Chicago Art

A re-edit of found footage of a hunter touching the antlers of a fallen deer. Human Touch suggests an uncomfortable intimacy between hunter and prey.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

Kirsten Stoltmann's video, I Spill My Guts Everyday for Nothing, is exactly that, a portrait of the artist spilling her Guts with a blank expression on her face. Again, Kirsten emerges as an empathetic anti-hero, who, in her own need for confessional exposure, must be regarded as equal parts comic and tragic. The work has unexpected power in its simplicity and humor.

-- James Rondeau

This title is only available as a 3x loop on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

I, Bear, 1995

"'I am nice. I... am nice. I am... nice," repeats the narrator, in this personal and highly poetic exploration of the construction of self. Mirra favors repetition as the device for reconstructing the stage of development when a child learns its name. Like a bedtime story, the narrator unfolds the tale of a child who identifies herself as a bear. The story becomes increasingly complex as it moves from one voice to two, in which bear and child gradually become distinct entities and the haiku poetry of the child’s identification, 'I, Bear,' is ultimately forsaken for the name Helen.

Icron, 1978

Using the image processor as it was intended as a performance instrument, Icron exploits the processor’s real-time capabilities: the image and soundtrack were generated through simultaneous improvisation, although the color was added later. The title of the piece is a neologism created by fusing "icon" with "chron" as a reference to the effect of temporal changes on images. Snyder combines iconographic elements of broadcast television with the structural features of music by deconstructing the face of a newscaster into scan lines.

In/Out, 1997

Miller & Shellabarger, their breath made visible by the cold of a refrigerated room, exchange breath with each other.

This title is only available as an excerpt on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

A queer rewriting of the events surrounding the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago from the point of view of French writer Jean Genet. Along the way Genet will meet, amongst others, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, the Yippies, the Black Panther Party and the Chicago police force... Ultimately, the video is about the difficulty of aligning political and sexual desires.

An experimental documentary about resistance, balance and fame. Kings of the Sky follows tightrope artist Adil Hoxur as he and his troupe tour China’s Taklamakan desert amongst the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people seeking religious and political autonomy.

A celebrated landscape painter hypnotizes through brush stroke and voice.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

Letter to a missing woman, based partly on memories of someone who has been a political fugitive since 1983, combines documentary "evidence" and fiction in an imaginative reconstruction of public documents and private history. This is a quiet, obsessive piece addressing the human costs and repercussions of re-inventing oneself – one’s body, memories, and future – as a living piece of propaganda. The writer/narrator of this "crazy letter" is an unreliable one, a composite of half-truths, paranoid digressions, and feelings of loss.

Fuelled by lavish doses of disjointed hyper-editing, super-talented Jim Bailey dances with wild animals in Animal Charm's hot and exciting performance of "Fever."

Lines of Force opens with footage of a dramatic explosion. For most of the piece, the screen is divided, into a triptych at first, and slowly into horizontal and vertical bars. Electronically manipulated footage shows a man walking, a marching band, ferns, cartoons, a window, and a train arriving on a set of tracks. The naturally occurring lines in the array of images presented mirror the electronically created bars and lines that divide the screen. Natural scenes provide a respite from the frantic pace of the images.

September 24th, 2016, North Avenue Beach, Chicago. It was a sunny day. According to the weather report, the temperature was 75°F, with the barometer reading of 30 inches height and the wind speed of 13 miles per hour. The time was 2:27 pm, I was standing by the Michigan Lake. In my hand there was a waterproof camera that weighs 2.6 ounces. I pressed the record button on the camera and threw it into the lake. The camera sank into the lake immediately and embarked on a mysterious journey. During the journey, it was elevated, pressed, panned, rotated, and spun by the water.

Listen To This is a fragment of collective memory that finds critical relevance in contemporary Queer discourse.  Tom Rubnitz weaves narration, image, and a form of temporality, dislocated from ‘real time’, into a video where artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz’s loss and anger is palpable.

Love Songs #1 is composed of three pieces that pose questions about urban culture, race, and politics. Found footage images are manipulated and juxtaposed with popular music; the effects are unsettling, ironic, and sometimes humorous.

¡Macho Shogun! was created by Reed Anderson and Daniel Davidson over a single weekend some time in 2000.  It's your basic monster-robot / destroy-city kind of video that we wanted to make when we were kids but never did.

This title is only available on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

This 12-minute video by Tom Palazzolo and Chicago writer Jack Helbig tells the story of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier. Though she was unknown in her lifetime, her extensive body of work is rewriting the history of post-World War II American street photography. The video, told from the point of view of Maier herself, recounts her life and work, from her childhood in France to her move to NYC in 1951 and subsequent relocation to Chicago, where the majority of her work was done.

Marbles, 1998

Meatballs - (Bill Murray + leading cast) = Marbles. A Hollywood classic re-visited and re-edited until our hero is no longer in sight.

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 2, Hot Mirror Mix.

Mark Roth, 1998

An electronic disturbance created during a live audio meltdown by Animal Charm as part of their Hot Mirror Mix in the fall of 1998.

This title is also available on Animal Charm Videoworks: Volume 2, Hot Mirror Mix.

Kipnis describes this tape as "an appropriation of the aesthetics of both late capitalism and early Soviet cinema—MTV meets Eisenstein—reconstructing Karl Marx for the video age.” She presents a postmodern lecture delivered by a chorus of drag queens on the unexpected corelations between Marx’s theories and the carbuncles that plagued the body of the rotund thinker for over thirty years. Marx’s erupting, diseased body is juxtaposed with the “body politic", and posited as a symbol of contemporary society proceeding the failed revolutions of the late 1960s.

In this 2004 interview, Kori Newkirk (b.1970) describes his lifelong apprehension of being rooted in any one place for too long. Asserting that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was the fifth school he attended in four years, Newkirk begins by describing the fortuitousness of his relocation to Chicago following his expulsion from Cooper Union. Recounting how he fled from the fiber department in favor of painting, Newkirk details how it was a studio visit from Deborah Kass and an exchange program to England that crystallized his burgeoning ideas about “painting without making paintings.”

In 1998 I made a sculpture of a decapitated head. I featured it in a photo and video. I thought of the head as a character whose adventures would be documented. The name O’Malley was inspired by Chicago’s Irish heritage (I was living in Chicago then). O’Malley’s Head Part 1 was a photo of the head placed on top of the garbage cans in the alley behind my apartment building. I lived right by an exit ramp from the Kennedy Expressway, one of the last before you reached downtown from O’Hare Airport. Sometimes people would exit there and dump things.

Polish-American arist Ed Paschke (1939-2004) received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1961 and his MFA in 1970. Paschke was known as a member of the late-1960s Chicago Imagist movement, a group of artists who called themselves The Hairy Who, whose expressive style of figurative painting was rooted in outsider art, popular culture, and Surrealism. Paschke's fascination with the print media of popular culture led to a portrait-based art of cultural icons. Paschke used the celebrity figure, real or imagined, as a vehicle for explorations of personal and public identity with social and political implications. 

Path, 2003

Path combines striking imagery of the earth’s topography from the air, the ground, and beneath the sea. With calming shots of living ocean coral and acrobatic aerial footage of the Illinois prairie, Path investigates the physical sensations of the body as it moves through time and space, closely observing the natural world.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa (b. 1955) creates sculptures and installations that intend to unify individuals through their relationship to memory, the body, and spirituality. Often referencing literature, psychology, biology, and history, his practice speaks of a shared humanity despite the world’s complexity. In this way, language acts as a metaphor, and the human figure a universal symbol. Plensa is perhaps best known for works that engage groups of people in public spaces.

This single channel tape was created from a 4-channel live mix of 4 VCRs, an A/V mixer, and a sampler. Hypnotic music, idiosyncratic singing, and soft, yet insistent voiceovers accompany television images portraying notions of happiness, the work ethic, and social success in a subtly alienating video collage. "Repeat with me: I now feel confident about opening to others and projecting charisma."