July 14, 2010

posted by Heather McShane

While at Ox-Bow for two weeks, I finished writing and drawing a book called For the Love of Beatrice. I like calling this book an illuminated manuscript, which means that it’s a book written and decorated by hand (however, the strictest definition of an illuminated manuscript means the manuscript is decorated with gold or silver). Although I did hand-write and draw the book, I have intended since its inception for the book to appear online (it has sound and video components as well as links to Websites).

While creating the book, I wasn’t really thinking about it being an illuminated manuscript; I was merely inspired to make it. I showed it to my friend Carmen Price who subsequently lent me Carl Jung’s The Red Book, which Carmen happened to have at Ox-Bow with him.

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Carl Jung before Carmen let me borrow The Red Book. I knew about Jung’s former friend and mentor Sigmund Freud, especially Freud’s theories about dreams and his ideas about the uncanny. But, for example, I didn’t know that concepts as familiar to me as the archetype and the collective unconscious are attributed to Jung and that his theories indirectly brought about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Alcoholics Anonymous. And I really wasn’t aware that Jung wrote an illuminated text. Here’s just one page of the 205-page book:

Jung worked on this mystical book written in calligraphic text with painted illuminations for 16 years. According to an article titled “Carl Jung and the Holy Grail of the Unconscious” in the New York Times, The Red Book tells a story about a man searching for his soul. Was this man Jung himself? Carefully, with clean hands, I looked at each page, noting that the book ends with the word Möglichkeit, which means “possibility.” What did Jung intend to happen with the book? He did keep it a secret.

To read more, see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/magazine/20jung-t.html

posted by Caroline Picard

Hey! We got a write up! check out the whole thing by going here…what follows is an excerpt-

Isolated Fictions at FLUXspace–our collective memory

By libby | March 2, 2010

You have a few days left to get to Isolated Fictions, an evocative exhibit at FLUXspace of work related to the publication of The North Georgia Gazette, a beautiful reprint of an 1821 shipboard journal, by Chicago’s Green Lantern Press.

Bookmark/postcard from nowhere to nowhere, that comes with the North Georgia Gazette. Like this bookmark, everything in this bookmark is thoughtful and artful.

Green Lantern Press is the artist-run organization that also publishes the Phonebook, a national directory of artist-run spaces. (The most recent edition, 2008-2009, Philly’s artist-run spaces are severely underrepresented, but then even we can’t keep up.) And of course this show is at an artist-run collective space. There’s a theme here.

The story behind the book goes back to when a British fleet of exploration ships got stuck in the Arctic ice while searching for the Northwest Passage. Trapped for eight months, waiting for the ice to melt, they published a ship’s journal, The North Georgia Gazette, on orders from the fleet’s Captain Parry to keep spirits lifted. No whining allowed.

Amanda Browder, Installation, 2010 and Nike Desis standing there for scale

posted and written by caroline picard

What follows is the curatorial statement used for FLUXspace exhibit

“Isolated Fictions”

February 6 – March 6, 2010

Opening Reception: February 6, 2010, 7 – 10 pm  CLOSING RECEPTION TBA

Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12 – 4 pm or by appointment
Contact: Angela Jerardi, 202.258.9670 /

Image taken by friend and Philadelphia artist, Hiro Sakaguchi : This is what it looked like the day after the storm, the day after the opening....

ANTENNAS in the middle of a snowstorm

curatorial statment about Isolated Fictions

It has been snowing for the last several hours. In the short time I’ve been in Philadelphia, anticipation for that snow has been the main subject of conversation. It was the anticipation of that storm that made me think about imagination and the way we project ourselves into the future, building and sharing expectations.

Three nights ago, a stranger crossed my path at midnight. He shook his head repeatedly, “Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow…” he said. That’s when I knew. That’s when I knew it was going to be a big storm.

It’s fitting that Isolated Fictions would open with a storm; 189 years ago a group of sailors who created the original North Georgia Gazette were very cold. They were cold and they sat in the dark for many months, waiting for the ice that locked their ships into the Arctic Circle to melt. It’s fitting that an exhibition inspired by the Gazette would coincide with a hazardous storm. There are a number of comparisons worth noting.

Due to preventative weather conditions, almost two feet of snow, we expect a small turnout. The sailors were cold on a ship; we’re cold in a warehouse. The sailors made work, imagining the possibility of a future audience. We put up an exhibition—Rebecca Grady and I came from Chicago, Amanda Browder came from New York. We anticipate someone other than ourselves and our hosts at FLUX will witness it. Further, Isolated Fictions takes place in North Kensington, an out-of-the-way neighborhood with narrow streets, families, an occasional bodega, a bar, a hair salon. FLUXspace is a destination venue for contemporary art enthusiasts. Most of those would come from elsewhere—other neighborhoods in other parts of the city. The North Pole is also a destination venue, though it’s enthusiasts are, perhaps, of a different sort.
Obviously, it is absurd to draw any literal comparisons between the inhospitable, natural Arctic North and a contemporary urban art gallery. Yet perhaps in this show, in this place, there are echoes and refractions which, having extended out of Parry’s experience, muting and deviating through time, suddenly, and oddly, reappear here as a kind of temporary eddy.

In 2009, The Green Lantern Press reprinted and re-contextualized that 1821 newspaper. In addition to excerpts from the Captain’s journal and the newspaper itself (featuring original poems, play reviews, classified ads, etc.), the text is punctuated with images of work by contemporary artists. Both the design of the book and the interjection of those artists creates a bridge from an historical event to our contemporary present; from the world of the sailor/expeditionist to that of the artist.

Those sailors wrote from a place without a guaranteed audience. They had no way of knowing whether the papers they wrote, the experiments they executed, journals kept, would ever find their way beyond the arctic landscape. Nevertheless, they put on plays for one another, wore sometimes girlish costumes, published writing—investing in the idea of posterity. Creating something for a hoped-for audience, an audience that would only exist if they were to survive their conditions and escape the ice. To believe in such an audience is as life-affirming as the fictions they made for one another. Both are hopeful. I would argue that such an investment was essential to their survival. Considering the odds they were up against, Parry’s expedition was an unprecedented success. Only one man died.

Isolated Fictions picks up on the idea of communication; focusing on the action of (art)work. That desire to make work, to be heard, in order to communicate something specific. Each piece is evidence of such work, an attempt for an individual to communicate. Each piece demands its own terms, using different formal vocabularies using found material. The necessary idea behind each work is that, despite its idiosyncratic aesthetic language, both (art)maker and audience believe its meaning can be communicated. Similarly, the everyday speaker assumes his or her thought can be expressed in words, while the listener assumes he or she can grasp that same speaker’s thought. It’s remarkable, really. Impossible. Absurd.

And yet.  A suspension of disbelief is required in order to participate in the world. One must hope that the work can and will be heard, just as the work must hope that it is understandable. That hope is a kind of striving.

Jason Dunda’s The Tower, shows a painstaking care to brushstroke and detail;  he shows us an impossible construction, cartoon-like with intricate pattern and color. The tower looks like it’s constructed with a variety of found and various two x fours. From far away, the tower looks believable. On closer inspection, however, one sees the individual pieces of the tower are not connected by any nail or screw. At best, they are dubious load-bearers. The Tower demands a degree of imaginative participation from the viewer, asking that one imagine it can be used. It also points to a natural desire to climb above one’s perspective. Towers are erected to see from a higher vantage, for protection or knowledge. When creating a tower, one also creates a point of vulnerability, a place from which one is easily seen. The Tower is self-reflexive, in this way, pointing to the art making process—the illusory potential of materials, the demand of viewer participation (via imagination/projection), the desire to communicate and or see something greater than oneself. Even, the vulnerability of imagination.

Devin King’s 2 squared + 4 = 8 samples sentences from different sources. He gathers these and reforms them onto a page, creating a poem, or a space, or a narrative. He borrows characters from the Gazette, “Hooper” for instance, is captured as he might have been in the Arctic, performing on stage. Splice that image together with Kathryn on the telephone curling the chord, or Victor Hugo’s proverbial octopus (what Hugo called “killjoys of the contemplator,”) to mixtapes and aggressive historicizing. King’s work actively lays out various examples of communication-attempts. By re-contextualizing them he disrupts the specific meaning of each original phrase. By creating a new surface with those phrases, the words become flat objects, the disjointed and intuitive narrative a spectral projection who’s meaning is ultimately subjective.

No Floe (2005), by Carmen Price, operates similarly, providing a space—revealing more than anything the work of an introspective process. The care of the graphite coloring, its texture, its soft mottled-ness—like fur almost—provides a means to measure time taken in the drawing’s completion. It seems almost like a landscape painted of a very particular inner space, one inaccessible to a larger audience beyond its present form, as a representation of that space, not a literal depiction of it. There are three distinct forms of mark-making or color that used. The first operates like a kind of wash, or pale blue sky. The ground is the graphite–a solid field of grey, textured by the directional lines its comprised by. Then too there is a floating overlay of triangular marks–these combine to read as a single structure, appearing in one sense like a floating iceberg. Yet her too, the combined meaning of these marks is projected, a result of the viewer making assumption, assuming even that each constituent family of mark making can be associated with the literal, physical world out the window. While the marriage is successful in composition, they could simply be doodles, a collection of found lines.

Iceberg is a soft sculpture by New York artist, Amanda Browder. In some way Browder creates a three-dimensional, tactile experience of what Price hints at in his drawing. Stitching one-dimensional fabric surfaces together, Browder creates a sense of depth, abstracted from the variant kinds of ice and surface that make up icebergs. Here too, she uses found, donated materials and the coalescent patterns, the gingham print on one facet of the structure, abutting the polyester pants-suit leg of another facet, topped with a crag of white stuffed animal fur, recontextualize mass-produced, factory materials into a singular object that mimics nature. Here too, the form points beneath itself, to the space it theoretically occupies underneath the floor, extending into the well-known metaphor that the tip of any given iceberg represents one tenth of its true size. Using this three-dimensional structure, Browder defines a phsyical space of abstraction. One which the viewer must then negotiate.

Deb Sokolow’s work creates a different kind of space for the viewer. While integrating text and images, she always uses the second person, teasing out paranoid fantasies. In this instance, however, she projects a specific relationship onto that viewer, controlling the viewer’s position by way of suggestion. “Is there a draft in the room?” she asks, imposing on you the role of Captain Parry. “Odd. There shouldn’t be.” Imposing on you again the beginnings of concern. Integrating historical events with rumor and suspicion, Sokolow builds a narrative as one might a house—composing her narrative around your head. It is as though she cannot be sure that you will understand her work as it might take place in her eyes. Instead, she controls what you see through your own eyes.

Rebecca Grady has a number of pieces in this exhibition. She made the framed grid at the bottom of the stairs. She also made the Arctic Map, where again, one sees the result of interpretation and fantasy projected onto an existing landscape—the earth. Her most curious piece is comprised of sheets of paper that hang straight down from a pipe parallel to the floor. The sheets curl under themselves. They are crinkled in places with devising topographies. It is likely the most cryptic piece in the show. The most demanding. And for all it’s simplicity, the most inaccessible. Here one must ask what the piece is asking; what the (art)maker is trying to communicate. A Fraction of an Instant Where Water and Human Ambition Collide creates a wall upon which we look, through which we cannot pass. It is constructed of usable material, material humanity can manipulate to express other things. And yet its largess, its emotional inexpressiveness is daunting. Reminiscent of sheets of ice or  a waterfall, the paper becomes a metaphor for natural elements beyond human control. The ice that locked Parry’s ships into a winter season of darkness.

Finally, Nick Butcher’s piece Grain Advance is a mirror replica of an original, vintage historic record. Butcher pours woodglue on the record, applies paper to the back and, when dry, the paper pulls the woodglue cast. That cast is then played. The sound is ghostly, full of pops and static. The needle gets stuck in tracks and loops over and over itself. Here too the meaning of the original record is lost. A shadow remains and that shadow creates a new audio space, one the viewer inhabits. The audio space, the way it repeats itself, is also a measure of time, whereby the repetition, the tireless monotony, influences our experience of progression. I always find myself imagining that the record is very old. I project myself into a past that presumably exists, in as much as the record is evidence of it. And yet. That record is false evidence. It has been fabricated.

Each piece reflects a process of making just as much as it reveals an earnest intention to communicate. We are here now, standing in an idiosyncratic space, in a part of the city generally overlooked by upwardly mobile denizens with annual subscriptions to the New Yorker. Nevertheless it is such bizarre and focused and marginalized activities as these that make life interesting. As a final note on communication, I thought I’d pull a quote that Devin sited during the book launch for the Gazette. At one point, Victor Hugo spoke to the ocean. Hugo asked it to write a piece of music that described itself for the flute. This is what it said, rapping on a table:

“Your flute pierced with little holes like the ass of a shitting brat disgusts me. Bring me an orchestra and I’ll make you a song. Take all the great noises, all the tumults, all the fracases, all the rages that float free in space, the morning breeze, the evening breeze, the wind of the night, the wind of the grave, storms, simoons, nor-easters that run their violent fingers through the hair of trees like desperate beings, rising tide on the beaches, rivers plunging into seas, cataracts, waterpouts, vomitings of the enormous breast of the world, what lions roar, what elephants bellow with their trunks, what impregnable snakes hiss in their convolutions, what whales low through their humid nostrils, what mastodons pant in the entrails of the earth, what the horses of the sun neigh in the depths of the sky, what the entire menagerie of the wind thunders in its aerial cages, what insults fire and water throw at each other, one from the bottom of his volcanic yap the other from the bottom of his abysmal yap, and tell me: here is your orchestra—make harmony from this din, make love from these hates, make peace from these battle, be the maestro of that which has no master.”

Fluxspace Card!

February 3, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

check it out!

image by Deb Sokolow

polarsketch by rebecca grady

posted by caroline picard

Remember how we went to AS220 with “Isolated Fictions?” Now we’re taking the North Georgia Gazette to Philadelphia! The following artists are going to be in a group show based on the book. You can go here to get a copy!


featuring the work of Amanda Browder, Nick Butcher, Jason Dunda,

Rebecca Grady, Devin King, Carmen Price & Deb Sokolow

Exhibition Dates: February 6 – March 6, 2010

Opening Reception: February 6, 2010, 7 – 10 pm

Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12 – 4 pm or by appointment

FLUXspace is pleased to present Isolated Fictions, a group exhibition featuring work by Amanda Browder, Nick Butcher, Jason Dunda, Rebecca Grady, and Deb Sokolow, and curated by Caroline Picard, Founding Director of Green Lantern Gallery & Press (Chicago, IL). Isolated Fictions is an Independent Project of Philagrafika 2010, Philadelphia’s international festival celebrating print in contemporary art. There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on February 6, 2010 from 7 – 10 pm. In conjunction with the exhibition, FLUXspace will also host a temporary reading room in the gallery and launch a new project, the yet-to-be-named archive.

About 200 years ago, a fleet of English ships got stuck in the Arctic ice for a year. Their Captain had them run up canvas, covering the ships’ masts. They battened the hatches, so to speak, and watched as the sun set for winter’s entirety, waiting with unimaginable patience for spring. They waited for their passage home to melt. Under Captain Parry’s orders, the fleet printed a newspaper: the entries of which were solicited from the men on deck, under the condition that nothing depressing be published. These men also put on plays.

Chicago’s Green Lantern Press is proud to announce the re-release of this manuscript, The North Georgia Gazette. Touring the country along with this book is a group exhibition, Isolated Fictions, featuring contemporary artists from the publication. The book has been published in an edition of 250 with original silk-screen covers and features excerpts from the Captain’s Journal, the newspaper in its entirety, an essay by contemporary Arctic explorer John Huston, end notes by transcriber/poet Lily Robert-Foley, original artwork by Daniel Anhorn, Jason Dunda, Rebecca Grady, and Deb Sokolow, and a limited edition 7″ record by Nick Butcher. The North Georgia Gazette will be available at FLUXspace for $30.

Isolated Fictions features works on paper by Deb Sokolow that address the second person, incorporating that viewer into the Arctic landscape; large gouache paintings of impossible wood towers by Jason Dunda that parallel the newspaper’s impossible success; maps of the Arctic, as well as a sculpture of an ice floe by Rebecca Grady; and a 7” record made of wood glue by Nick Butcher that plays on repeat.

The Newspaper itself functions as a metaphor for an inherent aspect of humanity: whether the Arctic is a devastating place, or a place wild with imagination and longing, it represents the unknown. That unknown can exist in the world, between neighboring communities. But often that unknown space is within oneself, and though it is essential to try and communicate those territories—to study them and map them out, they maintain a mysterious ground. And it is in the failure of exposing everything, or knowing everything, that we accomplish great heights of beauty.

In conjunction with Isolated Fictions, there will also be a reading room in the gallery space; books, magazines, newspapers, and a variety of printed ephemera will be on display and available for perusal. The reading room will be part of a new project at FLUXspace, the yet-to-be-named archive, which aims to collect printed documents from Philadelphia’s visual art scene, and also books and magazines of general interest.  We hope to build this archive over time and would welcome submissions from other art spaces. Materials included in the archive thus far: Arts Exchange, Green Lantern Press, machete, Megawords, New Art Examiner, and various Philadelphia exhibition postcards and printed materials.


Caroline Picard is the Founding Director of The Green Lantern Gallery & Press, and a Co-Editor for the literary podcast The Parlor (www.theparlorreads.com). Her writing has been published in a handful of publications including the Philadelphia Independent, NewCity, Ampersand Review, MAKE Magazine, the Chicago Art Journal Review, and Proximity Magazine. Twice a year she meets with a performance group and records improvised music under the collective alias Thee Iran Contras. She continues to paint and exhibit her visual work.

Born in Missoula, MT in 1976, Amanda Browder currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Amanda received her MFA/MA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2001, and taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2001-07. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Nakaochiai Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Lothringer 14, Munich, Germany; White Columns, New York; Mixture Contemporary Gallery, Houston, TX; The Missoula Museum of the Arts, Missoula, MT; Gallery 400-UIC, and The Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL. She is also a founding member of the art-podcast: http://www.badatsports.com.

Nick Butcher is an artist and musician living in Chicago, IL. Since the summer of 2006, Butcher has run a studio space/printshop with Nadine Nakanishi called Sonnenzimmer. While the focus is poster design and printing, they also host exhibitions and art events. Recently, Butcher completed a solo-album called “Bee Removal.”

Jason Dunda received his BA in Fine Arts from York University, Toronto and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives and works in Chicago. Jason has previously exhibited in Toronto and Chicago.

Rebecca Grady is a Chicagoan by way of Alaska and Maine. When she was too little to walk, she was pulled around on a sled by a German Shepherd called Namer. When she grows up she wants to be a sailor. Meanwhile, she is an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also teaches drawing. Mini comics, mix tapes, tropical storms and more can be found on her website: http://www.rubaccaquon.com.

Devin King is an artist who lives and works in Chicago, IL. Using text, music and performance as a coalescent medium, King has performed a variety of one-man operas, including most recently “Hadyn’s Head and Madame X,” as part of The 2010 Rhinoceros Festival. His long poem, CLOPS. is due out spring of 2010 with the Green Lantern Press.

Carmen Price’s work creates new relationships between familiar visual elements to express joy in contemporary culture. His celebratory drawings use personal symbolism and a strong faith in the accidental to form occasionally narrative and often confusing scenes. Originally from Kansas City, MO, Carmen Price currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Deb Sokolow’s recent projects include site-specific installations at the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO and at Inova [Institute of Visual Arts] in Milwaukee, WI. She is an Illinois Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship recipient, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL. Sokolow received her MFA in 2004 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.

The Green Lantern Gallery & Press is a 501(c)3 non-profit gallery and paperback press dedicated to the study, presentation, and archive of contemporary art practice. Because we believe that independent cultural production and idiosyncratic effort is the fount for meaning and friendship, The Green Lantern also hosts monthly art exhibitions for emerging artists and publishes limited-edition books by new or forgotten writers who are making significant contributions to today’s cultural landscape. With a focus on the visual arts, The Green Lantern establishes paths of accessibility between the work and its audience by contextualizing its events through writing, a literary reading series – The Parlor, video, performance and music. For more information please visit http://www.thegreenlantern.org.

FLUXspace is a Philadelphia based 501(c)3 contemporary arts space which provides artists, curators, and instigators the opportunity for unrestricted and uncensored experimentation, professional presentation, and critical dialogue for the purpose of exploring and creating new art practices and media.  FLUX consists of an exhibition space, an artist residency program, as well as public programming including artist lectures, panel discussions, workshops, movie nights and performances.

posted by Caroline Picard


and a blog for that matter. It’s pretty sweet-

you can kind of keep track of things as he works on them. like a flow of processes and snap shots. Anyway, Carmen has participated in a number of Green Lantern shows and events. He was one of the first people I ever met in Chicago and has been a hearty participant of the art community ever since. So. Check out his website by going here. It’s awesome


December 13, 2008

posted by Caroline Picard

I don’t know what you all are up to tonight in Chi-town, but I’ve got two things I’m headed to. 1) screening at Elegant Mister Gallery and 2) the Crystal Ball fundraiser for threewalls.



ThreeWalls announces:

Their 4th annual holiday ball & fundraiser:

Crystal Ball

1513 N Western Avenue, 3rd Floor

December 13th, 2008

Doors at 8 pm, auction at 9:30 pm

Drinks, dancing, live music


$20.00, unlimited drinks

$30.00, includes one piece of ltd. edition stemware (your choice)

CHICAGO: Mark your calendars! Its threewalls annual holiday ‘ball’ on December 13th, 8pm at 1513 N Western Ave, 3rd floor.

This year’s party, Crystal Ball, will take you to a fantasyland of ice palaces and wizards, snow queens and magic. So start working on your costumes and training your fantastic beasts for our best holiday party to date, featuring our yearly art auction, famed photobooth, fortune telling and dancing, as well as best fantasy tattoo and a special appearance by The Christmas Wizard.

Our auction is shaping up to be a blockbuster event with original artwork, multiples and editioned prints by local and regional artists and past residents of the threewalls residency. This is the opportunity to start or add to your collection or buy a special holiday gift while supporting the local visual arts.

Scott Speh of Western Exhibitions will play auctioneer, so be ready with for a raucous time when he auctions off work by Amanda Curtis, Amanda Ross-Ho, Anne Wilson, Aron Packer, Bebe Krimmer, Brian McNearney, CamLab, Carmen Price, Carole Lung, Caroline Picard, Chris Hefner, Chris Millar, Cody Hudson, Craig Doty, Craig Yu, Dani Leventhal, Daniel Barrow, David Noonan, Deborah Boardman, Deborah Slabeck-Baker, Diana Guerrero-Maciá, Edra Soto, Ellen Rothenberg, Eric May, Jason Lahr, Jeanne Dunning, Jesse McLean, Judy Ledgerwood, Julia Hechtman, Ken Fandell, Lisa Krivacka, Maren Erwin, Matthew Rich, Melanie Schiff, Michael Dinges, Molly Schafer, Monika Bartholomé, Nevin Tomlinson, New Catalog, Peter Hoffman, Rebecca Ringquist, Robert Reinard, Selina Trepp, Sterling Ruby, William Cordova and more…

Ready and waiting to be filled with potion are our annual limited edition glassware, a set of etched stemware by 2007/08 SOLO artists: Ann Toebbe, Caleb Jones Lyons, Cayetano Ferrer and Heather Mekkelson. Each artist’s glass is a limited edition of 24 pieces. Glasses are $30.00 each with free entry to Crystal Ball, or a set for $100.00.
Currently threewalls only annual fundraiser, the holiday ball helps provide Chicago and region artists with one of the only application based solo exhibition opportunities in the city, a residency that brings national and international artists to Chicago to make new work and network in our community, as well as helping support publications like PHONEBOOK and Paper & Carriage.

Over the past year the success of the SOLO program has brought international attention to our first of 7 exhibiting artists, we have expanded our residency program to become a mobile collaboration with other art and community organizations in the city and we worked with artist John Preus on the renovation of our gallery space in order to create a bookstore for the distribution of artist publications and multiples.

We believe in promoting Chicago as an integral site for contemporary art by cultivating relationships between local artists, residents, visiting curators, thinkers and writers. threewalls applications and the success of our program have been fueled by word of mouth: Chicago is a great place for contemporary art!

Crystal Ball is essential to the development and maintenance of threewalls, and by helping threewalls, you help cultivate and support the artists that depend on us.

Join us this year for Crystal Ball and you will make this fundraiser a success and even a greater time!

threewalls is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to contemporary art practice and discourse. Through the residency program(s), SOLO project and quarterly publication Paper and Carriage, ThreeWalls aims to provide opportunities for experimentation, chance, critical dialogue and context for artists, curators and writers who are at pivotal points in their careers. www.three-walls.org

In the third issue of Paper & Carriage (pub. GLPress/threewalls), we had the honor of publishing some of Henry Darger’s writing, in conjunction with some of the images used in the Folk Art Museum show “Dargerism.” It’s a really stunning issue, actually, full of goodies, including some drawings by Daniel Johnston, an original CD of other people’s mantras by Sherri Lynn Wood and an inserted artist multiple by Carmen Price. At any rate, I thought I’d post the Darger stuff, along with the some of the Dargerism images. If any of you have any interest in picking up a copy, you cand so here. Printed in a limited editon of 250, they are $18/piece. At any rate, over the course of the day, I’m going to post three of the Darger excerpts. You can see what you think-

posted by Caroline Picard

Ash Wednesday by Anthony Goicolea

Ash Wednesday by Anthony Goicolea

A Note on the Text

Henry Darger wrote in a large, legible script. At first glance, one would deem it child-like, but the similarities in the letters and their even spacing are not those of someone just learning how to write. Rather, I would describe his handwriting as determined. If the letters do not take shape smoothly, it is not due to unfamiliarity with their form: it is because he wrote slowly, with force, plotting out each word in advance.
And yet, despite its clarity, there were choices to be made. There are misspellings, of course (some of them rather interesting: machenry for machinery, for instance, or prime instead of prim), but no more than can be expected in a handwritten manuscript several thousand pages long. There are inconsistencies in capitalization (Second World war) and marks floating just above and below the lines of notebook paper that could serve as commas, periods, or apostrophes (though never all three simultaneously). I would like to have printed a faithful reproduction of Darger’s own notebooks, with strikes through the mistakes he crossed out and all the misspelled place names intact, but in the end I decided to err on the side of readability. This should serve as an introduction to a vast archive of materials that are only now coming to light; as such, it would be a shame to litter the page with brackets, footnotes and strikethroughs.
I have corrected a number of misspelled words, capitalized where needed but, all in all, I have left the writing as it is. Stains on the manuscript obscured the few words you will find in brackets: these are my guesses as to what they may be. The titles of the selections were not chosen by the author, but were taken directly from the text.
Special thanks to Michael Bonesteel for for facsimiles of the original manuscript, and to Kiyoko Lerner for allowing us to publish these selections.

March 2008


May 12, 2008


Many of my ideas about art, like most belief systems, come from my father, who, trafficking me down the stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway that lies between his house and my mother’s house once quoted Luciano Fabro to me, “Most artists are born warriors and die merchants”.  This phrase, at the tender age of 12 or 13 (an odd tendency of my father is not to vary his discourse according to the age of his listener) had a big effect on me. Under the common misguided impression of 13-year-olds that those who have just been born are good and those who are about to die bad, I vowed to always remain a warrior and never, against all odds, allow myself to be led down the evil path towards commerce and merchandising. 



11:05am.  April 25, 2008.  Chicago, Illinois, Merchandise Mart.  I am  bounding and dodging my way through NEXT and Artopolis spectators who seem hell bent on moving as slowly and as aimlessly as possible.  I’m late.  I flit about at the end of a long line emanating from the elevators, digging through a decomposing black backpack for my participants’ badge.  Finally, I find it amidst a wad of unidentifiable objects and pull it out just as the authoritative eye of the guard finds me.  On sight of my badge, she quickly waves me through.  The faces of those patiently bearing the line slide into a blur past me as I bypass them towards the elevator. 



Late afternoon.  April 16, 2008.  Check point.  Bethlehem.  Surrounding the West Bank is a wall made of wide, imposing concrete slabs.  At the base of the wall are piles of garbage and tangled, overgrown weeds.  All across the wall are spatterings of graffiti, “My sister did not through stones”, “Ctrl. Alt. Delete”, “I am not a terrorist”.  Anyone trying to get into or out of the West Bank is required to pass through a security check point in order to get from one side of the wall to another.  I hold my American passport in my sweaty hand. On sight of the dark blue vinyl covering, the little gold pressed lettering, the authoritative eye of the guard nods me through.  I exit through the iron turn grate, and stride out towards Israel, past a long line of some 50 Palestinians who must endure rigorous, never-ending interrogations, the degrading taunts of Israeli soldiers, and what they perceive to be an ongoing alienation from dominion over their own well-being.



What do these two experiences have to do with each other?  Well, besides some surface characteristics: the waiting, the long line, my possession in both cases of the sought-after passe-partout, the blur of faces as I speed by them, the delineation of privilege based on affiliation—not much, really.  One cannot really compare the experience of the Palestinians to the experience of art-fair goers.  Likewise, it would be a stretch to try to compare the battle between Palestinians and Israelis to the battle between artists and art buyers.  It would be insulting even to try.   




My father is a communist.  No, he’s a republican.  No, a communist.  No a republican.  (Did you know many Palestinians are communists?  I didn’t.)  He owns an El Camino, and keeps a picture of Mao on the dash-board.  He says, “I’m a member of the republican party because, what kind of left doesn’t believe in guns?”  He told me when I was a little girl, “It’s not the artists who decide what art is, it’s the art critics and the art buyers.”  They make the distinction between good and bad art and important and unimportant art by deciding how much it costs and by writing about it in well read magazines and art history text books. 



In the taxi on the way home from the airport after my flight from Israel and Palestine, my taxi driver asked me if I thought the Palestinians and the Israelis would stop fighting.  I told him I didn’t think that they would any time soon because they need each other.  They depend on each other to hate the other one.   The existence of Israel depends upon the exclusion of the Palestinians: if the Israelis let the Palestinians into Israel and it continued to remain a democracy, at the next election, Israel would become Palestine for the simple reason that there are more Palestinians than there are Jews.  For that reason, it is necessary for the Israelis that the Palestinians continue to bomb them so that they will have a reason to continue the segregation of the Palestinians.  And for the Palestinians, they depend on the Israelis for the impossible dream of Palestine—to be able to fight for something that is worth living for.  The Palestinians were offered a Palestine and they turned it down.  Because it is the dream they want and not the sad compromise of reality, and defeat. 




At NEXT.  I took off on my break from supervising The Green Lantern booth to have an experience of art.  After a few moments bumbling my way down carpeted aisle-ways and cubicled gallery samples, I came across “About a World” a video piece by Corinna Schnitt (Galerie Haus Schneider Uschi Kolb.  Karlslruhe).  In the piece, a dozen naked women lay scattered across a field, and a man in a suit approaches each of them respectively and attempts to enact an experience of intimacy.  With the first one he slowly lowers himself on top of her.  The second, he tries to spoon her.  It touches me.  This poor, lonely man in a suit, surrounded by sexy, naked women, none of whom will respond to his advances since they are all dead.  I couldn’t help but empathize with him, not only as a 21st Century, alienated, emotionally damaged human being, but also as a viewer of NEXT, trying systematically to get into bed with art that has been so packaged and so disseminated, like carcasses hanging in a meat market, that all my attempts at intimacy were proving futile.  You try fucking a dead girl in a field surrounded by 11 other dead girls.  I think something of the suit-man became infused into me in that dark room because I stumbled out of the space, blinking, dazed, feeling like I had lost some essential part of my subjectivity.  I have a vague recollection of floating several inches above the ground through Roots & Culture’s space.  Looking at Carmen Price’s pieces and then the giant yarn sculptures on the ground I became convinced that I had in fact started hallucinating, and that my soul was in fact becoming detached from my body.  I was wondering if someone had spiked the Grolsch. .  I remember saying to someone, “I can’t imagine a venue that is less conducive to having an experience of art”.  I passed by “Invisible Cargo” (Andrea Chung) and the smell of the spices began to infect me like a religious incantation.  I remembered the smell of those spices from somewhere… from somewhere…  but where?  Where was I?  Where am I?  My nose carried me, I passed through a room, my body almost perpendicular to the floor, my eyes transcending the barrier of material, my body invisible.  I was at the “Mexican Border” (Richard Mosse), unable suddenly to delineate between the inside and outside of the photo.  Do photos have an inside and an outside?  Do I?  Is metaphysical duality fungible?  Are national borders traspassable? Inside one of the photos, I found myself crouching on a patch of dried leaves, sundry items waffling sneakers I was not wearing, reading a passage out of The Wizard of Oz, “They continued down the Yellow Brick Road that led them to the edge of the River.  The Woodman said, ‘I will cut down some trees and make a raft.’ The scarecrow volunteered to push the raft across the river with the pole”.  It was then it occurred to me, not for the first time, that the divisions between time and space are conventional.  One hour is not contiguous with the next, space is imaginary, and the value of art is symbolic.  The art that was around me was reified, commodified, codified in system of exchange markets.  And how can art that pretends to interrogate the structures of systems of representation ever ignore its own translation into a monetary value, into a price?  What is the difference between the logic of how we conceive the value of art and the logic of how we conceive market value?  I did not see art hanging around me.  I saw goods.  Without warning or explanation, I found myself on the other side of the Merchandise Mart reading these words somewhere below the words, “The WEST FAMILY loans money”:  “The artists are working to re-represent reality, either through the building of a constructed reality, representations of reality in odd materials, scale-shifting, or the incorporation of one “reality” into another reality… the end image includes elements of the “real world””.   And with that, suddenly, I was in Jerusalem, in an image of the real world, lost in a haze of the Arab market.  Giant slabs of beef hung from the ceiling.  Long compartmentalized boxes filled with different colored spices, textiles, candies, baked goods, coffee, falafel…  I was looking for a poster I had seen the day before.  A retro style poster with an orange tint and a horizon-style drawing of mosques and other buildings with the slogon VISIT PALESTINE.  I couldn’t find it anywhere, I kept turning down odd alleys, the same cheesy bejeweled bracelets and ornately decorated backgammon boards around every corner. “Are you shopping?”  A man holding a small glass of mint tea called out to me.  “Hello my friend, come into my shop” another man, leaning upright next to a wall filled with dazzling, hanging earrings.  “Do you have a boyfriend?”  “Help me spell the word, sesame,” another man with a pencil and small pad of paper called out to me… “Special student discount” “Let me talk to you… just for a moment… just for a moment…”  I passed by a row of hanging paintings of assholes…  is my body for sale?  I idly wondered.  Who is art for?  What is art for?  Where is Palestine?  What is Palestine for?  Who is Palestine for?   The market spun around me in an unidentifiable rash of twirling, blurred colors.   I felt myself falling.  I don’t know what happened after that. 




When I came to, it was dark where I was.  I was alone.  There was sound but none of it distinct.  I felt a wall against my back.  My eyes fluttered open.  I was inside an installation booth, a video projected against the wall.  I must have passed out, I thought to myself.  The letters of four words were rearranging themselves supernaturally on the far wall—according to some system whose rules I did not understand.  I rubbed my eyes, and wrenched myself (not without difficulty) to my feet.  I squinted at the modulating letters, hopping and trading spaces in front of me.  It was a live action word scramble.  It took me a few moments before I realized the words were a piece by Lior Bar that was continuously spelling and unspelling the words, “Israeli Jewish White Male”.  




Eventually I succeeded in navigating myself back to The Green Lantern’s booth.  I honed in on it thanks to Featherproof Press’s poster-excerpt series of Zach Plague’s book, spelling the word BORING over and over again in giant letters.  Thank God for boring I thought to myself.  I stood there blinking as Caroline Picard, director of the The Green Lantern Gallery and Press tried to coax me back to reality.  “The question is,” I said, “Is art antithetical to shopping?”  “No,”  said Caroline. “That’s how you know it’s art,” said Zach.  “When it costs a lot.”  “Or,” said Mark Byrne (also from Featherproof) “When it’s free, but you can’t have it.”  




I remember my taxi driver, the same one who took me back from the airport from Israel asking me, “Do you believe they will ever find peace, the Israelis and the Palestinians”?  And I answered him, “Yes, of course I do.  I have to.”