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May 2006, 12 posts, 283 lines



Sorry for the forward, but I thought I would share this here in case some of you who are not on the Mess Hall or Temporary Services email lists did not hear this news...

Salem Collo-Julin

Dear Friends,

Michael Piazza, a great friend, teacher, family man, fighter, artist, and inspiration to all of us passed away suddenly on Sunday morning, April 30.

Michael was a pioneer in collaborative art practices. He had a huge impact on a Chicago-inflected way of working that made a lot of future work possible. We were deeply affected by his innovation and tireless efforts.

We are saddened by Michael's passing, but are grateful for the amazing work and writings that Michael has left behind. He was truly a Chicago artist--eloquent but diligent, fast-thinking and always moving. We will miss him.

A memorial service has been planned by Michael's family...

Friday, May 5, 2006 2:00 p.m.

at the Ed Prigano Funeral Home 1815 W North Ave Melrose Park, IL (708) 344-0635 for information

Check out this site for driving directions and a picture of the funeral home:

[] ?Page=FHDirections&FHIndex=2023

The funeral home is also accessible by public transportation from the city. Take the Blue Line el to the Forest Park stop. Transfer to the Pace Bus #318 (you can use your CTA card on the Pace). Take the bus to the 19th/Broadway and North stop in Melrose Park. Walk one block east to the funeral home.

Please feel free to share this information with others.

-- ////////////\

salem collo-julin 773.562.1428



Did you (anyone) go to the art fair(s)? I missed them. How were they?



They were nice, a certain group of non-journalists did daily reports that can be found online. I loved the spirit of Version and this years NOVA dwarfed last years in fun and quality.

jno wrote:


Hello all-

I have been turning one of the last OG discussions around in my brain for a while. The one about the quality of institutional learning vs. old tyme learnin. It seems to be a circular thought. This weekend may have shed some light on it for me. The only answer isn't really an answer, but a wider view of other perspectives.


To illustrate the truncated post before this, in the new Juxtapoz Robert Williams has an interesting monolog about individual artistic skill and the rise of the outsourcing artist. After getting through Williams piece I bought the new Mass Appeal (magazine). Mass Appeal is more "street" related, and has a whole different perspective on how to get up and what constitutes success in personal expression. On Sunday I was reading a book by Winona LaDuke called "Recovering the Sacred". The book is about the history of American Indians and their culture before and after contact with the white man. The theft of their sacred objects (and remains/skeletons) to be put in museums and "studied" and the refuseal to give it back. The placement of value upon objects, cultural destruction, and what happens to society without cultural history.

Between the three of these sources there is a radically different understanding of what expression is and what it is for. While we discuss the value of "Air Guitar" and tenured faculty we need to be honest about what the intended end result really is.

I myself have been through the institutional route, with a BA in photo and an MA in museum studies. Having spent time on both sides of the fence the biggest lesson learned comes to this: regardless of who you are, where you are, and what you are doing, the bottom line remains it is what you make of it.


writes Bulka:

On Fri, 14 Apr 2006, Chester Costello wrote:

I think a response to that could be found in a book review in the Reader, a week or two ago, of the work of an economics professor who finds that artists either peak early or late, "bright genius" or "old master." I get the sense the galleries concentrate on the "young geniuses" (they are cheap) in the hope that some of them will turn into "old masters" -- although I think few do. /jno


On Tue, 18 Apr 2006, michael bulka wrote:

This was in response to my "But art isnt about craft, Michael"...

I'll agree that (perhaps) art-education should be about craft (and what else? history and theory), but it cant be done. Maybe undergraduates learn painting and ceramics and some design elements, color theory.. But the range of disciplines in art is so varied that most cannot be covered except in survey form. In graduate studies there is a rush to get a few courses in so that you will be able to teach a few things outside of painting. At least that is what I saw my peers do. But what you were supposed to do as a graduate student was to 'develop' some practice that you were involved in, and I suspect the thinking was that you would then spend the rest of your life expanding on concepts and the aethetics of whatever you had gotten yourself involved in.

Boring, I should think. Most of my peers took courses in video, because video (at that time) was the wave of the future. This was before the internet went public; today it would be digital imaging or web design. Certainly graduate study did not involve much in developing a craft.

And how is four years of undergraduate practice going to ready you for programming 8-bit eproms, or welding? I think artists bring whatever they have been doing or understand easily since grade school. What artists should learn in terms of craft is where they could find the information on a process if and when they need it, rather than actually learning welding.

That leaves history and theory to be discussed.

I am still waiting for Mikos' revelation.



I liked them. I thought that Art Chicago had better work than I'd seen in a while and NOVA had some surprises and was fun. Claire.

Claire Wolf Krantz 711 S. Dearborn, #401 Chicago IL 60605 e-mail: cwkrantz at


Thomas Blackman rises from the ashes again...why? I visited the Art Chicago, Nova and the Version Festival, and believe the $15.00 cover at Art Chicago was money poorly spent. I cannot agree with Claire regarding the quality of the work. This fair has been going down hill for a couple years and really struck bottom this year. I understand that the change in venues played a part, but there was nothing that stuck with me. I felt like I was attending a funeral. Most gallery owners were just happy to see a fair. This is just not good enough. Will Blackman pull another rabbit out of his hat next year? I tend to think it may be another skunk.

Nova was a success for the Bridge tribe (Workman, Burtonwood et al). This was certainly better than last year. The galleries were showing some interesting work, friendly, and inventive in their installation. "Where Lines Are Drawn" by photographer Sean Hemmerle at the Front Room gallery offered documents of barriers created around the world to keep out the undesirable was a personal favorite. I was a bit apprehensive about the location, but this too was refreshing. I was at SCOPE in NYC in early March and believe NOVA was certainly on par with other young art fairs. Nova's effort was a nice counterbalance to the dreary aura of Art Chicago.

For what Version lacked in quality of artworks, it made up with in setting. The space and works were raw, not-to-professional, but suited the style. The music and performances were haphazard, nonsensical, anarchistic, and over-the-top. This is what I expected. Now, Version just needs to become more visible. Hopefully, this incubator will be better organized next year.

Chester Costello


Hello othergroup. This the final call to all who are interested in participating in the "Something to Do with Failure" show I am organizing for the MPAC Gallery at USF. For those unfamiliar, the show stems from a debate that surfaced in this forum earlier this year. I have secured funding to print a poster and have a couple speakers lined up. The participants include some pranksters from the old guard as well as a number of serious (old and new) faces. The following is the show overview.

Show overview:

This exhibit will look at interpretations, practices, the psychology, experiments and other factors related to "failure". Who are the gate keepers today? Is the world getting you down?? Do you just feel like a big ZERO??? This project will look at: imperfection, major mistakes, personal tragedy, beautiful losers, disappointment, the weak, inadequacy, the defeated, bankruptcy, underachievers, prodigals sons, going bust, frustration, has-beens and bad bad artwork. The exhibit will run in late fall 2006. Open to all media. No fee for submission.

Attention: Chester Costello E-mail: mcostello at

Or send inquiries directly to my home e-mail: refocus at

Give me a call with any questions at 312.206.8938


Two young women at a bar, Its Friday night and the ladies have had a couple of gingerales and Jamesons.


you are sure they are ladies?