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September 2003 41 posts, 1173 lines


In a maybe somewhat related note, for whatever it's worth, I just got back from Germany and while working at the ACC (Autonomous Cultural Center) in Weimar I learned that we enjoyed a wonderful meal in their cafe at the same table where, a few years ago, WTC terrorist Mohamed Atta also dined while visiting from Hamburg to see his girlfriend who was working in their kitchen. The director of ACC said he was pretty drunk that evening but vaguely remembered that they had some drinks that evening and when Atta walked away they made some jokes about his name because apparently Atta is the name of some kind of liquid cleanser in Germany.


Dogmatic gallery wrote: Flags were stupid unless you meant it 100 percent but everyone had them. Most people seemed to have them as tokens to avoid parking tickets. One couple I remember though, a regular couple at my restaurant. About a week later came in and had dinner. I had been taking care of them for a while at nights. Well shortly after 911 they came in. They are an educated couple, over forty, and part of the university set. While they had thier dinner some police officers came in and sat at an adjacent table. The couple explained to me that they wanted to buy dinner for the officers at the next table. So I suggested that they talk to my manager. After dinner they approached my manager with their check and the offer buy to these "heros" dinner as well. So my manager took the money for both meals. The couple thanked me for their service and explained what they had done on there way out . Later, when it had slowed down I approached my manager for the gratuity for both meals. I was told both meals had been comped an no tip was left for me. I asked how that could have been and she explained that there had been problems with me at the tables. She told me she had given them dinner on the house and if I pressed the issue I would be docked for the meals. I loves me some patriotism.


I was prepared to make curmudgeonly response to folks' stories about Friday night. I even visited a few shows and curt's party so I could feign credibility. What did you see?

I guess the cool kids are still at Dogmatic, so the reviews will have to wait for a day or so.

I was already on the train to Lincoln Square for beer and polkas with very friendly drunks at the German-american Fest before I realized Dogmatic was tonight. (Sorry Bobby) Beer and polkas still go on Sunday, though. The herring sandwich is very tasty.



All is forgiven Mr. Bulka. The mere thought that all the cool kids would deem my halls gracefull enough to trod makes the offenses of beer and polka not so grevious. I look forward to a visit though. If only to tell me more of these herring sandwichs of which you speak so highly. Michael


.. at Lincoln and Western.

I liked the thuringer. I didnt like the bratwurst. The beer was ok.


yes! where's all the gossip about season opener art? now that I'm in houston, I'm relying on you othergroup folks to keep me up to speed on art in chicago.

so what's up? anything good? (mr. bulka, you could offer your two-cents too).

I don't have my act together enough to have seen much houston art. the most interesting thing I've seen so far is "project row houses" [] Although I didn't get to see the art, the houses are pretty amazing unto themselves.


bulka: "I was prepared to make curmudgeonly response to folks' stories about Friday night. I even visited a few shows and curt's party so I could feign credibility. What did you see?"


P.S. If anyone remembers the gallery Sixspace that was briefly in Chicago, they reopened in LA last year and have done some great shows. The current show is an interesting new turn in art with impact. Have a look. []



It has been some time since my last foray into the discussion, so hello again to you all.

Below are some excerpts from an article that appeared in Harpers (August '03) that caught my attention. It is a review of a new book by David Summers, "Real Spaces", by Mark Kingwell. I appreciate Kingwell distilling the 704 page whopper into a couple pages of notes and observations. Here are a few nuggets from the discussion of sacred spaces, contested spaces and the value of space as "necessary"/context to "viewing".

I recall a similar "what is art" and "why is art" discussion on othergroup maybe a year ago. Here are some ideas from those actually get paid to think about it.


Excerpts from "Art Will Eat Itself" by Mark Kingwell.



Well maybe I'll serve and return...

Although I am pleased to see that the current frustration with interpreting art stretches from Chicago to New York (where they know EVERYTHING), Kingwell and Summers both fail to propose an "exit strategy" to the discussion. The suggestion of art is art if you think it is art, like this article, doesn't quite quench the thirst.

While there are many "angry Kantians" among us, there is a drive to decide a criteria for good/bad, worthwhile/too easy art. Isn't that the exact thing most of us fought against in undergrad?

Perhaps it all comes from being big fish in small ponds. Has anyone been to the Ukranian museum lately? Or the DuSable? Speaking for myself, since jumping into totally new art scenes, the question has yet to come up in my mind. I am more focused on seeing as much new work as possible. (I did begin to wonder a little while we were hanging the Laura Owens show at the MoCA in LA, I must admit).

Here's a new question: Do you feel like Tech art (motors, moving parts, elaborate eletrical set-ups, etc.) has strong representation in major collections? If not, why do you think that is?



Wow, nobody has anything to say.

Who is this Lenord Pants character? Is that a fake name or what? I have never heard of this guy, and suddenly he's posting three things in a row as if we care. (Uh, sorry if you turn out to be someone really cool and important)

Anyway, all the new art makes me sleepy. None of the artists seems aware of their reasons for inflicting the world with more trivial tchotchkes. YAWN!

Significant exceptions: Chris Patch's absolutely amazing new work at Monique Meloche, and the pretty-solid group show at The Pond. Who knew that looking at paintings could actually be an engaging and rewarding experience?

xoxo Gabe


I dug Andrew Moore's crunky painting and crunky sculpture at Dogmatic. Visceral madness! His Clemente-esque installation painting/sculpture with the hearts and eyes was sweet and creepy like a Cure song. His faux-naif drawings, not so hot. Seen enough of those kinda things lately.

Dogmatic is my favorite space in town, as if Gabe cares, since I'm not someone cool and important i.e., one the few people who's not on his Friendster list.

Wasn't Leonard C. Pants a Bill Cosby movie?

At 01:16 PM 9/11/03 -0700, you wrote:


well, a lot of people know this. maybe it has just been easy to forget lately with all of this pretty, decorative, vapid painting...

I have to say I didn't find the work at the pond all that engaging. Now, mr. Relyea's essay is engaging - and would be a great topic for a discussion (maybe the pond is already planning one?) he takes a really strong stance and it's worth exploring/debating more. however, i felt like the art work was, well, none of it was bad, but I wasn't excited about any of it either. (of course personal preference is part of this reaction as well). also, while a few pieces demonstrated his ideas quite well (especially the non-paintings with the indentions which are pretty cool), i'm not sure about others. can someone explain the inclusion of the video, the overhead-view of multiplied people and Dave's work?

to add to Gabe's exceptions to the mundane and ignorant list: Jack Sloss' installation at Dogmatic



I like the emerging trend I noticed in the West Loop Gate this past weekend, BYOB. There was more than one group hanging out on the side walk with their own six packs.

Tail-gaiting at the galleries. What the hell?

The cops seemed indifferent, perhaps we should try putting a keg in a shopping cart and pushing it from gallery to gallery.

It all seems very 70's to me. Maybe a similar socio-politcal climate, everyone's depressed, self-medicating...

Later, Mike


I modeled for JP Darriau when I was 18 and thought I would say something that would impress him, so at one point I said, "It brings up the question, What Is Art?" And he snapped, "Oh we stopped asking that question a long time ago." I felt like such a dope. He had booze in his coffee at 9 AM.



I promise, this is my last post for the night. IF THIS IS A REPEAT, I TOTALLY APOLOGIZE. (For those new to the group, we chatted some about 9/11.) K


September 11th has now become synonymous with the tragic events of two years ago. It brings forth images of the death and destruction here in the U.S. Around the world this date evokes different images and memories of terror. Today on Democracy Now!, we will spend the hour looking at September 11ths throughout history.

Sept. 11, 2001: Pakistani Family Mourns Loss of Son Who Went From Terror Suspect to 9/11 Hero

Salman Hamdani died two years ago today after he raced to the Twin Towers to help survivors. He earned a mention in the Patriot Act for his bravery yet because he was a Muslim immigrant, the New York Post and others considered him a suspect until his DNA was discovered. [Includes transcript]

Sept. 11, 1973: A CIA-backed Military Coup Overthrows Salvador Allende, the Democratically Elected President of Chile

30 years ago today President Nixon and Secretary of State National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger helped orchestrate the coup that put General Augusto Pinochet in power and President Allende dead. Pinochet would go on to kill at least 3,000 Chileans over the next 17 years.

Sept. 11-12, 1977: Anti-Apartheid leader Stephen Biko Dies From Brain Damage After Beating By South African Police

On Sept. 11, police transported Biko more than 700 miles to Pretoria lying naked and chained on the floor of a police van the entire journey after being beaten unconscious. He died the next day from brain damage. [Includes transcript]

Sept. 11, 1990: U.S.-Backed Military Death Squad Murders Guatemalan Anthropologist Myrna Mack

Mack was stalked and assassinated in retaliation for her pioneering field work which had begun to expose and document the destruction of rural indigenous communities in Guatemala. [Includes transcript]

Sept. 9-13, 1971: New York State Troopers Kill 39 Men in Raid To End Attica Prison Uprising

The rebellion began on Sept. 9 as a protest against jail conditions and ended on Sept. 13 as one of the bloodiest days in the 20th century in the U.S. The state of New York eventually paid the surviving prisoners $12 million in damages for killing, beating and torturing prisoners. [Includes transcript]

South Korean Farmer Dies After Stabbing Himself in WTO Protest in Cancun

10,000 farmers from around the world gathered in Cancun, Mexico to march on the World Trade Organization. Protests became violent as riot police blocked demonstrators with an eight feet steel fence.

Protesters Disrupt Rumsfeld Speech & Tell Him: "You're Fired! Your Foreign Policy Is Based on Lies"

The two protesters held a sign reading "bloody hands" and kept screaming as security guards dragged them out of the National Press Club.


I personally don't think it's represented enough. But hey I make that kinda stuff so I'm a bit biased :)

1. A lot of the stuff is WAY too expancive to maintain.

2. 90% of electronic art is completely boring " mostly falls into two categories " gadgets made for the sake of making gadgets (a sort of electronic modernism) or people highjacking "electronica" without any undrestanding of the medium, just because it's a cool trend.

3. It's fairly young area of exploration (about 30 years old if we don't count some Futurist stuff) hasn't developed enough, hasn't attracted enough collector interest <-- bad excuse but excuse nevertheless.

4. Too much academic discussion too little actual work.

5. Returning to point one, parts of installation set-up get super old super fast. If you pop an SGI Onyx in an installation (I've seen a couple in ICCs permanent collection) you've got another 5 years until you have no one to do tech support on the ancient beast.

6. Last but not least the problem that all non-flat mediums experiense:) card to store, hard to move around, hard to fit into spaces.

ra, my 2 cents



Sorry everyone earlier comment was in response to:

Here's a new question: Do you feel like Tech art (motors, moving parts, elaborate eletrical set-ups, etc.) has strong representation in major collections? If not, why do you think that is?


There is something about the chicaken and the egg here



On Thu, 11 Sep 2003, Kathryn Born wrote:

Leonard Pants, formerly of Chicago, then in LA, now lives in SF. (I wonder if I can make this email look like it is from the reverent Dr Pants) /jno


On Fri, 12 Sep 2003, Dmitry Strakovsky wrote:

I'll side with Dima on that. But there are reasons for this also. The guy most likely to be able to 'service' some electro-mechanical art form is probably the janitor who stokes up the boiler and repairs the locks on the doors, not a 'conservator' who cleans papers and canvas and who doesnt know which way a nut turns on a bolt. Whereas the gearheads who make art can tell screw sizes by touch.

But I do think there is adequite representation - there just isnt a whole hell of a lot. I think curators _do_ have an understanding of how a machine can be art -- or not. I agree, a lot of it is just boring because it doesnt tie the 'machine' to any underlying purpose except to be a visual collection of bolts and gears. A machine is "a device which does work" by definition. When a machine's structure and the intent coincide you probably have something worth spending time with.

It has to be about the media (and that requires undestanding the media by the viewers) if it is to be about re-representation. Somebody years ago said, about digital art, that the art is in the program. Like saying that the art of a painting is in the paint. So with electronics, mechanics, machinery. (I looked that up: "The only art is in the program." Judson Rosebush, in Leonardo)

And most people are ignorant of mechanical/electrical stuff. I just ran into a BSD quip about Mac users (90 percent of artists use Macs):

Unfair in a way, because artists are also among the most articulate with issues larger than computors (Whereas I have sat for minutes in front of a Mac trying to figure out how to turn it on). But if you havent taken your appliances apart, you will not appreciate _how_ they do _what_ they do (Appliances are machines: they perform work). True of sculpture and painting too. And now for something entirely different:

OK, I have never taken an Oink apart.. so, er, what is CGI and Onyx? And an ICC - some sort of transistor?



Dr. Lenny Pants eh?!?!?

I'm gonna pull a Spike Lee and sue you for infringing on my name.

My first experience hands on experience with established tech art (outside of Nauman neon work) was with Nam Jun Paik's "Family". Working with a conservator, we had to test all the monitors and video disks involved in the piece. "Family" is not an old piece, yet the monitors had all shifted colors, some radicaly, and the disks, the old 12 to 16 inch ones, had started to degrade.

The piece was no longer the same as it was when it was "finished" by the artist. Although the color balance was probably not so important to Paik who routinely shifts things, I was struck by the perishable nature of it. According to the conservator and some emails I later had with 3M, the disks are expected to last maybe ten years. The twenty or so monitors that really make up the piece had a little shorter life span. And in the case of the monitors, according to Sony, they haven't been made for years.

In addition, and in agreement with the discussion so far, the brains in the infrastructure to handle the piece would have been off contacting the AV dept. for all they (the brains) knew about hooking it up.:) Are the established museum personnell willing to take the time to learn new skills? The skills required to rewire circuit boards? I don't think so. Old dogs and no new tricks? I think so. Sort of like our current art critics...

This reminds me of the Starn Twins and some of those nutty photo/installationists. They purposely create photographic work that hasn't been "fixed" fully so that within a short amount of time the artwork disappears into black, completely lost. And yet this artwork sells, and for big bucks even though it is very temporary. Is this similar to perishable tech art?

Maybe because of the nature of some of the work, either complicated or unstable, this is the new real field of art. The fact that it won't or hasn't fit into the box of collectable, managable artwork makes it so much more appealing.



We all ought to recognize that all art is temporary. Welded steel may last hundreds of years, carved stone, thousands, but the ideas that make the art relevant fade in less than a generation. Stupid fad ideas fade in weeks.

Pegging art to an emerging technology, especially in our upgrade-it-or-lose-it scenario - what do you expect? Most electronic or mechanical art would be better placed in a museum of experiments in temporarily cool tech.

If a collector buys this stuff, let them hire periodic professional maintanance, like they do with the piano tuner or the pool boy. Then, Time Arts graduates from The School could get a job.

Oh. the plug -

I'm not sure what Nick Black is up to, but he's been buying a lot of survelience cameras and RC trucks and novelty toys from Cook Bros. and re-wiring them for a show in Hammond next weekend. This is low-tech, accessible technology filtered through a tinkerer. I'm pretty sure there are going to be goofy paintings and crap from the dollar store involved, too.

Saturday, September 20 6-9 pm

Uncle Freddy's Gallery 5265 Hohman Avenue Hammond IN

South Shore train leaves Michigan Ave & Randolph at 6 pm, arrives at 6:40. Gallery will provide shuttle service to the gallery. 219 937/6009"



in answer to Jno's postscript,

SGI - silicone grafics inc machine -- their Onyx series computers were the shit about 5 years ago. CAVE set up at UIC ran (maybe still runs) on 2 SGI boxes. ICC is electronic art center in Japan that has very substansial corporate sponsorship. When I first visited there, about 4 years ago I saw a couple of Onyxs and most likely a couple of higher end models running the show. Basically what I am trying to say is that they spent a couple of million dollars on the computers that ran their permanent collection, a couple of million that went to waste after just 5 years.

There is something about ethics of making art here -- or so I think -- could be wrong of course.

I think that newer economical models should be adopted for some of the artistic media (not just digital stuff, other time based madia as well.) Maybe not even particularly new just different. For example, a friend of mine told me that in the good old days Louisville public library used to lend paintings to patrons (one could check out a painting for a week or two.)That, for me, was a very inspiring discovery :)

thnX to all, d


On Mon, 15 Sep 2003 list at wrote:

So, Rebekah, why did Law Office give up the ghost? Not to make light of their accomplishments, but I really enjoyed their shenanigances over the years, and hate to see the Chicago art industry without the court jesters




I am so glad that Cook has someone to nerd-out with! He's been stuck fixing everyones computer training wheels for so long Dimitry must be a great relief to him!:)

In response to the thought about the great sums of money necessary for some of this stuff and the subsequent outdating: They all must be mad. Rich, but mad. Does this willingness to sink loads of cash indicate an excitment for the process? Philanthropic excitement using corporate money? Unless there are things/lessons learned from it that make the costs worth it. Maybe that is what leads to the equipment becoming out of date/too slow so quickly. Their use reveals subsequent improvements. But is this then, about making technical discoveries? Are they a by-product? Is sience art? Oh not that question again!

This tech art debate brings me back to what I have been reading about a lot lately. The "eliteism" of the artworld.

From my experience, if you relate "elitist" with social/economic status, then yes the artworld at large is. From the very beginning of collecting, art has been a sphere of the priviledged. From the disposable time and income, that has been the history. Nothing new there.

But what does tech art and the baggage it brings with it, do to the reigning model? It is leaning towards creating a new "elite", one very different from before, based on a new set of knowledge and experience. This is based on a change in one of the controling factors of the previous eilite: education. Granted I am smashing hundreds of years of history into a bite-sized piece, but this technical education is one that is not covered at the Fogg. Does this make tech art the art of the blue collar population? Those with experience getting dirty and tool boxes?

This new elite is far from exclusive, quite the opposite, but is the old world order willing to take off their smocks and white cotton gloves? Is there a new generation coming up that is?

If a field is dominated by one group or another, for reasons of education or experience, is it considered an elite filed?

Maybe painting is dying because the culture that made it what it is, is itslef "dying". Maybe the seperation of the classes in America will have many different outcomes.



I think this is about as exciting as curt's recent pronouncement of the UIC grad program as some sleeper program in the art world. As for revolution and tech, the patriot act and certain minor recent laws should be placed into context. As they position the use of tech into class domains. If you can't freely use libraries and their computes as an underprivileged kid what chance do you have to experience the usefulness of the medium. To wit where does this country continue finding feet to stand on if it keeps shooting itself in said foot. Q: How many elephants does it take to write a joke? A: None, republicans don't smile.


Arrg... new elite


On Tue, 16 Sep 2003, Michael wrote:

This policing of public space has gone on for some time. a notable example is ECHELON which is a system that supposedly parces most of the internet ftrafic looking or words like "bomb" "revolution" and stuff like that. oops they got me :)

I personally don't think that Patriot Act and other policing actions effect class distribution when it comes to acces to informaion. The basic factors such as cost of computers and internet connection are far more crippling. Clinton's Digital Divide plan had the right idea (implementation kinda sucked)

Yes there is elitism in tech. It's definitely favors upper class who has the money to access the latest technology.

If you can't freely use libraries and their computes as

Our libraries were always policed and look most of us on the list turned out OK :) I hope. The problem is that since schools are funded by property tax (I know I am not talking about anything new here) the crapier neighborhoods will always suffer from budget defisit and wount have money for paper textbooks much less new tech.

To wit where does this country continue

Sorda switching gears.

Most politicians period suffer from a complete lack of perspective! Remember the pictures of Rumsfeld helping out victums of the attack on Pentagon. I believe it was pretty genuine non-camera-driven reaction on his part and he is pretty damn good at what he does. However he has a vision of the world that was shaped by Cold War. Having spent some of the formative years of my life on the over side of the proverbial Curtain I can tell you it is 1000 percent the same as his old USSR counterparts.

He is a product of the system (rich, old, white, christian) and will try his hardest to find an enemy to defend his political stance against. In this world-view dictated by simplistic binary oppositions we get all sorts of mini-Crusades: War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, War on Afganistan, War on Iraq. It's them and us.


Defending myself.

UIC may not be a sleeper if you are in the mix, but a lot of people, older people, still think of UIC as what it was before. Those people were the audience as much as anyone and I didn't mean to slight. Also I am sorry for forgetting to mention some UIC artists that I like. I have a hard time remembering all the affiliations. Note: I am not sorry for leaving off any artists I don't like, but of course they don't read othergroup.

As for tech art. Somebody recently said "90 % of all tech art sucks." How long ago was it that somebody on this list said "90 % of all political art sucks." Why not just say that 90% of ALL art sucks. But back to my earlier comment - of course none of the sucky artists read othergroup.

Sometimes tech art is good and sometimes it isn't. Gears, machines parts, found science objects and whirring lights can be really cool to look at and when they are done properly they can be very durable.

Just like painting or anything else, this aesthetic framework offers a vehicle for an artist to say what they want to say. And like anything else, it's not good when the artist doesn't have anything to say or if what they are saying isn't interesting.

The other side of the coin is that there is a lot of great art that uses tech. Jeff Carter uses it transparently to make simple social commentaries. Paul Dickinson uses it to represent human mass in his audio sculptures.

The Sabrina Raaf show at Klein is both what is good and what is bad about it. I still haven't seen the rollercoaster work properly - underscoring the fragile nature of the medium. But her manipulated photographs of technological advances that I'm not sure we want to happen are haunting and not at all transparent.

In the spring I wandered around NY for a few days and two of my favorite shows were kinetic: Julian lavrdier at luhmann maupin and ursala von rydingsvard at galarie lelong. In both cases, the gadgetry was hidden but durability is an important component in both.

I am also reminded of the television show, American Chopper. Its on Discovery. The mastery of tech materials and the resulting aesthetic quality is more important than anything. Or what about Monster Garage. That show rocks.

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.


Doesn't "Sturgeon's Law" (From Ted Sturgeon, SF writer) go: "Ninety percent of everything is crap"?



What does the Patriot Act have to do with anything we've talked about? Has someone poked their head out of the secret, back door othergroup that not everyone is welcome in? (Re:BORING) (Some are more equal than others?)

What I find interesting isn't so much who is elite and who isn't, just the foundation that the word stands on.

What would it take for a new medium to dominate the artworld? Paintng to Photography shook things up. F Holland Day vs. Alfred Stieglitz. The former thought photo had to replicate painting in order to survive, the latter wanted to get as far away from it as possible. Stieglitz won. A seperation occured in the professional world between who understood the new medium and who didn't. A seperation that still exists and is as distinct as it ever was.

Does tech art have any similar earmarks?

Are people going to be making and looking at the same art forms for the rest of time infinitum? No really, will there ever be something "new"? I'm not saying that tech art (in the broad sense that everyone has defined) is the Salvation. But something will be. From being aware of trends in the past is anyone interseted in postulating on the future? Not so long ago "Meta-Matics" were a wild new frontier and definately tech for the times. Now look at artists like Sarah Sze. The functionality is absent, but the linear construction is strikingly similar. What is being morphed now that will be the next step, a new way of seeing/expressing? Doestoyevskys "utter a New Word".

MW Burns also. These artists are finding new ways to get into your brain. And depending less and less on your "seeing" (in a 19th century sense) to do it. i.e Elkins;The object stares back.



I must agree with with Gabe about our season opener, the only show I was really interested in was Chris Patch at Monique Meloche; particularly the larger paintings. I have been trying to resolve for myself, why?, the larger paintings. I believe the show would have been stronger if it had been five of the large works with a few of the framed drawings off to the side somewhere, but fear this is merely an aesthetic concern of the installation and has nothing to do with the work. I felt overwhelmed by the number of works on the wall, and that maybe it revealed too much.

I'm not too sure about the painting directly on the wall either. However, this was the aspect that my outting partner appreciated most. Maybe he will speak up an offer his reasons why.

Saturday night at Dogmatic, Jack Sloss's piece in the infamous dirt room was a pleasure, but the work upstairs definately falls into the other ninety percent.

I am still not ready to discuss the show at the Pond. I am, in fact, still holding my tongue from the lecture Lane Ralyea gave at gallery 400.

I'm getting all worked up, I should go long time no see, Ben Foch


On Mon, 15 Sep 2003, Leonard C. Pants wrote:

It's a didactic streak; although no-one over the age of 6 has ever listened to me. You may call them 'rants'.

I dont think tech-art is gonna be the blue-collar high-art of the future. It still takes more than 'toolboxes' to come to terms with a radical application of gears and electronics.


And, offhand, anyone should know from experience that solid state electronics has a shelflife (independent of use) : consumer electronics last 7 years and that is it -- at that point the dopings have migrated out of their lattice, and things suddenly dont work anymore.

Computers since the XT have been "commercial" grade: 15 years under modest environmental conditions (at ten times the cost), which is why the PC caught on, otherwise they might have sold more, but it would have remained a toy. (Components in recent years have slipped badly).

So, any museum bying Oinks should know that the stuff will (first of all) be dead in 15 years. Totally unuseable.

And second, all electronics are supplanted by faster, bigger, cheaper equipment every four years. The museum will be running dinosaurs after 4 years, and be 3 or 4 generations behind in 15 years, when the boxes die.

So why exactly would anyone in their right mind want to invest millions in equipment whcih will be antiquated in 4 years anyway?



Stan Shellabarger's show at Suitable that opened last night was one of the more beautiful, elegant, and even meditative things I've seen in this city in some time and certainly one of the most successful transformations of the Suitable garage. The piece gains a lot from patient looking and offers some really satisfying and nuanced perceptual experiences if taken from several angles. I have no idea what it means and don't much care, except to say that it was one of the more rewarding things I've seen around town in a while.

Other than that, I haven't cared about anything I've seen lately except for parts of Carol Jackson's show which had some great moments. I'll admit I haven't seen every show, but I'll still offer that if the West Loop Gate can't forge itself into anything more experimental and interesting than it is right now, I'd just make my usual recommendation: a historical reenactment of the massively destructive fire that wiped out a good hunk of the River North gallery district in the late 1980's. The less destructive option is to stop going over there, which is easier done than said. Or just organize some more panel discussions about "Alternative Galleries in Chicago". Those are always exciting.

Sadly, I'm going to be out of town for what should be the real season opener: Turbonegro at the Metro on Wednesday. If any OG's make it out to see these OM's (Oslo Motherfuckers), please report to me off-list. I'm devastated that I'm going to miss out on a rare appearance by the lusty, evil and hateful Village People of heavy metal.



HMMM, panel discussions about alternative spaces. What if we put them to music. You know as a sort of rock opera via Tommy. Maybe we could include some more women in the scenes. Or better yet just cast my role as a sexy debutant down on her luck forced to open an alternative space by the awful circumstances of her parents divorce. We could do the whole thing with the othergroup as a sort of greek style choir in the background. Billy Corgan could be cast as you (he has no hair you know, he also a poetic beauty about him that is simply unparelled). While my role would definately be handled by Renee Zelwieger's deft treatment. Bulka could be a codgerly old priest type figure ala Romeo and Juliet. I see him being played by none other then Christopher Walken, you know he can dance and sing don't you? The plot would unfold at a typical panel discussion on Alternative Spaces. You and I (me being a woman of course) find ourselves attracted to each other through the course of mighty songs delivered on the aesthetics of these so called spaces. We hate each other initially but eventually fall in love. At the end of the musical/rock opera Jno Cook played by Harrison Ford marries us. The final scene would be us hanging a sign in front of our brand new blue chip gallery with the text Temporary Dogma printed on it in a New York Font (this would be an inside joke as all of the credits would be rolling in the Chicago Font). It'll be just like Mickey Rooney but with a twist. What do think? L. MT


On Sun, 21 Sep 2003, Dogmatic gallery wrote:

super! ROFL!


We missed the Chicago troups at Uncle Freddy's by a half hour. A few of Nick Black's machines were still running at 9 pm, the fish were alive, the silver balls still flashing, and various things were scurrying around the floor. What a wacky show, and what a premise to work from, just to make it work, and actually get it done (at least long enough to demonstarte that it could be done). And so unlikely as fine-art -- the museum world would require his 2x4s to be chrome plated. The flashing silver balls were outstanding, and could pass on that score. I also loved the sinkhole, half expecting to find a sink strainer at the bottom (and scraps of moldy pancakes still in place). And the various wiggling machines, scurrying across the floor dusting, although whenever I looked at one of these someone nearby would remark, "are those not the singing fish?" Yeah, well, didnt we have singing beer cans at airport gift shops a few years ago? So what. Giving these fish the obvious to do is apropos. And no digital, although a lot of solidstate circuit boards. A true gear-head, he had to borrow the battery of one of his toys to start his car when leaving.

On a related note: We noticed that the basement of Village Thrift's had been plundered, probably by Nick Black, for we spent hours Saturday searching cookware stores, thrift stores, Salvation Army, Pots-R-Us, and finally ended up at an Ace Hdw, trying to find a gift CI pan. None on the Ace shelves ("they dont move"), but Ace still warehouses them, $15 to $30 (8" to 12"). I have no idea if they are milled and finished on the inside. Everyone has tips on where to look, but the few we saw had glazing on the inside (duh!). Further clues gratefully accepted.



Michael "Renee" Dogmatic wrote: "HMMM, panel discussions about alternative spaces. What if we put them to music. You know as a sort of rock opera via Tommy."

See if panel discussions were creative like this, well, Chicago Artist's Month wouldn't just be in October. The city would have to get on its knees and submit (or you'd be buried under Millennium Park - one or the other, there would be no middle-ground response). (I do have to shudder about being played by Billy Corgan though - bald is beautiful and all, but that shitty music and those horrible lyrics - ugh!! I know you meant well and I appreciate the consideration).

The question is, who will be cast in my proposed remake of the Irwin Allen-directed "The Towering Inferno" relocated to Peoria Street as a historic allusion to the River North fire. For that, depending on my mood, I might play one of two roles. I could be a fire fighter who rushes into the buildings, rips paintings off their stretchers and uses the canvas to smother the flames and save people. Or I could be just an extra, standing on the sidewalk roasting marshmallows on the end of a stretcher bar over a flame emitted by a burning stack of postcards and gallery guides. In either case I would hope to be played by a young Donald Pleasance. Scott Speh and I could be each others' stunt doubles. Michael, possibly played by Michael Douglas or a young Roman Polanski, would perhaps join me, replacing my plastic cup of shitty wine with a refreshing can of Old Style and maybe a side order of leftover Pecan Sweet Potatoes that he took from his job that we could mix the marshmallows into while watching the whole thing burn. After that we would head off to a musical version of a panel discussion organized by CACA about what was lost in the fire and how the Chicago art scene could recuperate. Of course the panel would be moderated by Fred Camper (played by Pedro - for irony and a good inside joke). Camper would have definitely survived the fire because he doesn't go to openings - preferring to see shows when there are no people around.



Og-- Can someone hook up an MP3 of crickets chirping for this discussion group?

In case you didn't already get it: Opening this Sunday (28th) at The Darkroom (2210 Chicago Ave.) The Image Collective presents a new photo show, and from what I've seen the shit looks good. Opening recep. from 8pm-2am. The Darkroom is bad-ass, with a full kitchen and bar so go for dinner if you're feelin' right. There are dj's lined up for the event also. If you haven't been there yet here's a damn good reason! for more info


[down] (no the)


Marc Fischer writes that Stan Shellabargers show at Suitable was beautiful, elegant, and even meditative; that he has no idea what it means and doesn't much care.

Hmm. O.K.

A few people I have talked to seemed to like the piece as well. However, Marcs testaments to the piece were exactly my criticisms. It looked good, but I didn't know what exactly it was about. And I DO care about this. The fact that it was medatative lead me to suspect that it was, at least partially, about the process of making it. Which, when explicit, is uninteresting to me. I understand that it is ineveitable that an artist will have a realtionship with his/her process, wether you labor over it yourself or if you manufacture the work, and that these decisions in production/ creation should inform the content of your work. But, the focus? There was a time in history when this may have been relevant, but today? This is the question that this installation objectively raises and I'm not convinced with its answers.

Unless I am drastically missing something, the work comes off as being naively humanistic, which, I don't have to tell you suffers the most tragic conceptual blow of being uninteresting. I'll keep looking for development and participation, or, at least a conscious acknowledgement of the futility of said endeavor, until then I will not accept an opt out reply.

with Love, Ben


BenFoch at wrote: "the work comes off as being naively humanistic"

Ben when you write stuff like this I have no idea what you are saying. But anyway...

For me the dificulty of making meaning from the work is a typical problem of contemporary art as it is often shown. Suitable is a small space and it is often used as a one work at a time space. In the case of Stan Shellabarger's show, I suppose there are two works in that he also did a performance which I didn't see. But otherwise you go there during this show and see one thing. What would the next work by Stan look like? I have absolutely no idea because I don't know his work. I can guess how the performance and installation might intersect based on reading an email about what the content of the performance was to be, but that's it. Otherwise, for me it's too hard to know with any certainty what he's interested in.

I'll admit that if there was a text I could have read at the show, I didn't read it. So I might be being unfair. But the problem of only being able to see only one work (whether it's a painting, sculpture, installation, photo etc. is irrelevant) is that it is usually unfair to the viewer who is trying to make meaning with any sort of confidence. Unless the viewer already knows the artist's work from prior experience, or unless the artist provides some kind of information or documentation of other projects alongside the single work that we can think about while taking it in, it often isn't enough.

I commented a little on what I enjoyed about the work as an experience - in part perhaps because I didn't feel certain that I had a clear idea what its content was about. Stan Shellabarger's show did not blow my mind but I did feel it was one of the more successful things I've seen at Suitable - at least, a thoughtful and interesting use of the space if not a work of art with a terribly evocative meaning. I liked being in there and I liked taking it in.



Re: Marc reply to Ben.

...em ot gnikcartkcab scraM ekil sdnuos


...em ot gnikcartkcab scraM ekil sdnuos

Marc reply to Leonard C. Pants (or Adam Mikos for the pseudonym-impaired right?)


(it means the same thing forwards and backwards)