Join us on Friday, July 10th for a discussion with Marissa Lee Benedict, David Rueter, and Daniel de Paula, the artists behind our most recent Garden Project REPOSE.
This exhibition will be broadcast over Zoom. Please register with this link.
In 2018, a group of artists salvaged the last remaining trading “pit” floors from the Chicago Board of Trade, after electronic trading rendered these octagonal pits obsolete. The floors will circulate through a global purgatory of storage and exhibition, housed in the custom wooden shipping crates that are iconic in the art world. For their Garden Project, Marissa Lee Benedict, David Rueter, and Daniel de Paula rearrange fragments of these shipping crates around a missing object, connecting negation in modernist sculpture with dematerialization in global logistics and commodification. In Repose, these wooden fragments interlock in patterns reminiscent of the geometric flooring at the Board of Trade, transforming as viewers walk around The Arts Club’s garden while framing an absent object.
At first glance, Repose presents itself as enigmatic: the arranged fragments a custom wooden shipping crate for a large, missing object. The absent object, the peculiar nature of its suspension and rotation, and the sliced openings built to cushion and support a buoyed mass, flip in and out of focus.
The engineered wooden strata of the precisely cut angular packing materials describe dueling geometries. Some of the slices are capable of being drawn by hand; others are only conceivable through digital rendering software. At play are looping continuities between modernist negation and global logistics. Cuts made by Gordon Matta-Clark in 1978 for the MCA Chicago commissioned work Circus or the Caribbean Orange, temporarily installed just a few doors east of the Arts Club on Ontario Street, echo through the garden. The sculptural tradition of the negative object (“not-landscape,” “not-architecture”) here become colonized by histories of logistics, capital and flow that, again, stall out – like “…a kind of black hole in the space of consciousness.” 
Supplementary documentation describes the subject of the negative space at the crate’s center: a fragment of a discarded artifact of financial capitalism, once central to Chicago’s commodities and futures trading.
In 2018, a chance series of communications, buoyed by the generosity of a community of Chicago artists, led artists Daniel de Paula, Marissa Lee Benedict, and David Rueter to salvage and acquire the last remaining commodities futures trading “pit” floor from the Chicago Board of Trade. The 40-foot-diameter, octagonal, seven-tiered corn and soy pits, in operation since the late 19th century, were closed in the mid 2010s as electronic trading made their function obsolete. Sitting, near empty, for years, the pits were disassembled in pieces and removed from the Board of Trade in the late summer of 2018. The corn pit, broken apart into 32 pieces, is now entering a purgatory of circulation and storage – a state maintained by the artists as they wear at the logics and histories sedimented in its bent, geometric, bones.
The abjection of the pit (and the bodies it housed) from the heights of finance suggests a profound break or discontinuity, but it would be more accurate to say that it reflects a steady acceleration and reinforcement of a centuries-old logic of dematerialization through abstraction, commodification, and financialization – an violent logic of bodily and material erasure that the pit itself once facilitated.
Like oddly intersecting angles of rotation, Repose embodies the hallucinatory qualities of knowledge that, anchored in abstractions, govern global logistics and colonial exploration. Repose, at the Arts Club, frames the artwork as evidentiary object, even as it lies in wait for a subject that may never show up.
 Rosalind Krauss. “Sculpture in the Expanded Field.” October, vol. 8, 1979
Marissa Lee Benedict, born in Palm Springs, Calif. in 1985, is a sculptor, writer, and lecturer. Considering subjects that range from technologies of water management to the laying of fiber optic cable, her work draws on traditions of American Land Art to investigate the material conditions of a recently networked world. Benedict received an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has exhibited at venues such as The Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL), and the Transit Screening Lounge in The U.S. Pavilion as part of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennial (in collaboration with David Rueter). She has participated in numerous national and international residencies, including Artport Tel Aviv (supported by the Hyde Park Art Center Jackman Goldwasser Residency); and was a 2018-19 artist-in-residence at the Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, NL).
Daniel de Paula, born in Boston, Mass. in 1987, is a Brazilian visual artist, researcher, and co-proposer of the independent exhibitions program Um Trabalho Um Texto (São Paulo, BR). The multiple propositions of the artist reflect upon the production of geographical space as the reproduction of dynamics of power, thus revealing critical investigations concerning the political and economic structures that shape both places and relationships. de Paula holds a BFA in Art at FAAP – Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado and is enrolled at the Human Geography masters program at USP – University of São Paulo. The artist has exhibited in venues such as PAC – Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (Milano, IT), MASP – Museu de Arte Moderna (São Paulo, BR), and MAC – Museu de Arte Contemporânea (São Paulo, BR). He was a 2018-19 artist-in-residence at the Jan Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, NL), and his work is represented by Galeria Jaqueline Martins.
David Rueter, born in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1978, is a visual artist, programmer, and an Assistant Professor in Art and Technology at the University of Oregon. Employing video, custom electronics, software, cartography, and performance, Rueter’s experiments and interventions confront established technical systems and their philosophical counterparts, opening cracks for radical alternatives and imaginations. Rueter is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s MFA program in Art and Technology Studies. Rueter has exhibited at venues such as the Transit Screening Lounge in The U.S. Pavilion as part of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennial (in collaboration with Marissa Lee Benedict), and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL). Rueter is the recipient, in collaboration with Benedict, of a 2016-18 National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works” grant for the project Gary Lights Open Works (GLOW) in Gary, Indiana.
This exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The Arts Club will reopen on July 7th to visitors in the galleries, with the following updated policies:
Our top priority is and always has been the safety of our community. We are reopening The Arts Club’s galleries with increased safety and low-contact measures in order to ensure a positive viewing experience for all. By our minimalist design, The Arts Club is fortunate to have ample space to allow viewers to roam and experience our exhibitions while maintaining social distance.
In addition to our regular maintenance routine, The Arts Club galleries will be unavailable to viewers from 1pm – 2pm each day for sanitization of entryways and high-touch surfaces. Sanitization stations will be available throughout the building for visitors to use.
All visitors and staff are required to wear a mask while viewing art in the galleries or using the facilities, except while dining. Visitors without a mask will be provided with one at entry. We are putting this policy in place under the guidance of the CDC as an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Further, staff members will take no-touch temperature readings of all visitors upon entry. If you are not feeling well, please stay home and visit our website to experience the exhibitions and programs online.
The Arts Club will reopen with modified hours on July 7th, 2020. Please continue to check the website or email email@example.com for updated hours. For the week of July 7–11, they are as follows:
Tuesday–Friday 10 am–1 pm | 2 pm – 6pm
Saturday 11 am–3 pm
The Arts Club will not allow visitors between the hours of 1 pm and 2 pm on weekdays to allow for mid-day sanitization.
In lieu of his appearance at The Arts Club to discuss Lyric Opera’s 2020 Ring Cycle, dramaturg Roger Pines hopped on a call with Arts Club Programs Manager Jenna Lyle to talk about Wagner, the Ring, and the contemporary relevance of old stories.
Looking back on Industry of the Ordinary’s performance at The Arts Club of Chicago on Tuesday, March 10th, it seems we were in a different world than we are today. The Arts Club’s gallery was full of people, sound, ice, and water.
The collaborative duo Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mat Wilson), in keeping with their ongoing series of performances involving interaction with melting ice, presented If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it (title pulled from the lyrics of Billy Bragg’s 1988 anthem “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward”) with cellist Katinka Kleijn, performers Luci Lei and Jay Wolke, and sound designer Dan Dehaan.
An exploration of group think, symbology, endurance, and privacy vs. collectivity; Brooks and Wilson lay prone on the floor of the club’s gallery with heavy blocks of ice sculpted into the shape of a circle with either an X or a cross through it (depending on the orientation) on their backs for 2 hours, testing their bodies and focusing their minds on the accompanying activity. Kleijn performed a deeply inquisitive scripted improvisation with live processing of her amplified sounds. She incorporated waterproof microphones scraped across the blocks of ice on her collaborator’s backs, inviting the audience to don headphones and explore the sounds of the hydrophones themselves.
Between each use, Lei carefully, diligently wiped down the headphones with an antibacterial cloth in deference to the rising pandemic yet unaware of the imminent shut-down. As ice melted down the backs of Wilson and Brooks, Wolke, wearing a janitorial uniform, mopped around the bodies of the two prone performers.
The role of the audience in the space was constantly in flux, though over time it became clear that they were co-performers from the outset.
As guests entered the gallery, they were greeted by the club’s security guard, Eric Hampton. The room was silent, and there was a stack of chairs near the wall on the right side of the room. Guests were invited to grab a chair or to roam around as they liked.
Before long, the guests in the space assembled themselves into a relatively unprompted traditional audience arrangement, in neat rows of chairs. Everyone sat, silent, whispering, anticipating.
Wilson and Brooks came into the space in tuxedos, sitting among the audience, looking around, having quiet chats with attendees, reading the vibe of the room and following suit.
People continued to enter the gallery, now propping themselves against the back wall or tiptoeing toward an empty chair here or there, wary of disrupting the reverent, anticipatory energy of the room.
The performance itself was well underway before Kleijn played a single note and before a single drop of ice melted.
Brooks and Wilson habitually expose and examine implied contracts in their work, preferring to avoid any didactic text explaining the performance and leave the attendees to set the tone and level of interaction. Throughout the two hours of If you’ve got a blacklist…, those in attendance looked to one another and to their understood conventions of performance to craft a collaborative environment for shared experience.
This interactive gathering occurred on the heels of a week of interventions at The Arts Club, a project entitled Seven Days in March.
From a list of 29 proposed interventions over the course of the week, The Arts Club selected 6.
The theme of labor and service was never far from mind. For the picnic performance in The Drawing Room, Brooks and Wilson both wore chef’s whites as they sliced pieces of cake and formally, with decorum, passed them to visitors. In The Arts Club’s gallery, Jay Wolke performed in a white maintenance jumpsuit to mop dripping, melted water from a pair of 12 x 12 inch frozen sculptures placed on Brooks’ and Wilson’s backs as they lay prone on the floor.
Seven Days in March highlighted, among other things, the omnipresence and at times simultaneous invisibility of service workers (and laborers in general) in the arts. By putting the inherently performative act of service on the proverbial stage, Industry of the Ordinary call into question to whom we give our attention in arts institutions. And by subtly intervening on the Club’s everyday surrounds with new objects and artworks, they call into question to what we give our attention.
Industry of the Ordinary have made a practice of examining the histories and structures of the sites where they produce work, and The Arts Club was no exception. They chose to highlight The Arts Club’s collection, space, and the ways in which service and labor work within the club’s infrastructure. Each intervention prompted a necessary awareness of one’s surroundings, certain unspoken social contracts, and the way said contracts are established or upheld, leaving observers to answer emergent questions for themselves.
Out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with recommendations by the CDC and the WHO, The Arts Club of Chicago will close to members and the public effective 9 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020 until further notice. We will proceed with installing the upcoming exhibition Jennie C. Jones: Constant Structure although the Opening Reception and Lecture have been cancelled. We look forward to publishing the images of the exhibition in the near future.
The following events are postponed until further notice in order to encourage social distancing. :
All member events scheduled through the month of April have been postponedWe hope to make content available online of both planned and historical programming.
The staff of The Arts Club with advisement of the Executive Committee are watching the updates and will be in touch. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to check your email and our website for further updates.
We wish you all the best and robust health in the meantime and regret any inconveniences that may be caused.