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February 2004 144 posts, 4212 lines


Just sharing.

This is the note I sent to the folks at WBEZ about their recent 848 series. The wrap-up, call-in show is tonight at 6.

First, "Should I stay or should I go?" isn't really a lament. Maybe a quandary, a nagging question, an obsession. Maybe just an annoyance to friends. A lament might be "Why did I waste so much money and time in art school?" or "Why am I freezing here, instead of freezing in NYC or basking at the pool in Hollywood?" or "Why do I let a fantasy interfere with my career?"

More seriously, this sort of whining over second-city status is just what makes a second-class city.

Although 'BEZ and NPR do a better job than most media outlets, what is necessary is a lively public dialogue. Not lamentations, not pollyanna puffery or cute feature pieces, but a debate at least as committed, informed and passionate as that which goes on for many air-minutes and column-inches every day about whatever sport is in season. This does happen, at various philosophical, professional, tactical, or gossipy levels, in bars and living rooms and on-line, but rarely publicly. What the public gets is mostly in the context of entertainment consumerism: is the movie/CD/show really worth the price?

If the larger community wants a vital artistic component, it will find a way to support it (and attention is as important as money). Otherwise, we'll be content to talk amongst ourselves, in isolated cells. Outsiders and newcomers will think there is nothing going on. Each artist will define "community" as his small group of contacts and dream of a place where he imagines his endeavor is taken seriously by strangers.

Sports fans don't "lament" about moving, they argue about coaches and trades and plays and strategies. Art fans . . . no, wait, there are no art fans in the same sense, only isolated players. A fan base would require mainstream public media presence.

Michael Bulka


What is this?

They do a show on arts in chicago, and this is who the get as their representative of criticism? Jeez. Do any of you read this? Do you know this girl without a name?




While I am stunned by the tone your personal attack, it reminds me of a discussion I had with one of your co-workers Brett Bloom a few years ago that quickly spiraled into name calling. Oddly similar. Are you guys not accustomed to criticism?

Considering that Gravy left off almost three years ago, something more current might hurt my feelings more effectively. Also, by insulting Gravy you should remind yourself who else founded it and participated before you embarrass yourself. Unfortunately for you, your harsh opinions are strongly contradicted by the number of people who read the paper version of Gravy as well as the thousands who read it online.

However, before this gets out of hand, are you interested in discussing this anymore? I certainly am, but do not want to get dragged down into third grade name calling.

To clarify: I don't have any beef with people in or released from prison. In fact a little time looking down the barrel of a gun can be enlightening. However the are more and less responsible ways of dealing with it.

In the mean time

re: anthony

1. whitewalls receives public money, which is not the same as spending public money, and only public money, on projects. Our books do sell, and private individuals do give to WhiteWalls. We did not spend public money on PI.

That statement sounds like it could have come out of the White House. Tell me then, where do grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago come from? I am sure that you (and your Board of Directors) are very orthodox about keeping separate what came from where, but you can't say that there isn't overlap. If a bill gets paid from one fund, assuming that you all actually do this, means it doesn't have to be paid from the other one. As a non-profit, do you not also get some tax breaks and special rates for postage? Is this amazing irony being lost on all of you??? Citizens pay to keep Angelo incarcerated, for our own protection, then public money goes into publishing a book about how he spends his time in prison. Believe me, I don't mean to crack on Whitewalls. That is a sweet gig to get especially since apparently nobody in Chicago is even paying attention.

3. Our book gives you as much information about Angelo, as Stephen Lapthisophon's, or Helen Mirra's do about them. or that Steve Lacy's 7 inch gives about any of the musicians involved. Or that Brennan McGaffey's CB broadcast gave about him.

Except the very information concerning why a book of inventions from prison is interesting. Given an individual has faith in our prison system, hard to come by these days, one could reasonably assume that "Angelo" is a violent sex offender, sells drugs to kids, murdered someone. By the duration of his correspondence with Marc, he has been there while and isn't getting out anytime soon which adds to the likelihood he is an actual CRIMINAL.

7. So WhiteWalls can print items, and support projects on the edge of legality as long as the person doesn't have a prison record? The second that person lands in prison, and submits a project much more legit (in the strictly legal sense) than Lapthisophon's, or McGaffeys, or heck...Chuck Jones' postcards for that matter, we should say no?

Now don't be ridiculous. But you can't find ANY other worthwhile artists in Chicago, so you have to go to the California penal system and dedicate the corresponding time and resources to the efforts that amount to burning toilet paper and lighting cigarettes? Amounts to selling "gapers delay". It is beginning to feel like this guy is related to one of those who worked on this project.

I must admit that the idea of Helen Mirra having a rap sheet is fantastic. It's always the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Like when Along Below was going to have a parental advisory sticker on it.

On another note...did anyone get involved in the super bowl commercial project? Very cool project with great results.


First, as a caveat, ww and temp services are different entities with different goals. And as any reader of this list knows, it takes very little effort to get Marc and myself to disagree, so I'm not commenting at all on exhibition sides of the pi project.

Adam thinks:

Again, our money comes from a great variety of places. Less than 17 percent of our income comes from any government agencies. Our combined grants from the illinois arts council and the city of chicago were both less than the total bill for publishing angelo's project. And your decision to decide that getting public money automatically means public money was spent, somehow on this title is the type of sloppy conflating of issues and funds republicans tried with arts funding in the 90s. There is division, most grants ask you to specify what you spend money on. And we do budget it out. There is the "freeing up" argument, which I would be more likely to consider, if our public funding wasn't so paltry and low. We do get cheaper postage, but most companies, profit and non-profit, who use bulk mail get those discounts, and it only applies to 20 percent of the mailings ww does in a year. We can't go to the counter and get our not-profit discount on stamps.

we spend government money to keep the organization alive. Not to create projects.

An interesting point could also be made that angelo is incarcerated by California, not Illinois. So deciding that government funds all come from the same pot (we are both paying to incarcerate him, and publish him) is faulty.

He also thinks:

We don't tell you why a book of Lapthisophon, or Mirra would be interesting either. The reader is still responsible for a couple things.

And: "Given an individual has faith in our prison system, hard to come by these days, one could reasonably assume that "Angelo" is a violent sex offender, sells drugs to kids, murdered someone. By the duration of his correspondence with Marc, he has been there while and isn't getting out anytime soon which adds to the likelihood he is an actual CRIMINAL."

Well, this would be more of a concern if the book dealt with anything criminally minded (no, not the bdp record...) The only way his crime impacts on the content of the book, is if he is in prison for being a stealthy inventor. Of course I am assuming he's not. The book isn't about skinning babies, or dealing drugs to blind grandparents, or how to bugger michael jackson's toss-offs. And recent events in Illinois have shown that someone can be incarcerated for up to 30 years and be innocent. Let's not forget this.

We should also not forget, assuming one of the crimes you have put forth, that California had a problem in the 80s of locking up day care workers for child abuse and satan worship. Most of the accusations have been reasonably shown to be phooey, but very few of those sentenced have been released.

All this is moot, because his crime isn't known right now to me.

I also don't think that imprisonment in the correctional system of the US strips one of their ability to participate in culture. Guilty or not. Heinous or not. By some accounts, Christo, Richard Serra and Carl Andre have all killed people, only one of the three has shown any remorse (serra, for those asleep at the wheel), none has done time, but we still allow them to participate in culture. Hell, look at the rap sheets of lots of pop stars these days. Or to get biblical..let he who is without sin cast...

And lastly: "Now don't be ridiculous. But you can't find ANY other worthwhile artists in Chicago, so you have to go to the California penal system and dedicate the corresponding time and resources to the efforts that amount to burning toilet paper and lighting cigarettes?"

Let's see, only two of our published books (and two of our nine large scale projects) are by a nonChicagoan, and over 75 percent of the artists in our journal are from Chicago. We also dedicated much editorial and correspondence time to a book of proper names and their alliterative transformations, to a record most people cannot play, and to a book of poor photocopies...this criticism is the hollowest yet. a


Michael exasperatedly asks: "They do a show on arts in chicago, and this is who the get as their representative of criticism? "

You expected better from mainstream media visual arts reporting?

Breathlessly continues: "Jeez. Do any of you read this?"

No, but I must add, in a bit of a diatribe, that I don't read any blogs, or that sham of an online mag Artnet. The internet has ruined art writing, its a lot easier to post an opinion, than do a google search--or heaven forbid head to the library--to guarantee you know what you are talking about. Yes, all this may be great for participatory democracy (everyone has a thought in their head!) it's pathetic for content and reflection. (now we can prove that we are all--every one of us--wrong, or at best misguided, about something.)

And he adds a plea: "Do you know this girl without a name?"

I don't think so, maybe I'm wrong. a


Michael, I think that art lacks impassioned fandom because its hard to drink to. Only gallery openings are good for drinkin.

I've been in Chicago for 10 years now, and never experienced the "second city" feeling. I came here from San Diego, which is a city that almost all artists leave fairly quickly (unless they're from Tijuana - that scene has something going). New York is fine, but my visits there don't make me feel like moving there.


bulka wrote:



Oh, I forgot to ask! Can anyone recommend any sites with worthwhile local art criticism? I've decided to rework my "Resources" linkpage on my Chicago Visual Artist Index site, and I thought it would be nice to create a section for this. So far, on my list, I've got Fred Camper's site and the FGA archives.

Yeah, I know I just whined about reading art criticism, but I forgot that its sorta my job to keep track of these online versions for the sake of my Kittyspit sites.

Any suggestions would be well appreciated,

Thanks erik

Aeelms at wrote:


Bulka wrote;

If the larger community wants a vital artistic component, it will find a way to support it (and attention is as important as money). Otherwise, we'll be content to talk amongst ourselves, in isolated cells. Outsiders and newcomers will think there is nothing going on. Each artist will define "community" as his small group of contacts and dream of a place where he imagines his endeavor is taken seriously by strangers.

Sports fans don't "lament" about moving, they argue about coaches and trades and plays and strategies. Art fans . . . no, wait, there are no art fans in the same sense, only isolated players. A fan base would require mainstream public media presence.

Michael Bulka


C'mon, this is america. Art is what they show at the movies and on the TV, and sell at the iTunes Music Store. That stuff you're talking about is just mime and high fashion nic-nacs for the wealthy elite. You're trying to compare an au couture infomercial to the superbowl? *wink*



Your response didn't show in the email. Neither did Michael's earlier. I looked at the Othergroups site, and they're not showing up. Jno, are these getting chopped off somehow?


erik wrote:


Adam, If you wanted to initiate a productive discussion you might not have started things off with the offensive assumption that I've somehow been exploiting my friend of 13 years or that he is Temporary Services' "willing puppet". My being unwilling to tolerate this is not the same as being unable to handle criticism. These were stupid comments and I think you've had your mind made up about Temporary Services' work for a while now. I think a discussion with you would be a waste of time. Marc

Adam Mikos wrote:


Didn't William Burroughs say about 20 years ago that it doesn't really matter where you live anymore? Meaning, I think, something to the effect that ideas can travel the world easily enough that it is just fine to live in Kansas. Where you actually live should be pretty irrelevant once you find the means to release things beyond your immediate geographic surroundings. Of course it is nice to do things locally as well - after all, those are the most immediately accessible audiences - if not always the most interested ones



I thought magazines did this already. Every once in a while I purchase a well-regarded art magazine and it moulders in my backpack for about a year-and-a-half as I pick at it like a cold plate of food. Now I just pick up an Artforum at work and look at the pictures. Anyone else having this problem?



eric: "I thought magazines did this already."

well they certainly have tried haven't they? But at least they hold to a minimum of editorial oversight. And they do fact and spell check. So if you have shady thinking you at least know the grammar is in place, and the sentences make technical grammatical sense, if no other.

artforum is the new vogue, for the less attractive set. Now if I could only find the art world's Cosmo... a



It is hard to say that I have had my mind made up about TmpSrv (in a negative way) when you yourself participated in events I have organized and I have happily been involved in one of your events. You may consider all that a terrible error in judgement now, but I don't .

In the past with Gravy I usually did have bad reviews of TmpSrv shows, but I almost always covered them and would speak with one of you about it, and would often end or begin the review with praise for the depth and dedication of the TS effort as a whole. I recall one review where I said that I didn't like the current show but went on to list a few things of TS that I did like.

As possibly the most visible art function coming out of chicago, arguably the only game in town, TS and Whitewalls and those you collaborate with have to be able to disarm criticism without blowing a gasket. The art world is as full of people "like me" as it is full of people "like you".

Again, that's my opinion.

Re: art writing.

I think you all would be singing a different tune if they were writing about you. But as an ex-Chicagoan, I know that isn't happening. Upon moving to LA and checking the art rags for reviews it always tickled me that I was living in a location that would always be reviewed and usually more than one per issue (especially the wonderful Juxtapose( LA has two full on publications, Juxta and Coagula, and I think Vice comes from LA, but isn't art focused))(in addition to tons of local photocopied zines)). You should try it some time. I hate to say it validates anything, but we all think we know the "art game" yet rarely apply the knowledge. Or you don't want to play the "game", but do want the to enjoy the spoils. There are reasons why New York and LA are reviewed over and over.

Does anyone use Craigs list? There is an arts forum section that is linked in real time with people all over the country. It is really active and demonstrates the value of connection. People from the west coast are asking people on the east coast about grad schools, getting slides done, places to show, etc. People are posting their work on websites and then listing the address and having total strangers look at the work and respond. Completely objective observation, and in some cases suggestions are made of possible outlets and groups to contact.

What is the end result that you are looking to magazines to fulfill for you? New techniques? New artists?


Adam- How could you not include Cakewalk in your survey of art magazines in Los Angeles? Or Xtra, or Afterall or the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest for that matter?

Regarding your criticism of Prisoners' Inventions,

those prisoners crafty.

I have to say that you've missed the point.

I think the thing that makes this book so special, and why it has garnered so much attention is because the drawings and anecdotes really communicate the overwhelming conditions that about 2 million Americans live under. All of these inventions are not like the Segway or the Model T, but simple remedies to replace the everyday things that most of us outside of jail take for granted. A cigarette lighter, a salt & pepper shaker, a pencil holder. The question we are left with is not "what did this bad person do?", but "How can we survive without these things?" or "How can we keep our dignity when there is no freedom?"

(full disclosure: my wife Liz and I designed the layout of Prisoner's Inventions for WhiteWalls)


Adam, I'm not stewing over our past work together but I'm hardly gonna get too sentimental about it either. The one time you contributed to a Temporary Services project, I thought your work was very half-assed. The one time I contributed an essay to Gravy, the editorial 'corrections' that were made to my writing actually made the grammar incorrect. A sentence or two was suddenly incomplete and a couple new and totally illogical paragraph breaks appeared in the middle of a sentence or idea. I could never get these things fixed when I emailed about them and most of those glaring errors are present on the Gravy webpages to this day. Nobody is perfect, but after that I decided that Gravy was way too sloppy and I lost interest in contributing.

I think you have a greatly inflated sense of how much a person is supposed to get excited about bad writing. I think you are an atrocious writer (you specifically, not everything that has ever been printed in Gravy). That is my opinion and if thousands of people read your writing in Gravy and enjoyed it, that is great for them. Praising someone for their dedication or saying what you liked in the past isn't all that interesting if you couldn't write articulately or accurately about what was happening in the present. I really don't want to get into a whole discussion about what constitutes well-written criticism - I think you can find some of those discussions in the OG archives.

It is a wonderful experience to have someone write a thoughtful and well-researched piece about your work, but I don't feel it is a privilege to have someone write poorly about your work - even if the gist of the review is that they liked it. Critical writing should be able to do a little more than convey like or dislike. I would prefer not having my work written about, than to see lots of false assumptions and clumsy mis-readings get printed. This is also part of the reason why we do a lot of our own writing for Temp Serv projects (plus we really enjoy writing).

Re your comments: "As possibly the most visible art function coming out of chicago, arguably the only game in town, TS and Whitewalls..."

What on earth do things like this even mean? "Only game in town"?! Huh? This is the kind of thing I am talking about. Marc

Adam Mikos wrote:



My apologies on not mentioning cakewalk. I was aware the operation had moved to LA, but never came across it while there.

There is no dispute that the prison topic is controversial and timely. When you consider the massive population of inmates, the power of the prison guards union (for the west coasters), overwhelming racial imbalance, and bizarre sentencing logic. I alluded to whether or not anyone even has faith in our justice system in an earlier OG email. The elements that you list, as to why PI was an important document, also inspire the larger debate.

Are you familiar with "The Beat Within"? []




It is unfortunate that you were unhappy with the editing of our work. Had we been aware of it at the time maybe we could have rectified the situation. If you would like, I can speak with Darlene, who was the editor and pass on your disappointment. Would you rather I just cut and past that paragraph and email it to her? I don't want to misrepresent you.



Adam, This is quickly gonna turn into the most boring thread in the world. It was about 3+ years ago and I'm quite sure I made you or Darlene (I can't remember who) aware of this at the time. If you want to go back and fix it, that would be nice but it's not as though I'm losing sleep over this, nor was it really the point of the last email. Many of my past posts on Othergroup (if anyone actually reads them) are surely a lot more embarrassing. Just read the essay and apply common sense -you'll see where new paragraphs happen for no reason and a sentence is incomplete. Marc

Adam Mikos wrote:


I came home from work today to find my box filled with OG posts. Tried to follow the course of the conversation but realized that all of Bulka's posts were missing. While one Dave Stull post and this marvelous drama unfolding between Adam and Marc was coming down in seemingly realtime. Is this a problem worth mentioning to you Jno? I have Bulka's posts now so I was wondering is this just some crazy server thing with accounts etc. I didn't have time to check the OG site to see if they had posted in order. later, MT


I tracked down the BEZ program on their web-site. I am very much unimpressed by it. It says nothing that hasn't been heard before and spent even less time talking about this as it's topic. I can't say that I'm surprised when call ins were addressing such "on" topic discussions as "living poor in style". The single gallery mentioned was Rhona Hoffmans. While Ten in One would have been more applicable. Lets face it Joel left, wouldn't that be good journalism to look him up. Particularly when you are interviewing someone from New York anyways. Kerry James Marshall comes of as an ignorant hack unwilling to be critiqued by his peers and hiding out here. While Leon Golub is made out to be some paragon of the Chicago Art world. Saic is mentioned in passing. But not once is the MCA mentioned, its 12x12 program is unmentioned as well as recent curitorial attention to locals in broader programs. Dare I say that the Stray Show as a point of contention went unmentioned or what happens during Art Chicago annually. Overall the entire program was an advertisement for large scale theatre and dance companys that pull down major federal and local grants that already receive substantial coverage from BEZ. I don't disagree with Eric, Michael or David for their dismissive attitudes to the piece. I do disagree with the tone of cynicism that they dismiss it though. With so many gaping holes in the piece, I have to wonder why all partys relent to this as the way of the world. Isn't their at least one major hole mentioned or not, that in its abscence of address in said program bears some scrutiny after the fact. So what do these holes mean? Golden ages are pronounced to be at their fore multiple times in the program. It all seems really romantic and rather childish. This program was really about begging people to pay attention to Chicago's arts. If we have to beg for the worlds attention, or even our neighbors are we worthy of it? Whatever, Pedro moved. Oh, and so did Adam. MT

Money is clearly


At the risk of being misidentified as "blowing a gasket." (gee I though I was disarming criticism, and not in a Bush or Rumsfeld way.)

AM: "I think you all would be singing a different tune if they were writing about you. But as an ex-Chicagoan, I know that isn't happening. Upon moving to LA and checking the art rags for reviews it always tickled me that I was living in a location that would always be reviewed and usually more than one per issue"

With all due respect, not everyone's estimation of criticism is this shallow. Also, as background with a touch of boast: all of whitewalls' projects have been reviewed in at least one international publication, and all of them in multiple national publications. So I'm not exactly being left out of the process.

To use this as a segue into bez. What ever happened to well researched essays on topics. All I care about in art criticism is a good story. I don't even care if I like the stuff reviewed, or agree with the reviewer. Artforum has professionalized its style which is different from professionalizing the editorial direction to keep typos and bad grammar at bay. frieze trips over itself to be mod, and I can't even decide what flash art and the rest are after.

You still get the occasional good article, but almost all reviews are terrible these days, little more than press releases written in the past tense. ( I will say the new retooled Art + Text, called Art US has long reviews that don't stick to a formula. Maybe they'll get a good breadth in time?).

Then with the smaller scrappier zines, it seems all the writers were taught criticism by Don Rickles. Zingers can be fine, but they need content to prop them up. The scrappier outlets have forgotten that everyone has an opinion, what's important is how you reached that opinion, if anything.

I actually return, again and again to early seventies and early eighties artforum. there is a lot of good writing, and a lot of surprising things covered. Not so much anymore. Early art criticism in the Nation was great. Artscribe and Arts magazine in the eighties had a good flair. Even "classic" era October could keep you at the edge of your seat.

MT: "I don't disagree with Eric, Michael or David for their dismissive attitudes to the piece. I do disagree with the tone of cynicism that they dismiss it though. With so many gaping holes in the piece, I have to wonder why all partys relent to this as the way of the world. "

Well, the program was horrible. At some point, when things are that bad, cynicism is about the only response to have. About a year a half ago Odyssey had a program on the "avant garde" it was actually pretty good. You could tell the host had done her homework, and in general phoned the right people as panelists.

But this more recent thing. When the program shows itself too lazy to do any research and then they fall back on the superstar system (hoisting up golub?) when they could have focused more on success here, or those who stay here--maybe don't become stars--but do end up wielding influence on younger artists and also do fairly well for themselves. And the host allows the same worn out platitudes to be spoken without questioning them. The people you mentioned michael may have been interesting. When something is that lazy what can be done?

It's not an isolated problem, bez's music coverage is pretty terrible too. I have friends in the ... what do you call it..."experimental jazz scene"? Anyway, they have been screaming at bez for years, to no avail. Why should art be different? Maybe the visual arts could get more coverage at the college radio stations? Oh but that's right, there is no money in college radio listeners, and college radio doesn't play R.Kelly.

Related: When the tribune defends its horrible visual arts coverage as just right, what is there to say in return?

There's an old quote by Kosuth: "Whenever I traveled, I would always buy Newsweek and Time for the plane, but I never read the art sections because I knew they were terrible. Then it occurred to me: if they can't figure out art, why would they know anything about politics?"

But then, maybe I'm missing something you'd have in mind Michael, my cynicism is based on not seeing a horizon. a


On Tue, 3 Feb 2004, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

This is perhaps not the Golden Age we are living in. How sad.



On Mon, 2 Feb 2004, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

Sorry about that: 22 posts in 2 days.

Some sendmail engines send mail (to you) in reverse order from how they received the mail (last in, first out). But it varies.

And your email reader can probably be set to show email in any one of dozens of different ways: first in as received, first in by date, last-in first, alphabetical by subject, by sender..

The original Date headers of the emails are retained and will show as a "date" in your email reader. This gets confusing when Elms has his computer set at Jan 1 1910: in my email reader he will show as the first email even if he posted last.

Actually, Elms is on EST. Mikos is on PST, allowing him to answer insults two hours before they are offered.

But the Subject line of all the posts are numbered in order of receipt. Read them in that order, if your email reader shows Subject lines.

A typical email traverses a half dozen other machines. Any of them could delay the mail. Email is not like electricity; it is a negotiated process.

But I checked the logs at Mylar. Looks like a lot of mail to dogmatic got delayed over the last two days - like 12 pieces.

- Reporting-MTA: dns;
- Arrival-Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 10:36:42 -0800
- Final-Recipient: rfc822;dogmaticgallery at
- Action: delayed
- Status: 4.4.7

These were resent. If some stupid postmaster had set up a series 500 error message, it would not be resent. Email systems are administered by idiots. And there are just as many idiots at msn and hotmail as elsewhere. Sometimes I think, more.

During the same two days, there were various delayed emails (time-out for a connection) for cwkrantz, droman, amikos, bulka, marcf, and t. Not at all untypical: Email is spotty. Generally 10 percent will bounce or fail delivery for various inexplicable reasons.

Yes, the website uses receipt time in CST (it seems to be off by an hour), but the numbering is correct. The web-page is updated a second after the email gets redistributed (and most email takes about 10 to 20 seconds to be received and resent).

Eric asked about 'missing Bulka responses' (if I remember right).. I presume what was meant was a typical "Bulka writes.." followed by nothing.

The blank space is the result of a cleanup-script which leaves behind a few cute designer-email text versions of the more standard "forwarded" and "original" lables, which I dont wanna touch for fear of removing some actual art-critical text. See []

HTH /jno


On Sat, 31 Jan 2004, Adam Mikos wrote:

Behavior (or interaction) is not what we are interested in, or force fields (whatever t.f. that is), or a reduction to mystic animism. The question properly is about what happens in 'introspection'. Ask your cat to describe last Thursday, if you want to determine his participation in latent consciousness.

HTH /jno


I don't know why that is, my computer shows the correct date, but whatever. I'm just glad that according to my computer I'm now in time to watch the october revolution. And to warn the world about hitler, pinochet, kissinger, mcnamara, stalin, pol pot, hussein, bin laden, bush and so many others...

And watch me show up those minimalists by a good 5 years....Finally I'll be in the history books. ha ha ha. reconsidering my consciousness. a



I agree with your criticism with BEZ. Few of you probably read my thoughts upon leaving Chicago in the last Gravy, but one point that still stands is that someone needs to get some power. Real power. "If you wanna fight the power get the power to fight". Get your heads together, put together a show and propose it.

1. Many of you are involved internationally which shows professionalism, 2. Many local (chicago) organizations have worthwhile people on their boards that can step up support (which demonstrates organization and direction), 3. Maybe whitewalls or someone already connected to city art politics can underwrite it (shows local grassroots support and outreach). Remember that semantics are very important.

You guys and gals are holding way more cards than you think.

When you listen to a weeks worth of BEZ you'll notice that many of the programs are produced elsewhere, some by small town NPR stations, then beamed around the country. Point being, it is not unprecedented for new shows to spring up. For example, the NPR station in LA has a weekly show called "The Treatment" that deals specifically with screenwriting, acting and the whole movie/theater biz.

And don't forget the Cultural center. That place is the nerve center for Chicago's art funding. Get someone reliable in there. Start a direction. The groundswell a few years ago was just a beginning.



On Tue, 3 Feb 2004, Adam Mikos wrote:

It would be nice to be a close friend of the Pope or the King of Spain. But artists dont have power, and most dont want power.

IMHO /jno


"We can live weeks without food, days without water, minutes without air. We cannot live for one moment without Prana (lifeforce)."
-Yogi saying

Trends come from the bottom, fads come from the top. If power gives life to Chicago art, it will be a fad. If it's grassroots, if it's collective, if it's exciting because it f***ing hot and radical, it will be real. I will continue to be crass by saying that years ago, I was dating an artist and we watched the movie "Basquait" (did you know Schnabel did Basquait's paintings in Basquait? Little trivia). Anyway, that movie ended and we screwed for three hours. I say this only to illustrate the amazing power of art, it's power to stimulate and excite and create change.=20

More than power from above or pity, we need Prana. If we make art that is true and real and fearless, we will never be isolated and we will never be ignored.=20



While you're at it why not slag Benjamin and avoid so that we might avoid years MFA's misinterpreting reinterprteing or just reading the translated edited predigested blurbs on the backs of his compiled essays. mt


Marc -

(full disclosure) Never mind Darlene. I was the one who put all the Gravy texts up as a website, from 1998, as a subdirectory at Darlene used to send emails with "rtf" files (bad news) cause she could not figure out how to type plain text on a Mac (the plain text editor is missing on a few models).

I wrote a script to decompose the rtf files and insert P tags, then went through the stuff adding headers and doing an on-the-fly word edit. Mostly puctuation (nobody ever hear of Strunk and White?) and breaking up large paragraphs (this is the web, with ugly unscanable screens, not a hand-held glossy magazine).

Blame me.

Gravy has not been at Spaces.Org for a few years (you were looking at a link). It has it's own website -- [] -- but since I have access to the server (it's at, I grepped for your article and fixed a broken paragraph (Issue 6). HTH.

I'll remove the tag line references to Spaces also.



On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 Aeelms at wrote:

(but not the time?) Funny. FYI, Jan 1 1910 is the default MAC reboot date. I was just picking on you cause you were visible and on a MAC. Cant pick on some people.



On Tue, 3 Feb 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

OK, I'm all about that, art and prana, although I'd sooner make art which would have people drop money rather than their pants. And not that I really wanted to know, but now that you have opened this topic, consider some additional data points: Margaret Mead is said to have said, "Three times a day is enough." I'll agree to that. And I recall Muddy Waters with, "I can make love to you in an hour's time." Was he bragging?

In fact, taking that last datum as a starting point, I questioned some 20 people at a State of Illinois Department of Transportation Office in 1969 with, "How long does it take you to make love?" A clipboard interview.

These were young and hip folks, but I did not get much cooperation, and in fact got not a single answer, excepting one smart-ass, "All day," which substituted psychology for physiology.

(name withheld)


plastic art and plastic arts - First of all, such uses of "plastic" very rarely refer to art made with petroleum byproducts, but instead to the original meaning of "plasticity or plastic quality" -- sculptural, modeled, or malleable. The singular form, "plastic art" generally refers to three-dimensional art, such as sculpture, as distinguished from drawing and painting; also, two-dimensional art which strives for an illusion of depth. The plural form, "plastic arts" generally refers to one or more of the visual arts, which include sculpture, architecture, painting, drawing, and the graphic arts; as distinguished from music, poetry, literature, and drama. The terms "plastic art" and "plastic arts" are used much more by British than by American writers. ArtLex suspects these terms so often confuse readers that it recommends the use of alternatives. Among those, consider visual culture, as well as the older terms art, the arts, artifact, beaux-arts, fine art, applied arts, commercial art, and graphic arts.

Plastics, they are the future afterall.

Oh by the way, I spent an hour walking around river north yesterday. The only things that have changed in the eight years since my last extensive visit are spaces now play the Drive instead of XRT and there are fewer spaces playing the drive then used to play XRT. Only Ann Nathan had BEZ on. However their are more galleries in River North then I had suspected. Lastly all of them seem to sell artwork.


I should have noted and forgot to put into quotations that the definition for the plastic arts came from a site called lexart. Sorry. It was not my own if anyone cared. mt


What do I think? I wonder when the intelligence committee is going to snap at the bush administration for first outing one of its spies, and then trying to pin the iraq fiasco on them. The intelligence community is usually protective of their own and their work.

Oh wait, you probably meant to your post...

Well, I know whoever wrote this doesn't understand the phrase "visual culture" at all. Visual culture is still quite a to-do in art history halls because it seeks to discuss the entire breadth of visual phenomena--from the way we interpret visual stimuli, to the part visuality plays in a culture, to packaging and fine art, of which the 'plastic arts' would probably consist of something like 6%.

I'm sure all of this ties in with the attempts by many writers like wjt mitchell, rosalind krauss and a bunch of others to redefine what we mean by "medium" when we refer to what artists are doing and just what it is artists work with.

I'd be happier if there were more buck henrys and less dustin hoffmans in the art world.

So when was it that the majority of American businesses decided that what we all wanted from retail operations was music to shop by? I think my shopping has decreased about 300% since the introduction of music to retail operations. Particularly music stores. a


Elms wrote: "So when was it that the majority of American businesses decided that what we all wanted from retail operations was music to shop by? I think my shopping has decreased about 300% since the introduction of music to retail operations. Particularly music stores."

Music store music isn't all bad. After all, I was recently able to shop at Reckless while listening to vintage Carcass. Where else could you do that (maybe Metal Haven)? But if you mean those in store DJ's at the Virgin store - yes, they should be killed - or at least have their tongues removed.

It has always amazed me how it was often possible to move from the museum shop at the Art Institute to the Au Bon Pain and hear the exact same 'retail jazz'. In fact you could probably get from one side of the street to the other before the same Dave Brubeck song came to an end. And then, further compounding that horror, was that street musicians on Michigan avenue also tend to play the same fucking retail jazz - so you can't even walk down the street after leaving a store without hearing yet more of this jazz lite! Who the hell decided which jazz is appropriate for shopping? And furthermore, if it had to be jazz, why couldn't they have decided on jazz that does a better job of capturing the psychic violence of being in stores on Michigan Ave - say the album "Machine Gun" by Peter Brotzman? Marc


On Sat, 7 Feb 2004 Aeelms at wrote:

Jewel now has the most obnoxious voice doing commercials in their stores. Drives me nuts. Sounds like a kindergarten instructor addressing her brood on the first day of classes. I just wanna shout, "Shut the fuck up." But they would throw me out if I did. /jno


Jno: "Jewel now has the most obnoxious voice doing commercials in their stores. Drives me nuts. Sounds like a kindergarten instructor addressing her brood on the first day of classes. I just wanna shout, "Shut the fuck up." But they would throw me out if I did. "

Oh see that is something else entirely. For the most jaw-dropping experience of bad in-store ad voice tape loops, I HIGHLY recommend the dollar store "Deals" on Western up by Lawrence. They have several messages (all recorded by an impossibly perky woman). One goes "Welcome to Deals - where everything is a dollar! Except for the smiles - THEY'RE FREE!" and "If you didn't say WOW! when you walked into Deals, step back outside and walk in again!" The temptation to step back outside is definitely there. No question.

I also feel for the people who work at Helix and other places who have those damn talking self-serve Kodak photo-reprinting machines near the counter. Also very very obnoxious. Marc


On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

That's funny :)


The merchant industry spends more money on never-to-be-published research than all of academia. It goes under the name of 'marketing'. In the 50's I worked at a grocery store, and we asked the owner, "Where does this music come from?" Turns out that it was a local radio station, with a rented receiver, which would mute on commercials.

In the 60's I last heard of these - for it is a principal of merchandizing (since the 20's) that you never show the sources for your products (you dont show the factory workers, or the plantation labor, or slaughterhouse interiors), for it it is possible to taint buyer perception.

So the discussion closed 40 years ago. But at that time it was revealed that the 'programming' relied on alternations of up-tempo with slower music, for this would allow shoppers to relax between spurts of frenzied buying. The selections are cultural. You heard Montivony in the 60's cause the buying-age public did not want to hear the showtunes of their parents. That is why we get stuck with Dave Brubeck today.

Like using elevators, shopping can be a freightening experience, so the music is meant to sooths your mind, and induce uncritical behaviour. Music is not handled like speech -- which is passed through a bullshit filter -- it goes to another part of your brain. See Julian Jaynes on the effects of music and metered speech on your psyche (and a warning to Marc: Be carefull of what you listen to).

Elevator music seems to have gone away, now that thousands of HS kids have stuck pens into the elevator speakers to lobotomize them. But wait, CTA, always behind by a few decades if not a century, will be pouring music into busses and elevated cars soon to make it a comforting experience.

Anyway, I would suspect WDRV to be selling 'air time'. After all, they paid 3 million for W... (shees, I forgot the call letters already), and spent a year 'testing' whole stacks of pop-rock CDs. Sounded to me like they were tayloring their programming to the current buying-age-group.

Somebody should call up WDRV, introduce yourself as Joe's Restuarant, and ask them if it would be OK to play their music over your PA system. See what they say. Maybe they will offer a receiver/amp rental deal for you.



On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

That's the same Jewel voice! My dogs could note the discrepancy between tone and content, I just get very annoyed because they dont match.

But maybe it is done on purpose. What other tone is there? Swedish accent as if voiced by Sound Blaster? Papal ex catherdra Word of God? Pleading desparate mother? In fact all I want to do is mimick the perky voice. Maybe that is the point - for I would repeat the message verbally.



Helix? Pshaw! No one suffers like the employees at F.A.O. Schwartz.


Marc Fischer wrote:


jno: "I worked at a grocery store, and we asked the owner, "Where does this music come from?" Turns out that it was a local radio station, with a rented receiver, which would mute on commercials."

In the late 70s, early 80s, the K-Mart in Marshall, MI had an automatic reverse reel-to-reel player for the in-store music.

jno: "So the discussion closed 40 years ago. But at that time it was revealed that the 'programming' relied on alternations of up-tempo with slower music, for this would allow shoppers to relax between spurts of frenzied buying. The selections are cultural. You heard Montivony in the 60's cause the buying-age public did not want to hear the showtunes of their parents. That is why we get stuck with Dave Brubeck today."

I'm not an expert, so I'm not going to guess on the dates (also trends happen in different parts of the country at different times). But I was at jobs where I saw the following transitions take place:

It seems establishments like eateries and coffeeshops, where they want people to linger, were some of the first to drop playing the radio in favor of CDs. I watched the same fights played out between management and workers over which radio station was more appropriate over and over at different food establishments.

When suddenly one day management would decide that a mood was needed, so the next day there would be no radio, but a CD player and a collection of between 5-20 appropriate records for the mood.

This soon caught on at clothing retailers and baubles shops.

Then a couple years later the record industry got greedy and wise, and began sending out scouts into retail operations and restaurants. After monitoring for a month, the retail store/restaurant would suddenly receive legal papers and an invoice from the record label requesting royalties for public broadcast. Usually a pretty hefty bill, particularly for smaller operations. (See the law is: you buy a record you only buy private broadcast rights. An exception is made for merchandise--that is how record shops get around it--because the public performance is seen as product advertisement.)

That is why the Gap, Starbucks, and all those others started buying rights to oldies, bachelor-pad, and jazz tunes (the rights are a lot cheaper). Having a collection of songs meant they made their own compilations, and sent them out to their franchise locations. Then the companies, about 5 years later, realized, "if we buy the rights, why not sell the compilations we are creating for our stores?" So now every retailer has those little theme records by the cash register.

Then the record companies got wise, and started offering discounts to the retailers for certain current hits, and certain packages of like music, to push the recordings they wanted promoted, instead of what the retailer desired to pay for. But the retailers liked it because they got a-list songs for, well, a song.

Almost nobody uses the radio anymore, at least at the national chain level. Only mom and pop types or regional outfits for the most part, unless there is a parent company connection.




Can you site your source for this?=20


I don't have a source, except for having worked for two companies who received these lovely letters with legal threats and invoices.

and us then asking record store owners how they got around the issue.


A, That's too bad about the legal threats. I deal with the RIAA a bit (not in a positive way) and I'm interested in the issue. It's unlikely to have held up in court, but legal threats are often enough to scare small businesses into doing what you want. And legal battles alone can put a company under.=20

But back to art. I just had another talk tonight with an artist and I have to take the whole "refuse to be a victim" stance on this whole lament of the Chicago art scene being weak. I have a few simple ideas on things that I think could help. =20

Overall, I think we need the idea of celebrity. We need art superstars in Chicago. I keep asking everyone, "Who is the hottest artist in Chicago?" Nothing. "Ok. Name three Chicago artists that are considered to be big names." Nothing. In New York they can answer that question, and in LA too. We need to have a couple big names and then they show in the hottest gallery in town. "What's the hottest gallery in town?" Nothing. No consensus. But if there was, then the king of the Chicago art scene gets overthrown 6 months later by an up-and-coming-something-or-other, with the hottest gallery hosts the new king (or queen). Then people, normal people, mainstream people with cash, know exactly where to go to see-and-be-seen and buy something that feels like a sure thing. Collectors don't want good art, they want art by a successful artist. Auction-able pieces someday.=20

Another issue is that gallery hours kill me. I work 9-5 M-F roughly, like most people. My hours OUT are Fri 8-1 AM; Sat 7-2 AM. Period. Guess what galleries are open at that time on most weekends? None. And galleries are located in places that are often impossible to park. And they are too far away from each other to walk.=20

Parties. Neighborhood festivals. And if I sound like a total joker, at least I am trying this with my curatorial debut. I'm doing 3 things:

1. Open until midnight Fri and Sat of the opening weekend.=20 2. Parties on 2 of the Saturdays, like I'm doing a Friendster night, inviting 300 of my 20,000 "friends", and inviting all my open source forum customers. (You may find Jno leaning against the wall talking about kernels with Linux people on that night). (point being that I want lots of people, new to the scene to come to the show).=20 3. Packing tons of art on the walls, so you don't look at just 12 pieces and stall - staying for 20 minutes because you feel like you should after making the monster trek and looking for parking.=20

Das what I think.=20 Kathryn=20

(Jno, what am I doing that's causing all the =3D20s in my posts?)=20


Do you want to run a gallery?

Check back in the OG archive's first year. I answered someone's question then and told them something to the affect of, "buy beer". It will be just as effective for you. Otherwise call and make and appointment when Basquit isn't playing. MT


On Sun, 8 Feb 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

Your right. In the 90's the hot spots were the 4 'Uncomfortable Spaces' galleries. The hours were long, the parties packed. But they sold nothing, and never attracted the established 'collectors'. It was just great fun.

But there are lots today that are top of the line: the danky basement of Dogmatic, the garage at Suitable, Unit B presenting a mid-19th century floor to ceiling exhibit, DeadTech which just woke up after 6 months out and has presented some of the most fascinating stuff I have ever seen.

But 'top of the line' means 'fun places' among younger non-selling artists. The really interesting stuff deals with presentation concepts, with desparate attempts, with trials and errors. That is worth the price of admission (or beer) to other artists.

As Michael just pointed out: buy beer. As long as you intend to sell art, it is not going to work out to expectations. The 'sales gallery' idea is an 19th century model. Art exhibitions are a means of showing off the obsessions which make artist interesting. Think of the exhibition as presenting a gift of your exuberant ideas to your friends and cohorts. OK, maybe you want also to make a statement (Elms: "everybody has opinions"). Somebody should start a 'NFS' gallery - where nothing is ever for sale.

Forget about collectors. They dont exist in Chicago anyway. And if they do, they want dead 19th century masters, not _your_ stuff.

See Dave Barry (Trib Mag this Sunday) on "art for idiots". It aint the usual funny (I wonder why), but he touches on all the facets of visual art which turn off the general public - the main culprit is price. But what he describes (Art Basel in Miami) I would love to see, but I would not have the slightest inclination to own any of it. After all, having seen it (if I had) I'd already own the idea. Dont need more than that.

On the other hand, if priced right, your show of open-poems and images might be just right for the hallway.. if I had any money.. if I had a hallway. When is the show?

:) I dont do kernels, however (sound like some bad social drug).



Kathryn Born asks, and others wonder...

- I fixed the TimeZone at Mylar. I had it set at CST9CDT - whcih reads as, uh, "CST is 9 hours from GMT". Oops, it's 6 hours.

- In case you are wondering where some of the post numbers go: The post number is (now) incremented at the beginning of the script, rather than at the end. It had to do with lock-files and race-conditions: where two posts are received within a second of each other. Spam refusals (we get very little) and errors thus use up numbers. I'll fix that, later, maybe.

- the "equals-20" of Kathryn Born is MicroSoft Exchange V6.0.6249.0 including the wrong 'Content-Transfer-Encoding' header. It reads 'Quoted-Printable' but should read '7-bit'. Oh well, it is Microsoft.

Sendmail (at the remote site) correctly rewrites the header as '7-bit' based on the 'Content-Type' header when the posts are redistributed, but by that time it is too late, and you get email with funny cyphers included. The 'equals-20' is the quoted-printable hex for a blank space.

I have seen this happen with a couple of older AOL mailers at another site, the same 'blank space' hex code, and a few others. The original purpose of the 'Content-Transfer-Encoding' header was to include line feeds and page feeds and other 'printing' Ascii cyphers, or translate binary to 7-bit. It is not a recommended header, but gets included by a number of mailers.

Hope You Care :)

(take another kernel tab) /jno


Agreed about the old model and the need to create a bridge between commerical and not-for-profit. I've been struggling with that idea for a long time. About the NFS gallery, I can think of a whole bunch that exist/existed that have the "money is evil" mentality. It doesn't work for too long. You either have to hunt down grants (too few, need not- for-profit for most), charge artists hanging fees (artists pay too much already), get daddy's money (I wish), have numerious "fund raisers"(really annoying after one per year), or use money that you earn from another job (gets old real fast). Instead of placing restrictions on galleries/spaces in terms of operation, one should concentrate on the quality of work shown. Regardless of what your taste/interest are, one should strive to have the best showing possible. In Chicago, you have to push yourself in order to have challenges.

Not true. There may not be a huge amount of them, but there are a few. I know, I've sold work to them. There are plenty of 'other' people who want contemporary art in there homes. Almost all buy work because they feel the need to have the work in their lives, not to sell at an auction later. I'm not saying there is lots of money to be made, but there are people who will buy. In five years of running Standard, we have almost broke even by selling work and collecting beer donations(granted our overhead is super low). Is it our main objective? No, but it certainly helps to fund the space, it would not have lasted as long with out it. Our main focus has always been our art program. We are not perfect, nor do we think we are. In fact, we are always down playing the space, in attempts to raise the ante, to try to improve.

In the many years the OG has existed in person and online, everyone spends so much time trying to find an answer to a question that can never be answered. We spend so much time running around circles chasing our tails. How to attract more collectors, who shows "real" art, how river north sucks, how to get more critical reviews, how west gate loopers are sell outs, how apartment galleries are pains in the ass, how to make Chicago better place to make, show, write about, and sell art. It's all self-defeating. You'll never find the one glowing answer. Get over it and concentrate on what you do best. If you feel the need to implement something because it will be great, than do it. If you need help than ask. Just step up the plate and bat. Most of the OG list already do that, but still can't see through the fog.

sermon over, let the bashing begin

David Roman


It's not how well we are doing in our own eyes that matters most, but how folks in faraway places THINK we are doing that makes Chicago's rep. I vote for the web as the most fertile spot for cultivating it. It naturally involves adequate mediation to make success/glorification feasible.


group at wrote:


David said: "About the NFS gallery, I can think of a whole bunch that exist/existed that have the "money is evil" mentality. It doesn't work for too long."

The "money is evil" mentality is stupid. It cuts a body off from huge cultural territories, rich in resources--not just monetary, but imaginative resources--that anybody with good ideas to share should be mining. At the same time it seems like serving the desires of collectors can have the same cutting-off effect. Or, simply working exclusively through a traditional commercial gallery/museum system, whether or not you're thinking about what a collector wants, cuts your thinking off from huge cultural territories.

What is a collector? Who is a collector? Do collectors have to be wealthy people who go to Rhona Hoffman and buy? Um, fuck that, everywhere you look there are people interested in cultural artifacts and who are hungry for imagery and objects and most of them are not rich. How do we serve these desires as artists and curators and so on?

How much are our desires as cultural workers burdened by our patrons? Is the idea that the gallery system provides autonomy to the artist? This might work for some artists, but it cannot work for all of them. It can't support all of us. If it can't support all of us, and we know it, I wonder why we keep working so hard to support it? There is a huge need to develop an imagination that is not just burdened by the needs of a gallery system. I'd like to suggest that we work more to burden our ideas with the needs of people who don't give a damn about what is inside those odd, strange little spaces, that I love so much.

Mike Wolf



I still think that one of the coolest things about Chicago is that, collectively, we don't seem to get it. We don't care.

A few years ago some bars/clubs tried that deal where the doorman would only let you in if he thought you were dressed right. Most of us just went to some other bar down the street. Fuck 'em.

There are a lot of people here who are doing things that would make them superstars in a culture that valued that. Instead, they just keep working, and probably have at least one stupid day job to support it. Maybe this is a working-class ethic - once you've put in a productive day, what you do in the evening and on the weekend is your business.

Exploiting the soft underbelly of society is a hobby, not a career.

Celebrity culture is dog-brained. Even if they are are not the leader, dogs need to know where they rank in the pack. Some of us are more like cats - just give us some food, a warm place to sleep and leave us alone to do what we want.

sure, it'd be great to get big bucks just for being a genius celebrity, but really . .



What a flurry of OG activity.=20

Ultimately, it's different strokes for different folks. There is room in this city for lots of different types of art, gallery shows, and financial dealings. It's not like we have to vote on one system and implement it.=20

I am a member of the "I would like to quit my day job and am willing to make some compromises" sect. It's not the right sect for everyone. The vision I have for myself is to do like fashion designers, have a line of clothes that people actually wear (read: art that works in a living room) and then haute couture stuff that would make you look like you escaped from the circus if you wore it in public (read installations and non-sellable work).

I would also like to be a part of energizing the Chicago art community, give it a little glam. I'm a simple girl and sometimes I like catchy, fun, mainstream art. Jeff Coons is my fave. And I do need something for my living room. Personally, I like that market. But again, it's like encouraging people to give lap dances for extra cash, it's not for everyone. But for those of us who are willing, it would be nice to build a club, hand out some fliers, and get some people in.=20

And for what's worth, I am going to try to get a brewery to pay for the beer. I'll put their stupid name on the postcard mailing if I have to. :) We always got free booze when I worked in film, sold them on product placement.

Always, Kathryn=20


Kathryn Born wrote:

Most politically incorrect misspelling of a last name ever! Well, aside from "Jeff KKKoons". Marc


My apologies to all. Raccoons are referred to as coons, without any ill intent I would suspect. I'm all flushed, I feel awful.. And I even went to the trouble to spell check haute couture.....



Kathryn, I hope it was clear that I was joking. I am, however, still seriously disturbed by the idea that something Julian Schnabel made (Basquiat) inspired two people to have sex. I just can't get it out of my head that if a baby was conceived during the act, you would have to one day tell your child "Your conception was inspired by Julian Schnabel." For me, that is the stuff of powerful nightmares. It's almost enough for me to look up when his first exhibit took place just to make sure there is no way this could have been the case for me. Hopefully if my parents were watching a movie it was something pretty cool - like "Enter the Dragon" with Bruce Lee. I think that came out in 1970. Marc

P.S. If you spellcheck the last name Schnabel it suggests "Schnozzle." That's kind of funny.

Kathryn Born wrote:


Thank God. But I would take a bullet in the knee before I do something racist.=20

Really? What's the group consensus on Basquait? He gets SOOOO FAMOUS. And he's got two girfriends and one pink scarf? And how he cries over losing Andy? And whipping all that paint on the floor? Painting late at night, going crazy, all unconscious and wild.

Bad art films: Something like "Loving Picasso" and the lifeless "Pollock" (spellcheck Pollock to not offend people from Poland). DO NOT GIVE YOUR SPOUSE THE RIGHTS TO YOUR WORK IN YOUR WILL. SHE WILL MAKE HERSELF THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF THE MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE. PERSONALLY, I AM WAITING FOR ITALO CALVINO'S WIDOW TO DIE so they will release the rights to his work.=20

I'm sure your parents looked at each other with loving eyes and the TV off when your dude outraced 10 million of his peers and created you. =20

More trivia, I'm sure everyone knows, that Serra's work fell over and killed someone? Bad gallery show. Bad gallery show.=20 K


On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

right here, right now -- No, wait, my mom said, "Let's try again."

(it worked, Mom) /j


On Sat, 7 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

Here is another:

Six months or a year ago I started hearing commercials on the radio which use a halting speech pattern, as if an adult were reading from a script with one eye closed. The annoying part is the 1/4 second delay between words, normally part of real in-depth thinking, when words have not quite reached their normal flow.

I think it is meant to make you believe you are listening to an expert (in something) who is at that moment formulating a new theory, or a 'common folk' testimonial of uncommon deep sincerity. Personally I malevolently equate the speech pattern to someone with a brain deficit: a moron, or the guy from Menard.

Either way, as listeners you are forced to respond with intent listening, as you do when a small child speaks, to involuntarily gage her level of speech, so you can respond at an appropriate caretaker level of language.

It is another series of ads which make me want to throw vegetables from across the kitchen at the radio.

OK, back to trilobites. /jno


(Subject line from Bulka's post: a cat eat cat world)

On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, David Roman wrote:

Yr just peaved that I didnt mention "the livingroom at Standard". At one time I had a Backyard gallery - but the number of lawnchairs required to sustain the venture was.. well..

We will find a glowing answer. The discourse in not without effect. It just takes a lot of words and thoughts to break out with a new paradigm. Look at Scott Speh's 'picks'. A great idea, but it is not like any of those exhibits will ever be seen by me if I were not there at the moment. They are not available on tape for later viewing.

But can you run exhibitions like films? Open in one location, at another location next month, yet another a month or so later. A reshowing by critical aclaim a year later. Would save some curatorial work. It happens now, but only between cities. Circuses do that, why should art? What keeps a rotation of exhibitions from happening within a city? I can read a book or listen to records any time, and have at least several weeks to see films (and it will turn up at the Davis in a few months, and the Biograph in a few years). Rotating exhibitions would a save lot of trudging around on opening nights. It allows the time to form some opinions. It would allow re-seeing a show in more detail. It allows for edits and tweeks between showings. Repeat showing would be the endorsement. What keeps galleries from doing this?

Want to rehost KB's upcoming show at Standard? (I have no idea who KB is, and am not a registered agent, participant, donor, collector, or board member) Need ideas for herding cats.

(it's not all about kernels) /jno


"Yr just peaved that I didnt mention "the livingroom at Standard". At one time I had a Backyard gallery - but the number of lawnchairs required to sustain the venture was.. well.."

Please, give me a little more credit, I was writing in response to having marathon sessions for openings and NFS galleries, not because you failed to mention my space. I'm not that trite.

The individual cost of lawnchairs may not seem pricey, but add it up. I've got my spreadsheet for my tax guy, wanna see?

Jno, how long have you been providing a service to the art community with Maybe you are our glowing answer!



On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, David Roman wrote:

I intended that as a funny.

I had people stand, actually. :) <--- note the smiley

(1) 1996 (2) Har.

But answer: .. Repeat showing ... What keeps galleries from doing this?



( i just noticed - [] )



I apologize in advance for the following responses. They go back to topics from a week or two ago. I have been to distracted doing one of the few jobs in the artworld that actually pays; hanging the stuff. If the world seems dead to you, go hang someone else's work for a change. With any luck it will inspire you. It has supported me for over six years now and shown me things that would never have been possible otherwise. Plus, it has supplied me with as many drinking partners as I can stand.

On to the recap... Going way back to consciousness:

Is it the cats (in)ability to delineate day from night that disqualifies them? Our human idea of days/time passing is largely based on our sleep cycle which isn't based on anything "scientific". To the cats defense, and believe no big feline advocate am I, a story of the Hoover Dam being built comes to mind. The crackers that were in charge of the project were interested in employing some of the Native American (NAGPRA conscious) men that lived in the area of the dam. Mostly for the high risk duties, but that goes without saying. Anyway, they were able to come to an agreement with some of the men and asked them to come back in a few days to begin working. The guys didn't show up for a week or so. The job bosses tried to work it out again but the same thing happened. After much tribulation and maligning they discovered that the Native Americans didn't have designations in their language for "next week" or "see you on Thursday". Instead, they returned when they thought it was the right time. Would that disqualify them from the consciousness bowl? On a somewhat related tangent, I just endured the movie "21 Grams", wherein they state that upon slipping from living to dead, the body suddenly weighs 21 grams lighter. The inference is that the "soul" leaves the body. In that sense, can consciousness be quantified? As long as I am beating a dead horse might as well give it one more.

Re: Inspired lovemaking to art flicks

I'm sure my visuals of the event are more flattering than the reality was, but I applaud what might have been the FIRST ever direct reference to SEX to appear on the OTHERGROUP!!! It only took, what , three or four years?!?!? Is this what puberty is like?

Re: Romans revelation Jno, how long have you been providing a service to the art community with Maybe you are our glowing answer!

Seriously, are some people just now figuring this out? If so, I highly recommend you all take twenty minutes and look through the Aesthetic Investigation site. Artwork like you've never seen before. Since way before most of us knew enough to try and forget everything.

Re: annoying music Could "A Clockwork Orange" have worked if the Ultraviolent was Muzak and Celine Dion? Melt Banana? Jim O'Rourke? That last one would take down the sturdiest of all!

Re: alcohol and art

One of the current shows up at the Yerba Buena center in SF, by a longtime Bay area conceptualist (who is actually revered for being such)(and he is still alive), named Tom Marioni, is titled "The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art". For the show we built a real bar in the gallery, installed the artists own refrigerator, and filled it with Pacifico beer. Every Thursday that the show is up, from 3 to 5 (3 to 7 on certain Thursdays), he will be in the gallery serving free beer to anyone who comes by and wants one. Or two or three. There is even a table with a few chairs there if you want to cool your heels. His concept goes way back and has a number of other subtleties involved, but that is main thrust of the piece.

Anyone aware of the famous photographer that recently passed away?

I like the recurring show idea. Hasn't it been written a million times that no one really looks at the art during the openings? And how many of you actually go back and look again after wards? Although the rash of Impressionist "blockbuster" shows was awfully close. Just retreads. And don't forget, Barnum was a huge factor in the very beginning formation of Americas museums, especially in NY.



jno -

I think you misinterpret the motivation behind running a gallery. Or maybe I do; I've never run one.

It's only partially about the art, and a lot about the owner/director/curator's vision of the art. People don't put in this much work/energy/time/money without a personal commitment. It's no different than an artist's ego in persuing his own special vision.

It might could happen that two or three uncomfortable storefronts would collaborate on a group-curated, multi-venue project, but it'd be a one-time summer gimmick: a mini, mobile stray show. (It'd be an odd show, too. Most of the spaces do have a strong identity. I don't know what work they would all agree on.)

The other reason repeat shows wouldn't work is that, even though at openings we don't look at the work as much as the artist would like, we do use it as an excuse to meet there. Otherwise, we'd be like normal people and socialize at a restaurant or gym or wherever those people go. Would you go to the same opening twice or thrice? Would a gallery go out of its way to cater to someone who isn't interested enough to show up the first time?

Ya just gotta get used to the Friday night marathon. The serious folk do it again on Tuesday afternoon at the professional spaces and then again whenever the flaky kids are at home.

I haven't even done the marathon in a long time, though, and am somehow still alive, just not as informed.



They say the problem with film is that it's tossed out of the theaters before it has time to gain a following, and I agree with that. Conceptually, I think a repeating show is a good idea. Personally, I'm doing a supersized version of the One Line Collective a year after the opening, with a new collection of poems, with hopes that both the call for artists and show attendance get some kind of following. So there's the "sequel" variation on the theme as well.=20

The only thing about a traveling show is that sold art would disappear from the show, or the buyer would have to wait for a long time. One thing I've learned from the little bit of art I've sold is that if someone has a credit card and wants to take the piece home with them that night - do it. Get pay pal on your laptop and take their money, even if the show is one-piece weaker. But that's just me, money makes my eyes sparkle.=20



On Wed, 11 Feb 2004, bulka wrote:

Yr right - the more I think about this idea, the more I become convinced that it is the dealer/curator which (1) informs an exhibit, and (2) is the obstacle to rotation. Actually, I know the first and suspect the second.

No, but I would go where I had not been able to go earlier cause I spent all my time greeting and gabbing with people at the another opening. Has happened too often that I strike out for a second place and get there after closing. I would go to a re-opening if I hear how great it was. And (not being normal) I'm not ever going to make it on a Tuesday.

later /jno


It's strange that artists often share a disdain for those who show the same work again in the same city. A band on the other hand is encourage to play the same songs - just tweaking and refining their set. And it's understood that they must play very often to create a following. Most painters/sculptors/photographers I know show once or twice a year in Chicago, or less. Out of sight, out of mind - as the old saying goes. But I am grateful for the public habit of using gallery openings as an excuse to meet and drink. Whatever brings em out.


jno wrote:


On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, ispad wrote:

-August2000.htm: sex was one of the few benefits of being an artist
-December2002.htm: glamorizing faceless sex
-February2002.htm: having sex in times of crisis;
-May2003.htm: traditional bohemian self-regard, food, like sex
-October2002.htm: sexy sweaty women?
-September2001.htm: does the sex have to be so pretty?
-September2003.htm: Or better yet just cast my role as a sexy

Would be nice to have a 'search' capability for the archives. No, I am not even thinking about it. /jno


It's a tough call. On one hand, you don't want to see the same stuff over and over; on the other hand, you don't step in the same river twice.

The difference between art and bands is that art is often about new ideas and new only happens once. With a band, it's more about something to dance to, or some analogous sensory experience. I'm much more willing to go back to a music show that gave me a good time than to a gallery to look again at a painting I liked.

That said, its not a bad idea for some folks to re-show work, potentially to a new audience. I'm not especially interested in the people who have a factory, but, for example, Nick Black, who shows something in Hammond and then declares it dead before any of us have seen it.


erik wrote: "It's strange that artists often share a disdain for those who show the same work again in the same city."

Yeah but most of the time people do this it seems to be because A) they haven't done any new work in a while and B) they seem to think no one will notice that they are showing the same work repeatedly.

Other things I was writing before reading what Bulka just wrote:

There is one person, who will go unnamed, who I've seen show the same photo on at least 4 different occasions (4 different shows) in Chicago, and unless this was part of some extremely unusual concept, I would have to conclude that they simply didn't have anything new but also couldn't stand to turn down an opportunity - even if it meant showing the same thing that many people have already seen. If you can't bring something new or different to an opportunity that is happening in the same city, I think it's probably better just to turn it down. It would be something else to re-show the work in an extremely different situation - that can be quite nice - but usually that isn't what happens.

A local band can get away with playing similar sets because they don't do it every night for a month straight in the same venue (if a band did that, they'd get plenty of shit for it). They do it for one hour at a time and only every few months or so - and as Bulka said, it's a different kind of experience with different expectations - perhaps a bit more like a single screening of a film. But a more exciting option for bands is usually to play a local show and then take that material and tour. Remember that some of Chicago's greatest bands actually only play in the city about twice a year. They look at things more globally and work to find interesting venues for their work everywhere - not just where it is most convenient.

To me what makes more sense than repeating things in the same city is to put more energy into finding ways for exhibits or projects to travel beyond Chicago. Why reward the unmotivated with a second or third chance in the same city? Fuck 'em! Some of the best things I've been a part of in Chicago have been very poorly attended. Other things have been really well attended. Rather than keep redoing the poorly attended things in Chicago until it feels like enough people saw them, I'd rather figure out how to possibly redo them in other places where they can find different audiences and where it can maybe a more interesting experience for the artist. You can't always have multiple chances in life. I wish I was born a little earlier and could have seen some bands that I missed out on. I wish I wasn't out of town when some great things happened that I missed. But so it goes.



marc wrote: "There is one person, who will go unnamed, who I've seen show the same photo on at least 4 different occasions (4 different shows) in Chicago, and unless this was part of some extremely unusual concept"

hey bro, name names!!!!!!


It's the name of the person who showed the same photo four times. That could actually be several names I'm sure! It's not important (though it does irk me that I think it is the least interesting photo I've seen them make). So perhaps the lesson here is that if you are going to show the same thing 4 times, at least try to show the good work 4 times - not the shitty work that people are sorry to have seen even once! Marc

Scott Speh wrote:


I do large scale, often highly cost and time intensive installation work. I have always been anti-reruns, but now that I have returned to Chicago, and have a few shows lined up, and no real job to speak of, I have had to change my stance.

I think there is work that I would re-show and work that I have moved beyond thematically. I don't see a problem with it overall, but I would be loathe to show the same piece more than once here in town.


After 2 mentions of the Dave Barry article, I checked it out.=20


I mean, it's funny, and it's the usual, and I like the jabs about the radiologist vibe. But the link to the description of the broken chair is amazing, here is a little more.

What the fuck is he talking about? I have read the above over and over and I have not one idea of what this could possibly mean.=20

I have met some good con artists in my day, and I have talked shop with strippers and hustlers of every variety, but this guy, I'd like to shake his hand. Next time I rob a bank I'm going to take him with me so if we get caught, he can talk us out of it.=20

I will stick to my rules and say "I think the chair piece is a joke", with a focus on the word "I". I'm not saying it IS a joke or a con, but in "MY OPINION" it's a joke and a con.=20

I don't have an issue with sentiments like this coming from "serious artists" (to use Dave Barry's term). I think it would be refreshing and I think the mainstream public would be more open to art if we didn't defend every over the top piece of work. I'm not saying to write a criticism, with the dictionary open, systematically deconstructing it, but rather to say, "I think this old chair-as-art is a joke and a money-making hustle" and leave it at that. I'm not saying I or any one person is judge and jury, but I would like one insider voice to stand and say that they, personally, can't defend this.=20

If anyone likes the chair, or the essay, please speak up. I'm not saying that in an alpha dog challenging way, it's just that I hate gross intellectualism and elitism, and I hate how art has driven out normal people. This is a textbook case of how and why art has come to be this alienating thing. Normal people think they don't "get it" because they're normal, but I'm an artist and I don't get it either, but unlike Dave Barry, I don't feel the need to frame the dialog with counting myself as a clueless idiot.=20

K =20



On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, ispad wrote:

No, overall concepts of time are cultural. Lumping all under "Native Americans" makes this into an apocryphal sidebar. There are 500 Native languages.

The source in fact is a book by Edward T Hall on cultural differences, published in the 60's, I think "Hidden Dimension", mostly about personal space, and concepts of self as related to the body.

The people he talks about in this Goverment project were Navaho, and the tale is substantially correct. It should be pointed out that on his advice the Government stopped talking about completion time and scheduals, and switched to talking about the benefits of irrigation.

That worked. As Hall noted, they understood the value of a bargain: if they got to work, they would have water sooner for a crop.

Here is information from another source (Hopi, Navajo): Abbreviated


HTH /j


-Kathryn said,"I'm not saying that in an alpha dog challenging way, it's just that I hate gross intellectualism and elitism, and I hate how art has driven out normal people. This is a textbook case of how and why art has come to be this alienating thing. Normal people think they don't "get it" because they're normal, but I'm an artist and I don't get it either, but unlike Dave Barry, I don't feel the need to frame the dialog with counting myself as a clueless idiot"

You say that you have sold art work on occasion. Is this because you have presented to these "normal people" only the work that they might understand or is it because you only sell work to intellectual thugs that get it? If you were to frame a picture with your "textbook" in it perhaps you should consider including yourself in that frame reading it. After this picture is framed we'll hang it beside some of Renoir's bathers and we''ll marvel at the seductive use of fantasy in both. This "textbook" doesn't exist. MT/DB


"If anyone likes the chair, or the essay, please speak up. I'm not saying that in an alpha dog challenging way, it's just that I hate gross intellectualism and elitism, and I hate how art has driven out normal people. This is a textbook case of how and why art has come to be this alienating thing. Normal people think they don't "get it" because they're normal, but I'm an artist and I don't get it either, but unlike Dave Barry, I don't feel the need to frame the dialog with counting myself as a clueless idiot"

I'm with Michael, the textbook doesn't exist. But more to the point, I'll take the bait and defend the chair, albeit in a roundabout way.

The Dave Barry article is another stupid send up of the art world, ala the "Great Art!" section that appears often in News of the Wierd. column, occasional reviews by Michael Killian and Alan Artner, and numerous pundits on the editorial page. Yes, Barry refers to himself as a "clueless idiot"--definitely tongue-in-cheek, but he obviously uses the descriptive "serious" to make fun of anyone who would think differently from him and defend the offending artworks.

You know, good or bad, things don't end up at places like Art Basel unless there is at the least a sizable quorum of people who like the item. So obviously the chair doesn't have 3 fans, but more like 300.

But more to the point, why is the art world one of the only places (the other generally being academia) where a bad art work or bad book damns the entire process to frivolity?

Hollywood producers didn't have to stand up and denounce Torque, or Gigli, or whatever in order to restore the faith of normal people.

Ford doesn't have to explain itself to the public for poor selling models, and if something is mechanically wrong, it offers a recall.

(And, whether or not a piece is shown again and again, I think is somewhat analogous to a recall.)

Some bad art is not a sign of something rotten in the art world, neither is some bad criticism. It is just a rotten piece of produce at the stand. It is worth noting that Barry casts off, as an aside, that there was lots of good art on display. But only after he has ridiculed the idea that someone could indeed like the chair, or the bloops. And the fact is, obviously someone does. Probably a "real normal person."

Every field has its crackpots, and its consensus. Both the art world, and the "normal people" are equally guilty for the lack of relevance of, or concern for, art. It takes two to tango.

I'm not asking for boosterism in the art world, and I don't think the art world is above spoofing, but obviously somebody liked the chair, and somebody liked the nonsensical critical defense, you didn't, Barry didn't, big f---ing deal.

We see this all the time. And I find rampant anti-intellectualism--often found in Barry's column by the way--just as dangerous as rampant over-intellectualism.

I hate crass misguided pleas to the masses and common sense, you hate "gross intellectualism and elitism"--we all hate something.

Oh and... "I have met some good con artists in my day, and I have talked shop with strippers and hustlers of every variety, but this guy, I'd like to shake his hand. Next time I rob a bank I'm going to take him with me so if we get caught, he can talk us out of it."

your analogy is false, if he were a good con man, you and Barry would have fallen for it. a


Fair enough. And I was ranting, but the thing I'm bucking against is like the fraternity of police or doctors, I sometimes feel like should defend pieces of art like DB described in an attempt to show that you can't wholesale negate the value of a piece of art just because you don't understand it.=20

But something about the chair WITH the blurb (I have more issue with the blurb than the chair itself), just struck me as foul. I have a tough history and used to put myself in situations where I had to asses strangers very quickly, and I got good at it. And my spider sense is that possibly Rodney McMillan and more certainly James Scarborough may be working from a very dishonest place. So I'll isolate it, I like weird art, but I hate the chair piece and the essay. And I just want to celebrate the freedom to be critical of my own community, when I think it's called for. =20

And to frame the discussion and answer your question, I presented work to normal people and normal people bought it. I make these big, flat, stoneware fish, they are around 3 feet long and are a spoof on putting a trophy fish above the mantle, except my fish look scared to death, some have big shark teeth and their eyes are bugging out. They are funny. When people look at them they laugh. And I have made custom fish to match the tile in people's bathrooms - not too glamorous. I sell them for a few hundred bucks at most. And I write poems that are five words long because that's all I have an attention span for. I'm not dumbing it down for anyone, I make stuff for people that I like for myself, and my style has always been a very approachable one. Again, not a choice, it's just my style.=20

Also, my beef goes beyond art. I work in technology and am surrounded by programmers and engineers, and I need to understand aspects of what they are doing although I share none of their training. The smartest ones can always explain stuff to me, and the incompetent ones just can't put their ideas into normal language. So sometimes when I don't get the message, I question the messenger.=20

Someday, someday someday soon I will make it to Dogmatic Gallery, I would love to see the place.=20



I'm softening on this issue by the minute. I was just thinking that I love the book "Reframing Abstract Expressionism", I have to read it with a dictionary open, as it's an impossibly hard read, but it's worth it.=20

It's just a bad essay, I think.=20

I just need to relax a little, stop drinking espresso after midnight.=20

Always,=20 Kathryn=20

P.S. I put up a mock up of the promotional site if anyone is bored. Proofreading comments are greeted with love.


On Wed, 11 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

To be as poorly attended elsewhere? The unmotivated?

Certainly it would be up to curators and dealers, and not depend on the attendance record? 'Rotating exhibits' is not a concept like a bus route; it would be a negotiated process.

Show might show up elsewhere months later - if at all - and certainly a poorly attended show would not be rewarded, but showings, as Michael pointed out, are not about attendance, but about what a dealer/curator likes and wants, and wants to project as the dealer's image of art.

Maybe it is just too scary; might lose money, might loser patrons, might lose face, might not like it, never been done before, it is just not done, it is inapproriate, ...

And to Bulka's "you don't step in the same river twice": That was Heraclitus, "Time is like a river, you can't step in it twice" (But of course you can, if you move down river). The galleries ought to move downstream, and step into time again.

(a few warped tropes) /jno


On Wed, 11 Feb 2004, jno wrote:

Well, I could not help not thinking about it.. So now there is a 'search by year' function on the archive.php page. It's a simple Unix 'grep'.

Case independent (can search for Barry or barry), exact phrasing (can find 'Dave Barry sucks'), no 'complex search' (no metacharacters).

If a search phrase spans a line break, it will not be found.

One line returns indicating the found page(s).

By year to limit the output.

HTH /jno


I found this while looking up white cube stuff. It is a post dated Sept. 22nd 1998 from a chat group not unlike this one. Its author goes by the handle, Dr. Future.

Is this all we are? Once you remove the fine coating of Neo-Kantian dogma and the white wash residue of even the most independent of spaces are you left with a bunch of left handed naked monkey problem solvers?



It's just odd that we're talking about dave berry. He's a lame-ass pop-culture humorist. He seems smarter than a lot of people, and he's probably a decent human being, and I read his column on the few times a year that I pick up the sunday trib, but why do we care what he says about art? I'm sure he's jumped on the Proxmire Golden Fleece awards for scientific research he can't understand, too. So what? His in-print persona is a caricature of Homer Simpson's idea of an intellectual.

For some reason, I haven't been able to get to the smarty blurb, [] (points for berry for including it), but I'll try again. The chair probably really is stupid art. It sounds like the artist as jingoist, pretending to be a sociologist, while he ridicules his fantasy of someone from another class. An Amos 'n' Andy skit who's victem probably doesn't have the access to know he's been slighted or have the power to make the artist care . Whatever. We can see the product of flawed MFAs at any first friday, and the MCA's 12 x 12 may specialize in found shit with a resume. (I don't really know. I don't go there.)

But might not there be someone writing who would be more worth talking about?


Yeah, this is just more of Dave Barry's normal schtick.

Gotta share my own little personal encounter with him. Last fall, out of the blue, he lightly dissed a project of mine on his blog. We then had a goofy, spirited email exchange that he eventually peppered with some uninformed personal attacks. At that point, I said something about how it must be nice to sit around taking random shots at strangers. Must've hit a soft spot because oddly, minutes later, he posted this semi-sincere public apology...


On some level tho, I actually sympathize. It seems to me that his essential purpose in this activity, like the News of the Weird or 60 Minutes doing Koons, is for artworld outsiders to publicly ask if the Emperor is wearing any clothes. And really, that's not such a bad question to ask of art (or any other form where persuasion helps determine consensus).

One of the joys of my undergrad art experience was watching Peter Saul grill Robert Storr about Ryman. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about, Bob, looks like a white panel to me."



On Fri, 13 Feb 2004, bulka wrote:

Barry is funny when he takes a bland statement to absurdity in a followup sentence. I never remember the particulars of what he writes about, or even his twists of logic, but I'm entertained.

I initially brought up Dave Barry because his column "touches on all the facets of visual art which turn off the general public". Didn't mention the chair -- others did. And 'all' may be too much, but but..

It is not what he says about the art pieces but his presentation that I wanted to point out. People agree with him, for his humor is understood as benign, and therefore it is assumed that it doesn't falsify the subject, it just ribs it. That is dangerous, for it make the projected attitude believable. His column is read by thousands who will understand the tone of implicit dismissal. That's bad.

On the other hand, James Scarborough's 'blurb' projects a sense of tongue-in-cheek irony ( [] ). But when Barry takes it out of the context of it becomes something else: straight faced high-falutin art criticism. I agree with Karthryn that it is all but unreadable, but I think it is meant to be so.

Barry's article also brings home the absolute blandness of the pseudo critical style which accompanies much of the visual arts. No reason to care what Barry says about art. But but ...

IMHO /jno

Direct unbroken link to the Dave Barry Trib column 'chair piece' see []


This Friday marked two years since the first and last time I hosted/organized an independent art event, the 3039 show. It was fun and successful in all ways other than financial. Not to take all the credit, it was my studio mate John and I who hosted, and all the contributing artists that organized the show. Anyhow, it was a fabulous event and I feel like writing about this Valentines weekends events as an anniversary gift to myself and in tribute to all Do-It-Yourself artist organized events.

First I will discuss two shows on Friday 13th : Karina Nimmerfall at BucketRiders first event in their new space and then Nathaniel Rackowe at Garden Fresh. Lastly, a special Valentines Day apartment show on Saturday.

It seemed to me that Nimmerfalls installation was a decent work. The event was obviously a success, well attended and bustling with energy. However, and perhaps this was merely circumstantial and coincidence, none of the projections, of which I believe there were three, were playing upon my entrance. I stood around for a few moments until eventually Anthony pressed play on one of the decks. What appeared seemed to be a domestic interior with a window view, with which we could see snow falling, perhaps digitized. The projections were bounced off of mirrors on the floor and hit screens suspended between makeshift walls, viewable from either side. I was unclear as to which parts of the installation were intentional, to be read as the work, and which parts were of necessity. Regardless, the overall read was one of disorientation and the viewer could not help but include himself in the entire process of its unfolding, inevitably casting his or her shadow while navigating.

Which brings me to Rackowes installation at GardenFresh. Here there is a very distinct and specific relationship of the viewer to the work. In the main gallery there is a metal frame covered in clear frosted corrugated vinyl siding suspended from a dowel attached to a motor on the ceiling that rotated, a giant single paneled revolving door that consumed a majority of the space. One had to continually be aware of its presence and their relationship to it or risk literally being swooped up by the object. Adjacent was a similar contraption, motor on ceiling, only it was connected to a chord that raised and lowered a metal cube containing a light source that would reflect on the walls like a Xerox machine or passing elevator. Both pieces had a clear relationship to one another, to the audience, and were both meditative and menacing.

These two exhibitions were in direct contrast with one another and I appreciated the spectrum of experience in a single evening. The first pluralistic and undefined, the second specific and refined. There was another contrast, sadly poetic and glaringly obvious, the overwhelming attendance at BucketRider and the lack there of at GardenFresh. I was one in a crowd of five that included the gallerys director, the artist and his wife. However, I did get an opportunity to fully engage the work and have a lengthy conversation with the artist. It was an intimacy well received, but perhaps a sensibility not appreciated by all.

Intimacy seems an appropriate sentiment to conjure on this weekend of hearts and flowers, and Saturday night at 2432 N. Washtenaw, Apt.3N, was an exhibition of intimacy, light-heartedness, and fun. Packed with over twenty artists works in a two bedroom apartment, I chose three artists work to discuss that I felt were the strongest and most relevant to the theme of the show.

Stephanie Dowell had a small painting in the kitchen, approximately 8in. sq., of two poodles on a beach with an ocean wave in the background. I have seen her work before and the only thing I can say is that it is always slightly disturbing in that they are so over the top lovely and innocent. I suspect the utmost sincerity in these works, however, sometimes when you keep cranking up the volume on sincerity, you come out on some other incestuous end that reflects a truth of society and culture unachievable through any distanced critical practice. Regardless, I cannot help but look. Unbreakable gazes are rare and questioning their existence is fruitless.

On the hallway table there was a discreet piece by Alex Jovanavitch, an envelope containing a handwritten letter to the artists mother, asking for forgiveness and reconciliation on this Valentines Day weekend. It was so sweet and honest that I had trouble reading it (I only skimmed it, I felt so invasive) or criticizing it for its sweetness and honesty; something I generally have no problem doing. I hate the explicit/personal. It had a realism combined with an unassuming presentation that lent the work a potency that seemed appropriate for this show. Being familiar with this artists oeuvre and knowing that this piece is not typical informed me more as to his intentions and thinking.

The last work I would like to mention is by Ken Borman. It is silly and obvious but often a bad idea taken to its fullest conclusion, presented matter -of -factly, can have an impact worthy of note. Yes. He installed a Felix Gonzalez-Torres-esque candy corner pile using Valentines Day candy hearts. And that=E2=80=99s all I have to say about that.

Ben Foch



that's one of the funnier things I've read in a while. thnx to the Doctor for formulating such a grim take on life/art. I dunno, every time I'm faced with such prognosis I think that it's funny in an old-jewish-man-complaining-about-life sorda way!

We are living in a capitalist society. Commodity exchange is the cornerstone of our social structure at the moment (has it's good and bad points.) However artworks are not dependent solely on commodity exchange they also operate in the gift economy realm (-- I am lifting this straight out of Lewis Hyde's "The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property."

I think good doctor concentrated on only one part of the equation. Work by naked ape problem solvers is generally pretty flat. I mean good decorative stuff --) all those Southwest paintings generally look pretty good on the walls of restaurants and offices and such, but that's not how one gains one's aura :) (side note: this particular naked ape really doesn't dig "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" , but really it's a side note, back to the rant at hand)

The other part is the gift side of the equation; so we could say "crystallize it into a single gift" instead of "reduce it to a single commodity. Yes, there are processes of compression and removal from direct context involved here. One can not expect ANY viewer to become an instant part of anything "intangible" or "decentralized" or whatever... However as artists we can make gateways into these types of systems. Be it in the realm of digital, painting, or some other, yet unknown, chimera, art work's EVOCATIVE powers are really at it's core -- that's religious art 101.

An image of christ nailed down to a cross, can be traded and can be extremely expansive. It is a commodity in our world. By being a commodity it gains exposure: ex. Zurbaran's painting at the tute -- world famous, got here from Spain. Yet it also acts as a pointer to a distributed, intangible, and often decentralized (I am intentionally skipping "replicatable" and "non-auratic" (no conveyer belt in the 16th century) though these terms can be applied to may religions (and I use this word loosely) I am not talking about a conversion experience, just a glimpse at the ongoing spiritual function of a community of believers (once again very loose word usage). This commodity, removed from it's context (church), still functions in a non-static way.

Note: I realize that I left many serious holes in my arguments here. just wanted to keep it brief (I could easily continue this rant for a couple of more pages, but I think people would not read it, or I'll get bored at the very end and start writing crap.) a-a-anyways for a lurker I've already exceeded my monthly quota:

take care.


On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, Adam Mikos wrote:

No, Mikos, it is the inability to construct an imagined space placed in time, and visualize an analog 'me cat' exploring this space - and then report on it (that last is probably asking a lot of the cat).

Consciousness is created metaphorically; it is based on language - an ever expanding series of analogs and metaphors, where anything new (real or imagined) can be described with words from existing (real or not) things.

Although language is not enough. Animals use language, "Let's play; let's eat; let's screw."

Here are my dogs imagining the next few moments, but not much more:

Well.. I had some additional paragraphs, but I deleted them. I imagine the OG is more interested in cast iron pans.



Commodity exchange in general provides a structure with which the left handed naked monkey problem solver provides its ware. It is a structure which the solved problem of the left handed naked monkey must take into account according to Dr. Future, for its' work to be fulfilled. If that exchange exists in a capital (resource) or a gift exchange should matter little to Dr. Future as his assesment of the fulcrum of the creative process rests in the assertion that the creative act is a reactionary economic experiance to ideals lifted from somewhere be it the Frankfurters, the marxists or the facsists.

Spirituality might be an individual's perogitive but it is driven, compelled and formed by forces that require economic stability to maintain a singularity among the many. Just look at our little ideological war on terrorism. We need money to win a war of hearts and minds against an invisible force thats constantly throwing fundraisers to blow our shit up. Yet I'm certain that when all is said and done art can and will exist on either side of this fence.



OG's Anyone interested in the growler coming out of Boston? Boston MFA lends Monets (21 to be exact) to Bellagio for a guaranteed 1 milion in return for the favor. adam


I looked up 'strings' in a book on the physics and metaphysics of cosmology. They first appear in the early 60's, and were estimated in 1974 to be on the order of 1 x 10 exp -35 meters for gravitons (Schwartz and Schrek) (of course no-one has ever detected that boson).

They turn out to be quite small, but you know, things can always be scaled up cosmologically. "By 1987 strings were the hottest thing in particle physics" (Ferris). When did you see that revealing TV program?

But add this to your pipe mix, dudes: Herbert Dingle comments about the mathematical foundation of cosmology (Science at the Cross-Roads):

And the 27 disappeared dimensions in space.



I'm not certain what this "string" pertains to but this mathematician hasn't been keeping abreast of recent observations to the dark force that acts in opposition to Einstiens cosmological constant, which Einstien in fact discounted after his writing of the general theory of relitivitity. It made sense to him at the time time but he renigged on the existence of this dark matter and tried to rewrite his theory to fit a universe that defied his own observation. Dark matter has since been proven to exist, as a matter of fact the New york times ran a story on tuesday that suggested, in the next 35 billion years it will act as the agent leading to the Big End. This makes Eienstien both right and wrong which furthers Schrodinger's point about his famous cat. Strangely enough its this same damn cat that makes those strings possible. MT/DB

From: jno Reply-To: group at To: group at Subject: othergroup 1922: lint Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 15:11:52 -0600 (CST)

I looked up 'strings' in a book on the physics and metaphysics of cosmology. They first appear in the early 60's, and were estimated in 1974 to be on the order of 1 x 10 exp -35 meters for gravitons (Schwartz and Schrek) (of course no-one has ever detected that boson).

They turn out to be quite small, but you know, things can always be scaled up cosmologically. "By 1987 strings were the hottest thing in particle physics" (Ferris). When did you see that revealing TV program?

But add this to your pipe mix, dudes: Herbert Dingle comments about the mathematical foundation of cosmology (Science at the Cross-Roads):

And the 27 disappeared dimensions in space.



I had a dream, where someone said to me,

I became very attentive (in my dream), expecting a revealing answer. I became so attentive that I woke up. Now I wonder, What do they say about Chicago Artists?



On Thu, 19 Feb 2004, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

Hey, Michael, clean up yr email before posting it, even if it is hard to do with a mouse. I dont buy General Relativity, as long as gravity acts instantaneously. Schrodinger, btw, was a painter also. He painted his cat, Heisenberg, and titled the painting "This is a cat; this is not a cat." You should show his work; you should not show his work.

- The Cosmological Constant wasnt about 'dark matter', however. The Cosmological Constant deal with his attempt to force a steady state universe condition to his GR theory (Alex Friedmann in 1917 showed that adding the Cosmological Constant resulted in an algebraically error in Einstein's GR equations, at whcih time the terms were removed).

Dark matter didnt show up till the 30's. Dark matter is meant to explain why stars in a galaxy do not move at a slower speed if they are further from the center (they all move at the same speed). To allow for the fact that they don't, intervening 'dark matter' is invented.

A lot of it. It is postulated that the dark matter exceeds visible matter by a factor of 10. That is a lot of hidden matter which has never been detected. And the sense is that 'it' is somehow peculiar - although it should not be, or it would not count gravitationally. Maybe it consists entirely of brown dwarfs and discarded planets, but I would suspect that if anything, it would be intragalactic birkland currents, a plasma, and if that is the case then we dont need gravity to hold this galaxy together, we can resort to electricity. And if the plasma exists intergalactically (the spiral arms of galaxies would suggest it does) it would probably set an upper limit to the speed of light, which by some experimenters is held to be infinite, that is, instantaneous. (Search web info on Hannes Alvfen, Anthony Peratt, Laszlo Kortvelyessy, Halton Arp, Irving Langmuir, Don Scott, Ralph Juergens, Kristian Birkeland, Wal Thornhill)

- string theory (discussed in January, when some TV program featured it as the new look at the Universe, etc, typically, and not unlike most text books, about 30 years after the fact, and consisting entirely of accepted dogma) was a means of resolving the required normalization of infinities encountered because of the allotted point dimensions of particles in the symmetry equations of a Grand Unification Theory. Enter it into a Big Bang, and you have an exposition on the Universe.



They are hard working, dedicated, and lacking a significant collecting community.

At 11:00 AM 2/24/2004 -0600, you wrote:


Sorry if I am dropping in on this thread late, as what I am about to say may have been the spark that started the discussion, BUT there is a really interesting article in Popular Science this month dumbing down to the level of mere mortals the current theories of multi-dimensional physics.

An interesting read for those who have always suspected everything we perceive is a lie.


"You know what they say about Chicago Artists, heh?"

They waste a good many hours waiting for the bus.


They don't say anything at all. Try getting out of Chicago once in a while.


Adam Mikos wrote: "They don't say anything at all. Try getting out of Chicago once in a while."

Are you asking us to give you a big round of applause for having the vast creativity to move to L.A.?



On Tue, 24 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

The dude in in SF. Worse. /jno


Oh, SF is a great city. From what I have seen of L.A. I'd much rather live in S.F. There are more independently run book stores on three blocks in the Mission district than Chicago probably has in the entire city. Marc

jno wrote: "The dude in in SF. Worse. /jno"



I would applaud you, Marc, if you actually knew why I moved to LA. It was to go with my then girlfriend/now wife because she got into grad school out here. Unfortunately the "for the girlfriend" leap of logic may be lost on you. It was not for any art-related reasons my portly friend.

Furthermore, if I may, LA is actually better than SF as far as art is concerned. When the world comes to the US, the majority of the time it goes to either New York or LA. Then maybe up to SF. By "the world" I mean dance productions, theater, rock, dj's, orchestra's, designers, artists, film, etc. Coming from every corner of the globe, almost every day of the week. When you look in the LA Weekly (same type of thing as the Reader) there are so many incredible shows and events happening. So everyone that rails against the kind of people that (they think) live in LA, they forget that there is also a huge population of people that have immigrated there from other countries and the huge population of people just passing through, not including students. The vast pool of people that mingle through events and openings, drinking in bars and clubs, is truly amazing. That doesn't even take into account how any well known artists maintain their studios in and around LA and the job opportunities of working for them. The daily contact with people who either making their own things happen or who work for Jorge Pardo, Charlie Ray or Paul McCarthy is exciting and also makes your goals seem so much more attainable. Artists who are actually visible outside of the thirty people who keep showing up at openings. Don't forget that LA is the worlds sixth largest economy as well, which helps things moving.

Most importantly, I saw more people leaning out of limo's and throwing up on a curb in two years of living in LA than everywhere else combined. Now that's better than watching homeless people pissing on themselves in Chicago.


ah yes, folks throwing up on a curb vs folks pissing on themselves... its really hard to decide where's the best place to be.

hi all, sorry I only contribute to this dialogue occasionally, but I'm working on it.

best, barbara k.

On Tuesday, February 24, 2004, at 11:13 PM, Adam Mikos wrote:


Adam Mikos wrote: "my portly friend."

At last, it has come to this.

Okay I changed my mind. LA sounds incredible. I'm so there. Marc


Dear Othergroup

You all don't know me, (I just joined the list because after living in Chicago as an "artist" for the past ten years, I'm heartened by the fact that there is a lively dialogue of sorts going on here which assuages some of my doubts about it as having a sense of community amongst it's artists) but I was compelled to comment on this issue of Chicago vs. L. A./New York, S.F. etc. because of a recent experience of having spent some time in California with a lot of L.A. artists.

I participated in a residency called Painting's Edge last summer with about thirty other artists most of whom were from L.A. or New York. The program was started by Roland Reiss (whose work some of you may have recently seen at Standard/the Pond/ 1/Quarterly as part of an exchange between these galleries and Raid Projects in L.A.) Some of the participating visiting artists/critics included Monique Prieto, Fabian Marcaccio, David Reed, Christopher Miles and Sharon Ellis. We spent two weeks meeting with these artists and each other over critiques, lunch, dinner and discussions. What really struck me about the whole experience was how a certain measure of success combined with living/working in a community which has no doubt of it's legitimacy allowed these artists (and not just the "famous" ones) to dispense with some of the attitude I encounter so often here in Chicago. My complaint with Chicago is that it so often feels that it's got this big chip on it's shoulder with regards to the so-called major art centers and as a result remains insular, self-serious, reluctant to admit outsiders to it's scene for fear of jeopardizing this "seriousness", and in general overly concerned with proving itself worthy.

Granted Chicago's general culture is notoriously anti-intellectual and suspicious of art unlike some of these other cities which may account for this attitude on the part of it's artists as well as Chicago's small collector base. (Furthermore my experience of L.A. was limited and I'm probably over generalizing.) But.... my feeling is that until we overcome our inferiority complex we will continue to be doomed to lose people to the coasts and remain irrelevant, (although this appears to be lifting somewhat.)

I don't know any of you personally and it's not my intention to offend here, just wanted to add my two cents. Thanks for bearing with this rather lengthy first contribution.


Katherine Drake Chial

On Feb 25, 2004, at 6:31 AM, Marc Fischer wrote:


Adam wrote:

I've enjoyed the repartee between the two of you immensely. Mostly I love Mark's righteous indignation but have also appreciated Adam's incredible stupidity. Until now, both of your attacks have been based on ideas, intelligence or the lack there-of. But the above slams by Adam go beyond the pale.

Adam, your smugness is truly appalling. Get bent.


Marc and Adam, sorry, please try to avoid being totally pathetic.

Katherine, thanks for the input, I'd like to respond a bit:

I guess I'm a little bothered by the idea that we will "remain irrelevant," because it implies that we are irrelevant now, and therefore that everyone supporting and looking at our work here in Chicago (or Madison, St. Louis, Duluth, and so on) are also irrelevant. Like they don't need art too.

I think that I might be an exception in that I still believe very much in locality (er, the local), and the importance of just working on something where I am, FOR where I am , and for the people around me.

Are people really burdened by the desire to appeal to the coasts? That would certainly be sad.

I don't think that a preoccupation with locality precludes relevance in other places, or even globally. Audiences are smart enough to get something out of work that has been transplanted from some other local context. And they even crave it. Which why TV networks bother to set shows in various cities, even though the are all shot on a sound stage in LA.

I don't think working with a local consciousness is the only way to work, not at all. And I don't think that it is an anti-globalist way of working either. But I do think there's not enough of it. I think there is a very common way of working right now that avoids local concerns under the misconception that burdening the work that way will make it irrelevant to non-local audiences. But instead what this does is produce a lot of generic, boring work that nobody, anywhere gives a damn about.

Thanks, Mike Wolf


>"for the girlfriend" leap of logic may be lost on you." and "my portly friend." > >Adam, your smugness is truly appalling. Get bent.

Howdy all,

This gives me pause for thought, I have been on this list for a brief period of time, and some of the personal attacks make me reflect on what it is that makes the art world such a drag.

I have an unusual background, I studied art and sound engineering as an undergrad, and then went to law school. Mid-way through law school I decided to get my MFA along with my law degree. Returning to art school after law school sounded like it would be a nice change to return to a community of people I easily identified with, but truth be told, once I did go into the MFA program I found that I preferred the company of law students to people in the arts. Why? Lawyers may be jerks (and it is true, many of them are) but there is a degree of candor and respect, even of someone you don't particularly care for, that I find missing in the arts. I would have knock down, drag out conflict with my legal colleagues, and then we could go out to lunch together, there was always a level of frankness paired with respect there that I found lacking in the dialog in art school. It seems to me that when there is conflict or disagreement in the arts people tend to take it REALLY personally and immediately move to form teams, these people are bad, my people are good.

I have met Adam on a couple occasions, I don't think I have met Marc, but they both are articulate coherent adults. Why then does the rhetoric have to reduce itself to these acrimonious exchanges. I was encouraged to join this list by a friend who said that he enjoyed the level of exchange and dialog on the arts in Chicago.

I do hope this forums recent series of "You're an idiot" "No YOU'RE and idiot" exchanges are the exception and not the norm because I really do enjoy the discussion most of the time. I do think we as people in the arts need to focus less on adversarial interaction and instead explore the ways to build community.

By now you are thinking "all right you wordy jerk, what is your bright idea", I think it would be great if there could be some sort of monthly community get-together at a local bar, coffee shop, gallery, whatever, to spark further networking and discussion. It would be nice to put faces and personalities to the e-text.

Anyway, apologies for the rambling rant. I'd love to hear what people think.

Richard Holland



Thanks for responding. I misspoke on that point. I by no means=20 personally consider Chicago to be irrelevant merely that unfortunately=20=

I think a lot of people on the coasts may find us so. That's also their=20=

fault for not looking beyond their own backyard. In addition to the=20 positives I also, (being the only chicagoan) detected ignorance verging=20=

on snobbery with regard to Chicago art and artists. This is one way in=20=

which Chicago is more progressive in that we do tend to have an=20 interest in places outside of ourselves--Madison, etc. I don't mean to=20=

be overly negative and have seen a lot of commitment amongst the=20 community to making it a place where artists want to stay and work;=20 hopefully the rest of the world will catch on to how much we have to=20 offer. And I agree that it's by no means a good idea to pander to the=20 coasts or abandon our local flavor. That's, as you say, the surest way=20=

to not get noticed.



On Feb 25, 2004, at 11:24 AM, Se=F1or Lobo wrote:

appears irrelevant. in of


I am one of those people who have never had a second city problem in my head. I don't know what's wrong with me--either I have a too rosy attitude, or I drink too much whiskey.

Chances are it is a combination.

So, personal attacks--and tastes--aside, let's review some items just off the top of my head, without doing any research:

- d. peterman has an upcoming retrospective, and his continual bunch of european commissions
- kj marshall has a major touring exhibition.
- i manglano-ovalle is a "genius"
- j dunning has an upcoming west coast retrospective, and a web project on dia's website.
- g gerber is a perennial inclusion in __nnials.
- d. stratman had a recent project at ucla hammer and is in the whitney biennial.
- simparch--half from here--is in the whitney b. and was in the last documenta.
- e paschke received a guggenheim fellowship last year.
- h mirra had a residency in berkeley and was in the venice b. and a recent london exhibition.
- s brooks had a major show in ny and london in the last year/year and a half.
- t tasset had a recent retrospective.
- e altman had a major german retrospective.
- l palmer has a residency in cambridge, and a project with HaHa coming up at Mass Moca.
- j reeder's bio contains a lot of recent european screenings.
- l letinsky has an upcoming renaissance society show.
- m grabner has quite a few writings in current publications.
- j ledgerwood has a review in a current national artmag.
- g bordowitz has an upcoming mit press book and an article in the current artforum.
- j skoller has a book coming out from university of minn press.
- t services has 4 international shows this spring.
- a fischer has some paintings in a project at the Mattress factory.
- c chow is a tiffany grant recipient.

This is ignoring a lot of younger folks with things (both big and small) brewing.

Boy, things sure do look bleak... why is it those who complain the most about the chicago art scene are those who have left? a


On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Scott Speh wrote:

Oh, come on.. Maybe you were out of town when the mutual ad hominum attacks happened, starting somewhere around post 1818 in January and continuing into February.

And why Elms and Marc were so defensive about the Prisoners Inventions book is still unresolved as far as I am concerned.

(flame) /jno


On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Lorelei Stewart wrote:

Here is an ASCII transcript (I hate multipart/alternative, I hate MS /j)

Thank you Anthony. This is a fantastic argument against the perennial griping? Lorelei

PS. Mike I thought your missive was very eloquent. It would be nice for you to put some of thought into a longer concrete form, like an article.


On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Richard Holland wrote:

It's the web.. This sort of thing happens on most discussion groups (flames, name calling). But so what, there are some gems among the .. (I was going to say 'chaff') .. Just delete what doesnt make sense.

(BTW, anyone who regrets a post: just identify it by month and number, and it can be removed from the archives - send to help at

IMHO the most interesting discussions have started as flames.

That is how this group started. We need to ask Keri Butled to reconvene another session. The file [] has: "OtherGroup began in 1999 with ... meeting once a month to discuss, share, gripe, and debate."

That should have read "Gripe, discuss, share" ..

HTH /jno


jno wrote: "And why Elms and Marc were so defensive about the Prisoners Inventions book is still unresolved as far as I am concerned."

For me at least, because being accused of exploiting someone you work with is infuriating and the assumption was wildly inaccurate. That's all. Marc


Hi All,=20

First, Hi Katherine! Welcome on, I am the girl from the One Line Collective. I would like to point to the group that Katherine does beautiful work, and maybe she will add a link to her site (which is also beautifully done)

Richard, I really agree and I will say something I have said at my day job. We must remember that we are all on the same side here. With some variation, we agree on the basics that art in America is imperfect, and we would all like to do what we can to make it better - art is very important in every society. So let's not fight.=20

I also agree with Katherine in that the only problem is feeling like Chicago is a problem. I am really hitting the streets trying to get a show together, and promote it, and being in Chicago is really exciting. I downloaded the WBEZ show and really got a lot out of it. Doing something weird, like combining poetry and visual art, in Chicago, is very liberating. I don't have to worry if what I'm doing is "in" or "cool", and I don't have a whole scene that's knocking me down before I have a chance to stand. I was also able to basically cold call Artbeat and get the show mentioned.

The two biggest things I feel is that 1. things are changing very quickly on this planet, and the Chicago art scene today is going to be totally different 10 years from now. Second, I've also realized that "being in Chicago" means only that this is my local base and home. It's not like I can't show in other cities. My call for artists extended to the Internet and a quarter of the pieces in the show are from outside the area. There are something like 7 artists in the show I have never physically seen.=20

And speaking of, I, like Richard, would love to have a get together. We talk about the importance of context in artwork, I would love to know more about people's art and projects. I'm sorry to always be sharing my experiences (to those who may dread it), but it is something I would dig hearing from other people as well.=20

Looking at the calendar, on Saturday April 17, from 1-4, anyone from Othergroup is welcome to come by and we can all introduce ourselves. I'm NOT PROMOTING MY SHOW, I'M JUST OFFERING A MEETING PLACE WITH FREE COFFEE AND WINE and a bag of Doritos. Flat Iron is on Damen and North ave, and we're #205A. Anyone is welcome to propose an alternative or additional time space will no hard feelings from me.=20

Pax, =20

Kathryn equals twenty

(Jno, why don't you give me some specs about why we are getting this "=3D20" thing from people using Outlook? I'm pretty connected to the = Linux community and can find people who can help us.)=20



I never said that Chicago was a second city to anyone. I also did not say that no one ever succeeded from there.

The point, which stemmed from an earlier discussion concerning the potential for greater art success for artists in chi-town, was to illustrate some of the elements that can contribute to a world-class art town. Now before people say "we aren't trying to be world class", please review previous og discussion concerning the topic. Or glance at the list recently posted illustrating such.

If I can't call marc portly, and trying to have an intelligent discussion of one of his groups projects gets me called lazy and stupid (where were you speh!?!?! to defend my honor?!?!?), what is left?

Did everyone miss my post concerning the Boston MFA loan to Bellagio? Just not as interesting as name calling is it? Predictable.


As a former Chicago artist, now Los Angeles artist, I feel like I've got a certain perspective on this subject. First of all, I don't want to dis Chicago artists in any way, since I continue to see cool things from and/or work with WhiteWalls, God Bless Graffiti Coalition, DSLR, Temporary Services, Brennan McGaffey, VersionFest, and many others. With Cakewalk we try to feature artists from Chicago, LA and anywhere else.

Some observations:

There are probably 4-5 times as many "art scenes" in LA county than there are in Chicago. Each scene has its own prime movers, press, personal networks, supporters, demographics, place on the economic scale, geographic location, ideological/artistic perspective, definition of success. Some of these scenes are connected to eachother, but for the most part, there isn't one overarching "LA art scene."

It would be helpful, perhaps, to think of Chicago in a similar way, of distinct scenes, rather than some kind of heirarchical baseball farm system. In either city, ArtForum or Mr. Collector is going to pick and choose what they think is hot from within the few scenes that they are familiar with.

Some Chicagoans can get extremely bitter if they live there too long, especially if they are frustrated by the "state of the Chicago art scene", or nurture a second-city complex. the old dude who used to run Beret Gallery really cheesed me off before I left in 2001. I tried to sell him an ad in Cakewalk, and he went off about Cakewalk, art magazines, art, etc., basically renouncing his faith in art in general. It felt like a passage from the bible, and I got out of his dark cloud as soon as I could.

People here are more likely to buy fresh art for their living rooms. I think that in Chicago, people were just as happy to buy a copy of an early 20th century French cigarette poster. This may have to do with the mainstream white puritan culture of the midwest, or, that in LA art is seen as more of a commodity that must be kept up with the Jonses.

Studio space for artists is probably no more expensive in LA than in Chicago.

It's been harder to build a community for Cakewalk in LA than I expected, in as far as galleries and stores who will want to lend their finacial support.

There are way more big-time millionaire collectors in LA than in Chicago that contribute to large-scale public and private art projects. Getty, Eli Broad, lots of Hollywood folks, etc.

There are many more world-class MFA programs in LA than Chicago.There are also many more MFAs to compete with for jobs, shows, fellowships, etc.

The words "sell out" are hardly ever used in my experience in LA. I think that the critique of capitalism and art is more nuanced here, aside/within the factory.

Artists in LA that I know are more likely subsidise their art career by substitute teaching in the public school system than any other job.

The best people in LA that I know are most likely to be from Chicago.



On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Marc Fischer wrote:

I'll buy that, it certainly is better than "you remain a lazy, sloppy and shallow thinker". Stupidity and Uglyness are the sins in this society.

Being Amoral, a Thief, or a Lier are not sins. You would not have upset or insulted anyone by calling them an amoral lieing thief.

(did I spell that correctly?) /jno


Richard Holland wrote: "I think it would be great if there could be some sort of monthly community get-together at a local bar, coffee shop, gallery, whatever, to spark further networking and discussion. It would be nice to put faces and personalities to the e-text."

We hold "Brunchluck" (Potluck Brunch) at Mess Hall (6932 N. Glenwood Ave. in Rogers Park) on the second and fourth Sundays of every month. It's free and anyone is more than welcome to come by. We started this at the beginning of January and it has been a nice way for a lot of people to get together who might not run into each other so easily otherwise. The conversation and food have both been delicious and abundant. It starts at 12:00 and usually lasts for a few hours. A sampling of last Sunday's menu included: scrambled eggs, waffles, halvah, dates, humus and pita, about 4 kinds of muffins, coffee, coffee cake, oranges, and surely a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting. Bringing Sunday newspapers is also encouraged. Driving to Rogers Park on a Sunday is really pretty quick if you live much further south and there is a Red Line stop (Morse) right outside our door. Marc


Jno: "Stupidity and Uglyness are the sins in this society. " and: "Being Amoral, a Thief, or a Lier are not sins. You would not have upset or insulted anyone by calling them an amoral lieing thief. "

This being a day for forgivness and all, I guess I will pass along:

Bob Nickas: [to curators] "If you do sleep with a young artist, you must be convinced that his work will be of interest to others, and for more than a season. After all is said and done, it is the exhibition which should be well-hung." and: "No matter how grievous your crimes--financial, ethical or spiritual--everyone has nine lives in the art world. Christian forgiveness is alive and well. Amen."



Richard Holland wrote: "I think it would be great if there could be some sort of monthly community get-together at a local bar, coffee shop, gallery, whatever, to spark further networking and discussion. It would be nice to put faces and personalities to the e-text."

There are monthly meetings, lots of'em, just not formalized. Generally the first Friday of the month, at a bunch of galleries. Lookin' at pictures is often just an excuse for the talkin' and drinkin'. There may not be as much meaty discussion as we'd like, but the potential is there.

It has been a long time since I've made someone cry in a crit and then went out for beers, but it can happen. Maybe I'm just not paying attention, but, even though I've written some unflattering reviews, I don't think I have a lot of enemies (except for Jeanne Dunning - I don't know what her problem is).

Maybe it is true that we go only to the meetings we go to, and talk only to people we talk to, instead of a more general mix, but nobody wants to talk to everybody.



On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Katherine Chial wrote:

That was the impression I got of LA when I was there for four days in August of 2000 (during the Rep. Convention): got shuttled between artists, studios, and Workshops for the marches against the Convention. I was there for an opening, and the second day into my stay the artist I was staying with (Shiela Pinkel, btw, who talks at Gal 400 Thursday) had taken in and was boarding half the Alternative Television crews, and cooking for 15.

It all looked so lively, the weather was warm, we visited Paloma beach, and 15 people ate cabbage soup at night. But of course, like you, I only saw what had floated to the top. But there sure was a lot of activity.

Steve's description has to be a lot more reliable, but evokes the same sunshine, even to our credit, "The best people in LA that I know are most likely to be from Chicago."

I also like Steve's comment...

I would recognize the Ned Schwartz tirade anywhere! Now _that's_ Chicago.



Hi All,

Jno, there is something to that California sun!

Kathryn. Thanks for your welcome and kind words re my work. Hope the show's coming along well!

Richard I also would like to put faces to names and would be up for meeting other og's.

As for my griping, hopefully you all will bear with me, I didn't mean to come off that way. I live a pretty isolated life being a mother of two crazy children and often can't keep up w/everything that's going on out there re chicago art and artists, thus my interest in joining this list. Btw Anthony, thanks for disabusing me of my ignorance (I happened to see a Jason Salavon piece in Harper's this month, so there's another for your list.)

best, Katherine

Katherine Drake Chial chial at [] On Feb 26, 2004, at 2:01 AM, jno wrote:


I saw a pink Hummer drive by yesterday. Wish I had seen the driver. /jno


Yeah, I could write this as an offline email to Jno, but why? At heart, don't we all, ultimately, wish to know and understand Jno better? His deep inner workings?

I talked to my dream analysis friend about your dream, and how to break down dream meanings, per Freud.

The first question would be to think about who the "someone" was, and what associations they have to you. What did this person look like, who was it, or who do they remind you of, etc.

And then, free association of who you think "they" are. Who comes to mind? What associations do you have when you think of who that group could be?

He said you have to look at dreams like paintings, you interpret them based on the images, but also the overall impression of the piece, and the context of the artist (yourself) and the time period.

Maybe, by unlocking Jno's unconscious, we will all, finally, know what they say about artists in Chicago. The answer may be so complete and profound we not longer post to the listserv.

On Sunday I woke up and told the guy next to me, "I dreamed I screwed up your taxes. And I had to finalize the returns by mixing powdered cement." He said, "I dreamed I was digging through a vanilla cake, looking for chocolate cake."

I know it's over.



Hi, sorry to put a personal message on the open airwaves like this, but Mr. Bulka -- I don't have a current email address for you.

I'm curating a show of Goddess art at 1/Quarterly on Fri. March 5. Micki will be shipping in some ceramics, and a video. Zena Sakowski/Rob Kelly have carted in boxload after boxload of a neighbor's porn-model archive (56 3-ring binders in all), among other things. It's all at []

Erik Brown


On Thu, 26 Feb 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

It's either Michael from Dogmatic or Pedro Velez or maybe that "old guy" from Beret.. or maybe Linda from Uncle Freddy.. I'm just not certain.

OK, so much for on-line psychoanalysis.

The point of the art discussion is to reach complete agreement, sort of like the Plains Indians attempted in the 19th century, when confronted by the pushy American Generals. Of course they had enjoyable and endless discussions (lasting for months) during which they sat around campfires, delivered long speeches, ate buffalo steaks, and would have drank cold beer if there had been any cold beer, but in the end they got cheated out of everything by the impatient American Generals, who operated from a believ in authority, majority vote, and elected representives, unlike Freudian analysts .. but.. Mmm, sounds like Art, in Chicago.

LOL /jno


Hey, Kathryn (and elsebody);

I just noticed the equals twenty is gone.

As exciting as a pink Hummer.

#!/usr/bin/perl # ~/scripts/og-quoted, pipe, up 2/26/04 use MIME::Decoder; $decoder = new MIME::Decoder 'quoted-printable' or die "unsupported"; $decoder->decode(\*STDIN, \*STDOUT);

Hope it never dies.


Klein and Leib. Too bad.

need new gallery model, IMHO.


Hi everyone, I'm new to this board. My company is talking about moving to the Chicago area sometime early next year. I thought I'd scope out the art scene. Can anyone tell me some of the good galleries to go to, and do they have websites you can give me an address for?

Oh and if I didn't post this correctly forgive my brand spanking new-ist ignorance...


--------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Get better spam protection with Yahoo! Mail


Skwee write " Can anyone tell me some of the good galleries to go to, and do they have websites you can give me an address for?"

Be careful what you ask for. You're likely to get more opinions than information.

Curt Alan Conklin H: 773.782.0659 C: 773.343.2348 F: 425.790.9739 calanc at curt at 1942 N. Wolcott Ave. Chicago IL 60622

If you take everything lightly you can carry more stuff.


Aw, heck. I'll bite. Start at [] - it has an updated rundown of current exhibitions (with pics) - hosted by your own listserv administrator Jno.

[] is Keri Butler's list of openings and open exhibitions.

[] includes a linkpage of Chicago galleries.

Otherwise, my personal picks are Dogmatic, 7/3 Split, Suitable, 1/Quarterly, 1R, Bodybuilder and Sportsman, Garden Fresh, Standard, and I'm probably forgetting some others.

But go to the Museum of Surgical Sciences where North Ave. meets Lake Shore Drive. That's better than art.

Erik b

group at wrote:


Curt writes: "Be careful what you ask for. You're likely to get more opinions than information."


Here's a starting point. Although it needs to be updated



For a very mainstream, comprehensive weekly guide to all of Chicago, including art, I still recommend the Chicago Reader

When are you moving?



this list needs updating too --it's compiles independent spaces and artist-run projects from Chicago and elsewhere: [] ~sspeh/IAA/index.html


Please take a moment to fill out this questionaire. Thank you in advance.

How many fund raisers have propositioned you since January 2003? (please estimate)

Have they been fund raisers (strictly propositions for money) or Auctions?

Have you donated artwork to fundraisers or auctions in this time?

How many have been magazines?

How many have been galleries?

How many have been theatres?

How many have been Museums?

How many have been other?

Can you articulate what the other is in fewer than eight words? (if yes, please do so)

How many have been PBS or NPR?

How many of either are established 501c3's.

How many of these organizations do you work for?

Would you donate artwork or money to a 501c3 having a fund raiser? If yes please explain briefly what might compel you to do so?

Would you donate artwork or money to an organizition despite its tax status? If yes please explain briefly what might compel you to do so?

How many 501c3 actively present your work? Or how many do you you work for? If both honk like a seal (I'm no sociologist)

Would you say that your donation was made because you believed in the organizations ability to follow it's mission statement?

Would you consider your donation made despite the organizations mission statement but for the tax incentive it represents?

Have you purchased works offered at fund raisers before?

Have you excepted grant money from the city, state or nation prior to this questionnaire?

Are you an executive or board member of a tax exempt body?

Have solicited money or artworks as donations since the begining of 2003?

Would you engage in the practice of donation if you were to benefit from that donation directly?

What do you feel is a worthy cause of investment for your donations?

Are you a member of a political party? (Yes or No)

What is your opinion of the validity of the elephant jokes survival in American culture as it concerns the Indian Pakistan nuclear problem?

Will you donate ten dollars to someone on my behalf?



oop's this was an elephant joke and everyone knows they work for peanuts, and not bananas. MT/db


If I can extract some serious point from this to build my irrelevant rant upon:

I have no idea if I've been solicited. Most of my junk mail comes from galleries and cultural institutions. Legal-sized envelopes with stick-on mailing labels go, unopened, into the trash. So do most other-sized packages unless they are stiff enough to possibly contain a pretty picture-card. Most of them get trashed, too.

Otherwise, though I consider myself a generous person within my means (I usually have a dollar for the drunk outside the liquor store and would give anything I have to a friend who needs it), any institution with a staff, printing and mailing budget enough to contact me doesn't need whatever I could give them.

Unless it is a home-grown, grass-roots, bunch of destitute friends, any organization that asks for a donation of art is exploiting the population they purport to support, and the donating artists are deluded suckers.


I don't know how he got into my pyjamas.


Dear Sara Lee Corporation,

You don't know me, Sara, but I know you through our mutual friends at Aon Private Risk Management. The current president is quite the antiques collector! So much so that we had to log all your antiques in a special database we made just for you! I spent 3 weeks, working full time, to log each item. It took 2 minutes per item, so it really painted a picture that you have LOTS of stuff!!

Now I noticed on the Chicago Artists' Coalition site that you have helped support their organization. Wonderful! However, I cannot afford membership into this organization because I am really experiencing financial hardships, personally. My son is two years old and I am still wearing maternity shirts because there just hasn't been money for clothes, I'm sure you understand.

But I did come up with an idea I would like to throw by you. When I was logging your items, I did come across a $6,000.00 teddy bear. Now in the mid-1800's, the safety standards were very lax. I'm sure that teddy bear poses a choking hazard to any toddler who has access to it. So my quick pencil math shows that if you were to sell this bear, it could cover my membership, and the membership of 119 of my friends. And I won't even broche the subject of the $100,000 wine glass. Golly! If you sold that and passed on the sale price, membership to CAC could be free to everyone! You know those wine glasses are awful fragile. One night of heavy drinking, surely it will end up in pieces on the floor.

I know things are tough all over, Sara. And I'm sure you're biting your nails while you balance your checkbook, just like I am. But I was hoping you could maybe give a call to some of these groups you support and ask if some of the sponsorship funds could be passed onto the artists in the organization, not just the organization itself. I must tell you that artists really have it tough nowadays! I send out press releases for my gallery show, and account representatives call me back and tell me they will do a feature on the show, and site unseen, write a positive review! It all sounds too good to be true, but then they tell me I have to buy an ad! Why do I have to buy an ad to get reviewed? One place, I stayed up half the night to put together an electronic press release, and they only wrote back to invite me to an auction that cost $35 just to get in the door. I don't even know what I would wear, with my maternity clothes and all.

Well, Sara, hopefully between the non-for-profit status, and the generous contributions of corporate sponsorship, maybe, someday, working together, we can make a better lives for ourselves. I can only hope.

Your pal, Kathryn


Is this an earnest effort to get information, a joke, a rant or a bit of each? I'll treat it as an earnest inquiry, since it is a perennial topic of discussion in the art community.

As someone who has organized several fundraising art auctions, donated my own art to numerous fundraising auctions, purchased fabulous art at fundraising auctions, I am clearly in the camp that is in favor of this method of supporting organizations and causes.

Here's why: Art Auctions build an audience. They attract folks who don't get to art galleries, but might be interested; or who don't get to galleries as often as they'd like, so might have missed your last show. The person who wins your artwork will probably go to your next show (if they are invited). There, they many buy another of your pieces.

Art Auctions pool the fans of all the participating artists, in addition to the supporters of whatever the cause, and that entire audience will see everyone's work.

Art Auctions build name recognition for artists. Only one person will take your piece home, but many will have considered it, and even competed for it. Those people will remember your work, and your name.

Art Auctions enable artists to show work that might not be able to be shown in a gallery, for example if there isn't enough room, or if it doesn't fit with the rest of a body of work, or, heaven forfend, if the artist doesn't have gallery representation.

Art Auctions enable artists to support organizations and causes without having to give money, which for many artists is alot harder than giving up a piece of work.

Art Auctions enable people like me to get art that I couldn't afford otherwise, and give money to a cause or organization I support. If I was in a higher tax bracket, I suppose there might be tax benefits to this, but I'm not. For me, the art is what I most highly value and I treasure everything I've ever gotten at an art auction.

Art Auctions give artists an opportunity to see each other and see each others work. That's always nice.

All that being said, artists should be given complimentary admission to auctions they contribute to, so they can meet and mingle with the other patrons or at least get a free drink/meal. Ideally, art auctions should offer artists a percentage of the sale price (although there is alot more paperwork involved in that... and its the unglamorous time-consuming paperwork that eats up staff time and is hard to get volunteers for). Artists should be able to tax-deduct the value of the work they contribute (they can't right now -- only the cost of the materials.) And, obviously, some auctions/causes are a better fit for some artists/galleries than others.

Nothing is perfect -- campaigns, non-profits, public broadcasting or whatever. We all hate junk mail, and the Three Tenors. But, if you are trying to help an organization that works for a cause you believe in, which needs to raise money and build support, an auction can be an effective and fun vehicle for that. Isn't it better to have art being presented, discussed and competed for than that same attention and money going to manicures at a day spa, pet grooming or weekends at some time-share?

If you don't want to contribute your money or artwork to something, then don't do it. But don't whine about it, and don't complain about being asked. Be flattered, be gracious, say yes or no, move on.

Regards, Barbara Koenen

On Saturday, February 28, 2004, at 11:51 PM, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

by fundraiser, I'm assuming you mean any solicitation of a donation. probably 50 both no nice question. with the right eight words, you could put alot of theorists out of business! what are you asking? still about donating artwork? both PBS and NPR are 501c3's. none yes, see above. yes, see above. what do you mean by actively?. I work for one. I doubt I ever read the mission statement. I donated because I supported what the organizations do. no. yes I have accepted grant money, but I have not excepted it. not currently huh? I would "engage in the practice of donation" but that leaves only two words for my articulation of the other. There are too many "worthy causes of investment" to list here. no comment you go first. no.


Thank you for your words. I'll take them into consideration as I compile what information comes my way. Thank you for pointing to the typo's it was late as I writing this. I'll fix them and repost. about your answers. I'm aware of the tax status of NPR and PBS but felt it nessasary to include them in a different catagory than Galleries, theatre etc. The question about political party is not to determine affiliation hence the yes or no answer. They do however maintain massive fundraising apparatus. As for the final two questions. Merely a matter of keeping things light. I don't wish for anyone to donate anything on my behalf nor did I feel that anyone on this list would have.

Lastly this is not a rant. Or a joke. The information will go towards a couple of projects that I am developing. Thank You, MT/DB