Beautiful Friend, this is the end! My Only Friend, the end! Of our elaborate plans, the end! After approximately 778 days, 72 artists, and 12 group exhibitions of the most contemporary of the contemporary arts, BEN RUSSELL offers you a misty-eyed finale to what has undoubtedly been the greatest curatorial collaboration this city may have ever known. What with our lease expiring at the end of July and one of our directors leaving Chicago indefinitely for Parts Unknown, BEN RUSSELL : US will be our 13th and final show. And so: in pre-memorium and now-celebration of the hyper-intellectual pseudo-aesthetic alliance betwixt Brandon Alvendia (aka Chicago’s Best Artist) and Ben Russell (aka Chicago’s Best Local Filmmaker) and ummm You (Chicago’s Best Audience), the umpteen artists participating in BEN RUSSELL : US represent a veritable smörgåsbord of artistic alliances as drawn across fraternal, familial, romantic, pedagogical, and altruistic lines. Hand-picked for their collective sensibilities and their beguiling confidence in the generative power of directed camaraderie, these are artists that work together because they live/work/love together – they are US, plain and simple.
Inasmuch as US is “we” and “we” is BEN RUSSELL, we will exit as we entered, 25 months prior: A Lazy Sunday Opening, With Grilled Meats and Un-Meats, Libations and Fireworks and Goodwill Aplenty. A week shy of Independence Day, we will send bottle rockets to the sky while interrogating the monumental semiotics of national identification (OKÓN); we will hold hands and dive into the virtual summertime sea, hunting electric crabs and manatee-smiles (TM SISTERS). We will consume live Ham Dances (POOPER & PIZZA DOG) and roast the last marshmallows and bask in the illuminating/illuminated minimalist monolith to the challenges of communication (HIDEOUS BEAST) as our psychic hearts and Six Degrees of Separation to Everyone Everywhere are mapped out in chalk dust and memory (CO-PROSPERITY SCHOOL). From Miami to Mexico City, Bridgeport to Pilsen, and Inner to Outer Space, BEN RUSSELL : US is the US in your USA, the WE in your WE THE PEOPLE, the NOSOTROS in your NOS(O)TR(O)ADAMUS. BEN RUSSELL : US is Goodbye to our Past and Hello to our bright uncertain Future.