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CHI Fall Previews: Previews up the Rearview
by Joel Kuennen

It’s that time of month, Chicago. To say that every gallery in town is opening their doors this Friday is hardly an exaggeration. In light of this, I’d like to take a moment to do a quick preview of what we’re looking forward to this weekend and hopefully give some good cues as to where to head to get your fill of Trader Joe’s wine and chilled PBR’s, and perhaps, just perhaps, to catch a glimpse of some great art, between coiffed heads of course.

Corbett vs. Dempsey - Robert Lostutter: Garden of Opiates

A stellar gallery since 2004, Corbett vs. Dempsey quickly gained acclaim in Chicago and eventually on the national scene as the go-to gallery for Modern arts from Chicago. Yet, even under the pressure of such expectations, don’t expect to be disappointed. For the opening of the 2012-2013 season, Corbett vs. Dempsey have acquired new work from Robert Lostutter, the reknowned Chicago Imagist whose watercolor works depict transhumanist amalgamations in the most sublime fashion. James Yood once said of Lostutter’s work, “[it] is a splendid seduction, pleasing our desire to witness great pictorial gifts, and then subtly undercutting that pleasure by rendering a world where something seems decidedly wrong.”

Cauleen Smith; Courtesy of the artist and threewalls.


threewalls – Cauleen Smith: THE JOURNEYMAN

Long a site for amazing residencies, threewalls is opening their season by celebrating the end of one of their longest residencies, that of Cauleen Smith. In residency for a little over two years now, Smith, a filmmaker and professor at UC San Diego who also has work on display at the MCA, has spent that time combing through the Sun Ra archive at Experimental Sound Studio. Interestingly, this unparalleled archive of the incomparable Sun Ra was thanks to John Corbett (of Corbett vs. Dempsey) and Teri Kapsalis, both professors at SAIC who were fortunate enough to purchase Sun Ra’s old home that contained a treasure trove of his artful life. The Journeyman will be “an installation, recording studio, and library about artistic process, research and the relationship between an artist and the subjects they revere.” I couldn’t think of a better way to recall an artist who was best known for coming down to Earth to provide interstellar salvation.

Joel Dean, Wild Horses, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and ALDERMAN EXHIBITIONS.

Alderman Exhibitions - Joel Dean: The Real Problem

Only open for the past year, and in their current location in the West Loop for about half of that, Alderman has proven their curatorial acumen. For this season, they open with the youthful, playful Joel Dean. Inspired by one of my favorite Francophone PoMo theorists, Jean Baudrillard, as well as one of my favorite TV shows from a childhood that is too often forgotten and obscured by present concerns, Gumby, The Real Problem is probably the show I look forward to the most this weekend. In general, a reflection on the representative qualities of the construction of painting, Dean’s work analyzes the planar in hopes of re-determining as well as re-presenting the painted work. See it! Now in 2D!

Robert Bills Contemporary – Tom Berenz: Velvet Hammer

Another relative newcomer to the world of Chicago galleries, RBC has gained a reputation for showing some of the most daring young artists Chicago has to offer. Tom Berenz, a Wisconsin native, is enthralled by the balance between constitution and dissolution. He sees that which is as also that which is just about to fall apart. In light of this, his large paintings depict abstracted landscapes of sorts that despite their apparent disarray maintain a certain unity. Berenz himself puts it well: “Everything we live with as Americans is delicately balanced, including cars (magic carpets/death traps), houses (castles/prisons) and the wilderness (paradise/oblivion).” Who doesn’t like a good car crash? A Big Brother? A Man vs. Wild? It just occurred to me, why isn’t there a reality show about car crashes yet?

Eric Fleischauer; Courtesy of the Artist and Document.


Document – Eric Fleischauer: In Circulation

Comprised of new media’s current moyen en vogue, animated GIF’s, a video installation and screensavers, this presentation of work by Eric Fleischauer explores the mutability and the current state of the moving image in contemporary visual culture as informed by the internet and the resulting alterations in spectatorship. No longer an act of “smoking and watching,” the spectator is a semi-active/semi-passive flâneur amongst endless rolls of images. Look forward to this dérive lead by Fleischauer, a staple curator and artist in the Chicago Dirty New Media scene.

For more picks of what to see this weekend, check out our comprehensive events listings or better yet the Editor’s Choice shortlist! Happy Viewing!

Joel Kuennen


(Image on top: Robert Lostutter, Garden of Opiates 1, 2011, watercolor on paper, 18" x 18"; Courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey.)

Posted by Joel Kuennen on 9/5/12

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