Feb 5th 2011



1716 S Morgan St, 2F, Chicago, IL 60608

Opening Saturday, February 5th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, March 12th

Gesundheit! It seems that you’ve still got the sniffles, Friend, and what with the winter of our discontent snowing down upon us again and again and again, it’s clear that you need something more than a box of Kleenex to lift your spirits. And so, without further ado, we’re taking the “BLESS” out of “God BLESS you” and putting it back into BEN RUSSELL. In preparation for such an historic event, we had an Orthodox priest sprinkle holy water in the screening room, got some German Pagans to mark the snow in the sculpture garden with goat’s blood, asked our Jewish ex-girlfriend to recite prayers while lighting the Shabbat candles in the exhibition space, and took part in a gang initiation rite in the kitchen where we were punched really hard in the forehead.

After all, art is BLESSing (which, coincidentally, is also the term for a group of unicorns)—art is brightness, art is hope, art is buoyancy of spirit in the Newest Year. In the year of our (land)lord 2011, we’ve assembled an array of minor altars upon which to worship and be worshiped—we’ve erected a selfless monument by which to orient ourselves in the darkness, a beacon of positive communication (Dayton Castleman) with which we can broadcast our message to the world. BEN RUSSELL : BLESS is self-realization through rigor and ritual, it is a document of time-in-space, re-spaced (Derek Chan); it is sage incense and Cherokee flatbread and self-taught customs derived from a disappearing culture (Sandy Kay Allen); it is an inquiry into Painting and Form and the very real possibilities of a center that has expanded outward from itself (Judy Ledgerwood). Last but certainly not least, BEN RUSSELL : BLESS is a video-shout-in-triplicate, a protest against social and spiritual conservatism, a conversation that we simply cannot allow to become familiar (David Wojnarowicz).

We are BLESS, we are future, we are now—take our hands and join us, let the light of Art shine upon us all.

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