Time Out Chicago profiles Alderman Exhibitions, Hinge Gallery and the Mission
Three new Chicago galleries promote local artists and more.
By Lauren Weinberg
We should pour out a PBR for the West Loop’s late, lamented gallery-bookshop Golden Age, which closed in November. Yet 2011 was the first year since the recession that Chicago didn’t hemorrhage exhibition spaces. Moreover, the city gained some venues that are notable for their generous visions of what a commercial gallery can do and be. Here are three spaces I’m excited to watch in 2012:
Alderman Exhibitions (1138 W Randolph St, second floor, 312-208-9001).
“In the last year, we worked with everyone from fine artists to architects to designers,” Ellen Hartwell Alderman recently told me by phone, “but I do think there are some similarities. I’m interested in a kind of work that’s not necessarily always so beautiful.”
The founder of Alderman Exhibitions, which opened last January, realized she wanted to run her own gallery in 2008, as she pursued her master’s degree at SAIC and oversaw the school’s Student Union Galleries. “It was supposed to be only a 15-hour-a-week position,” she recalls. “I worked over 40 hours a week.” The contacts that Alderman made at SAIC and UIC, where she’s getting her Ph.D. in art history, shaped Alderman Exhibitions’ roster of avant-garde artists.
“A really big part of our mission is experimentation and pushing limits,” says Alderman, by day the Graham Foundation’s program coordinator. (She’s taking a leave of absence from UIC.) During the past year, she displayed unusual pieces such as young architects Stephen Coorlas and Dominic Peternel’s installation Calculated Aesthetic (pictured). The gallery enhances its shows with artists’ talks, lectures and readings. “It wouldn’t be worth running the gallery if we didn’t do the programming that we do,” Alderman says. “[It] allows people to see the work in a different way.”
Until recently, Alderman crammed the gallery’s many activities into 450 square feet of a space shared with her husband’s bike shop. Alderman Exhibitions’ new West Loop home is approximately double the size. It opens with a party February 24, where gallery artists' work will be for sale, and Robert Heishman and Brendan Meara’s film-in-progress Long Fuse will be screened.
See the full review here.