortment of test tubes filled with toy soldiers. Simple in concept, the work is a meditation on the loss of individuality in wartime. At the other end of the lab, miniature toy armies--one green, the other beige--are laid out in two floor pieces resembling doormats. Again, we are reminded, anonymity is necessary for the job. Just follow orders!

Rounding out the show is Janet Ecklebarger's beautifully crafted fiber piece--similar to a rug--that highlights the tensions wrought by suburban sprawl. The roughly 3' by 4' floor piece provides us with a bird's eye view of the ravenous rampage. Fertile farmland now sprouts dull new homes. All color is muted. Cul-de-sacs lead nowhere. The world, indeed, is bearing down.

David Lozano, an accomplished artist and curator, has fine arts degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Houston. David has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago. (David Lozano: JDLozano at or 832.428.6108)

The Johnsonese Gallery is located in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood at 867 West Buckingham Place. (Gallery owner Christopher Johnson: 773.525.5877, info at, or < [>] .) Our holiday party is Thursday December 9th from 6 to 9 pm.


FYI My show at the Hyde Park Art Center closes the 17th, if you have a chance you should go check it out.


My wife and I finally visited the Smart Museum and the Renaissance society and were quite pleased. I was surprised to find Eric Fischl's bronze statue of a classical nude representing a person jumping from the World Trade Center. It was in the garden of the Smart Museum.....when did Chicago get this work? Last I heard it was in NY or Washington where it bothered a lot of people.

Richard Holland wrote: FYI My show at the Hyde Park Art Center closes the 17th, if you have a chance you should go check it out.


Since we lost the Wiki to porn spammers, and plugging has started at this listserv, I thought I would serve up the following: After 29 years we are finally giving up. We bought a new truck.

For sale is the previous Suburban, with an outstanding rebuilt engine -- which always passes emmissions (they only check at idle anyway) -- and burns no oil, but the body is rusty, and some things don't work, and it is 28 years old (near as I can figure). Need to haul sheets of plywood, kitchen cabinets, bags of cement, or sculpture? This is for you.

Brakes are fine. All the lights work. Battery is recent. Heater works. Radio works, but there are no speakers. Wipers work (recently replaced mechanism). Front tires match, rear tires do not (but one is new).

Don't put small items on the floor, they roll onto the street. The left front wheel joints need work. Someone should weld a plate to the frame near the steering gear box.

The door gaskets leak, the floor has holes, there is no spare tire, you need to lift the right door to close it. You lock the doors from inside the door frame, and raise one of the windows the same way. Some child jammed the left rear door. (We haven't locked any doors in years.)

Well maintained with respect to critical mechanical items, no care ever given to body and unimportant stuff. Yours for $300.

/jno -- email me.


The work is an edition, I think there are three? So the other two are who knows where. An anonymous donor lent the sculpture to the Smart last winter/spring.

many discussions were had about whether or not the butt should face the art history department across the courtyard. anthony


From my experience in an art history department, absolutely. I'm sure it would be examinned from that angle endlessly.


MB wrote- From my experience in an art history department, absolutely. I'm sure it would be examinned from that angle endlessly.

Johns truck?? Have other artists vehicles been engaged in such dialogues?? If so when?? Are we suppossed to be viewing the Language because it is by John or because it is about the truck or because the truck is by an artist that is selling it?? Is John's Truck historically significant because it is John's and we can agree to his significance?? Or is John's Truck historical because it is of these times and therefore acts as an artifact which can be examined utilizing the tools of language?? Is it nessesary to engage the text about John's Truck in it's entirety?? Or can it be reduced and examined point by point to reveal greater insights about John or John's Truck?? By examining the significance of the passage about the Radio in John's Truck, it works but it has no speakers, are we able to make conclusions about John's art work? Is the text intended to activate meaning or significance in John's Truck?? If so does this make John's Truck artwork?? Is there any benefit to viewing this text and John's Truck simultaneously?? The text could be percieved as an excercise in the attainability of truth thereby making the seperation in space and time of text and the object very important. Is it possible that John's Truck might only exist in our heads as John has created it and we percieve it?? This means that for every reader of John's text their will be a different equally truthful version of John's Truck in our heads?? Do these multiple ideas of John's truck change the experiential John's Truck in a significant way?? Because John's text was posted here, can we assume that social biases are part of the textual construct?? What do these biases mean historically? Do we have similar documents describing other vehicles by which to compare this one?? In examining other documents can we find contrasts that might impart new ways to read John's text or view John's Truck?? Should John sell his truck at all?? Are there moral imperitives to selling John's Truck?? Perhaps John's Truck should be donated to a permenant collection?? Perhaps a silent auction could be held to restore John's Truck to it's formerly pristine state?? Would a restored John's Truck negate the importance of John's Text or would it reveal new possibilities for the relationship shared by text and object?? mt/DB


Ha! You just qualified for a PhD from Othergroup U in Art History. Good luck fighting for the handful of jobs available in the field, none of which pay more than 30K starting. And if you're a guy, all you'll be allowed to do is install or ship the artwork.

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On Sat, 4 Dec 2004, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

But so many considerations... I should have done a silent auction.

$300 or silent BO (still cheap, IMHO)

/jno (Message to OGU PHD candidate: pay the tuition)


The Art Colony: airy artists work spaces accessible 24/7. Clean, brand new construction, high ceilings, free parking in front of building, located 3 blocks W. of Western and 1 block S. of Belmont. $295/month

Call: 773-279-1400 x505 for more information


Hey othergroup,

Wondering wheather people are aware of the CTA fare strike planned for Dec 15th?

The idea is to put presure on CTA execs who are placing the burden of the budget problem on passengers and workers by planning huge service and job cuts, effective in early January. Plainly, these cuts is some serious bull shit, a fairly devasating attack on low income folks, and bad for a city that has way too many cars. The strike is planned as a cooperative effort between workers and passengers. Passengers are asked to politely voice their participation in the strike to drivers and station a workers, and board buses and trains with out paying the fare.

I am planning to participate, but am very interested in other people's thoughts.

There is a fairly decent web page about it, with links to info about fare strikes in other places. You can also download fliers and stuff. There is a PDF comic you can download on there that I think really sucks. It shows a bunch of young cracker hipsters with foul mouths (not unlike myself) complaining about the man. Very dull and I think it allienates a lot of people that are needed to make something like this work. []

Despite the stupid comic I think participation in the strike is worth considering.


Later, Mike


On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, Mike Wolf wrote:

I'll just not pay. /jno


VAN GOGH TODAY Call for Artists

Who: Chicagoland and regional artists

What: Call for artists, group show titled "VAN GOGH TODAY", showing works about or inspired by van Gogh, or contemporary interpretations of van Gogh

When: January 13 to February 20, 2005 (submissions due December 30, 2004)

Where: Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Chicago, IL

Curator: Johnsonese Gallery, Chicago, IL

Why: The Bailiwick Theatre will be presenting the play "Inventing Van Gogh". This exhibit will complement the play and will be promoted along with the play, including an opening reception after which guests can see the play for free.

The Play: It's a story about a contemporary painter whose life intersects with van Gogh's. Inventing van Gogh is centered on the mythical last self-portrait painted by Vincent van Gogh before his suicide. If it exists, it has never been found. Playwright Steven Dietz leads the audience on a journey into the minds and worlds of two painters. Passion flows across the stage as we see the last years of van Gogh's life, his relationship with his mistress Marguerite and with the boisterous and outspoken Gauguin, whom he worshiped as a master. We also see the young contemporary artist Patrick Stone, who has been asked to forge van Gogh's lost painting. Time moves back and forth from France in the late 1800's to the present as the contemporary art world collides with the lives of the legendary 19th-centurary painters in a play about love, forgery, mystery and artistic creation.

How: Email images to info at or mail CDs, slides or photos to Johnsonese Gallery LLC, 867 W Buckingham Place, Chicago, IL 60657 by December 30. No late submissions will be considered given the tight timeline for this show. (Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want your submissions returned.) A brief description of the works of up to 150 words and a short biography of up to 50 words are also requested.

Terms: Standard gallery terms; artists will be responsible for delivering their works to the theatre and for retrieving any un-sold works after the show. < [>]


Chicago Artists Resource is a new web site in development by the Department of Cultural Affairs. When completed next October, it will centralize info on all the resources and opportunities available to artists in the city.

We are holding an artists' feedback meeting on January 12th at 6pm in the Cultural Center, rm 1nw, to get your input on our plans for the site before we start to build it in February.

This will be the first in a series of artist feedback sessions throughout the build process. We welcome your suggestions and ideas.

Please let me know if you'd like to attend at s_schnadt at

Thank you

Sara Schnadt Web Development Consultant Department of Cultural Affairs


On Thu, 23 Dec 2004, S. Schnadt wrote:

You should mention, at []

Why is this taking two years to do?

I have looked at "car.o" and have had nothing but problems attempting to view this site, even used different browsers. Things either come up as blank pages, overwrites, or in Kindergarten colors.



There are people on this list associated with the initiative. Barb?

Lets get some dialog started.


Well i am invited to their next meeting in january, so i'll give my two-cents there. We do need a comprehensive web site with artists' info on various subjects: i.e., cheap artist housing/studio, insurance, legall issues, etc, as long as the web site is simple, no kindergarten colors, easy to navigate and fast to load.


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Anyone else see this?:

MCA visitors are invited to pull a pencil from Jos Damsceno's lobby wall installation Observation Plan. This one-of-a-kind opportunity allows visitors to not only touch the art, but to also take it home! Don't miss this chance to "erase" one of the MCA's most popular works of art. The first 500 visitors get a FREE souvenir postcard commemorating their pencil-pulling experience. Suggested donation is $1 per pencil."

This part just kills me: "Suggested donation is $1 per pencil." Uh thanks, but with that kind of generosity I can think of a few good places to put that pencil. Hell, it's the visitor that is doing all the work! The MCA can't spare some used pencils in exchange for all the deinstallation help?



At least they say "suggested" donation. Most museums pays their employees next to nothing, even with masters degrees. Lets hope the money goes to something worthwhile.


" Most museums pays their employees next to nothing, even with masters degrees. Lets hope the money goes to something worthwhile."

True, but note that last I read - and this was a few years ago, the director of the MCA was making well over $400,000 a year. I think guards and people in the shop and visitor services make a little less than that. :-)

You can buy a LOT of pencils with over $400,000.


what's the deal jno? why do you need to be so critical? seems to me they are probably in the same boat as everyone else--possess limited resources, are trying to their homework and are doing on a time schedule that works for them.

i just went to the prototype site and it worked fine.

be patient and let them to the work to gather the extensive material they plan to put up on the site.

or better yet, if you think they need help, offer it to them.


On Dec 29, 2004, at 1:58 PM, jno wrote:

Lorelei Stewart Director, Gallery 400

College of Architecture and the Arts University of Illinois at Chicago 1240 West Harrison Street Chicago, IL 60607 312-996-6114 tel 312-355-3444 fax



Just to moderate from the technical perspective. Jno, I don't have any trouble with the site, I think the colors are by choice, you might be seeing a more simplified palette for some reason.

Jno is probably looking at the site on a Linux box with a browser that might not be ie or netscape. Lorelei may be right in that you may have the power to help them adjust the html code, and then check it out on your browser.

Just trying to help and maintain peace in artland. K

P.S. Hey, I'm thinking of having a Fluxus Dinner Party with all blue food in mid-January. Only a total lack of interest is keeping it from happening. If you would like to eat and look at Fluxus books, please let me know and I'll invite you.


happy new year, othergroupers,

The Chicago Artists Resource site is being designed to be both comprehensive and easy to use. It will feature information on space, legal, financial and other resources available for artists, as well as opportunities and forums. The CAR team has been working with many local and national organizations to plan the site's content and the design of its database and navigation. We have also been combing the internet to identify and qualify existing resources. Much of the content is being developed from scratch, especially the adaption of Toronto Artscape's Square Feet, an Artists' Guide to Buying and Leasing Space, and the community and education sections of the site. We have a small, talented and dedicated team working on all of this, and are still raising the necessary funds for the project. It's taking two years because its ambitious, not fully funded (yet), and we are being methodical and careful. We'd like for it to be as close to perfect as possible for its launch in October. It is also very important to work with artists from around the city during the planning and design, which adds some time to the development as well.

The placeholder site, replete with kindergarten colors, currently holds two reports and the navigation prototype of the site. This prototype only has two "active" categories that will turn blue when scrolled over. If you click thru these blue prompts, you should get an idea of how the site will work. It is just a beginning, to give an example of the general categories and breadth of content.

Please let me reiterate Sara's invitation to the othergroup to attend the meeting on the 12th. We would really like to get your expertise and input into this project. If you can't make it, we will be scheduling additional meetings, or you can comment via email. Also, we will be issuing an RFP for the design in January. If you have any web designers to recommend, give us their contact info and we will send them the request.

regards, Barbara Koenen

On Wednesday, December 29, 2004, at 02:38 PM, polvo wrote: