Friday, January 16, 2015

CR Event Series: Making It What We Need

Brittany Southworth-LaFlamme + Etienne LaFlamme
still from "Illuminate Each Other," single-channel split screen video, 2014
On Saturday, January 31st at 10am Cultural ReProducers presents Making it What We Need, a workshop and conversation generating concrete ideas in addressing the needs of cultural producers who are also working it out as parents. This is the final installment of the Cultural ReProducers Childcare-Supported Event Series, and also a chance to help shape what happens next. MIWWN is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Division of Labor: Chicago Artist Parents on view at Columbia College’s Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 S. Wabash, Chicago IL.

Led by Cultural ReProducers organizers Christa Donner and Selina Trepp with the participation of students, arts administrators, exhibiting artists and others, Making it What We Need considers alternate models for living, making, and making a living as artists. Non-parents are welcome to join the conversation, which will be relevant to anyone working toward a sustainable life in the arts.

During the event, kids in our on-site childcare area will construct their own visions for the future using colored dough, washable ink and poster-sized paper. Cultural ReProducers events are free, but space is limited. Childcare is available through pre-registration only.

Eventbrite - Cultural ReProducers: Making It What We Need

The Cultural ReProducers Event Series is a roaming series of free lectures, performances, and other events designed to allow parents with small children participate more actively in the art community. Events take place on weekend mornings and feature great artist-curated programming, on-site childcare and all-ages receptions. Our goal is twofold: to give parents and their kids the chance to participate as critical members of the arts community, and to inspire cultural institutions to better serve artists and audiences, providing positive models for future programming. This project is made possible through support from the Propeller Fund.

ChristaDonner and Selina Trepp are internationally-exhibited multimedia artists. As parents they actively engage issues of creative practice and family life. Donner uses drawing, installation and small-press publications to re-vision the human body through physical sensation and imagination. Her work has been exhibited internationally including recent projects for BankArt NYK (Yokohama), the Museum Bellerive (Zurich) and the Horst Janssen Museum (Oldenberg, Germany). Trepp merges multiple dimensions through animation and a hybrid process of painting, performance and photography. Solo projects include exhibitions for Document and Comfort Station (Chicago) the Migros Museum for Contemporary Art (Zurich), and Le Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris). She is also half of the video-performance duo Spectralina in collaboration with her husband, musician Dan Bitney.
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I’m not a parent. Can I come? Absolutely, and bring your friends. While focused on the challenges of family, this event is relevant to anyone working toward a sustainable life in the arts. It’s vital to have non-parents as part of the conversation, too.

I am a parent. Does my kid have to be in childcare, or can I keep them with me? Parents who'd rather keep their children with them during the lecture are welcome to do so. We're just offering the option to participate without the distraction of wrangling small children.

Why do I need to pre-register for child care? For safety and legal reasons, space is limited to 18 children per event, and we expect it to fill quickly. Registration is first-come, first-served.

What time should I arrive if I have children? Sign-in starts at 9:15am. The event itself starts at 10:00 and will last about an hour and a half. Of course, timing with children is often a bit unpredictable. You’re welcome to sign in and quietly join us at any time during the event. 

Who will be watching my kids? We’ve hand-picked a great selection of experienced babysitters and playgroup facilitators who will lead hands-on activities linked to the events that parents will be attending. These are people we know and trust with our own kids. Keep in mind that this is a grassroots, artist-run childcare project, not a licensed daycare facility. You will be asked to read and sign a waiver before registering your child.

What about parking and public transportation? Glass Curtain Gallery is located about 3 blocks from the Roosevelt CTA Orange/Green/Red line station. 

Street parking downtown can be challenging. If you plan to drive we suggest using a service like  SpotHero to locate and reserve discounted parking ahead.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Yi-Ping Hou, Sylvia Krüger, and Charlotte Lohr

photo © Nils_Klinger
The following was announced on the windows of a small blue house at dOCUMENTA (13), the summer 2012 installment of the international art exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany: The “60 wrd/min art critic” is available. Reviews are free of charge, and are written here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays between the hours of 1 and 6 p.m. Lori Waxman will spend 25 minutes looking at submitted work and writing a 200-word review. Thoughtful responses are guaranteed. Completed reviews will be published in the Hessische/NiedersächsischeAllgemeine (HNA) weekly, and will remain on view here throughout dOCUMENTA (13).

Lori Waxman is an art critic and historian who lives in Chicago. For d13 she decamped to Kassel for three-and-a-half months, together with her husband Michael Rakowitz, an artist also included in the exhibition, and their daughter Renée, who at the time was two-and-a-half years old. Lori wrote a total of 241 reviews during the course of the project. A few of them were for artists whose work revealed their existence as parents; some were even for children.   

A book of the entire project was published by Onestar Press, with an afterword by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13). It can be purchased in print or downloaded as a free PDF.  Cultural ReProducers is pleased to share a series of reviews excerpted from the project, which recognizes children and parents as relevant participants in cultural dialogue.

Yi-Ping Hou

Yi-Ping Hou

 Yi-Ping Hou and I have been sipping oolong tea for 20 minutes, as part of an artwork she calls “Serve Tea.” Her set is delicate and she uses it with sureness. Her three-year-old son Jasper flits around, wondering if it’s time to pour yet, time to paint. Are young children compatible with “tea,” a centuries-old practice meant to take the participants out of the space and time of quotidian circumstances? We discuss this and decide they are not. This feels painful but true. Is the self-conscious nature imposed by my open, public performance space compatible with “tea,” a ritual whose mastery involves slowing down and relaxing into intimate, subtle communion? We discuss this and decide it is not either. Finally, we take the wet, open tea leaves, scatter them on thick white paper, and together with Jasper’s help, ink them down in black and a bit of red. (Hou took up printmaking when her pregnancy forced her to stop using oil paint.) Would one of the Japanese masters Okakura writes about in “The Book of Tea” recognize or even appreciate our interaction? If he was a true master, then yes, if only for the deep honesty, flexibility and generosity that Yi-Ping Hou’s “Serve Tea” brought out in us all.

—Lori Waxman 9/12/12 4:06 PM

Sylvia Krüger

Sylvia Krüger

The compatibility of motherhood and art making is not a given, but it is excruciatingly important to raise as a possibility. Sylvia Krüger, a weaver and the mother of a boy who will turn three next week, is currently working out her own answers to its complicated questions. This feels like more of a necessity than a choice, as it similarly was for feminist artists like Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Mary Kelly beginning in the 1970s. Krüger, like her predecessors, works with and in her domestic and quotidian environment: she shreds and re-weaves used dishtowels; embroiders nighttime musings into her pillow (when finally there is enough quiet to think adult thoughts); builds the image of a house as a kind of feminist portraiture; spins yarn on a record-player bobbin, marking the constant passage of time; carves found sticks into hundreds of spools; and even fashions conventional, fairy-tale like tapestries. It is not easy to raise a child, and it is even more difficult to do this while making art; Krüger reveals these tensions with great honesty when she cuts up an unsettlingly chaotic tapestry, allows the record player to spin endlessly, and leaves the angry wood chips of her whittling spread across the floor, with three kitchen knives nearby. Redemption comes when these gestures and materials join together to form works of art.

—Lori Waxman 9/15/12 2:09 PM

Charlotte Lohr

Charlotte Lohr
Charlotte Lohr is six years old. She has made her first canvas, and it is a picture of a red bird. The bird stands dead center in the middle of a large white expanse, filling it with its round body, pointy beak, tail feathers, two feet and one eye. A phrase runs along the top of the chick’s head. From this description, you might imagine a sweet blob of red paint and some cheery ditty, all squashed onto a wee canvas. You would be wrong. Lohr paints her 90 cm square composition with a bold, thoughtful line, and her sense of restraint appeals. The bird isn’t colored in, and its schematic form feels original and cheeky. The caption, meanwhile, is not only stamped on in a nifty font, it’s an impudent play on one of the most annoying of sayings: The early bird catches the worm. Instead, Lohr wrote: I don’t give a shit about the early bird. This is surprising coming from a six year old, but also not. Children absorb and question everything in their environment, and the alternative maxim hangs in the Lohr family kitchen. So Lohr junior decided to interpret it and picture it. What’s so novel is the witty minimalism of her illustration, a style any grown-up would be hard-pressed to follow.

—Lori Waxman 8/25/12 2:00 PM

Also in this series:
60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Walter Peter and Anna Yema Ditzel
60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Julie Bernattz and Sofia Frank de Morais Barreira