Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Installation at the Mart and a bunch of links!

Saturday (4.17) morning started quite simply. Up and at 'em and out the door by 6:45am. I had to be on the Merchandise Mart property at 8am to begin the installation of Scrape which is exhibiting in Countercurrents for Art Chicago. Once again I am thrilled to be exhibiting with the big names in the Chicago Sculpture scene and the world over.

When I ask my older and wiser sculpture buddies for advice on install days, they consistently say to be prepared and to expect the unexpected. I was all set. My sculpture was strapped into the trailer and I just had to hook the trailer up to my Explorer and drive to the Mart. Easy, right? Well, I walked into my studio to find a giant van parked in front of the trailer. Hmmm. Didn't expect that one? I looked up and Adam's (the guy who lives in an upstairs apartment at my studio) door was open – this typically means he is gone. Shit.

I am already thinking about breaking into the van, putting it in neutral, pushing it into the street and hoping for the best. Well, I took a step back, called Adam and he was upstairs. Turns out the owner of the van, Billy, was passed out in the back and he moved it out for me. False alarm.

Now I just had to drive on over the to the Mart. So, when I rounded the corner onto Orleans Street sculpture in tow, I couldn't help but feel that nervous excitement feeling and get a big goofy grin on my face. I think the security guard thought I was happy to see him, but not the case. I was putting up one of my sculptures in the thick of the concrete jungle! Merchandise Mart is perhaps the most traffic-ed spot in Chicago...WOW!

The install of Scrape and all the others went off without a hitch. Plop and drop! Special thanks to Terry Karpowicz and Ted Sitting Crow Garner for generously volunteering their time and expertise to help everyone with the installations. You two are the bomb dig-gity!

I was happy about how everything went and happy about how my work was received. Above is a picture of Al Podgorski's son. He tagged along while his dad took pictures for the Sun Times of the installation. I was told later by Mimi that he told her my sculpture was magic. That felt good to hear! 


These people in the pictures are professionals. We finished eight installations before noon. The remaining three were done on Sunday and Monday. Orleans Street has become an corridor of sculpture that opens up onto the Chicago River and the city. It's beautiful. One of my sculpture buddies, Terry, told me to just imagine this multiplied by 15 and from sculptors all over the globe and on Navy Pier. That is what used to happen for Pier Walk. I wish I could have been a part of it.

The Art Chicago folks already said this could and should be repeated every year. I have a feeling that this might be the start of something.
We were lucky to have some good connections and there was a media blitz about the event. We had Channel 7 and 5 there and the Chicago Sun Times and Public Art in Chicago Blogger. There are links below to what I could find below.  Monday I was interviewed for a feature article about this exhibit in the art section of the Sun Times.  I was lucky enough to be one of the three artists chosen to be interviewed. I can't wait see how the article comes together! I have heard from friends that they saw me on Channel 5 and 7 over the weekend, but I can't find a link to the newscast online and my sculpture buddies don't have Tivo. Nevertheless, it's still fun to know someone saw me and my sculpture and all the other sculpture!

This is Mimi Peterson: AKA the brains of the operation! I have been working together with her since January helping to make all of her ideas come to life. She had a wonderful vision and it is so satisfying to see all the pieces coming into place.

Here are some links to the media stuff:
Countercurrents 4.17.2010 installation on Orleans from the Public Art in Chicago blog by Jyoti.

Chicago Sun Times photos from the installation by Al Podgorski.

Here is a printed bit about the installation from ABC Channel 7:

"April 17, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Some Chicago area artists were spending their weekend installing 12 monumental sculptures outside the Merchandise Mart building.
They range in height from 6 ft. to 16 ft, and one even incorporates Chicago's favorite activity: road construction.
This is part of an exhibition for Art Chicago 2010, which officially starts April 30. But you can check these sculptures out anytime along Orleans Street." (Copyright ©2010 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Finally, when I returned home I found these lovely tulips waiting for me on my desk. Thanks so much Ashley and Tricia! Y'all rock!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Press Release for Countercurrents: An Exhibition of Chicago Sculpture International Artists

 Hello there!  I have spoken often about Chicago Sculpture International which is an affiliate of International Sculpture Center (who produces Sculpture magazine) both of which I am a member. We have a booth at Art Chicago to exhibit Countercurrents, a show curated by Mimi Peterson (one of our members) and our "booth" extends down to Orleans where we are installing 11 large scale works on 4/17 (in case anyone wants to drop by and watch, there will be cranes and welding so it will be fun). I am one of the outdoor exhibiting artists and am thrilled to be part of such a wonderful exhibition! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Below is the Press release as prepared by Mimi Peterson:

MARCH 22, 2010

What:        "Countercurrents", an indoor and outdoor exhibition of sculpture
Where:      Art Chicago, an art expo
                  The Chicago Merchandise Mart
When:        Thursday, April 29 - Monday, May 3, 2010
Who:         Chicago Sculpture International artist members

        Mimi Peterson, Curator
        Terry Karpowicz, Advisor
        Dusty Folwarczny, Graphic Design
        Toby Zallman, CSI Logo Design

Why:        Art Chicago serves as the CSI platform to raise public awareness of sculpture with appeal for placement in the built environment and natural landscape.

        "Countercurrents", the thematic CSI exhibit, aims to offer an overview of all aspects of member artists - not just their physical work but also philosophy, material and conceptual innovations.

        The idea behind the project means to design a radically different exhibition in which the processes actually happen for the ARTIST, in which the AUDIENCE can personally experience their efforts.

One of the most interesting aspects of the project is the dynamic relationship between the collective cultural identity of Chicago Sculpture International, a non-for-profit organization and the economic and social context associated with Art Chicago at the Merchandise Mart.

While the CSI exhibit is composed of multi-layered works, each expressing original forms of visual language rich with personal experience, the artist faces the challenge of exhibiting in privately owned public space as a non-for-profit, of asserting their value in the two distinct worlds of private and public sectors. After strategic collaboration with Tony Karman, Vice President, Art Chicago, while demonstrating his respect and vision for the arts, he made outdoor installation sites available to CSI.

The gallery space shelters works and visual images in human scale, providing an intimate biography of CSI artists. The work suggests moments from the:
        1980's with color splash, embellishment, optimism
        1990's with an archeological, post-rust belt narrative
        2000's exploring the futuristic, technological in search of new allegories

By contrast, the presence of the outdoor works express a monumentality linked to it's Orleans St. urban landscape. The outdoor site will essentially present itself as an island surrounded by concrete, an element that does not merely serve an ornamental purpose, but also serves to provide a sustainable form toward establishing the character of the "Countercurrents" theme.

As curator and artist, in transforming the exhibition concept into a reality, I focused on:
        1. A Sense of Equality
         Each artist has the chance to have a  presence with equal dignity and identity.
        2. A Change of Paradigm
        From the iconic exhibit and display to that of the artist's vision made tangible.
        3. CSI Characteristic
        A sensitivity to sustainable and ephemeral materials, reflecting the post-industrial, post-consumer effect.

Mimi  Peterson,
"Countercurrents" curator and artist