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Most well known as the character designer for the early Final Fantasy video games, Yoshitaka Amano created a body of paintings that brought to life The Tale of Genji for a new generation.

The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu shortly after 1000 AD and is considered by most scholars to be the first novel ever written.  The Tale of Genji is the epic story of the breathtakingly handsome prince Hiraku Genji, his many adventures, romantic conquests, and the women in his life.

The translated snippets of text from The Tale of Genji appear alongside the paintings in the published book by Amano, from which I scanned these images (click on the images for larger versions):

Oborozukiyo

Be it your will that I Live out my days feeling sorry for myself?  Though night may end and turn to dawn, never will there be an end to my thoughts of you.

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Rokujyo-no-Miyasudokoro

To bid farewell at dawn will surely elicit a tear, though never have I seen such a lonely autumn sky as this morning I witnessed.

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Genji and Women

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check out the book for many more fabulous paintings by Amano.

–Young Joon

The Parlor January 2009

January 6, 2009

ZACH DODSON

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The Parlor

Tuesday, January 6, 2008

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Download the podcast at theparlorreads.com

Zach Dodson’s hybrid typo/graphic novel, boring boring boring boring boring boring boring, came out last year under the nom de plume Zach Plague. He has launched such experiments as Featherproof Books, Bleached Whale Design, and The Show N’ Tell Time Talk Show. His writing has appeared in The2ndHand, Opium, Take the Handle, and Proximity Magazine. His design has appeared in MAKE Magazine, Punk Planet, Resonance, Mule, and Bagazine. This morning, in his bedroom, he thought he saw a cat out of the corner of his eye, but when he turned to look there was nothing there. He doesn’t own a cat.

here are some pictures from tonight’s Parlor featuring Zach Dodson:

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–Young Joon

Is Nikki S. Lee making giant drawings now?  Yes she is!img_02111

this is her…

…the same artist who created these amazing photographic self-portraits, all of which are completely fabricated:

Aside from my encounter with the artwork of Nikki Lee, I popped through some old haunts in Chelsea; it seems the glut of galleries is diminishing.  However, the big blue chip galleries–Gagosian, Mary Boone, Jack Shaiman, Gladstone, and a few others are still pumping out some interesting art!

ENjoy some camera-phone pictures from my lil’ excursion:

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The University of Chicago

December 26, 2008

My love affair with the institution has extended to the University of Chicago.

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U of C exists in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.  The university’s community largely consists of intellectuals in specific academic fields.  It is an insular community for scholarly exchange, within a neighborhood wherein the community is separate and socioeconomically diverse, and with more pragmatic realities.

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I entered the office of the Division of the Humanities to turn in some additional and revised materials for my MAPH application, located in the beautiful Walker Museum. The institution’s long and distinguished history is evident upon entering the building.  Everything about it was so grand, down to the lobby with a large portrait of ol’ Walker…It is so wonderfully rich with a history of old money…

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An intervention in-care-of Green Lantern was performed…

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–Young Joon

Okay, so the last bit I’ll post from my essay–I try to add some drama to the critical claims of my rather creative essay by problematizing apartment galleries, informed by my participation in the local art community.  I am cognizant of the potential pitfalls of my engagement with the very artworld I feel at odds with at times…still, exploring such issues are important to me, insofar as I’m a marginally socially engaged artist.

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Though in some instances apartment galleries seem to accelerate their own demise, others can achieve sustainability.  Through continued positive reception of art exhibitions by an art-viewing public, an apartment gallery’s profile may rise, and through the expansion of its audience and exposure to art administrators (who wield the power of gatekeepers of the art world), an apartment gallery that was previously perceived as “alternative” can exchange that label for that of the “avant-garde,” thereby taking a legitimized place in the art world.  An example of an apartment gallery that has risen to a position of greater visibility and power in Chicago’s art world is Green Lantern Gallery & Press.
Green Lantern Gallery & Press started out as an apartment gallery and is now a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the Wicker park neighborhood of Chicago.  It is divided in half; the street-side front is the exhibition space, and the back end was originally the living space of Caroline Picard, who started the apartment gallery in 2005.   Green Lantern went from hosting monthly art exhibitions to publishing literature and incorporating music and performance events.  In 2007 it started a monthly literary reading series, broadcast on the Internet as a widely available podcast.  As a result of the growth of the organization, Picard moved out of the space in the summer of 2008; during that time the space was renovated:  the gallery walls were pushed farther back, and the apartment portion was hidden more effectively.  The former apartment portion of the space now functions as a common area and office space.
Green Lantern was able to evade the common fate of apartment galleries’ demise in the face of gentrification by undergoing a rebirth as a non-profit organization and receiving state grants.  Though it initially presented itself as an alternative to established institutions, it has now gained a position of power within the local art world, through engaging a large and diverse audience via various mediums.  This raises the question: once an alternative art space like Green Lantern becomes a “legitimate” venue in the art world, does it become complicit in perpetuating the same issues of socioeconomic inequality in the art world, wherein artistic experience (education and exposure) is deemed necessary for the viewing of art–and adjudicates quality and success?  This tension is crystallized in Green Lantern’s recent release of the second annual national directory of alternative art spaces, PHONEBOOK.   In addition to providing a guide of alternative art spaces and potentially opening insular alternative art communities, PHONEBOOK can also be seen as a means of positioning alternative art spaces for cooption into the mainstream art world.
Perhaps this is an indication of the blurring distinctions between “alternative” culture and the “mainstream” art world.  So-called “alternative” art spaces have the potential to bridge communities and influence shifts in institutional hierarchies within the art world, which brings contention to the perceived distinction of apartment galleries as “alternative.”  The history of alternative discourses of dissention suggests that these discourses will continue to reinvent themselves concurrent with the cyclical reforms of institutional powers.  Thus, this process of reinvention belies the ideological flaws of an individual alternative art space at a particular moment.
Alternative or mainstream, non-commercial or commercial, the display of art remains a social and economic practice rooted in capitalist society.  Isolationist practices that reject the spectator and commerce also reject art’s social agency.  Apartment galleries play a role in the development of new art markets and socio-political-cultural markets alike.  Apartment galleries contribute to the greater art world, insofar as they exist within the same economic systems of the display, patronage, and commodification of art.

–Young Joon

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This is another little snippet from my essay on apartment galleries.  I’ve chosen to exclude the names of certain local spaces and institutions “*****,” as indicated in the essay:

***** attracts a community that largely consists of students from ***** Institute of Chicago, recapitulating the same social groups and dynamics at play within the school.  ***** is one of many art spaces scattered around Chicago that act as satellite spaces for the city’s larger cultural institutions.  Much like the spectators for museums and most commercial galleries that display works with values confirmed by the normative blessing of the institutions, spectators of spaces like ***** derive sanctioned validation from an accredited source, because of its connections to cultural institutions and the conventional professionalism of the spaces.  Even though a large number of participants in alternative culture often reject the accreditation of the institutions, a community united around dissent still creates insular networks that revolve around alternative art spaces, becoming hegemonies within the constraints of alternative culture.  These networks perpetuate the insular circulation of cultural capital within a community, and aid and abet the reinforcement of social class distinctions and artistic hierarchies, similar to the functions of institutions within the art world.
An increase of an apartment gallery’s contributions to a community’s culture or the space’s supposed aura of “cool,” raises the neighborhood’s profile.  Those who are interested in locating themselves in the culture of individuality associated with artistic production seek out these spaces, and patronize their neighborhoods.  Historically, communities oriented around cultural consumption are drawn to neighborhoods tied to the notion of artistic mythos, and cause coffee shops, restaurants, and other commercial sites to spring up nearby, accelerating gentrification of the neighborhood.  The Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago exemplifies how music and artistic development impels gentrification of a neighborhood, and attracts large-scale real estate development and commerce.
When the process of gentrification engrosses a neighborhood, this typically leads to the demise of the apartment gallery or its relocation to another neighborhood, due to the increase of rent, and the coinciding migration of its original audience and other supportive art spaces in the neighborhood. Their existence is organic, regenerating like cells of a larger body.  This cycle takes place repeatedly, from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Such is the nature of apartment galleries: the life of one apartment gallery may be ephemeral, but others continue to sprout up elsewhere.

The last part of the essay, which I’ll post next is about Green Lantern.

–Young Joon

Go Lily Robert Foley, ARTIST!

December 10, 2008

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This is from an exhibition of Lily’s work at la espacia, viewable each evening from the sidewalk on 17th St, between Laflin & Loomis.

–Young Joon