Originally named newspace Chicago, curators Patricia Courson and Rachel Adams opened their habitated apartment gallery in April of 2006. Situated in a non-descript building next to the Chopin Theater, the gallery isn’t obvious—even with its new name, Lloyd Dobler Gallery—but with exciting shows like the current and successful “Spaces into Places” and upcoming shows of thirty artists designing a 1″x1″ button that will be displayed in the gallery and a video screening, “Really Rad Videos Part Deux,” Chicagoans need to take notice. I caught up with Courson to talk about the gallery’s evolution.
Why did you change the name of the gallery?
Because our old name was really generic and wasn’t meant to be a permanent name. Also, we really wanted to name our gallery after a John Cusack movie character. We were thinking about Lane Meyer from “Better off Dead,” but we decided Lloyd Dobler was much more interesting from “Say Anything.” Lloyd Dobler is also a much more iconic name—he’s also the perfect boyfriend.
What separates your gallery from others?
We do not represent artists. We are strictly interested in putting on interesting and thought-provoking shows that speak to contemporary art today. We do not feel we have the resources at the moment to represent artists to the extent that they should be by an art dealer. We think it’s more important that we try to expand the amount of people that see our shows and involve our community as much as possible.
What’s the most challenging part of running the gallery?
Probably getting people to come by. We are a little off the beaten path for most people. So many people have mentioned they want to and never do. It can get frustrating for us
What has been your favorite exhibit?
“Series of Fortunate Events,” where we made a coloring book from different artists’ drawings, including Greg Stimac, Jon Gitelson, Lilli Carre and others. We also had a ten-foot picnic table designed by The Mighty Bearcats, a design collective from Chicago. The table was glass that could be drawn on with special glass markers. Over the course of five weeks, we had a coloring book party, poker night, game night, etc. We had a great turnout and everyone had a lot of fun.
What would you like to see happen with the gallery in the next few years?
We would like to continue to put on great shows and hopefully be recognized as a staying power in the Chicago art scene. (Garin Pirnia)
Lloyd Dobler Gallery, 1545 West Division, Second Floor, (312)961-8706. “Spaces into Places” shows through October 20.