Friday, January 19, 2007

Kasmalieva and Djumaliev @ Art Institute of Chicago

Just as winter arrives, Bambino and I are finalizing our plans for a quick trip to Chicago, and staying right on the lake, no less...can you say "brrrr?" But we're going for the opening of Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev's solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago (we couldn't be prouder of them if we tried), so we'll deal with it. Curated by the amazing Lisa Dorin, the exhibition includes a brand new body of work titled "A New Silk Road," which explores contemporary life along this ancient trading route and presents video and photographs from the very road Bambino and I travelled along during our stay in Kyrgyzstan last October. We got to see just some of this new work in their studio while there, and it blew me away. I can't wait to see the final installations. Here's the press release from the museum:

For their Focus exhibition, Kasmalieva and Djumaliev will debut a new, multichannel video and photographic installation, A New Silk Road (2006), created especially for the Art Institute. The project follows the extensive scrap-metal trade via truck caravans traveling through the high mountain passes between Kyrgyzstan and China. With almost no manufacturing infrastructure and limited funding for building and growth, Kyrgyzstan’s role remains that of trader, the middle man between China’s booming production and countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan that are in the economic position to support the vigorous importation of consumer goods. Eschewing nostalgia for the historical Silk Road era, Kasmalieva and Djumaliev instead foreground the current, arguably hard, existences faced by the communities along these well-worn trade routes.

Also on view will be the three-channel video installation Trans-Siberian Amazons (2004). Shot during a tour through Siberia organized by the artists to encourage artistic and cultural exchange, this work portrays two elderly women traders who undertake the arduous task of hauling domestic goods by train across Central Asia. Previously employed in the professional sector, these women and others like them have been forced, as a result of post-Soviet economic devastation, to create new, transient economies based on small-scale trade and transport in order to support their families. The video captures the protagonists’ yearning for times gone by, as they pass the time mournfully singing the Soviet songs of their youth in the dim confines of the train car. At its essence, the practice of Kasmalieva and Djumaliev redefines the terms of art in the face of what the latter refers to as “the collective phobia, skepticism, and disappointment” that pervades the milieu they inhabit. Melding the poetic with the political, they employ beautifully haunting imagery with minimal narrative structure in order to recount poignant tales of human struggle, perseverance, and hope for the future.
Unlike other times when we're travelling to another city and doing the bulk of our planning at the last minute, I'm hoping to be more organized in making the most of our time in Chicago, so I'm putting out feelers well in advance for what exhibitions/restaurants/etc. we shouldn't miss. All suggestions appreciated. If you make it to the opening (Feb 1), please do say Hi.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your taste and our taste in art are very far apart, so we'll stick to recommending restaurants - for something on the chic side, try Blackbird; for a beautiful, scenic place with great food, try North Pond. Both restaurants have websites. There are more spectacular/famous places, but these are solid, can't miss experiences.

1/19/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks DV, I"ll look into those.

As for art, though, despite what I exhibit and champion here, I do make an effort to reach out beyond mypersonal tastes in don't let my tastes deter you from other recommendations.

1/19/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

I can't for the opening and I am so proud of M&G.; It will be an amazing.
Never been in Chicago. It sounds like a fun to visit some galleries there.

1/19/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Edward - Spencer Finch is curating a show at Duchess. This is a new space opened by the directors of Rhona Hoffman who are about the greatest girls in the world! I haven't seen the work yet but I'm excited to see what Spencer put together.

Speaking of Rhona - she's got a Fred Sandback show (personal favorite).

While you're in the West Loop, you've got to hit Monique Meloche, Bodybuilder, Rowley Kennerk's new gallery and many others. Luckily there are a ton in a few block radius.

1/19/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

Hit up Frontera Grill while you're there. Fantastic margaritas, amazing mole, outstanding all around.

And the Fred Sandback show *is* lovely.

1/19/2007 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Gabrielle de Montmollin said...

I've never been to Chicago but when I go - soon I hope - the first place I would head to is the Catherine Edelman Gallery. Judging from the web site and the list of artists it has to be one of the best photo galleries in the US.

1/19/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Well, Donald Young doesn't need
be mentioned I guess.

I may as well go visit that exhibit as my sister lives in Chicago, but it sounds like this work is part of the huge Silk Road
special at the Art Institute. Personally I would have preferred if they had curated only one big show instead of a dozen in the various sections of the museum.
But I'll let you be judge of that.


Cedric Casp

1/19/2007 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous James Leonard said...

I was quite sad when I visited Chitown in October to learn that my favorite restaurant, Leo's Lunchroom shut down when it came under new ownership. A real pity. It was by far the best food in Chicago for your dollar. Imagine the best kept secret of an emerging artist program and fill it with new chefs. That was Leo's.

Alliance Bakery is also under new management.

Lounge Axe is gone too. Long gone actually.

If you are in the position to blow a lot on a meal, I've always liked Spruce--at least the two times I was able to afford dinner there. It's not quite per se prices or glutony, but if you are a foodie with some money to burn, it's definitely worth it.

As far as galleries go, yeah, Rhona Hoffman's (newish) building is pretty decent. I was more enthralled with Bodybuilder's program four years ago. If the folks of Threewalls, Apartment 1A or MN Gallery have anything going, they are often good for a taste of rawer Chicago--the non-art fair crowd that is...

Anyways, enjoy your stay. It's not a bad town.

1/19/2007 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Oh wow, Lobbing Potatoes At A Gong by Rodney Graham is still playing at Donald Young. I love that work !!

Though the rest of the exhibit is conceptual so-so.

Resto: Buddy Guy's, for the in-house music. Can't bypass it.

Charlie Trotter's if you're (very) rich and have 2 weeks minimum to reserve.



1/19/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the West Loop galleries (Peoria St, Fulton Market, and vicinity). Also, West Town Gallery network is a lot of younger galleries/alt spaces.

new and older galleries that have been catching my eye: ZG gallery, green lantern, western exhibitions, lisa boyle, duchess, fiftyfifty

while at the Art Institute, peek your head around the corner and check out the student union galleries, also the Betty Rymer gallery.

for food, Lula in Logan Square is still my favorite, although no reservations accepted. Chicago is fast becoming a great place for brunch: Southport Cafe, Orange, Julius Meinl, Toast, Milk & Honey, and so on.

have fun

1/21/2007 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Long underwear!

1/21/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edward can you watch this until the end please?

I really urge for you to have a look...

1/21/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Edward can you watch this until the end please?

1/21/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


Chris, I was laughing right up until the end, when I saw how scary this country must seem to other people.

For those who haven't seen it, an Australian comedian posing as a news reporter asks Americans in the street whether they support President Bush's hardline stand (including a possible invasion) against Kyrgyzstan. With no information (or interest in getting any) whatsoever, those ignorant freaks supported an invasion of an ally and very wrongly projected the sins of other nations upon it. I'm sorry, but they shold have all immediately lost their right to vote.

1/21/2007 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a little unfair to deprive people their right to vote, Edward, just because some stupid comedian reincarnates the facts. IT'S NOT REAL!

1/21/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous on this one, it's really easy to find a few morons anywhere and edit footage to make everyone look stupid. You can be sure that when they ran into anyone who was wise to their game that was edited out. The mean-spirited impulse behind this type of video is indicative of a type of propaganda that is popular among anti Americans who feel safe bashing us, as it not PC to hate Jews anymore.

1/22/2007 03:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Real or not Anon is how the reality is seen outside wonderland...

1/22/2007 04:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLease enjoy your stay in Chicago-maybe you'll check out the Museum of Contemporary Art-or the Mexican Cultural Center in Pilson-or the Chicago History Museum!! Every Thursday the Chicago Reader is printed up & distributed all over 'n' they list many galleries and resturants.


1/22/2007 06:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That u-tube is nothing more than a poorly edited twist, poking fun at ill-informed people--which I must note appear only too happy to try their best to answer the questions. Or did you miss that part Chris? WATCH IT AGAIN!

1/22/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Or did you miss that part Chris? WATCH IT AGAIN!

OK, let's not use all caps's like yelling.

Chris was very clear that the last portion of the video was what he was drawing attention to. Furthermore, that's all he said. Watch it. Because of the end and the context of this particular post.

I made the commentary, so direct any disagreement toward me, OK?

While I won't disagree that the first 9/10ths of the video are cheapshot comedy (which Jay Leno does better without the anti-Americanism), the fact that at the very end, 5 or so people who clearly had no idea where Kyrgystan even was or what its politics were said that if the President want to attack it, they'd go along with it, because they thought that was the patriotic thing to do is a calamity, IMO. It suggests to me that, in part at least, America is a fraud. That too many (and yes, in the context, I'll conclude that 5 in the same location on the same day are too many) people have abdicated their right to have a say in their own government because it's too much work to do the thinking that requires. "If the president says we should attack them, that's good enough for me." One American saying that is too many. I'll admit to being a bit more shocked than usual because of the choice of countries, but I'll ask you to take your own advice and watch it again...the end, I mean...and pay attention to the fact that these folks didn't care at all to learn about Krygystan or why it might be a threat...if the President wanted to bomb it, so be it...they'd support that. I'm sorry, but idiots like that scare the bejesus out of me.

1/22/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many sides does a triangle have? 2, 4, none? Each are correct. Check Euclidean and non-Euclidean postulates. Maybe some of those 'idiots' are thinking better than you think. Apologies for the caps. I still beckon you to watch carefully the whole deceit again.

Your axle gives up in a part of the county were these people believe the president elect will do the right thing by them, and the nation, are the same who will also point you to a repair shop, or even do more to ease your troubles, just out of common courtesy.

Please, think about it, anyone who visits here!

We are all idiots, is more the case. That's why we chose to live in this idiot world.

Back to better and wiser things.

1/22/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Your axle gives up in a part of the county were these people believe the president elect will do the right thing by them, and the nation, are the same who will also point you to a repair shop, or even do more to ease your troubles, just out of common courtesy.

Apples and oranges, anonymous.

There are plenty of Americans who'd be very happy to point you to a repair shor or do more to ease your troubles who also take the time to educate themselves about imporant issues (like war, for example) that being blessed to live in a democracy (especially one with a military the size of ours) demands, in my opinion. I won't give them a break just because they're otherwise nice people.

There were nice people in Germany in the early 1940's who should have paid more attention than they did as well. As in all such matters, ignorance doesn't absolve responsibility.

I wouldn't be appalled if they had said, I really don't know anything about that country...I guess I should check into it before offering an opinion on something as important as a military invasion. But they didn't...they treated it casually...and that's the real indictment here...if saying "yes, the president should invade" might mean they or their loved ones would be drafted and shipped over, you can be damn sure they'd think more about it than any of them did.

1/22/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Edward,

Not only will I come over and say hi to you at the opening...I'd love to take you for a drink!!!

Stagg and I would love to take you to the Green Mill.(you can see photos from the original speakeasy days where Al Capone ran the joint on my blog a couple days ago)

Seriously, we'd love to treat you to a couple rounds of drinks if you are feeling up to it or have the time.

If you do decide to take us up on the offer fantastic, but if you don't...really I think you would be wells erved to check out some real Chicago flavour by going to the Green Mill or to Buddy Guy's Legends. Buddy Guy's Legends may sound touristy, but it's five or six o'clock in the evening there will be someone playing the guitar on stage for free and the food is actually delicious. Some southern cooking and the best chocolate cake I've had in ages.

Sure neither the Green Mill or Buddy Guy's serve up contemporary cuisine, but you can get all of that you want in Mnahattan. Just the 1930's speakeasy original decor of Green Mill is worth the visit.

Let me know if you'd like to hook up with us, we'd love to take you to either joint! And my boyfriend Stagg is a real deal Chicago boy. (my sister always says after she talks to him she feels like she's been in the movie Goodfellas, from his accent) Plus, the two of us are incredibly charming in person!

(I've seen a sneak peek of the Silk Road show and am looking forward tos eeing more next week.)




1/22/2007 02:26:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home