Dec 10th 2017


@ The Back Room at Kim's Corner Food

1371 W Estes Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Opening Sunday, December 10th, from 2PM - 5PM

On view through Sunday, February 18th

In Semipermeable rooms for working on a nurturance culture, I hold space between public and private, giving and receiving, in five rooms formed by venetian blinds and the stalls of the back room. The blinds give shape to hole-y bodies that shift between positions of helping, needing, lifting, falling, pulling, and levitating. What would a real culture of nurturance look like? What does it look like to push nurturance to the front of anticapitalist dreaming? The rooms are spaces for tending to these questions. Within the rooms, tactile objects and selected works by Thomas Kong stimulate the process.

Bottom’s End is a landscape where my desires and my fears crash against each other in slick black waves.

Yes, yellow is still my favorite color, even though there’s this permanent haze now, no boundary between day and night, and we can’t differentiate between yellow and black. I had to confront the apocalyptic visions that have been disrupting my sleep lately. What would be ahistoric, irrational by day erodes me in the night.

Nurturance demands dirty work, in how we hold other people’s bodies and emotions, and in the work we need to do on ourselves to get there. I look to sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild for her feminist analysis of affect, labor, and nurturance under capitalism. Anthropologist Mary Douglas elucidates the dangerousness of conceptual pollution, permeability between categories, and the interstitial spaces that show boundaries to be less firm than we imagined them to be. SLIT WAVE SHEATH HEARTH stands for holeness > wholeness. I ask that we rewrite what nurturance means, who is expected to provide it, who is allowed to receive it, and at what cost it is given and taken. I want a public infrastucture of nurturance, against the interests of capital. I want nurturance that straddles boundaries, that interweaves our porous bodies, that reimagines kinship. I’ve asked Fionnuala Cook, Ruby T, Marnie Galloway, Sara Heymann, and Nance Klehm to be a part of this space because the ferocity of their tenderness for their neighborhoods, children, communities—for strangers—for me—makes a nurturance culture feel possible.

—Robin Hustle, 2017


Robin Hustle with Thomas Kong
December 10, 2017 – February 18, 2018

OPENING Sunday December 10, 2–5PM
w/ Readings & Performances at 3PM
featuring Fionnuala Cook, Marnie Galloway, Sara Heymann, Nance Klehm & Ruby T

The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food
1371 W Estes Ave, Chicago, IL 60626


The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food is an experimental project space and repository for thousands of collage and assemblage works made by artist Thomas Kong over the past decade. Housed in an adapted storage room behind the convenience store Kong manages in Rogers Park, The Back Room began as a collaboration between Kong and artist Dan Miller in 2015, with ongoing assistance from Nathan Abhalter Smith.

Since October 2015 The Back Room has invited artists and thinkers whose practices intersect with Kong’s in various ways to produce a series of public exhibitions, events and performances in the space. These projects each proceed from a horizontal engagement with Kong’s unique art practice and working context, and are intended to develop conversations around the art field’s relationship to production, visibility, history, hierarchy and value.

Visitors to The Back Room are also welcome to view work in the archive at their leisure. The room contains a fold-out table, two chairs, and a ladder for this purpose.


The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food is open to visitors from 8am–8pm daily at 1371 W Estes Ave, Chicago, IL, 60626.

Email for an appointment, or visit Kim’s Corner Food and speak to Thomas.

More information on The Back Room:

Visit Thomas Kong’s website:



Please note that The Back Room is not wheelchair accessible

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