Top 10 Features of 2014

Since starting this project four years ago (December 25th) we have worked with amazing collaborators, artists, organizers, and just really great people. Our community has expanded and over the years genuine friendships have formed, yet our goal is still the same – to support awesome people doing awesome things. This year, we organized two shows are ACRE Projects–ROUNDS (Michael Milano, Alyssa Moxley, and Milad Mozari) and Futile Divide (Cory Imig and Wolfie E. Rawk). We also visited many studios across the country, connected with new artists and cultural producers, and enjoyed thoughtful dialogues along the way.

This coming year, we aim to strengthen these friendships and connections through new programming and writing, as well as collaborations with artist-organizers from across the country. Our priority is working and collaborating with artists in meaningful ways and we are excited to see what this new year brings. Thank you for your support and Happy New Year!

1. Studio Visit: Mike Taylor

2. Other Investigations: Ginevra Shay

Other Investigations: Ginevra Shay

3. Other Investigations: Heeran Lee

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4. Matt Austin

"From Downtown (We Got This)" installtion by Matt Austin and Jeff Austin at MCA Chicago

5. Noël Morical

Noël Morical

6. Studio Visit: Sarah and Joseph Belknap

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7. Studio Visit: Liz Ensz

thank you bag

8. Artists on Ferguson and Social Responsibility

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9. Megan Taylor Noe

Meg Noe

10. Lauren Taylor

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From the Directors: Reading List

Make Space has gone through quite a few internal changes in the past few months! Maybe you noticed, but we were on a brief hiatus due to summer schedules, life changes, job changes, and just general life flux. We have re-energized and are excited to take these changes in productive ways to keep Make Space growing.

In the next few months, we are excited to work with Cory Imig and Wolfie Rawk for their ACRE exhibition in November. Which leads us to Etta and Lynnette’s most recent visit to ACRE. The visit was very exciting and informative, giving both of us the opportunity to speak with a diverse group of artists and overall have a great time in Steuben, WI.

Here at Make Space, we have switched a couple of roles. Jason recently co-founded Public Practice with fellow artist Iga Puchalska for the Rockford, IL community and beyond. He will continue collaborating with Make Space but in a lesser capacity. We are very excited to see what happens with Public Practice among his many other projects! This coincides with Kathy’s increased involvement as she starts to contribute more to administrative and directorial decision-making for the website.

In this post, we want to share not only what has changed, but also what is on our current reading list. As artists and organizers, we like to keep informed by constantly taking in and learning through reading essays, articles, fiction/non-fiction books, theory, criticism, and everything else you can think of. Here is just a glimpse at what has been on our minds recently.

The Poetics of Space A.K.A. The Confusion of Cats
The Poetics of Space A.K.A. The Confusion of Cats

Jason Judd is taking a stepping back his role with Make Space to concentrate on some new projects and art making, which include continuing Public Practice, curating Ultra-Deep Field, a group show at the Clark Arts Gallery at Rockford College in the fall, and making work for a solo exhibition at Fluxx Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa in the spring.

1. I have started reading “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard. Appropriately, this comes after finishing Susan Stewart’s “On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection” which was an accidental, yet wonderful, primer for Bachelard’s notions. Bachelard’s writing does not sit well with my cat. He says it may be too dense. In light of this, he suggests you read it swiftly, picking the thoughts and poetics that pertain to you: highlight them, circle them, anotate and set place markers. After some time, revisit the book, but this time only read the highlighted and notated segments. After this, he said, some new ideas may emerge. I asked him, “What kind of ideas?”. He replied, “Meow”.

2. I often revisit Kate Greenstreet’s poetry. Believe me when I say that I am a far cry from being any sort of knowledgeable authority of poetry. Though I do own her books, I prefer visiting her website. Greenstreet’s website is set so that audio of her reading automatically plays when you choose a selected a poem.  Her voice is hoarse and cracks making you question if it derives from wisdom, regret, or age.  As you read along with her speaking, it feels as though she is figuring out the world out loud, alone, in her bedroom and you get to listen.

Here are three short poems I have selected: The Last 4 Things, Page 39, Young Tambling, Pages 105-106, Case Sensitive, [SALT] 10, 13, 16.

Image by Lynnette Miranda
Image by Lynnette Miranda

Lynnette Miranda graduated from NYU’s Visual Arts Administration graduate program in May 2014 and left the city for the summer to hang out with friends and family in Chicago, Miami, and Peru.

1. “Alliances for Unlearning: On Gallery Education and Institutions of Critique” by Carmen Mörsch (on Afterall):
For the last couple of months I have been trying to decompress from my graduate thesis (and grad school in general) but the ideas/dialogues continue to flood my brain. Without getting extremely into my own thesis, my research led me to this article about “critical gallery (museum) education,” which recognizes museum education as a critical practice that serves a deconstructive and transformative function within the institution. The role of education in the museum is complicated and overlooked by many (not all) museums. This article begins to grapple with these tensions, while acknowledging museum education as its own practice, not in service of a curatorial or institutional voice.

2. Like many of us have experienced after graduating, I’ve been getting the post-grad ~feels~, but luckily I stumbled upon the Andrew W.K. advice column on The Village Voice! The articles that have stuck with me the most are Letting Go of Stress, How to Cope With the Death of a Friend, and Dealing with Bullies. The combination of his honesty, positivity, and humor, make me feel grateful, humble, and way more chilled out every time I read his column.

“Try to stay in that state of mind, and the pain and pleasure will just be another aspect of this absurd and perplexing party called “life” — it’s the best party we can have — it’s the party of not being dead.”

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Image by Alex Tsocanos

Etta Sandry has been enjoying the midwest this summer. She kick-started it by camping in Michigan and then went to relax in her home state of Minnesota for a week before heading to Steuben, WI for the first session of this year’s ACRE residency where she slept in a tent and made a giant grid out of wood. For the past month, she’s been teaching a fiber arts class at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s summer camp.

1. I have been trying to make it through Hannah Higgins’ The Grid Book for about a six months now. Grids are a big part of my work/studio practice – appearing in the form of weave drafts, block patterns, the actual structure of the woven cloth itself, and most recently in a 3′ x 3′ wooden grid “game board”. The Grid Book follows different types of grids through history, starting with the brick and then working through other gridded forms like maps, boxes, and networks. With my time opening up a little more now, I’m excited to get further into it, consider the grid form in different ways, and see what ideas or connections this history may inspire in my studio work.

2. I took Tom Robbin’s Skinny Legs and All from the library at the house where I used to live when I moved out just about a year ago, intrigued by the title and the dancing girl on the cover. I haven’t read any of his other works and don’t know much about him as a writer. When my work schedule slowed down earlier this summer, I dug it out for some leisure reading. It’s a difficult novel to describe as it interconnects a variety of different plot lines, topics, and concepts. It was written in 1990 but the themes of politics in the Middle East and what it means to be an artist/an artist in New York City still feel relevant today. I’m still mulling over how I feel about it. At times it seemed slow and a bit conventional while at others it was engaging and profound. My favorite quote from the book involves a conversation between a gender-neutral bean can and a dirty sock:

Eventually, an old sedan rattled up to the crosswalk, full of music, smoke, and rust. When the light changed, it pooted and tooted off in the direction of New Jersey, but not before the objects noted a sticker on its bumper that announced, “I’d Rather Be Partying.” Can o’ Beans imagined it an infraction of taste, if not of grammar, declaring, “You should never trust anyone who uses ‘party’ as a verb.” He/she felt appropriately chastised, however, when Dirty Sock growled and shot back, “Uh-huh, and don’t trust anybody who’d rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.”

“Touche,” said the bean can. “Although in the age that is to come, the two needn’t be mutually exclusive.”

-Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

The cover of The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists
The cover of The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists

Kathy Cho moved to South Philly, resurrected her Twitter account that she made in 2012 but never posted to, transitioned from interning to working at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and has been trying to visit places on the east coast, outside of the Philadelphia whenever possible.

1. As with most things I find while surfing the web, I don’t really remember how I came across this essay: Why Are Conceptual Artists Painting Again? Because They Think It’s A Good Idea by Jan Verwoert. I left it open as a tab for a few weeks before getting around to read it but when I finally did, I was glad. It is one of those essays that articulates so well those thoughts that have been floating around peripherally but never got around to discussing out loud with anyone. As an artist do you choose what mediums you work with or do you work more instinctively and go to whatever medium draws you in? There is that weird line that still exists between “conceptual artists” and “traditional artists” which I’ve found revealed more and more, parallel to my personal experiences in comparing Chicago and Philadelphia’s art scenes and institutions. Related reading: Who’s Afraid of New Abstraction?

2. Full disclosure: I was a sophomore at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when “Picturing the Studio” was on view at the Sullivan Galleries, and this exhibition was one that stayed with me throughout my growth as an artist. So when I recently came across “The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists“, which was produced as a companion to the exhibition, I checked out the book immediately. Since graduating in 2012 I’ve had a mixture of guilt, apathy and hate for not having as disciplined an artist practice as I felt like I should’ve. This book has coincided so well with the re-invigoration of my practice as I started to use an extra room in my apartment as a temporary studio space, and also as I’ve begun to do more in-depth studio and gallery visits for Make Space.

From the Directors: Three Things

In our last update, we talked about what we’re doing as artists, organizers, and educators. For this post we wanted to share three things we are really into at the moment. These can include readings, art material recommendations, exhibitions, recipes, etc. These posts are meant to provide useful recommendations, and potentially an insight into our practice and interests.

LYNNETTE MIRANDA

1. NO/FUTURE: Mike Taylor at Booklyn Artists Allaince: Early January I visited Mike Taylor’s studio to discuss his upcoming solo exhibition at Booklyn (check it out here). Last Saturday I went to the opening of the exhibition and I highly recommend everyone check it out! The exhibition is up until March 30th, 2014. While I have seen some of Mike’s work at Booklyn before, this exhibition was a thoughtful presentation of his work and larger concepts within it. The exhibition and its accompanying publications are visually exciting and explore concepts of generational identity, politics, and popular culture.

2. Creative Time Reports: “From Santiago Streets to Parliament Seats, Chile’s Student Revolution” reported by Federico Zukerfeld on Creative Time Reports (CTR) on December 16th, 2013. Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, artist Federico Zurkerfeld reports on the Chilean student protest movement demanding free public education, and their use of art, performance and creative actions. Click on the link above for the full report and watch the video below. This is one of many great articles and videos up on CTR, which publishes artists perspectives on issues of our time. On CTR there are various kinds of series including Forms of Life, a monthly podcast hosted by curator Nato Thompson, one of my favorites.

Video from Creative Time Reports; Created by Federico Zukerfeld.

3. MSJ Screen Printing Supplies: Back in September I bought two large aluminum screens from this company at a reasonable price and delivered in about a week. While you can buy screens locally, the company sells packs of 6 or 12 screens at very affordable prices. If you go in on this with a few friends it’s totally worth it (and they usually offer free shipping for the 6 pack). While I cannot speak about any of their other products, this is great option for buying screens in bulk.

JASON JUDD

1. The Mountain Was A Gift / Palomino: I have been listening to the Palomino EP from The Mountain was a Gift (a musical project from artists EJ Hill, Matt Austin, and Jeff Austin) while working. I haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves until recently and I recommend you check it out. A stream of smart songs that is best listened to without attention to track numbers or titles.

2. In the Turn by Lauren Edwards at Andrew Rafacz Gallery: Last Month I visited Andrew Rafacz Gallery to see Lauren Edwards first solo show. I was familiar with Edwards’ work from my days as an intern at Gallery 400 and was excited to see what she would show at Andrew Rafacz. Honestly, the show is probably not for everyone, but I have a soft spot for work that critically engages images and architecture. Throw a bit of suggested narrative and exhibition design in the mix and you have Edwards’ exhibition. Recently the exhibition received a review in Artforum that was very on point.

3. The West Side Show Room / Vampire Lesbians of Sodom: I could not be more impressed with The West Side Show Room’s opening debut. I have recently moved to Rockford, IL and to have a group of people organize a space like this down the street from me is a wonderful surprise. I am not well versed on On-Broadway or Off-Broadway plays, but experiencing this play and space was exhilarating. Producer/Director Mike Werkle and Producer Liz Newman created a DIY theater was both engaging and entertaining. In the vein of alternative, The West Side Show Room exceeded every expectation from a professional cast, engaging staff, and hand made back drops from local artists to fold out chairs and cheap beer upon donation. The recent play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom has added additional dates and just released a new casting call. I am looking forward to were this is going.

ETTA SANDRY

1. The 2014 Calendar from Living Proof Print Collective: Living Proof Print Collective is a community-based print shop in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I first heard of the collective because a close friend of mine, Emma Colón is a member of the group. Each year, the collective prints an editioned calendar and hosts a calendar release party as a fundraiser for their programming. This year, though I was unable to attend the party, I pre-ordered a calendar and picked it up when I visited Minneapolis over the holidays. Each page of the calendar was printed by a member of the collective or one of six guest artists who helped with the project. I’m excited to have supported this awesome organization and to have thirteen new prints to display in my kitchen as the year goes by.

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2. The Negotiation by Lilli Carré at the MCA Chicago: Since the fall, I have been working as an Artist Guide at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago leading tours for school students ages Kindergarden – 12th grade. Working in this position necessitates a new perspective for looking at art. No longer can I look at the work in the museum solely from the critical perspective of an art school alumna, practicing artist, and member of contemporary art culture but must constantly question which pieces will best engage students in a variety of age groups and how we can talk about them.

Right now in the MCA’s Chicago Works gallery, a gallery reserved for small solo exhibitions by Chicago-based artists, is work by Lilli Carré, a Chicago-based comic artist, animator, and illustrator. Featured in the exhibition is a new two-channel animation projected on opposite walls of the screening room that combines abstract shapes and textures with sound and movement to create an immersive viewing experience. This has become one of my favorite works at the museum to bring students to. It is accessible and exciting to students of all age groups and is always a pleasure for me to view with them.

 3. Wonder Weave Hand Loom: I got this little guy out of a large donation of supplies that was given to one of the organizations where I work. It’s a vintage plastic loom from the 1960s produced by Karbercraft. The loom is small and portable and has a built-in mobile heddle system that allows the weaver to easily raise and lower threads for plain weave. It’s just about big enough to weave coasters or granny squares that could be sewn together to make a larger fabric.
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Top 5 Features of 2013

In our third year, Make Space underwent internal changes in order to improve the site’s content and advance our mission. This year we worked more collaboratively behind the scenes, met artists and arts organizers with exciting practices, and began working on upcoming exhibition projects for 2014. We are motivated by your continued support, thank you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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From the Directors: What We’re Doing

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Over the past few months, we three Make Space Co-Directors have been meeting (both virtually and in person) and discussing new steps and future goals for Make Space. As a result, we’ve made some changes to our structure and content — you may have noticed our new web layout, designed by Lynnette Miranda. We’ve also been collectively revamping our Mission to clarify our intention as an organization and better communicate it to our audiences. Coming up in the near future, we are implementing a new system of organization for features and posts to bring more consistent and exciting content to you and we’ve been researching and contacting new artists to feature on the site!

 

We are currently in the process of finishing up a zine project and we hope to be able to release the zines to print by next month. We have also been invited to be members of the ACRE curatorial board for 2014. Over the summer, we got to spend four days visiting ACRE and meeting some of this year’s residents. You can check out images and an awesome sound compilation that Jason made here. Starting in January, we will be working with some of these artists to curate duo and small group shows in Chicago.

One new feature we are excited to implement is a monthly post from us as the Co-Directors. We are all working artists with varying practices beyond what we do for Make Space. We want to be able to better connect with you, our audience base, and give you a little insight into our own practices. This may include reading lists, playlists, or snapshots of our studios. All three of us have had a lot of changes in our lives in the past few months and I’d like to start the first iteration of this recurring post by letting you know what we’re doing.

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