The Bike Room is proud to present Caps for Sale … works from the multifaceted practices of Dan Devening, Michelle Grabner, Karsten Lund, Adelheid Mers, Matt Morris and Edra Soto. It is a delight to convene these artist-curators, whose activities figure largely on Chicago’s cultural landscape, into The Bike Room’s focused quarters.
As an art-viewing public, we are accustomed to expanded practices. As such, we forget the role that boundary- bleeding once played in redefining established hierarchies. Generosity is paramount to this approach. Dan Devening’s compositions construct spatial complexities from layers of texture and color. Formal organization extends from studio to venue in Devening Projects + Editions, which also publishes limited edition prints. Inside Michelle Grabner’s studio, patterns of quotidian life unfold on abstract planes. Outside its doors her pioneering curatorial projects, The Suburban and The Great Poor Farm Experiment, share the particulars of domesticity – barbeque, home and family – with a far-reaching community. She is the prototypical artist-supporting-artists.
Generations flip and shuffle rapidly in Chicago, where active studio artists also teach, administrate, critique, curate and publish one another – the ground is fertile for cross-pollination. Matt Morris, inspired by the Grabner model for maker-curator-writer, begins here. In a gesture of abundance, he curates others’ works into his own intimate structures and tableaux. Adelheid Mers’ diagrams arrange and chart, in full color, the spectrum of networks and players on changing cultural fields. They are the visual index of this show’s premise.
Karsten Lund amasses images torn from Life Magazines, circa 1968-72. Unlike collages, these are photographs
of photographs, airily arranged – light enough to blow away. They are un-nostalgic glimpses – poetic codes – for the viewer to decipher. Co-founder of The Franklin, Edra Soto’s bounty extends from towering pineapple cakes to incisive curatorial undertakings. Her studio practice, like her masklike portraits, is dualistic. The symmetry of Soto’s elegant renderings contradicts the effusive, looping laughter that is engraved in her vinyl recording, Excess of Joy.