It’s a gallery! It’s a performance space! It’s a bookstore! It’s a café! The revived Green Lantern Gallery, temporarily housed at Chicago and Maplewood in Ukrainian Village, permanent location TBD, is aiming to be Chicago’s answer to Gertrude Stein’s living room. It’s an expanded vision of the original Green Lantern Gallery, which director Caroline Picard once ran out of her apartment. When the city shut it down due to an ordinance against such ventures, it left Picard with a choice: go big or go home (no pun intended). She’s going big. The new dream is a joint collaboration with featherproof books, another independent press interested in books that cross the boundaries between visual art and literature. “It’s like a high-school mega crush,” featherproof’s Zach Dodson says of the relationship between the presses. Picard recounts their fateful meeting at the NEXT art fair as a “marathon… of gossip and story-swapping and big-bang idea speculation.”
Under the umbrella of Lantern Projects, the space will feature a bookstore/café/bar up front, a performance space downstairs, an art gallery upstairs. Four year-long artists-in-residence (but don’t worry, City Hall—they won’t literally reside there!) will double as baristas, while the folks at Green Lantern and featherproof will toil away in their attached shared office space. The goal is interdisciplinary dialogue and artistic community. “We hope to break open current systems in order to supply alternative dynamisms: messy, vibrant and innovative collaborations between artists, audiences, mediums and ideas,” Picard says. The temporary headquarters opens up today, June 1, but “it won’t be the end-all-be-all” space of her vision just yet. For Picard, it’s “one step at a time, I say.” (Rachel Sugar)
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