By Jason Foumberg
Art comings and goings from the West Side:
Apartment-gallerists Rachel Adams and Patricia Courson asked more than fifty artists to contribute material for “One by One,” an exhibition of one-inch buttons. The resulting stash of pins ranges from the ironic (a button that simply declares itself as “contemporary art”) to the expected (Paul Nudd button-ized his trademark green fuzzy goop) to the poetic (Matthew Woodson’s phases of the moon depicted in button). The effect is that anything can be turned into a cheap and easy icon ripe for hipster adornment. Swarms of buttons are stuck into the walls of an otherwise sparse room that overlooks the Polish Triangle, and there’s a grab-bag so that button collectors can take home five for a dollar.
Lloyd Dobler, 1545 West Division, 2nd floor, (312)961-8706, through January 19.
40,000 Goes Under
At just 32-months-old, Gallery 40000 is a child, yet its accomplishments are many. When founder Britton Bertran de-installs for the last time at the end of December, he can count among the gallery’s finer moments more than thirty exhibition rotations of both group and solo shows, wall-to-wall opening-night celebrations and support of both local and national emerging artists. Recently the gallery hosted Nathan Redwood’s sea-ready pirate ship, Deb Sokolow’s anxiety, Jim Trainor’s bats, von Zweck’s vomit and Josh Mannis’ frenzied psychedelia. Viewers have witnessed not only cutting-edge statements by artists working in all media, but also the development of Bertran’s own taste, which has contributed greatly to the West Loop aesthetic—young, fun and bold. 40000 closes out with an exhibition by Brooklyn-based painter David Coyle. Gallery 40000, 119 North Peoria, #2C. (312)738-0179, through December 29.
Art Mirrors Life
In a retrofitted closet inside gescheidle gallery is giftshop project space (note the very hip all-lower case), and inside that is a small exhibition by Laura Mackin. “Davis” is the name of the show and also the name of the person who has unwittingly become Mackin’s art project. As an eBay Power Seller, Davis sells a lot of stuff, but mostly mirrors. Yet he’s also an amateur, and when he photographs his mirrors, they tend to contain a reflection of his house—Davis’ virtual store is his home, and he places the mirrors against a tree in his back yard, thus reflecting his surrounds. Mackin, fascinated by this small glimpse into a stranger’s life, has created a map of Davis’ home from only the reflections in his mirrors for sale on eBay. She hasn’t contacted Davis, and doesn’t intend to, but feels a connection to him in the deceptively close way that the web connects many of us, providing myriad opportunities for lurking. While there may not be as much mystery as Mackin wishes there to be (she thinks she sees a tombstone in Davis’ yard), the mirror reflections act as an accidental portal within an intentional one; the mirrors come to reflect not merely Davis’ quiet suburban yard, but also Mackin’s quiet obsession. giftshop project space, 1039 West Lake, (773)757-4836, through January 5.
Recognizing a lack of money available to artists with modest-sized goals, yet seeing no lack of people hungry for hot soup on cold winter days, the Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday (or InCUBATE) has created a money-granting program for artists based upon selling soup. Each Sunday, either the in-house InCUBATE administrators or a guest chef make and sell soup (recently, curried squash and apples) to local residents (delivery within a two-mile radius of the kitchen). The cost of the groceries (from local farms) is recouped, and the rest goes into a pot for awarding a local artist. After four weekends of soup eating, soup buyers vote on artist submissions. In essence, they buy their vote by buying soup. The first grant was awarded to Andreas Warisz to fund a photography project. With only thirty soup subscribers and two grant applications, the first turnout was fair, but the more soup that gets bought, the more support an artist can receive. InCUBATE organizer Ben Schaafsma notes that there’s an unavoidably “cutesy” aspect to the idea, but they are also creating new opportunities for artists to make art when budgets are otherwise tight. Such support is a welcome strengthening of the community. 2129 North Rockwell, www.incubate-chicago.org/sundaysoup.