Feb 14th 2023

ATOM-r: I 💜The Dead 😈 (The Followspot)

@ Gallery 400

400 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Tuesday, February 14th, from 5PM - 6:30PM

On view through Saturday, March 18th


ATOM-r presents a mixed reality love poem for Lawrence Steger, drawing upon his performance cover of an Alice Cooper song in 1997. The work explores thresholds and excesses, conflating the vocabulary of transitions in theatrical production with the choreography of nautical line-crossing ceremonies observed by sailors when crossing the equator.

“’Seduction Nostalgia Intimacy CUT’ ‘You set the scene up, you lead us through the door, into the bar where lust, memory, and desire shape a perfect self that one imagines oneself to be but never really is. But you never quite went all the way, you never let us see you lose control, the eggshell never cracked, we never got to fall off the edge of the mountain, and there we were left in deliberate awe.” — P-Form, #9, VOL. 3, NO 2, Page 7, ANDROGYNOUS


Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery formerly of Goat Island Performance Group co-founded Chicago-based ATOM-r (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality) in 2012. ATOM-r is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st-century embodiment through performance, language, and emerging technologies. Currently, ATOM-r describes a shifting constellation of new and ongoing projects created by Judd Morrissey, Mark Jeffery, and Aviva Avnisan. The body of work is interdisciplinary and evolves through large-scale slowly germinating projects with outputs spanning internet art, augmented reality, site-specific installation, choreographed movement, books, films, and objects. ATOM-r was conceived in response to the historical architecture of early modern anatomical theaters, spaces designed for viewing human dissections and early surgical procedures.

Since their inception in April 2012, ATOM-r has developed three major performances: The Tenders (2021), Kjell Theøry (2017), and The Operature (2014), along with a range of satellite works and departures created by members. ATOM-r has performed worldwide at venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Chisenhale Dance, Zero1 Garage, Eyebeam, and Venuše ve Švehlovce in Prague.

ACCESS INFORMATION: This program is free and CART captioning will be available. For questions and access accommodations, email gallery400engagement@gmail.com.

Reckless Rolodex highlights the lasting, though largely overlooked, influence of Lawrence Steger, described by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most important, and most influential, performance artists in Chicago during the late 1980s and 90s.” Lawrence Steger explored desire and sexuality in performance until his early death in 1999 due to AIDS-related complications. Rather than eulogize the artist’s life, Reckless Rolodex underlines Steger’s legacy through works by contemporary artists responding to his work and research practice. A skilled director, writer and performer, Steger relied on the disciplines of theater and a community of collaborative artists to realize his intricately constructed performances, reflecting his deep knowledge of a wide range of sources, from pop culture and film to the writing of Jean Genet and the Fluxus-style works of Yoko Ono. Mercurial, mordant, stylish, and comical, he presented himself refracted through historical figures such as Ludwig II, the nineteenth-century “Mad King” of Bavaria, or imaginary personas like nocturnal figures that populate cabaret dreams and nightmares.

About the Exhibition

Reckless Rolodex is the first concentrated examination of Steger’s work to date, providing a landmark opportunity to unearth an artistic predecessor too-easily marginalized by his early death. Central to the exhibition is a stage, created by Edie Fake, where commissioned performances will premiere alongside writing by artist and co-curator Matthew Goulish. Over the past eighteen years, Goulish has written a series of lectures and essays in response to Steger’s archive. Some of that writing will appear in printed form or as newly presented lectures in the context of this exhibition. Additional works on view respond to different facets of Steger’s public persona including an exploding, fragmentary cast of a mirror ball by Young Joon Kwak; a set of masks by Max Guy; a site-specific installation by Devin T. Mays; a set of kitchen knives fabricated from graphite by Betsy Odom; and more. As befits Steger’s oeuvre, works on view wield a theatrical quality, crossing mediums and emotional registers to undermine the notion of a static self.


Susan Anderson, Lilli Carré, Edie Fake, Max Guy, Barbra Kasten, Young Joon Kwak, Devin T. Mays, John Neff, Betsy Odom, Derrick Woods-Morrow, and Cherrie Yu. With performances by Atom-r, sky cubacub, Matthew Goulish, Natasha Mijares, and Xina Xurner.


Support for Reckless Rolodex is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency; and the School of Art & Art History, College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, University of Illinois Chicago.


Masks are required to enter.

Gallery 400 is wheelchair accessible with no stairs to enter and an elevator to the gallery.  There are two single use gender neutral restrooms on the same floor as the gallery.  Staff are available to assist with the doors of these bathrooms, as they are heavy.  There are accessible, multi-stall, gendered restrooms available on the higher floors in the building.

All gallery text and image/visual descriptions are available as audio via QR codes. Staff is available to support in identifying QR code placement. Screen reader friendly formats will be available soon.

There is a reflection space located within the gallery. One of the exhibition’s installations is a meditation space with sound. Quiet space is available in the Gallery 400 library, accessible with the assistance of Gallery 400 staff.

Gallery 400 is easily accessible via public transit. The Blue Line CTA stops a 1/2 block from Gallery 400 at the UIC-Halsted station, which has an elevator. The #8 Halsted bus stops three blocks from the Gallery. From the loop the #126 Jackson bus stops at Van Buren and Peoria, across the intersection from Gallery 400.

Parking is available at UIC’s Harrison Street Parking Structure located four blocks from the Gallery at 1100 W Harrison St. From there, travel to the Gallery east on Harrison past Morgan and UIC’s Academic and Residential Complex (ARC) to the CTA bridge over the freeway. Cross the bridge to get to Gallery 400 a 1/2 block north of the bridge.

Image: Young Joon Kwak, Brown Rainbow Eclipse Explosion, 2017. Cast aluminum, welded aluminum rods, resin, glass mirror tiles, acrylic mirrors, epoxy putty, acrylic paint, motor, steel chain and hardware, custom LED light, shadow 31 x 31 x 31 inches (installation dims variable). Image courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Photo: Ruben Diaz.

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