|April 5, 2002||
Press Contacts: Christine Carrino|
The Smart Museum of Art presents a special exhibition of new work by Chicago-based artists
Critical Mass explores current critical art practice in Chicago through new commissions from locally-based artists. This multi-layered project includes installations on the Smart Museums exterior and in the Smart Museum galleries as well as other collaborative activities, performances, and public events. A public opening reception for Critical Mass on Thursday, April 25, from 5 to 7:30 pm, will kick off a two-day symposium that will explore the intersections between critical art practice and collective action. The symposium will continue through Saturday, April 27, and will include a mixture of formal presentations, discussions, and other large and small-scale activities.
Critical Mass demonstrates the potential energy that can be generated by a convergence of elements: in this case a number of visual artists who have sustained and invigorated critical art practice in Chicago through debate and collaboration. Their activities are linked to many strands of contemporary art and culture, and may overlap with other kinds of activist approaches (for instance political, community-based, new genre, littoral, or dialogical art). So although it does not describe a self-defined or perfectly cohesive approach, the term "critical art practice" is offered in a provisional attempt to clarify similarities among the training, sensibilities, and strategies of this interrelated group of artists:
Critical Mass offers a mix of the "generations" and perspectives that have contributed to the current vitality of critical art practice in Chicago, and includes artists and groups who have worked here for years, newcomers from other cities, and emerging artists. Participating artists include Wendy Jacob and Laurie Palmer, members of the Chicago-based artists' collective Haha and respectively Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Associate Professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Robert Peters, Associate Professor of Art at the University of Chicago; Gregory Sholette, a founding member of the collective RepoHistory and Chair of the Department of Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Temporary Services, a group that includes Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin, Marc Fischer, and Lora Lode. Although all of these artists participate in international art discourse, they have chosen to base their practices here and as a result their histories and interests have intermingled in complex and productive ways as part of the larger critical mass.
Critical Mass was conceived for the Smart Museum by Associate Curator Stephanie Smith and organized in close collaboration with Education Director Jacqueline Terrassa. The project's components have been developed and refined through an ongoing series of meetings of the participating artists, educator, and curator. These meetings both echo and reinforce the project's themes. They have provided a structure for productive, critical discussions among participants, have generated innovative methods of helping visitors engage and enjoy contemporary art, and have led to additional collaborations with institutions within and beyond the University of Chicago. Related courses are being offered at the University of Chicagos Midway Studios (Brett Blooms "Alternative Curatorial Practice: Curating for Riots and Other Extreme Situations") and through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Gregory Sholettes "Extreme Arts Administration.")
Related Activities in Chicago
Various strands of activist cultural practice will be explored by many different Chicago institutions this spring: an unplanned but dynamic convergence of interests.
The Smart Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Chicago.
Smart Museum of Art Hours: 10 am - 4 pm Tue, Wed, Fri
University of Chicago 10 am - 9 pm Thursday
5550 South Greenwood Ave. Noon - 6 pm Sat, Sun
Chicago, IL 60637 Café and Museum Shop open daily
773.702.0200 Galleries closed Monday
http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu Admission is free
Summer Hours: 10 am - 4 pm Tue - Fri
(begin June 11) 11 am - 5 pm Sat, Sun
Critical Mass is presented in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Special Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition and related programs are supported by a grant from UchicagoArts through the Arts Planning Council, the Division of Humanities, and the Cultural Policy Program, University of Chicago. Additional support is provided by the Smart Family Foundation; Nuveen Investments; the Regents Park / University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership; the Chicago Community Trust; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Visiting Committee on the Visual Arts, University of Chicago; and Friends of the Smart Museum.
Critical Mass: related events at the Smart Museum
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.
Thursday, April 25, 5 7:30 pm
All are welcome at this celebration, which opens the exhibition and kicks off the symposium.
At 5:30 pm, join Alan Moore, one of the founders of the New York alternative space ABC No Rio, for a dynamic overview of thirty years of critical, collaborative art practice in the United States. Artist Gregory Sholette will respond. Ongoing festivities will include a multi-media performance by the Chicago-based collective Peoples Republic of Delicious Food and video screenings organized by Temporary Services.
Symposium: Critical Practice and Collective Action
Thursday, April 25 Saturday, April 27
Through a mixture of formal presentations, discussions, meals, and other large and small-scale activities, this event will explore the intersections between critical art practice and collective action. This lively environment will foster critical analysis, creative networking, and friendly conversation. The event starts with the opening reception Thursday night. Other activities will include:
Visit the museums website (http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu) or call 773.702.4540 for more details and a complete schedule of events.
Artists Gallery Talks
Sunday, May 12, 1:30 pm
Sunday, May 19, 1:30 pm
Sunday, June 9, 1:30 pm
Lunchtime Exhibition Tour
Friday, May 17, 12:10 12:40 pm
Take a break from your usual lunch routine and join Associate Curator Stephanie Smith and Education Director Jackie Terrassa for a tour of the exhibition. Bring a lunch or buy one at the museum café.
Sunday, May 19, 2:30 pm and
Thursday, June 6, 6:30 pm
Curated by Temporary Services as part of its project on group activity, these screenings will document a range of radical practices, including interventions and actions by artists, activists, musicians, and others.
Artists Family Tour
Sunday, June 2, 1:30 pm
Join exhibiting artist Greg Sholette, Janet Koenig and their daughter Ariana for a tour of the exhibition and a lively conversation about what it's like to be part of a family of artists. Enjoy tasty treats following the program.
Sunday, June 23, 2:00 pm
On the final day of the exhibition, join the artists, Smart Museum staff, and other participants for an informal group discussion about Critical Mass. Help us assess the project and brainstorm ways that the exhibition might inform future projects at the Smart Museum.