Friday, August 21, 2009

brought to you by colin matthes,
performed at the harold residency

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


found the above while working toward a show at andrew rafacz gallery, opens oct 31st, tentatively called 'Orion over Baghdad'

click on image to read small type...

Friday, August 14, 2009

from studs terkel interview


Mamie Mobley

A retired Chicago public school teacher. In 1955 her fourteen-year-old son, Emmett Till, was killed while visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was her only child. Two white men, Roy Bryant and J. W. "Big" Milam, were accused of the murder. Though the evidence against them was overwhelming, they were acquitted by an all-white jury. The case had international repercussions and is still considered a significant prelude to the civil-rights movement. This conversation took place in September of 2000, forty-five years later.

"Emmett just barely got on that train to Mississippi. We could hear the whistle blowing. As he was running up the steps, I said, 'Bo,'—that's what I called him—'you didn't kiss me. How do I know I'll ever see you again?' He turned around and said, 'Oh, Mama.' Gently scolding me. He ran down those steps and gave me a kiss. As he turned to go up the steps again, he pulled his watch off and said, 'Take this, I won't need it.' I said, 'What about your ring?' He was wearing his father's ring for the first time. He said, 'I'm going to show this to my friends.' That's how we were able to identify him, by that ring. I think it was a Mason's ring.

"I got four letters from him in a week's time. My aunt in Mississippi wrote me a long letter in praise of him. How he helped her in her kitchen, with the washing machine, preparing the meals. The way he did things at home. He'd say, 'Mama, if you can go out and make the money, I can take care of the house.' He cleaned, he shopped for groceries, he washed. Do you remember when Tide came out? It was in 1953, two years before he went to Mississippi. He told me about the advertisement: 'Tide's in, dirt's out.' All the neighbors knew him.

"I didn't know what happened to him until the following Sunday.

"I'm a seventy-eight-year-old woman. I have lived all my life being brought up in the church. I feel that I'm a very strong woman. When I lost my son, that's when I found out that I really had two feet and I had to stand on my own feet. I had to stand and be a woman.

"There was nobody around who could really help me. Everybody was so in tears. I had to calm them down. They couldn't help me if they were going to be hollering and screaming. So I found out, in 1955, that I was very capable of getting the job done, even though I couldn't see for the tears.

"I was able to get it done.

"The spirit spoke to me and said, 'Go to school and be a teacher. I have taken one, but I shall give you thousands.' I have to identify that as a spirit being bigger than I am. I was the only one hearing that voice.

"I had ordered Emmett's body brought back to Chicago. It was in three boxes. He was in a box that was in a box that was in a box. Each had the Mississippi seal and a padlock on it. It was the biggest box I'd ever seen in my life.

"I said to the undertaker, 'Give me a hammer. I'm gonna break that seal. I'm gonna go into that box. I don't know what I'm burying. It could be a box full of rocks. It could be cement. It could be dirt. I've got to verify it is my son in that box.'

"They had laid him out on the cooling board. His body was still in the body bag. [She has difficulty, weeps. A long pause.] The undertaker unzipped the bag. And that's when I saw all that lime. They hosed him down. And, oh, my God, I knew what that odor was by then. It was not the lime. That was my son I was smelling.

"I glanced at his head and it was such a mess up there, I just had to turn away. I started at his feet. I knew certain characteristics about him. I knew how his knees looked. I knew how his ankles and feet looked. I made my trip from his feet up to his midsection, identifying what I could.

"And then I saw this long tongue hanging out of his mouth. What on earth? They were looking for me to fall out, and I told them, 'Turn me loose. I've got a job to do.' I said, 'I can't faint now.' I began a real minute examination. I looked at his teeth, and there were only about four of them left. He had such beautiful teeth. I moved on up to the nose. And it looked like somebody had taken a meat cleaver and had just chopped the bridge of his nose. Pieces had fallen out. When I went to look at his eyes, this one was lying on his cheek. But I saw the color of it. I said, 'That's my son's eye.' I looked over at the other and it was as if somebody had taken a nut picker and just picked it out. There was no eye. I went to examine his ears. If you'll notice, my ears are detached from my face and they kind of curl on the end. And his did too. There was no ear. It was gone. I was looking up the side of his face and I could see daylight on the other side. I said, 'Oh, my God.' The tears were falling and I was brushing tears away because I had to see.

"Later, I was reading the Scriptures. And it told how Jesus had been led from judgment hall to judgment hall all night long. How he had been beaten. And so much that no man would ever sustain the horror of his beating. That his face was just in ribbons. And I thought about it and I said, 'Lord, do you mean to tell me that Emmett's beating did not equal the one that was given to Jesus?' And I said, 'My God, what must Jesus have suffered?'

"And then I thought about some of the pictures we see, where he had this neat little crown of thorns and you see a few rivulets of blood coming down. But his face is intact. And according to Scriptures, that is not true. His visage was scarred more than any other man's had ever been or will be.

"And that's when I really was able to assess what Jesus had given for us, the love he had for us.

"And I saw Emmett and his scars. Lord, I saw the stigmata of Jesus. The spirit spoke to me plainly as I'm talking to you now. Jesus had come and died that we might have a right to eternal life or eternal hell or damnation. Emmett had died that men might have freedom here on earth. That we might have a right to life.

"That was my darkest moment, when I realized that that huge box had the remains of my son. I sent a very lovable boy on a vacation. Emmett, who knew everybody in the neighborhood. They'd call him whenever they wanted something done. 'Mom, I gotta go help Mrs. Bailey.' He was the block's messenger boy.

"What might have been? He's never far from my mind. If Jesus Christ died for our sins, Emmett Till bore our prejudices, so ..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

chicago photo happenings this fall/winter

i made a trace of the major photo-happenings this fall/winter in chicago to use for my various class syllabi...let me know if i'm missing anything...or copy and paste for your own use:

Info for photography related lectures at Columbia College for fall 2009:
Thursday, September 24th @ 6:00
Opening Reception at Museum of Contemporary Photography, 5-7 PM
Ferguson Lecture Hall

Thursday, October 15th @ 6:00
Ferguson Lecture Hall

Thursday, November 12th @ 6:00
618 S. Michigan Avenue, 2nd floor

Museum of Contemporary Photogrphy
MP3 II: Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacia Yeapanis
July 17 - September 13, 2009
MP3II is an exhibition and subsequent publication of work by three contemporary photographers (Curtis Mann, Stacia Yeapanis, and John Opera) from the museum’s rotating collection, the Midwest Photographers Project.
Opening Reception: Reversed Images, September 24, 2009
a reception celebrating the opening of Reversed Images: Representations of Shanghai and Its Contemporary Material Culture

Art Institute of Chicago’s Photography Gallery in the new Modern Wing
“On the Scene” – a three person show of jason lazarus, zoe strauss, and wolfgang ploger: September 19th 2009 to January of 2010

Edward Steichen and the Photographic Self-Portrait, Price Auditorium, 9/10, 6-7 p.m

Hyde Park Art Center
Jason Salavon: Spigot
September 20, 2009 - January 17, 2010

Museum of Contemporary Art
Elements of Photography
June 13 - October 4, 2009
Elements of Photography presents photographic and video works from the MCA Collection with a focus on elemental materials of nature: light and water. Also the fundamental elements of traditional photography, the works included in the exhibition foreground the inherent relationship between the photographic process and the natural world. With these elements, artists like Hiroshi Sugimoto, Luisa Lambri, Walead Beshty, and Adam Ekberg create ephemeral works that explore the foundation of the photographic image: the play of light through half opened shutters; haunting seascapes reduced to a gradation of elemental material; and luminous circles of light formed by the interplay of sunlight and the camera's lens. Bringing the natural world to near or complete abstraction, these photographs emphasize their own material composition. At the same time, they invite the viewer to reflect on themes inherent to photographic medium, such as the passage of time and the nature of perception

The Renaissance Society
Allan Sekula
Polonia and Other Fables
September 20 – December 13, 2009
In addition to being outstanding documentary photography in its own right, Sekula's work is also a critique of the genre. Sekula's examination of the theory and practice of photography is as important as his inquiry into labor history and economics. Central to his work is an interest in documentation--as pictorial form, method of recording, narrative device, historical memory, and medium f social engagement. Sekula's work poses the rhetorical questions, "Is it possible to discuss photography as a medium separate from the thing being photographed?"

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Photographer - Robert Heinecken
"Many pictures turn out to be limp translations of the known world instead of vital objects which create an intrinsic world of their own. There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph."
Robert Heinecken


Heinecken's work has always been concerned with the use and impact of the photographic image, earning him the title of "Photographist". The term, used by Arthur Danto to describe an artist whose concerns include photography in art but not necessarily photography as art, is well placed with Heineken's work. In the tradition of the photographist, then, Heinecken has plotted a course of experimental image and object production that has been innovative and influential. Aligned closely with such California conceptual artists as Edward Ruscha and John Baldessari, Heinecken the artist and teacher (he founded the photography department at UCLA and retired from that institution in 1991) has laid the groundwork for a younger generation of artists dedicated to manipulating and exploring photo-based production.
The painter Francis Bacon once remarked, "If I go into a butcher's shop I always think it's surprising I wasn't there instead of the animal."