Mar 17th 2023

Geissler & Sann: I Love America and America Loves Me

@ Epiphany Center for the Arts

201 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Friday, March 17th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, April 29th

Geissler & Sann
I Love America and America Loves Me
Slemmons Gallery

March 17, 2023 to April 29, 2023

The title I Love America and America Loves Me is borrowed from German Artist Joseph Beuys’ famous 1974 performance in New York, but decisively altered. It’s the change from the word “like” to “love” which carries the sociopolitical differences between the two countries, their mentalities and Beuys’ German sensibility.

On January 9, 1974, Joseph Beuys, together with Klaus Staeck and Gerhard Steidl, traveled for the first time to America. This trip was a carefully planned performance that took place in airplanes, taxis, hotels, universities, and galleries, and was comprehensively documented in photographs and video. The tour began with a lecture at New York’s New School, visited by artists including Claes Oldenburg, Lil Picard, and Al Hansen; the next stop was Chicago, the site of an unexpected performance reenacting the death of John Dillinger.

On July 22, 1934, local and federal law-enforcement officers closed in on the Biograph Theater. When Bureau of Investigation agents moved to arrest Dillinger as he exited the theater, he tried to flee. He was shot in the back; the deadly shot was ruled justifiable homicide.

Beuys’ “Actions” are the quintessence of his teachings, having an almost ritual character. Extended time and constant repetition lend them the character of existential Passion plays grounded in his conviction that negative energy can be transformed into positive energy, at any point in time. This work in this exhibition is inspired by these actions, revisiting the site of John Dillinger’s death and Bueys’ performance.

I Love America and America Loves Me is part of an ongoing series of photography exhibitions in Slemmons Gallery in which contemporary photographers use antique cameras from the Rod Slemmons Camera Archive to create new bodies of work. This series is offered in partnership with The Chicago Cluster Project.

RSVP for the opening reception on Friday, March 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the link below:

For more information or to schedule a viewing appointment, please email

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