December 10, 2008
This is from an exhibition of Lily’s work at la espacia, viewable each evening from the sidewalk on 17th St, between Laflin & Loomis.
December 10, 2008
Uyyy, I’ve been writing a long ass essay for my application to a MA program on the socioeconomics of the apartment gallery and its relation to the institutions of the art world…
I’ve decided to post snippets of this essay, which appropriates chunks of other thinkers’ ideas, in three installments on this dear blog; remember kids, Green Lantern was once an Apartment Gallery!
The democratic forum for free opinion in postwar America expanded to discussions amongst citizens—of art objects that didn’t do anything, and weren’t worth anything, but which were perceived to embody values they held dear enough to argue about and invest in. This led to what art critic Dave Hickey termed the “Secular Reformation—a return of the Word at the expense of the flesh and a new jihad against idolaters, now guilty of ‘commodification.’” That is to say, this birthed the modern art world (the social system centered around artistic production and commerce). Institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Art Institute of Chicago held power in the art world, and promoted tenets on behalf of an ongoing “critique of representation.” As Hickey observes, This drove contemporary art to functioning much like religious art had in the past—promoting social divisions, official policy, and commerce.
Apartment galleries and a plethora of independent art spaces, which now thrive in Chicago, seek to demonstrate against standards of the art world and advocate their own vision of power and beauty; they rose from the alternative discourse of embodied dissent. Yet, though apartment galleries exist under the rubric of alternative culture, they can still reinforce socioeconomic divisions and reinstitute art world hegemonies: they often perform insularity similar to that which takes place within the art world. In fact, alternative art spaces often feed into the practices of the very institutions that these spaces initially functioned to criticize—such is the paradox of alternative discourses.
An apartment gallery is a residential apartment that includes an art gallery, with boundaries that are defined by the resident/gallerist. Artists often start these spaces seeking sustainable modes for displaying their work. Apartment galleries are often in violation of legal codes and other official statutes. They are transient, vulnerable to the limits of leases and increases in rent. Their presence is an act of assertion over a space in which one has very little real control but very much perceived agency. These are a collective enterprise —a fluctuating network of complex relationships amongst art spaces and negotiations between the tangible dichotomies of artist/community, private/public, alternative/mainstream, and art/domesticity.
Apartment galleries provide alternative models for artistic success, insofar as the most common measure of success within the art world is indoctrination into the cultural institution. The art institution gives value and meaning to a given artwork, since artworks are created through the subjective experience of the artist. Without the aura of importance bestowed upon an artwork by the institution, the greater public would be unaware of the work’s significance. Thus the institution provides an external, authoritative mechanism to substantiate an artwork’s contribution via the general public’s realization of the objective value of an artwork within the larger cultural market.
Cultural institutions perform a distancing act of sorts between social classes despite their pretense of democratic universalism, by stating their positions regarding what art is and how it is to be viewed. The institutional model for viewing artwork (currently concordant with Kantian aesthetic theory—whereby a certain level of cultural competence is required for the proper experience of art) implies the notion that the less educated—typically those of a lower class—lack the academic qualifications and exposure to aesthetic experiences requisite for properly experiencing art. The art expert gains cultural capital , through his/her reliance on the institution of art-historical training as the necessary means of gaining the tools for appreciating works of art. This can be seen as a way by which class inequalities are perpetrated and perpetuated.
Artistic experience functions differently in apartment galleries. By introducing aesthetic ideas to their neighborhood, they can potentially incite a cultural dialogue with members of their local community. The presence of an apartment gallery within a residential neighborhood is inherently political; the resident has adopted a position of social agency within a community during a time of increasing widespread isolationism. Due to the apartment gallery’s close proximity to one’s home, art is introduced into the practice of one’s everyday life. This can cause one to feel any number of different emotions and thoughts. Be it pride, wonder, antagonism or intrusion, such reactions exemplify art’s social agency. However, the full social potential of an apartment gallery depends on the apartment gallerist and how he/she engages the local community.
In the case of my apartment gallery, la espacia, the neighborhood is vital to the praxis of the gallery’s inception. la espacia is located in a street-level apartment of a 2-flat in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, a community predominantly inhabited by working-class Mexican families that made their homes here generations prior to my settling in it. My entrance into the neighborhood, along with that of the growing number of art students who live in surrounding blocks, and the emergence of an artists’ book store in an old storefront about a block away, are indicative of the gentrification that has begun in the neighborhood. I chose the three double-pane windows that face the sidewalk as the main mode of reception for art exhibitions because I felt that was the way I could reach the largest and most diverse audience. I hang artwork on a wall on casters, which I built. During the day, the wall is kept to one side of the dining room to let light in. At night the wall is rolled against the window and front lit so that the public can view it. I conceived this as a sort of site-specific installation wherein conventions of public commercial displays (store window displays, billboards), along with administrative, preparatory, and curatorial practices, became essential elements of this project, and by extension, my artistic practice: the apartment gallery as art studio.
What are the implications of an apartment gallery that is open to the public, but essentially serves the gallerist, him/herself? Do apartment galleries merely cultivate the personal status, lifestyle and the acquisition of social and cultural capital by the gallerist and artist? The apartment gallerist explores these and other issues through real-time lived-in experience.
To be continued…
December 3, 2008
this is a work by Peter Hoffman.
It’s a very nice painting; one of many displayed at our first annual fundraiser.
|From Green Lantern First Annual Fundraiser|
November 24, 2008
Featuring the art of:
Young Joon Kwak
Kaylee Rae Wyant
Lily Robert Foley
Check out images here:
|Green Lantern First Annual Fundraiser|
November 5, 2008
November 5, 2008
October 31, 2008
The stage is moving:
our own Toby Bengelsdorf:
Rodney Lee’s Soul Transfusion:
– Young Joon