By Jason Foumberg
Spring is benefit auction season. These fundraising events should be on your radar because they’re good opportunities to score some art by coveted emerging and established artists and a good way to support alternative exhibition venues. (Digression: a successful commercial artist once told me that donating artwork to such auctions can decrease the value of the artwork if collectors know to shop for steep discounts at auction rather than at a gallery.)
The Autumn Space benefit auction is Sunday, March 10, from 6-9pm, at 1700 West Irving Park, Suite #207. Works by over fifty artists are available, many starting at $30, including pieces by Candida Alvarez, Michelle Grabner, Dan Devening, John Phillips, Frank Piatek, Richard Rezac, Adam Scott and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. $10 at the door and online bidding and preview at autumnspace.com/secondary.html.
April 14 is the benefit auction for Queer Thoughts, and will include work by William J. O’Brien, Alex da Corte, Mindy Schwartz, and others. May 4 is the benefit for Roots & Culture.
100 Paintings and 101 Sculptures
It’s good to have goals. Brandon Alvendia has created 100 paintings for his solo exhibition at Sofa King, opening March 9. They can be previewed at sofa-king-chicago.tumblr.com. Jennifer Mills has created 101 “one-liner” sculptures, for her solo show at Chicago Artists’ Coalition, opening March 15.
Prizes and Grants
ArtFutura is an annual open call for artworks, to be displayed and sold as a benefit to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Art Therapy program. There is a $30 entry fee and prizes ranging from $500-$2,500. Same as last year, the exhibition juror is James Rondeau and the theme is, once again, “motion.” Deadline is April 2 at www.ric.org/about/people/boards/associate/activities-events/artfutura.
The Chicago Artists’ Coalition and OtherPeoplesPixels, a website service for artists, have partnered to offer a $3,000 Maker Grant for artists. The deadline to apply is March 31, and the entry fee is $15, at chicagoartistscoalition.org/maker-grant.
Chicago Art Fair News
A new art fair, called AXIS, will take place May 2-5 at the Ravenswood Event Center. It is being organized by Prak-Sis Contemporary Art Association, and there is currently an open call for artists and galleries to exhibit in booths at www.chicagoaxis.com.
Another new local art fair is EDITION Chicago, to take place at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, September 20-22. Exhibitors are not invited to apply for a booth; it will be an “invitation-only” fair, “with an emphasis on affordable works.”
EDITION Chicago strategically coincides with EXPO Chicago, September 19-22 at Navy Pier. Shamim M. Momin has been announced as EXPO’s “In/Situ” curator, a position that oversees installation of site-specific artworks outside of the exhibitor booths. Momin was previously a co-curator of the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennial exhibitions. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Behind the Scenes
Two current exhibitions aim to highlight different aspects of the art world not typically showcased within the gallery. “Designing Art” at the Northeastern Illinois University Fine Arts Center Gallery features bold exhibition graphics from the MCA Chicago, the Walker Art Center and MoMA, among others. Fundraising invitations, marketing materials, exhibition take-aways and catalogues are elevated by creative design innovations. On March 7 at noon, James Sholly of Commercial Artisan, from Indianapolis, will give a free lecture. “Market Value: Examining Wealth and Worth” is on view at Columbia College Chicago’s A+D Gallery. This group show leads viewers into the “formal and conceptual” realm of market value in relation to contemporary art, and includes artwork by William Powhida, among others.
Artist Heidi Norton lectures on her artwork at Gallery 400 on Thursday, March 14, at 6pm. Artist Josiah McElheny speaks at the Art Institute of Chicago on Wednesday, March 27, at 6pm, as part of SAIC’s visiting artists program. Also at the AIC, artist Thomas Bayrle will lecture on Wednesday, March 20, at 6pm, hosted by the Society for Contemporary Art. Writer Valorie Thomas will talk with artists Candida Alvarez and Cauleen Smith at the Hyde Park Art Center on Thursday, March 21, at 6pm. Artist Jason Lazarus speaks about his solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Saturday, March 23, at 1pm. Curator Jessica Moss gives a tour of “The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989” at the Smart Museum of Art on Saturday, March 23, at 2pm. Artist and professor Doug Ischar gives a gallery tour of John Neff’s solo exhibition at the Renaissance Society, Sunday, March 24, at noon. The Black Collectivities Conference takes place at the Block Museum of Art on Friday, May 3, from 4-6pm, and includes Tate Gallery curator Elvira Dyangani Ose.