Ben Russell x3


Ben Russel has 3 shows happening this weekend, featuring various iterations of his paint-covered self, his celluloid self, his performative self, and his new apartment gallery self.  Details are below, but the short of it is this:

1) Friday the 22nd from 7-11: BEN RUSSELL IS MEDICINE CABINET at Medicine Cabinet (3216 S Morgan. Apt 4R) = invisibility performance by Ben Russel, somehow involving Michael Jackson, age 13

2) Saturday the 23rd from 7-9: TRYPPS TRYPPS TRYPPS TRYPPS TRYPPS TRYPPS at Heaven Gallery (1550 N Milwaukee, 2nd Floor) = 6x 16mm films + double-projector flicker/noise performance

3) Sunday the 24th from 6-10: BEN RUSSELL : BENRUSSELL at BEN RUSSELL (1716 S Morgan #2F) = apartment gallery opening/ apartment-as-found-object + barbecue performance

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1) Medicine Cabinet Presents:
3216 S. Morgan St. Apt 4r
Chicago, IL, 60608

I used to say “I” and “me” / Now it’s “us”, now it’s “we” – Michael Jackson, “Ben”

A veritable cabinet of curiosities himself, occasionally Chicago-based media artist/performer/curator Ben Russell brings his heretofore unacknowledged skills of video camouflage and virtual mimicry to a one-night only engagement at the fabled Medicine Cabinet. Watch in slack-jawed disbelief as he transmutes the world into his image in reverse, utilizing a battery of tricks and tools in the service of ALWAYS BECOMING that include (but are not limited to): live video performance, light-sensitive electronics, Michael Jackson at age 13, and a makeshift cloak of invisibility.

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2) Heaven Gallery Presents:
Saturday, May 23, 7-9pm
1550 N Milwaukee, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL

After a long year of traipsing ’round the globe, itinerant Chicagoan, media artist, and curator BEN RUSSELL wanders into the hallowed halls of Heaven Gallery for a special presentation that promises to annihilate your physical self entirely. Featuring a full set of 16mm films from his TRYPPS series and culminating in THE BLACK AND THE WHITE GODS, a live double-projector performance (with light-sensitive audio circuits! flicker loops! a human skull!) that will send your optic nerves reeling, this is New Modernist Neo-Psychedelic Ethnographic Filmmaking at its finest. From spraypaint transcendence to dead tree deliverance, Lightning Bolt freak-outs to Richard Pryor seances, and the ecstatic capitalism of Dubai to the funereal rites of Surinamese Marooons, this is one screening that will stay burned in your retina for ever and ever and ever.

WARNING: This show contains visuals that may be harmful to those with epilepsy.

FEATURING: Black and White Trypps Number One (6:30, 16mm, 2005), Black and White Trypps Number Two (9:00, 16mm, 2006), Black and White Trypps Number Three (12:00, 16mm, 2007), Black and White Trypps Number Four (11:00, 16mm, 2008), Trypps #5 (Dubai) (3:00, 16mm, 2008), Trypps #6 (Malobi) (12:00, 16mm, 2009), The Black and the White God (20:00, live performance, 2008)
TRT 73:00

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3)BEN RUSSELL presents:
1716 S Morgan #2F
Chicago, IL 60608

Opening reception: 6-10 pm, May 24, 2009
Private viewings by appointment

BEN RUSSELL is a newly formed art space in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Co-curated by artists Brandon Alvendia and Ben Russell and situated around the front room in the apartment of its namesake, BEN RUSSELL will present a series of month-long 5-person shows beginning on Memorial Day Weekend in the year 2009. Participating artists will be 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.” Future shows may include BEN RUSSELL : BLUENESS, BEN RUSSELL : REBELS, 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 gallery, BEN RUSSELL maintains a set of restrictions for all exhibiting artists by which:

– One artist shall produce a flat work scaled at a minimum of three quarters of a thirteen by ten foot tall wall
– One artist shall produce a flat or 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 displayed on a CRT flat screen monitor 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 fifteen minutes in the living space

BEN RUSSELL will feature 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.


Plural has done it again! I am excited to announce that Plural’s website was selected to be part of the 2009 Communication Arts Interactive Annual.

Renzo Piano

Architect Renzo Piano, who designed the Modern Wing, addresses the public during the official opening of the Art Institute's new Modern Wing.

The Modern Wing officially opened its doors to Chicago and the world at 10:00 a.m. on May 16! So go check it out. Click here to watch an interview with the architect Renzo Piano about the Art Institute of Chicago‘s new wing from Chicago Tonight.

I recently received a disturbing e-mail from the artist Gabriel Villa that began with “The city white washed my mural.” In it Villa explained how the mural he began in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood at Kaplan’s Liquors 960 W 31st St, as a part of Version>09 was destroyed by the city only days before its completion. I had been documenting Villa’s progress (shown above and below) as a part of this year’s festival and I am sadden by the news of its destruction. He was granted permission by the owner of the building to paint the mural and this forces me to ask, what was the real reason for this censorship?

Check out the posting on Chicago Public Radio’s blog that states “Ald. James Balcer (Ward 11) told WBEZ this morning that he called the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department to have it destroyed.” Check out the blog and post your comments on the alderman’s actions!

Read more about this and watch an interview with Villa at NBC Chicago.

Listen to a great interview on Chicago Public Radio.


Manifest Kicks Off on Friday, May 15 at Noon!

30,000 people.
50 showcases.
14 galleries.
5 stages.
1 day.

“Experience Manifest. Columbia College Chicago’s urban arts festival celebrates the work of seniors and graduate students from every department on campus. Manifest 2009 will feature an artwalk & sale, music on four stages, screenings, readings, live radio, Web casts, the TICTOC Performance Art Festival, the Transmission art car exhibition, Spectacle Fortuna‘s parade of creativity.

Join Columbia’s President Dr. Warrick Carter, Columbia’s student leaders, and the astounding circus punk marching band Mucca Pazza to officially kick off the Manifest party!

Gather at noon on the corner of Balbo and Wabash for giveaways, spectacle, and special surprises and the announcement of the winners of Columbia’s Expose Yourself online talent contest.”

– via Columbia College Chicago

Yesterday I went to the opening of Artists Run Chicago and it is well worth the trip down to Hyde Park. While your there be sure to pick up a copy of the (Con)Temporary Art Guide Chicago which is available at Proximity‘s kiosk (pictured above).

Artists Run Chicago
May 10 – July 5, 2009, Gallery 1
Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615

“Featuring 1/Quarterly, 65GRAND, Alogon, Antena, artLedge, Butchershop, Co-Prosperity Sphere, devening projects + editions, Deluxe Projects, Dogmatic, Fraction Workspace, Fucking Good Art (FGA), Green Lantern, He Said-She Said, HungryMan, joymore, Julius Caesar, Law Office, LiveBox, Margin Gallery, Medicine Cabinet/Second Bedroom Project Space, mini dutch, Modest Contemporary Art Projects, NFA Space, Normal Projects, Old Gold, Polvo, Roots & Culture, Scott Projects, Standard, Suitable, Swimming Pool Projects, Teti, The Suburban, and VONZWECK.

With special contributions by Imperfect Articles, INCUBATE, Mess Hall, Seven Three Split, and ThreeWalls.

Artists Run Chicago is an exhibition showcasing the energy and audacity of some of the most noteworthy artist-run spaces that have influenced the Chicago contemporary art scene over the past decade. Chicago has long been known for cultivating a strong entrepreneurial/Do-It-Yourself spirit in business and the arts. The participating artist-run venues have transformed storefronts, sheds, apartments, lofts, industrial warehouses, garages and roving spaces into contemporary art galleries testing the notion of “exhibition” while complicating the definition of art. Coinciding with the Hyde Park Art Center’s 70th anniversary, Artists Run Chicago reconnects the Art Center to its beginnings as an artist-run space by showcasing spaces that continue the legacy.”

– via Hyde Park Art Center



One of my favorite projects that was a part of Version>09 is Reuben Kincaid Realty. Their website is now up and running and worth checking out!

“Reuben Kincaid Realty is a property referral service and certified Rehousing Agency.

Our job is simple. We specialize is finding properties that are vacant to help our clients move in to a new home.

Reuben Kincaid Realty searches for suitable properties and contacts groups that are helping people attain the basic human right to shelter.”
“If you already have a home why not help us find one for someone else?

We could use your help in identifying available housing assets.

Please take one of our For Squat signs. Go to your nearby abandoned or vacant property. Get the address and put the sign up on the property. Take a photo.

Email a Reuben Kincaid Realtor, send us a photo with any information that you have about the property and we’ll take care of the rest.

Using our LISTING system we can find out how long a property has been vacant and whether or not a bank owns it. We will then use the information to advertise the availability to our clients.”

– via