September 11, 2010
and you should come!
You should also check out this article—
This Green Lantern Has Super-Artistic Powers
BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
I’m thinking of a cultural object: Bigger than a breadbox and founded by Caroline Picard, The Green Lantern harkens to Chicago’s grassroots literary history and DIY philosophy.
Despite coincidental Trekkie and comic book connotations, The Green Lantern has nothing to do with GenCon and everything to do with art. Simultaneously a non-profit paperback press and gallery, GL publishes and distributes emerging and/or little-known works.
Additionally, as a venue, it showcases emerging and mid-career artists of all media. Begun out of Executive Director Picard’s Wicker Park apartment, GL was recently shut down for lack of a business license due to improper zoning. Now, however, the ambitious and newly relocated GL is back with a parade of upcoming projects and Gallery Director Abby Satinsky on board. Picard took a seat in the captain’s chair (ba-dum-bum) to discuss her multifaceted brainchild.
September 7, 2010
Hello! this is my first blog post as the Gallery Director at Green Lantern. We’re really excited about our opening this Saturday September 11 from 7-10 pm for David Moré’s show Normal Bias. For each exhibition we’re putting together a publication that will include things like interviews, essays, and documentation of artists’ projects. Here’s our interview with David, the rest of the publication will be available for download from the website starting Saturday. See you this weekend at our new location, 2542 W. Chicago Ave. And we’ll have open hours next week from Tuesday through Saturday 12-6 pm. Yea, we’re opening! -Abby
A conversation between David Moré, Caroline Picard and Abigail Satinsky.
AS: So let’s start by talking about when you began making instruments.
DM: Probably six or seven years ago?
AS: You were drawing before that right?
DM: Yeah. I think I kind of I came to a realization that “I’m drawing or painting just so I can hang out in my studio and listen to records. That’s real dumb.” I’ve also had this kind of uncomfortable relationship, as far as being a cultural producer, I would go to more shows and buy more records than I did books or go to art galleries. And I actually had an instructor who brought that up and said something like, “You kids buy so many CDs, when was the last time you bought a really good book about artists?” And I think it’s a pretty common thing. But yeah, I’m not a musician. Even though it seems like I should maybe try to be, it seems like the format of being in a band and having this relationship where there’s an audience and you’re presenting your music and asking for peoples’ time is not a natural thing for me. And I’ve played instruments before, so I don’t think it’s a patience issue of whether I should just sit down and learn to play the cello.
CP: Do you think it’s weird to think of these homemade instruments as being your medium? It seems like there is a difference between an artist that works with painting and pens and charcoal versus a musician. But then it also seems like you’re using these acoustic tools as a traditional artist would pens or charcoal.
DM: Yeah that’s nice because I occupy a difficult in-between place. You can’t really play a song on a spring and a piece of wood, but you can produce this other kind of thing and that’s what led to this project [sound portraits]. Thinking “Hey I should find a context for these things I do.” You can’t do like a Beethoven cover record on styrofoam.
CP: Can you talk about how you found or came upon this context of making sound portraits in the gallery?
DM: Well it originated from when Temporary Services did the Fair at UIC’s Gallery 400 and I got asked to do something. And so the fair was mostly people presenting publications or other things they had made or that were easily salable. And so I thought, “Fair, hmm, it’s called Fair. Maybe you can get your portrait done like you do at fairs, like a caricature. Cool, yeah! Audio portraits! Yeah that’s a great idea!” So I took this opportunity at Green Lantern to see if I could expand on it. And like you said, now I have more space to move around…
AS: How did you think it worked at Gallery 400?
DM: It was OK, it was fun. I think it worked alright because it was one day in a really cramped space. I definitely think that doing it at the Fair involved relating to an initiated audience. People knew they were going to an art fair. But here, [at The Green Lantern] I’ve been able to get people who are just passing by. And that’s some what interests me. The way I can relate to them, like “I do this kind of weird thing but what do y’all think, what is this music?”
AS: That’s interesting to me that you say the people at the fair would be the initiated and the people that would walk into the gallery aren’t. Because even though we are testing out ways to be something other than a totally traditional gallery space, for most people this is definitely a gallery. There are a bunch of objects on display that they’re going to look at and judge.
DM: But I don’t think this place is obviously a gallery yet and that’s the sense I get from people coming in like, “Wait, so what is this…?”
AS: Right, we’re still in a state of ambiguity…
DM: …and so it’s only a temporary gallery and you’re going to move in January..
CP: …the space right now is full of plants and furniture and curious tables with unusual homemade instruments…
DM: I also kind of like and hate when people ask what I’m doing. I don’t really know but I’m going to try it first and then try to figure out. That process can be pretty infuriating, but it’s also nice because ultimately I might learn something. It feels like an actual experiment.
AS: Well it’s an experiment but there’s also parameters. The participants know where to sit, how long it’s going to take, etc. Which actually, I feel, is really helpful in a lot of ways in terms of getting people to feel comfortable if they know what the parameters of the space they’re occupying because these instruments are such curiosities too.
CP: I agree. It’s interesting with this portraiture set up that people have so many expectations about what their portrait is going to look like. And then I think that there’s also this tendency to read into how somebody describes you as to whether or not they like you or they think you’re a good person or they think you’re attractive. And I think that by making this soundscape the result is already so abstract that it seems to cut a lot of that stuff out, or at least make it very transparent, you know, because you’re like “Whoa there was that weird squealing sound I wonder if it means that David thinks I’m depressed.” And then you’re like, “What am I doing? That’s idiotic. It’s just a sound. ”
AS: Yeah when I see people come in and sit in the chair, they feel special. It’s even true when I was sitting there, I thought, this is just for me. And it reminds me also of another portrait experience. When I was ten, I went to New Orleans with my family. I got my portrait drawn in the touristy part in town. I remember it didn’t look anything like me and I was so disappointed because I felt like I had just sat there for so long! Somehow I thought the portrait would explain something about me, like it would be the window into my soul or something. And then actually getting it and thinking, “Oh you didn’t get me at all!” That is so sad! I don’t even know what happened to the drawing itself, but I remember vividly the expectation of the portrait to really be me and then realizing that that fleeting encounter failed miserably.
DM: Yeah I have never sat for a portrait like that but I imagine that it would be like the expectation of a kind of truth about yourself which is, I mean, that’s nuts! But maybe it’s a mistake that I’ve entered into making people’s portraits using audio. But I’ve been working on it and actually trying to give it a shot and find some parameters and maybe there’s some way you can gauge like, wow you’ve actually got me! Some people sitting have said “Oh wow that’s actually pretty accurate! You were right on there.” And they’re joking a little bit but there is something there. The idea of someone sitting there making abstract noises and then someone else relating those to their life is actually a pretty wild idea.
CP: Can you talk more about your selection of sounds?
DM: One of my concerns is drawing attention to everyday sounds. I think that is a common theme that there’s all these interesting sounds going on around us and if we start paying attention to them, it can be a really fulfilling experience. I can also make the analogy of when I was drawing a still life or an object or a friend, it would really change your relationship to the person or to the object just because you’re so intensely looking at your subject. You can kind of get the same thing just by walking around with a tape recorder and anytime you click it on, you’re paying attention to everything that’s happening around you. I had a really sweet experience a couple of years ago. I was walking around in Havana with this guy, and during a power outage, I said I wanted to make a recording of a generator. When I switched the recorder on he was quiet and when I was done he said, “That was so amazing, as soon as you turned that thing on I just noticed all the amazing street sounds and generative sounds just from taking this walk in this darkened city.” Focusing on surrounding sounds can be a really rich experience.
I want there to be a lot of humor involved too. Yesterday for one of the portraits I took a cymbal and I was bowing it in the bathroom. It was really really loud but at least there was this spatial difference in the sound. Also, with a lot of the work I’m interested in doing, sound doesn’t have to come from two speakers, even though that’s the way a lot of people perceive it.
The only thing I guess I don’t know how it’s going to end. There is going to be a formal gallery opening and I am collecting all the portraits. They are definitely a gift, they are a gift for the person whose portrait I took.
But I am also recording them all digitally and I’m going to have an archive. So on a personal level a lot of the project is getting composition ideas because you have to improvise on the spot to see what these people sound like, right? The project is kind of like a big exercise for me.
CP: Does that mean that over the course of a day before you come into the studio, you think about different sort of compositional progressions?
DM: Well, I think the project potentially builds a more efficient process to describe what someone sounds like which sounds like a completely ridiculous idea. But it is kind of good to make your brain do this thing that doesn’t really make any sense. Just to see if it comes up with anything else, a solution to this ridiculous problem.
June 13, 2009
Posted by Nick Sarno
Via A Journey Round My Skull. Go there to see way more of these.
June 10, 2009
posted by Caroline Picard
I was reading through the New Yorker the other day and came across a spread dedicated to R. Crumb’s illustrated version of Genesis. While the article is relatively short, it describes the difficulty of the subject matter–namely that Crumb “who says he suspects God exists” intended initially to do an interpretative version of the text, and then decided to illustrate the original. Because, he says, the original is so weird and so patriarchal.Whether complicit or critical, I don’t know, but I loved this paragraph of Francoise Mouly’s article:
“Since 1990, Crumb and his wife, the artist Aline Kominksy-Crumb, have lived in a medieval village in southern France. Aline decided that the [Genesis-illustration] project required monastic isolation, so she found her husband a shepherd’s hut and brought him baskets of food. ‘That’s why I dedicated the book to her,’ he says.”
Mostly because I like imagining Aline outlining her argument for why monastic isolation is so necessary.
June 3, 2009
“What is Art?” by Leo Tolstoy
originally published in 1896
But if art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen, how could it be that humanity for a certain rather considerable period of its existence (from the time people ceased to believe in Church doctrine down to the present day) should exist without this important activity, and, instead of it, should put up with an insignificant artistic activity only affording pleasure?
In order to answer this question it is necessary, first of all, to correct the current error people make in attributing to our art the significance of true, universal art. We are so accustomed, not only naively to consider the Circassian family the best stock of people, but also the Anglo-Saxon race the best race if we are Englishmen or Americans, or the Teutonic if we are Germans, or the Gallo-Latin if we are French, or the Slavonic if we are Russians, that, when speaking of our own art, we feel fully convinced, not only that our art is true art, but even that it is the best and only true art. But in reality our art is not only art (as the Bible once was held to be the only book), but it is not even the art of the whole of Christendom–only of a small section of that part of humanity. It was correct to speak of now-existing Chinese, Japanese, or Indian art shared in by a whole people. Such art, common to a whole nation, existed in Russia till Peter the First’s time, and existed in the rest of European society, having lost faith in the Church teaching, did not accept real Christianity but remained without any faith, one can no longer speak of an art of the Christian nations in the sense of the whole of art. Since the upper classes of the Christian nations lost faith in Church Christianity, the art of those upper classes has separated itself from the art of the res of the people and genteel art. And therefore the answer to the question, How could it occur that humanity, nor even any considerable portion of it, lived without real art, but only the highest classes of European Christian society, and even they only for a comparatively short time–from the beginning of the Renaissance to our own day.
And the consequence of this absence of true art showed itself, inevitably, in the corruption of that class which nourished itself on the false art. All the confused, unintelligible theories of art, all the false and contradictory judgements on art, and particularly the self-confident stagnation of our art in its false path, all arise from the assertion which has come into common use and is accepted as an unquestioned truth, but is yet amazingly and palpably false–the assertion (which is precisely similar to the assertion made by religious people of various Churches who consider that theirs is the only true religion) is quite arbitrary and obviously unjust, yet it is calmly repeated by all the people of our circle with full faith in its infallibility.
To the remark that if our art is the true art everyone should have the benefit of it, the usual reply is that if not everybody at present makes use of existing art the fault lies not in the art but in the false organization of society; that one can imagine oneself, in the future, a state of things in which physical labor will be partly superseded by machinery, partly lightened by its just distribution, and that the labor for the production of art will be taken in turns; that there is no need for some people always to sit below the stage moving the decorations, winding up the machinery, working at the piano or French horn, and setting type and printing books, but that people who do all this work might be engaged only a few hours per day, and in their leisure time might enjoy all the blessings of art.
That is what the defenders of our exclusive art say. But I think they do not themselves believe it. They cannot help think that fine art can arise only on the slavery of the masses of the people, and can continue only as long as that slavery lasts, and they cannot help knowing that only under conditions of intense labor for the workers can specialists–writers, musicians, dancers, and actors–arrive at that fine degree of perfection to which they do attain or produce their refined works of art; and only under the same conditions can there be a fine public to esteem such productions. Free slaves of capital, and it will be impossible to produce such refined art.
But even were we to admit the inadmissible and say that means may be found ny which art (that art which among us is considered to be art) may be accessible to the whole people, another consideration presents itself showing that fashionable art cannot be the whole of art, viz., the fact that it is completely unintelligible to the people. Formerly men wrote poems in Latin, but now their artistic productions are as unintelligible to the common folk as if they were written in Sanskrit. The usual reply to this is that if the people do not now understand this art of ours it only proves that they are undeveloped, and that this has been so at each fresh step forward made by art. First it was not understood, but afterward people got accustomed to it.
“It will be the same with our present art; it will be understood when everybody is as well educated as we are–the people of the upper classes–who produce this art,” say the defenders of our art. But this assertion is evidently even more unjust than the former, for we know that the majority of the productions of the art of the upper classes, such as various odes, poems, dramas, cantatas, pastorals, pictures, etc., which delighted the people of the upper classes when they were produced, never were afterward either understood or valued by the great masses of mankind, but have remained what they were at first–a mere pastime for rich people of their time, for whom alone thy ever were of any importance. It is also often urged, in proof of the assertion that the people will some day understand our art, that some productions of so-called “classical” poetry, music or painting, which formerly did not please the masses, do–now that they have been offered to them from all sides–begin to please these same masses; but this only shows that the crowd, especially the half-spoiled town crowd, can easily (its taste having been perverted) be accustomed to any sort of art. Moreover, this art is not produced by these masses, nor even chosen by them, but is energetically thrust upon them in those public places in which art is accessible to the people. For the great majority of working-people, our art, besides being inaccessible on account of its costliness, is strange in its very nature, transmitting as it does the feelings of people far removed from those conditions of laborious life which are natural to the great body of humanity. That which is enjoyment to a man of the rich classes is incomprehensible as a pleasure to a workingman, and evokes in him either no feeling at all or only a feeling quite contrary to that which it evokes in an idle and satiated man. Such feelings as form the chief subjects of present-day art–say, for instance honor, patriotism, and amorousness–evoke in a workingman only bewilderment and contempt, or indignation. So that even if a possibility were given to the laboring classes in their free time to see, to read, and to hear all that forms the flower of contemporary art (as is done to some extent in towns by means of picture galleries, popular concerts, and libraries), the workingman (to the extent to which he is a laborer and has not begun to pass into the ranks of those perverted by idleness) would be able to make nothing of our fine art, and if he did understand it, that which he understood would not elevate his soul but would certainly, in most cases, pervert it. To thoughtful and sincere people there can, therefore, be no doubt that the art of the upper class never can be the art of th whole people. But if art is an important matter, a spiritual blessing, essential for all men (“like religion,” as the devotees of art are fond of saying), then it should be accessible to everyone. And if, as in our day, it is not accessible to all men, then one of two things: either art is not the vital matter it is represented to be or that art which we call art is not the real thing.
The dilemma is inevitable and therefore clever and immoral people avoid it by denying one side of it, viz., denying that the common people have a right to art. These people simply and boldly speak out (what lies at the heart of the matter), and say that the participators in and utilizers of what, in their esteem, is highly beautiful art, i.e. art furnishing the greatest enjoyment, can only be “shone Geister*,” “the elect,”as the romanticists called them, the “Ubermenschen,” as they are called by the followers of Nietzsche; the remaining vulgar herd, incapable of experiencing these pleasures, must serve the exalted pleasures of this superior breed of people. The people who express these views at least do not pretend and do not try to combine the incombinable, but frankly admit what is the case–that our art is an art of the upper classes only. So essentially art has been, and is, understood by everyone engaged in it in our society.
*i.e. “men who are able to percieve the beautiful”
June 2, 2009
Posted by Nick Sarno
“Hold the map close to your face. Breathe into it and you will hear a river start.”
The Organizational History of The Jejune Institute, as posted on their website. Visit for much, much more information.
The origins of the Jejune Institute are in the San Francisco Bay Area, where in 1962 a small academic society first gathered around a common interest in the advancement of socio-re-engineering methods. A cross-disciplinary approach was quickly embraced as students and professors from diverse areas of studies began to associate and compare knowledge: Sociologists, Political Scientists, Biologists, and Psychologists all figured prominently among members of other disciplines. Prominent department faculty were present early on from top campuses including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco. Regular bi-weekly meetings soon developed into a monthly lecture series, periodic experimental seminars and an annual conference.
Among the broad ranging scope of discussion, a few central topics emerged to the top. Primarily; the problems of expanding interpersonal trust among fellow human subjects, how to increase general spontaneity & creativity across large populations, and how to induce mutation in the geopolitical realm. As eccentric as these topics sound, they were not based upon the bohemian movements popularized in the area at the time. They were firmly based upon solid scientific research and empirical evidence.
As the movement grew, a leader emerged. Octavio Coleman, Esquire was a young Professor at Stanford’s Department of Molecular Physiology, recently moved to California from the Netherlands, where he was a head of research at the University of Leiden. He was quickly elected as the acting chair person of the society, and became was renowned for leading engaging and humorous discussions that encouraged participation from every member of the often expansive audience. To many Coleman Esquire was considered the living embodiment of the humanitarian ideals professed by the society.
During the 1970’s, under the visionary leadership of Coleman Esquire, the academic society evolved into The Jejune Institute; an international not for profit organization with the funds to support it’s own research facilities and independent programs. Through these programs the Jejune Method was crystalized, and the Institute soon gained the global influence for which it is currently known.
During this transitional era, luminaries such as Werner Erhard, Stuart Emory, and L. Ron Hubbard were prominent participants at the Institute. Through working closely with Coleman they eventually went on to spearhead the growing movement of “personal growth” and “self-help”. Though largely uncredited, The Jejune Institute was an integral part of the philosophical breeding grounds of EST, Esalon, and Dianetics, which collectively spawning a thousand like-minded schools or pop psychology.
A cultural shift in the organization occurred in the 80’s as the Institute began to develop a series of innovative products aligned with it’s ultimate goal of maximizing human potential. Chief advisors recognized the mission would sooner be accomplished through a corporate entity with a for-profit motive, compared to the former 501c3 structure. Hence, the current incarnation of the organization was established; The Jejune Institute L.L.C.
Now in the 21st Century, many of Coleman’s earliest foresights and predictions have materialized. His often outlandish prognosis have all seemed to gain scientific credibility, and it is at this moment that his theories feel most relevant. It is no coincidence then that millions of participants around the world are rigorous disciples of the Jejune Method, and our induction centers now span over all seven continents. To learn more about how these principles relate to you, sign up for a free orientation session at one of our many global induction centers.
May 28, 2009
posted by caroline picard
Caroline Picard, Twilight of the Vanities
Opening Saturday, May 30th from 7-10pm
Show runs until Sunday, June 28th
Reading on Sunday, June 14th, time TBD
Caroline Picard is working a new novel entitled “Happy Endings.” This work-in-progress is about a group of hipsters living in Philadelphia and the events which led them to their current position in life. Entangling shallow personalities are complicated with transparent glimmers of childhood. The past becomes present, flattening out through night-time banter and its invariable avoidance of grief. The present has to lead somewhere.
To accompany “Happy Endings,” Picard will show a series of “portraits” based on peripheral characters in the book. She combines aspects of drawing, gouache, and collage into beautifully delicate compositions. These abstract works serve as intuitive meditations of the characters she has constructed. A fleshy pallet with spikes of black, hot pink, blue and gold mix together to form intricate pattern work; in each painting, specific aesthetics of each individual are recomposed into an ornate and impenetrable surface. The gouache mingles with swatches of dollhouse wallpaper, connecting the character’s present personas to their early years.
Fifty hand bound copies of the book will be available for purchase for $20.
And then, outside, on the stoop with all of his dumb bags all over again, everyone else inside because they aren’t ready to leave yet, Tobias just starts to cry. Finally. And he can’t get up even thou gh he feels stupid crying in the midst this city, and all its people—all its pretty people with funny clothes and fancy tattoos and stylish jokes—all of his fans, he can’t help but cry and when he finally does he can’t stop until Fletcher finally finds him in the eaves of a doorway to a store that’s closed for the night. And then Fletcher finally hugs him and tells him that it’s going to be alright. I promise, buddy, we’ll get through this.
Caroline Picard is the Founding Director of The Green Lantern Gallery & Press and a Co-Editor for the literary podcast The Parlor . Her writing has been published in a handful of publications including Featherproof’s mini books, NewCity, the Chicago Art Journal Review and Proximity Magazine. Her artwork has been shown at an array of alternative venues, not limited to COMA, artXposium and a solo show at Around the Coyote.