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Dramaturg Roger Pines on Richard Wagner

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.

  • To learn more about Lyric Opera, or how to support them during this time, please click here.
  • If you are interested to read more about Richard Wagner, Jenna suggests this article and this documentary.
  • Explore the history of Lyric Opera with Roger Pines on his blog Ask Roger

The Arts Club of Chicago · Dramaturg Roger Pines on Wagner

 

Posted May 6, 2020
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Recalling Seven Days in March with Industry of the Ordinary

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.

Photo: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

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.

Photo: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Photo: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

 

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.

Photo: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

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.

  • Swap out heads on shelf in Drawing Room for Industry of the Ordinary red rubber death masks (we added led light plinths to lift and illuminate the rubber heads on the shelf)

Photo: Paul Crisanti

  • Replace a floral arrangement somewhere in the Club (4 long-stemmed roses were dipped in rubber and placed in one of the club’s vases on a table in the foyer between the salon and the dining room)

Photo: Paul Crisanti

  • Write a didactic tag for a single work of art in the Club’s collection (which ultimately became a solitary new artwork displayed on the gallery wall downstairs entitled Didactic with no relation to an extant work in the collection)

Photo: Paul Crisanti

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Make a jigsaw puzzle of a work of art in the Club’s collection and leave, scrambled on a table (We placed the puzzle on a table in the upstairs foyer where people often wait for their lunch guests to arrive.)

Photo: Paul Crisanti

  • Host a Picnic (which ultimately became a coffee/tea/cake gathering on a Saturday in The Drawing Room, where Industry of the Ordinary printed images of Constantin Brancusi’s Golden Bird, 1919, Art Institute of Chicago, and text about its sale by The Arts Club to the Art Institute onto a pair of sheet cakes and served them to visitors)

 

 

 

Photo: Paul Crisanti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Collaborate on a brief performance at the Club with Katinka Kleijn (which became the 2-hour performance with amplification and live sound processing entitled If you’ve got a Blacklist, I want to be on it)

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.[1] 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.

 

[1] A conversation explored in depth by Takashi Shallow and Andrew Dorkin in their 2019 essay associated with Shallow’s fellowship project at the Club. They cite Julia Bryan-Wilson’s “Occupational Realism,” Fred Wilson’s Guarded View, and Leigh Claire La Berge’s Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art, among other scholarly works to dig into what they refer to as “a sort of artworld limbo that complicates notions of inclusion,” exploring “positions that straddle the jagged edge between inside and outside.”
Posted April 30, 2020
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Industry of the Ordinary invites you to eat history

Event Date: March 7
Time: 12-2 pm

INDUSTRY OF THE ORDINARY: SEVEN DAYS IN MARCH

 

Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mat Wilson) has been mediating the daily life of Chicago for over 16 years. Dedicated to an exploration and celebration of the customary, the everyday, and the usual, Brooks and Wilson use sculpture, text, photography, video, sound and performance to challenge pejorative notions of the ordinary and, in doing so, move beyond the quotidian.

At The Arts Club of Chicago, Industry of the Ordinary will spend a week intervening on the space in a variety of ways—subtly altering the trappings of the club rooms, feeding visitors edible historical artifacts, and performing with CSO cellist Katinka Kleijn in the gallery. Their residency, entitled Seven Days in March, celebrates and comments upon what is customary and usual at The Arts Club—that we might reevaluate our perception of normal vs. noteworthy.

Observe or participate at the following times:

Saturday March 7

Public Program: Industry of the Ordinary “invites you to eat history”
12:00 – 2:00 pm in The Drawing Room Bar

Public Program: Private Collection tour of The Arts Club (to include IOTO’s interventions)
1:00 – 1:45 (meet in gallery)

Swing through the club on Saturday to literally taste a piece of the club’s history, as provided by Industry of the Ordinary (between 12 and 2). And while you’re at it, join for a group tour of the entire club and its collection (1 – 1:45), which Brooks and Wilson have augmented with pieces of their own. Free and open to all

Tuesday March 10

Public Program: Industry of the Ordinary with Katinka Kleijn perform “If you’ve got a blacklist, I wanna be on it”
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the gallery

Visit here to RSVP.

 

Photo: Jay Wolke

Posted February 21, 2020
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Tie Up: Poetry & Prose in the Garden

Event Date: October 11
Time: 6 pm

For her Garden Project “garden/ruinate”, artist Eliza Myrie will open a gate to The Arts Club, hosting monthly gatherings within the transformed garden space. This series of programs, under the heading “Tie Up”, will explore the nature of extended invitations, caring, community, and existence mediated by both built and imagined structures. Programming will include conversation, sound, and poetry, among other things, so feel free to drop by and hang out. If you’re late to your plans later on, you can just let your friends know you got “tied up” hanging out in the garden.

To close the project, Eliza Myrie will be joined by writers Emily Bock, Jersey-Shabazz Hosier, and others for a reading of written works related to black women and/or the Caribbean diaspora that have inspired, fortified, or soothed them. Please join us and feel free to bring words that you may want to share.

Free and Open to All.

 

About Eliza:
Eliza Myrie, b. 1981, New York. Myrie is a sculptor working in Chicago, IL. She received her MFA from Northwestern University and BA from Williams College and was a participant at The Skowhegan School. Myrie has been in residence at Yaddo, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The MacDowell Colony, and Arts + Public Life at The University of Chicago. Myrie is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a co-founder of The Black Artists Retreat [B.A.R.]. She has received grants from The Propeller Fund and 3Arts. Exhibitions include Gallery 400, Chicago; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Shane Campbell, Chicago; Roots and Culture, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago; Davidson Contemporary, New York.

Posted October 7, 2019
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Honoring past Arts Club Presidents Stanley M. Freehling and Marilynn Alsdorf

We are deeply grieved to share the news of the passing of two esteemed members of The Arts Club, Mr. Stanley M. Freehling and Ms. Marilynn Alsdorf. Each served as a member of The Arts Club, guiding its institutional and artistic vision, for several years: Mr. Freehling was President for 24 years from 1981 to 2005, and Ms. Alsdorf followed as President from 2006–2011.

Both Mr. Freehling and Ms. Alsdorf served many cultural institutions throughout the city of Chicago, supporting the arts and culture with generous and fearless patronage to keep the city on the cutting edge. We honor their insight and love for culture through the Alsdorf-Freehling fund, an annual lecture fund which supports ambitious programming at The Arts Club.

Posted September 26, 2019
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