Friday, 13th of May 6-9pm


The diverse works in this show investigate, play with and subvert the ever shifting set of parameters that surround the presentation/representation of art in a gallery/institution space.

Jens Brasch, JB Daniel (also on the 6th floor stairwell podium), Vesna Grbovic, Carrrie Iverson, Jenny Roberts, Margy Stover


Jens Brasch
presence/absence: the artchaeology of an object
‘Art and art works are what they may become.’ History transforms certain cult objects into art, and disfranchises other works previously considered art.” — T. W. Adorno
This work is intended as a discourse between objects and use, meaning and non-meaning, history and present. The objects are molds for making wax tools, which eventually will wear out. We make tools for our use. We create and reproduce meanings in the same way. Meanings also have their use; we use them to accomplish our desires. Similarly, “history” consists of narratives that give meaning to past human experiences for current purposes. History, and by extension historical institutions, can be seen as molds or tools for action — now or in the future.
This body of work functions like a shorthand of a historical institution. Institutions give shape to ideas and meanings and perpetuate them over time. These institutions are in turn shaped and used by particular groups to guarantee their worldview. The context of the institution gives weight and legitimacy to objects and meanings contained or framed by them. So institutions also are cultural tools that form and reproduce some group’s power.
Tools, institutions, meanings, and molds all are useful through what they make present and what they make absent. The mold, once it has made the tool, is put away. A tool is most useful when you know it so well that it disappears. The same is true for meanings and institutions.

JB Daniel, untitled (power cord), alignment
JB Daniel makes art that he terms “conceptual objects.” Often using nontraditional materials, he attempts to bring everything into question, including art. His work is concerned with meaning,
realization and interruptions.
The installation “untitled” (power cord) was conceived in the conversation around the show. He wanted to do something that would only work in an institutional space — using the space, and all the space implies, in the work.
The piece “alignment,” which appears in the stairwell outside of the gallery, taps into the visual resonance of distinctions.

Vesna Grbovic, lists
Recorded art history brings to the fore significant individuals, movements, and events, based upon co-relations among artists, curators and art historians.
By recording lists of names of those involved in the visual arts, I am making visible part of what constitutes this world. This work is an attempt to create a database and a document of as many artists and curators as possible to provide a picture of the world of visual arts — in this city, at this particular moment. These relationships and interactions are at the root of what emerges, and what will emerge, as “art” in this place and time.

Carrie Iverson, Systemic
“Systemic” examines systems of representing people — as thumbprints, as phone book entries, as marks of an EKG. Memory is haphazard, incomplete, and full of blankness, yet it is the way we order and relate to our experience. I am fascinated by this tension between the finality of recorded memory and the intrinsic unreliability of that recording, in how our memories are invariably filtered and skewed by how we choose to present them.
Consequently, rather than trying to represent actual events in my prints, I collect and organize imagery into an object that acts as a reactive archive-reflecting, distilling, and evoking memory. I hope that these works can be viewed as contemporary koans; visual paradoxes that serve as tools for study and reflection. By its reactive nature printmaking is remarkably well suited to this pursuit; the development of the image remains as a palimpsest in the final piece, making it a reflection of the process of sorting memory itself.
Recently, I’ve become interested in exaggerating the “accidents” or idiosyncrasies common to reproductive techniques- the toner streaks that arise in Xeroxes, or the distortions that occur from the camera lens. Much of my work is preoccupied with the reliability and representation of memory, and these distortions raise provocative questions concerning the dependability of technology and its alleged objectivity.

Jenny Roberts, walls
These paintings are replicas of portions of artists’ studio walls, including nail holes, smudges and any other marks that happen to be there.
Hung on the gallery wall, these wall paintings blend into the background, wavering between object and representation, reality and illusion. The underlying physical structure of an artist’s working space, the studio wall — becomes the work of art itself. This act of displacement/replacement is a way to reconsider the wall as camouflage, as an artifact, as a construction, so necessary as backdrop for the work of art, and so unseen.

Margy Stover
Borrowing the format Hans Haacke used in ‘Shapolsky et al; Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real Social System, as of May 1, 1971,’ I detail the property and assessment value of former gallery and artist work spaces as a means to question the development and investment of ‘cultural capital’ in Chicago. (Mark Goodman et al; Chicago Real Estate Holdings as of May 1, 2005,’ investigates the transformation of Chicago cultural and urban space.)
In ‘Schools for Exceptional Children,’ I combine the patterns of institutional buildings such as schools, hospitals, and museums to de-familiarize them. These plans are carved in relief – in an anti-CAD fashion– to underscore the labor and efficiency as well as the permanence and efficacy of the design process and the public function of such spaces.
These ideas carry over into ‘Options’ and ‘Operating’ where my subject is the interior renovation plans for the Chicago Board Options Exchange and The MacArthur Foundation offices by the Chicago-based firm of Powell/Kleinschmidt. I use the private offices of financial generating and granting institutions to question the user-friendliness and accessibility of art as an institution and painting as objects that solicit and prohibit a viewer’s engagement and interpretation.

Curated by: Vesna Rebernak