Jun 28th 2019

Alternative Space: a simulated art fair

@ Heaven Gallery

1550 N Milwaukee Ave, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, June 28th, from 7PM - 11PM

On view through Sunday, July 28th

Participating Galleries and Curators:
ADDS DONNA, AMFM, Apparatus, Baby Blue, The Franklin, Heaven Gallery, LVL3, Oscar Gonzalez Diaz, Slow, Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago

As Heaven Gallery fights to keep space, we’ve asked ourselves: what better way to show the power of Chicago artists than to throw a last minute art fair to celebrate Chicago’s long tradition of alternative spaces? From apartment galleries to artists collectives, our city has always found creative ways to show outsider art. Slow, The Franklin, LVL3, AMFM, Apparatus, Baby Blue, Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago, Heaven Gallery, ADDS DONNA and curator Oscar Gonzalez Diaz come together for a show that treads the line of art fair and exhibition. They represent alternative inclusive space for women, LGBTQ, ALANA (African American, Latinx, Asian, Native American) artists.

Alternative Space is named after the book Alternative Spaces written by art historian and MCA Curator Lynne Warren in 1984. Warren defines alternative space as “a nonprofit or noncommercial organization originated by and for artists (and assuring them a primary role in policy development and programming) that primarily shows Chicago-area artist and has had a fixed location, and operated on a continuous basis.” Warren points to the history of alternative spaces that began with Exhibition Momentum, a series of large exhibition from 1948–1964 organized by SAIC students who were not permitted to enter the prestigious, annual Chicago and vicinity shows at the Art Institute. It was here that Warren says a number of true alternative spaces and artist groups got their impetus.

Heaven aims to begin a conversation about the importance of showing outsider art and being a hub for inclusion, while addressing predatory theories of gentrification which indicate that capital follows culture and identifies artists as the main agents for gentrifying working-class neighborhoods. In 2016, Heaven Gallery and curator Claire Molek organized a similar art fair with DIY galleries and curators titled Everything Must Go! The art fair reflected the loss of authenticity with the displacement of artists and galleries due to real estate speculators. Today as our city addresses systemic inequities, we must revisit new ideas of what alternative space represents for Chicago artists. As we celebrate Pride in Chicago, Alternative Space provides a platform to celebrate artists and spaces who take pride in being different with no apologies.

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