My Attempts to Articulate the Forthcoming Pipedream which will one day be the Next Green Lantern

February 18, 2010

posted and written by caroline picard

somethings i’ve been thinking about

re: theoretical structures

This proposal includes three parts. These are divided into two LLCs and one non-profit. The first LLC, Urbesque, is the proposed landlord, or you can think of it as a parent or umbrella organization. Urbesque’s sole purpose is to secure the proposed space and act as landlord to its auxiliary sublets.

There are two main tenants that will rent from Urbesque. Those tenants are Lantern Projects, a for-profit LLC, and 501c3 Green Lantern Gallery & Press.

The Green Lantern Gallery & Press will continue to function as it did at 1511 N Milwaukee Ave. The sole difference is that my living expenses will no longer subsidize it. Rather it is to be subsidized by the for-profit company, which I will get to in a moment. The goal of this new incarnation of the gallery and press is to legitimize the original practices, making them more visible to a larger public. I am trying to take an existing DIY model that was intentionally (albeit mildly) subversive, and reconstitute it so that it is more accessible, more mundane and ultimately more stable. The goal of that stability is not specifically for posterity, but rather to secure the lives of the individuals working within the gallery, such that they can afford to take greater risks in their own respective practices. To establish such a space within our predominantly corporate socioeconomic context one can achieve a greater sense of freedom as cultural makers, and even to develop public communities around the more general project of independent culture. Hopefully that sense of freedom would spill out to that public.

The Green Lantern Gallery will focus on the subject of hierarchies, making its structure transparent to the public just as the exhibits it curates similarly reflect the investigation of hierarchy. The Gallery would host 3-4 exhibitions a year, and during the summer months of May-July, we would open up the space to outside curators and community projects.The press would also continue in league with the gallery, focusing on the same theme of hierarchy. While each book does not directly discuss hierarchies, the theme is relevant to the project of each text.

Lantern Projects, LLC will be a cafe/bar/bookstore/performance space. Lantern Projects is an amalgam—serving different functions as it does different audiences. On the one hand it will serve a morning commuter crowd coffee. Similarly it will house students at work, and those who come for performances or openings and wish to stay for a drink or a cup of soup. We will sell a small selection of books put out by independent or artist presses, with a separate display case for book exhibitions. Proposed hours are from 7:30 am – 10pm.

The labor is the next big question. What I propose is an annual residency; artists are invited to apply to work 25 hours a week at the cafe for $240/wk, plus tips. After the first three months, they will receive health insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield. They are invited to work with press, gallery, and or the Public Programming, on a specific project to take place within that year. It is my hope that creating such a residency will facilitate the a-typical hours of most working artists, giving them both a structure of community and the security of health insurance. That residency, further, encourages the necessary connection between what is consumed and what is supported. Namely, the big picture of this organization is to demonstrate how one can achieve a sense of freedom while also taking care of pragmatic issues.

Yes. It is ambitious, yet also it is a worthy challenge. I have this belief that if one has nourishment, space, the means to medical care and a printing press, one can be free. That is, one can achieve a sense of distributable independence. While I realize this might be an unconventional proposal for a single artist, I appeal to others in the Chicago tradition who have made a point about being multiple things at once—administrator, artist, professor (Philip vonZweck), and critic (Michelle Grabner). Even Gaylen Gerber’s practice questions the space between his work and the work of others. To me, it is not enough to work at being a successful artist. The present structure of success is too exclusive, too isolating. Rather I am interested in exploring the pool of our art community with an end to public intellectualism and empowerment. A project that will serve many, just as it serves me.

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