Chicago Weekly, May 26, 2011
Review: While All Such Things
By Jason Foumberg
Newcity, May 12, 2011
Appropriately sited next to
Pilsen’s Salvation Army store, a group of outdoor sculptures composed
of found objects took shape under the moniker “While All Such Things
End,” or WASTE. Some colored strips of rag were tied to chain-link.
A yard of fabric with an ambiguous, body-sized shape cutout lay on the dirt.
These discards were selected by Kyle Schlie for their formal potential, as
found geometries and abstractions. It is likely that these impromptu sculptures
no longer exist today, just days after their assembly, for many were propped
in an active and muddy driveway and on the outside wall of a small warehouse.
As far as Scatter Art goes, it was great to finally not see it in a gallery
setting. Instead, these pieces retained the urgency of the city. The WASTE
sculptures were born of the city’s excretions and returned to it, one
and the same with the rattling elevated train, the decrepit brick wall, the
Latina transsexual with exaggerated makeup passing on Western Avenue. In essence,
these sculptures were successful as experiential, rather than contemplative,
like past great street sculptures by Cody Hudson and Juan Angel Chavez. The
effect is altogether different than tagging or murals. The unexpected objects
on the street were clearly constructed with the combined senses of active
curiosity and aesthetic imagination.
“While All Such Things End” was located at 2014 South Western.
Waste Not: A transitory gallery makes art, not trash
By Rachel Miller
Chicago Weekly, May 26, 2011
Steps from a busy Pink Line
stop in Pilsen, it is difficult to differentiate between discarded gallery
opening flyers, crumpled McDonalds wrappers, and plastic bags floating above
the sidewalk. This collection of litter, however, is not exactly trash. Each
apparent piece of junk is part of While All Such Things End, the first exhibit
in the WASTE series of “transitory” galleries.
This gallery sits in an alleyway between an abandoned building and an open lot filled with broken down cars. It is cut off from the busy street by a brick wall, but trash from the sidewalk still finds its way to the long walk between the entrance of the alley and the gallery itself. The broken Fisher-Price farmhouse lying near the mouth of the alleyway could be part of the gallery, but might just be an abandoned toy—safer to step over it, just in case.
Three sheets of plywood lean against the wall of the abandoned building like canvases hung on a wall. One is decorated with painted bits of wood. A grimy Furby doll and a television remote are affixed to another, and the bed of a car seat leans against the third. A piece of chain-link fence is attached to a boarded up window with strips of bright fabric. The design colorfully mimics the shattered glass of the broken windows stories above the exhibit. Palm-sized blue semicircles cut from two-by-fours are arranged along window ledges, pointing up at the vast blue and grey ceiling created by the Pink Line train tracks and sky. Meanwhile, colorful bits of wood are crammed into the spaces between bricks.
The curators of WASTE, artist Kyle and Shannon Schlie, explain that all the materials for the exhibit were found on-site, most from a large dumpster that sits in the center of the gallery space. “We didn’t use any tools,” Kyle Schlie says. “We just came to it, used our hands, and arranged it.”
The process of installing this first gallery started about a week before the opening on May 6. Kyle liked the idea of a gallery set up in a “forgotten, off-the-map, marginal space.” Making and showcasing art in a space like the alleyway cuts out the financing needed for a typical art show, and is a subtle way of calling attention to the space, pointing out the beauty of what’s already there.
He and Shannon don’t spend time analyzing the materials or their arrangement before they begin assembling what they found in the dumpster. This explains why it’s hard to tell if the pop bottles littering the ground are part of the exhibit or overflow from the dumpster, which is still half-full of trash. Other pieces—like a notebook tacked to a boarded up window containing notes about Pangaea—seem to be in dialogue with the idea of making the alleyway into a coherent whole. Or perhaps it’s an indictment of modern art.
“Every show can be different,” Schlie says. The pair wants the gallery to become a community space, something that people will stumble upon accidentally or find by looking for it. Schlie wanted WASTE to attract people who “aren’t interested in going to a gallery.”
While All Such Things End is also vulnerable to external involvement—a graffiti tag added on by a fellow artist, for example. The pieces might even be mistaken for actual waste and removed or rearranged by the people who stumble upon the gallery. The artists themselves will come back and rearrange the space from time to time, but they’re not planning on ever uninstalling the work. In fact, they hope that those who do find their way to the exhibit will interact with what they’ve already arranged, either deconstructing it or building on what’s there. “We’re interested in what happens to it when we let it go,” Schlie says. The men who have been working in the building have already moved pieces of the exhibit around, even before the space was formally opened last Friday.
As future WASTE galleries make their way across the South Side, transforming alleyways and vacant lots, the quiet conversation between trash and treasure in these spaces will become art, as loud as the roar of the train over this first gallery. These future galleries will have no set location. Go find them.