Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great Chicago Lock Out

Chicago artists are largely ignored by Chicago galleries and museums. Nothing new.
Nibblers aching for artworld fame do so by importing art from New York, LA, etc for
their shows. It's fancy. It's glamorous. If a curator can attach their name to the international
scene, then more granite countertops for their condo. Simple economics.
In a recent Reader article about the MCA's latest imported letdown, a local painter puts
it simply: "The main thing Chicago artists need to ask themselves is, Why is it that artists
here are treated like second class citizens? Why can't our curators create their own canon?
Why must they copy what's going on in LA or New York? LA and New York support their
local artists and here in Chicago we support their local artists too, to the exclusion of ours"
Why? Well perhaps we shouldn't be looking to "curators" for imagination, creativity or insight.
Perhaps we should be taking the reigns from a Chicago art world that has done nothing over the
last century to promote the local scene. The Chicago art scene in the hands of existing galleries
and museums up to this point, is ineffective, impotent, and largely an import
business with ports in every city in America except Chicago. The only way to rescue Chicago
art is to create the scene we want ourselves.

The Death of Wicker Park

Rule #1: Don't mistake shopping for culture.

It seems only fitting to address this on the weekend of the famed Around the Coyote festival, which may be one of the last few remnants of what used to be a thriving neighborhood of artists and creatives. Well that and perhaps a trip down the claustrophobic aisles of Myopic Books, or an afternoon looking through the racks @ Reckless. But as you may have noticed elsewhere in the neighborhood, Wicker Park is offically dead. Swap out your storefront workspace for an overpriced boutique. Trade your latte at Filter for some mediocrity @ Starbucks. Tear down the vintage for a sleek and lifeless condo, and there you've got it...Real World Chicago, all wrapped up in a nice $150 pair of jeans rolling down Milwaukee Ave in a Hummer.
But don't mistake shopping for culture. It's just more soulless commerce, more lysol, more graphic T's, more hair gel.
Now the only signs of life are the scribbled grafitti messages of kids that can no longer afford to live there.

And coming soon to a neighborhood near you....
The Death of Uki Village
The Death of Logan Square
and gasp! Humbolt Park?