Dinca — contemporary art blog

BEN RUSSELL : US : July 10, 2011 – July 31, 2011

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BEN RUSSELL presents


1716 S Morgan #2F Chicago, IL 60608
July 10, 2011 – July 31, 2011
Opening reception: Sunday 4-9pm, July 10th, 2011Private viewings by appointment*
*Two BPMs by Pooper & Pizza Dog will be performed at dusk during the opening reception.

Beautiful Friend, this is the end!  My Only Friendthe end!  Of our elaborate plansthe end!  After approximately 778 days,72 artists, and 12 group exhibitions of the most contemporary of the contemporary artsBEN RUSSELL offers you a misty-eyed finale to what has undoubtedly been the greatest curatorial collaboration this city may have ever known.  What with our lease expiring at the end of July and one of our directors leaving Chicago indefinitely for Parts Unknown,BEN RUSSELL : US will be our 13th and final show.  And so: in prememorium and now-celebration of the hyper-intellectual pseudo-aesthetic alliance betwixt Brandon Alvendia (aka Chicago’s Best Artist) and Ben Russell (aka Chicago’s Best Local Filmmaker) and ummm You (Chicago’s Best Audience), the umpteen artists participating in BEN RUSSELL :US represent a veritable smörgåsbord of artistic alliances as drawn across fraternalfamilialromanticpedagogical, and altruistic lines.  Hand-picked for their collective sensibilities and their beguiling confidence in the generative power of directed camaraderie, these are artists that work together because they live/work/love together – they are US, plain and simple.

Inasmuch as US is “we” and “we” is BEN RUSSELL, we will exit as we entered, 25 months prior:  A Lazy Sunday Opening, With Grilled Meats and Un-MeatsLibations and Fireworks and Goodwill Aplenty.  A week shy of Independence Day, we will send bottle rockets to the sky while interrogating the monumental semiotics of national identification (OKÓN); we will hold hands and dive into the virtual summertime sea, hunting electric crabs and manatee-smiles (TM SISTERS).  We will consume live Ham Dances (POOPER & PIZZA DOG) and roast the last marshmallows and bask in the illuminating/illuminated minimalist monolith to the challenges of communication (HIDEOUS BEAST) as our psychic hearts and Six Degrees of Separation to Everyone Everywhere are mapped out in chalk dust and memory (CO-PROSPERITY SCHOOL). From Miami to Mexico CityBridgeport to Pilsen, and Inner to Outer SpaceBEN RUSSELL : US is the US in your USA, the WE in your WE THE PEOPLE, the NOSOTROS in your NOS(O)TR(O)ADAMUS.  BEN RUSSELL : US is Goodbye to our Past and Hello to our bright uncertain Future.



THE CO-PROSPERITY SCHOOL is an Artist-Run School for and about the advancement and understanding of contemporary Chicago Art. Through guest speakers and class member presentations we shine a light on the contemporary art scene of Chicago.  One of our goals is to break down the panel discussion dialogue of Chicago’s art and bring it to a more informal group discussion format in which shapers of Chicago’s Art World themselves tell of the contemporary scene.   Members can discuss their own work, or the work of others. Past guests have included Daniel Tucker, Hamza Walker, Paul Klein, Duncan MacKenzie,  Cody Hudson, Carolne Picard, Jason Foumberg, Carrie Gundersdorf, Tom Torluemke, Tom Burtonwood, Aron Packer, James Duignan, Nandipha Mntambo, and Barbara Koenen.

HIDEOUS BEAST is a collaborative effort between two artists, Josh Ippel and Charlie Roderick. Through organizing structured participatory events we attempt to encourage cultural activity outside the bounds of mainstream entertainment and fabricated desire.  Critical of the audience as a passive participant, Hideous Beast seeks to coordinate events in which an acknowledged exchange between the event (as entertainment) and the spectator (as collaborator) can generate meanings beyond traditional formalized modes of entertainment.

It is their intent as artists and beings in common to shift perceptions of authorship and participation within the realm of constructed entertainment and art generated activities. This might change, though.  HIDEOUS BEAST is always looking for others to collaborate with, both in carrying out our own projects and realizing others. Please contact them with any ideas for activities or events.

POOPERPIZZA DOGfirst met in Chicago in the year 2008.  Bonding over a mutual love for crude animations, fierce performances, excrement, and junk food, they hooked up and started playing together. They attended the FountainheadResidency in Miami in 2009 and performed as the double bill of “Pooper and Pizza Dog” at Locust Projects.  Since then, they have collaborated on paintings, animations, sculptures, set designs, and performances to create a habitually double-featured audio visual experience.  They have exhibited and performed at such venues as Art Basel’s Design Miami, the MCA, Roxaboxen Exhibitions, and ACRE Projects.  They are currently working on implementing live reactive animations into their performances, a website for online Art Games, Pooper’s new album, and a peyote-themed amusement park.

TM SISTERS is a collaboration between Miami-based Monica Lopez De Victoria and Tasha Lopez De Victoria. They work in the mediums of video, digital video performance, VJing, collage, social experiments, zines, clothing, installations, and interactive video created along with their brother Samuel. Their do-it-yourself ethic started by being home schooled together by their parents. They were raised with intense psychological and spiritual discussions regarding behavior, relationships, creativity, and truth.  The sisters’ work has been included in the international exhibitions “Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd Millennium” curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Daniel Birnbaum, and Gunnar B. Kvaran, the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, and PERFORMA 07. Their work has been seen and written about in publications like L’Officiel magazine, The Guardian, STEP Inside Design, the New York Times, Vogue Italia, and on the cover of ARTnews magazine for its 2007 “25 Trendsetters” article.

YOSHUA OKÓN was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives and works. In 2002 he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. In 1994, he founded La Panadería, an artist-run space in Mexico City; in 2009, he founded SOMA, an artist’s academic/residency program.  His solo exhibitions include: HH, Baró Sao Paulo Brazil, Yoshua Okón: 2007-2010, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ventanilla Única, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City,Canned Laughter, Viafarini, Milan, SUBTITLED, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich, Bocanegra, The Project, NY, Gaza Stripper, Herzeliya Museum, Israel, Cockfight, Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan, Oríllese a la Orilla, Art & Public, Geneva, Lo Mejor de lo Mejor, La Panadería, Mexico City. His Group exhibitions include: Amateurs, CCA Wattis, San Francisco, Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London, The Age of Discrepancy, MUCA, Mexico City,Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY, Terror Chic, Spruth/Magers, Munich, The Virgin Show, Wrong Gallery, NY, Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin.

BEN RUSSELL is an art space in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.  Co-curated by artists Brandon Alvendia and Ben Russell and situated around the front two rooms in the apartment of its namesake, BEN RUSSELL began presenting a series of month-long 5-person shows on Memorial Day Weekend in the year 2009.  Participating artists are invited to produce and exhibit work that is in accordance with the title/theme of each show, the name of which will be derived entirely from the 10 letters in the words “ben russell.”  Past shows have included BEN RUSSELL : RUSE, BEN RUSSELL :BLUENESS, and BEN RUSSELL : BEER.  In keeping with the structural conceits of the French Oulipo language group and the spatial and material limits of what is effectively a rented apartment, BEN RUSSELL maintains a strict set of restrictions for all exhibiting artists by which:- One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work scaled at a minimum of three quarters of the thirteen by ten foot wall.
– One artist shall produce a wall-mounted work at a maximum of one half of the opposing wall space between the two adjacent doors.
– One artist shall produce a time-based work to be presented via a CRT flat screen monitor (and associated components) with Dolby 5.1 audio in the adjacent screening room.
– One artist shall produce work to be installed in the all-weather sculpture garden.
– One artist shall produce work to be performed for the duration of 15-30 minutes during the opening.

BEN RUSSELL features a rotating roster of Chicago-based and non-Chicago-based artists and will be open for viewings one night a month and by appointment, as needed.



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