At last, that empty void in your apartment-gallery-existence of the last few moons has been filled! After doing a spell of world-wandering, your third-favorite curatorial team of Alvendia-Russell has returned to Chicago just in time (or a few months late, really) to celebrate the first anniversary of BEN RUSSELL, your second-favorite space. That’s right – after a year of eight shows BEN RUSSELL has finally turned ONE and, in honor of its movement into maturity, we are proud to present a look waybackbackbackwards with BEN RUSSELL: UR. Taking its inspiration from the German prefix meaning “original, primitive” (and not, regrettably, in honor of the ancient Mesopotamian city or the Alanis Morissette song of the same name), this show is an over-the-shoulder glance into the history of history, a portrait of space-in-time. Intended as both meta-response and self-conscious regard, we’ve gathered together enough local and international artists to throw the Standard Operating Procedure of BEN RUSSELL into a radical fourth-wall shattering vortex of confusion, a mad mix of art and art practices that are firmly entrenched in notions of disruption and repetition.
And so: join us as we turn our gaze towards the past we can never hope to regain – to the halcyon days of BEER, BURNS, RUNE and RUSE, to those Midwestern nights of RUBLES,LESSEN and BLUENESS. Join us as we tilt our PBR to that memory of the past, then gulp the rest down in the name of the present and the future. To smooth out that Blue Ribbon Burn, we are proud to offer the following checklist for your inner selves – an art-world mantra to calm the stormiest of seas:
- the BEN RUSSELL bench displaced by a pyramid made by former BEN RUSSELL residents (You are Here) and subsequently transformed into a smaller BEN RUSSELL bench (Trevor Gainer)
- a fantasy portrait of the BEN RUSSELL mascot (Jessie Mott)
- an abstraction of the fantasy portrait of the BEN RUSSELL mascot (Aline Cautis)
- an audio portrait of BEN RUSSELL-as-space (David Moré)
- a collaborative portrait of the BEN RUSSELL-audience-as-psychic-phenomena (Tyler B. Myers)
- a curated and Sun Ra-themed 80:00 program of films/videos in response to a year’s worth of un-curated program of 8 films/videos at BEN RUSSELL organized by a future BEN RUSSELL resident (A.L.K.)
And so on, and so forth. We are meta-, we are beginning, and dammit if we aren’t as serious as death which is, coincidentally, the start and end of us all. This is UR-BENRUSSELL. BENRUSSELL – UR begins now.