Tag Archives: studiolab

StudioLab’s New Home

StudioLab has relocated to its new home at the Flatiron Arts Building at 1579 N. Milwaukee, Chicago 60622. We are in Space 220 on the second floor and are currently in the process of setting up shop, organizing the space, and accepting proposals for shows in 2016.

Stay tuned for news from StudioLab, but in the meantime, submit your proposals by email to jwallace242@gmail.com or by regular mail to:

Joe Wallace/StudioLab @1579 N. Milwaukee Box 220, Chicago Illinois 60622

We are accepting proposals for edgy, dark, darkly humorous and underappreciated work in a variety of mediums including video, photography, painting, zines and ephemeral media. Other types are also reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Do get in touch with your ideas, we’d love to know what you’re working on.

–Joe Wallace


StudioLab Is Moving

StudioLab moves to Flatiron Arts Building ChicagoYou’re looking at the new, much larger StudioLab, which is in the process of moving from the Bridgeport Arts Center to the Flatiron Arts Building in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

StudioLab set up shop in Bridgeport in February 2014 and did many shows there, including Scary And Sexy Vinyl, Meow Mix, Adult Landscapes, and Jessica Barnett DeCuir’s Remix record cover collage art show. We did several performances in the space including Paisley Babylon, Binary Partners, and a reading/live recording of Things I Wrote While Drinking.

But it was time to move on when it became known that there was a space in the Flatiron Building available–StudioLab nearly set up shop there in February, but due to circumstances at the time it wasn’t possible.

Now the transition is on and things are getting ramped up for our occupancy of the new, larger space. Stay tuned for information about upcoming shows and events.

Greece, The Debt Crisis, And The Arts

Greek Debt Crisis and the ArtsIt can be tough as an American, not currently IN Greece, to research the debt crisis in Greece as it relates to how artists and galleries might be affected. At least not without running into a lot of distracting side conversations, blogs, and articles about less important issues like, “Will the Greek Debt Crisis Ruin My Vacation?”

That’s all well and good for those planning a trip overseas, but since I am interested in how this continuing economic disaster is directly affecting the arts in Greece, such distractions are more than a little annoying.

One article published by the Huffington Post talks directly about the situation in Greece as it relates to the arts, but I find the tone for some of this piece–at first glance–is likely somewhat removed from reality. At least until you read past the declarations that seem to imply that Greece is turning into the New York art scene of the 1980s.

“It’s a curious thing, but amid a stunning unemployment rate (26 percent), unsustainable debt (almost twice the gross domestic product) and the threat of more austerity, Greece’s capital city is flourishing in one way: as a mecca for artists.” That’s according to Ozy writer Laura Palet’s piece for HuffPo titled, This Part Of Greece’s Capital Is Flourishing Amid Austerity, which also adds:

“…And not despite the debt crisis, but because of it. The very downturn that brought Greece to its knees has also made it fertile ground for creativity. Prices are cheap, open spaces are plentiful and social tensions are sending artists into rapture.”

I’m not sure how rapturous those artists are feeling in the face of closed banks, the possibility that the IMF could intercept and deny wire transferred funds to people in Greece, or the potential lack of groceries and essential services in the coming weeks or months. But the article does go on to point out that the economic realities in Greece are forcing galleries and artists alike to rethink ways of doing business.

Not surprising, given blog posts like the one at Freestylee.net, the home of Artists Without Borders, which features one article that reports:

“In a nation where joblessness is now more than 20 percent, with no family untouched by it, the sight of people sleeping on pavements and park benches, in metro stations and shopping arcades, doorways and cars, is the most visible sign yet of an economy in freefall. More than 10,000 people have been decanted on to the streets of Athens, home to the vast majority of Greece’s 11 million population. The government has just announced emergency aid for the destitute and the Greek Orthodox Church has revealed it is feeding 250,000 people a day.”

Here’s the surprise about the quote above. It was reported roughly FIVE YEARS AGO. As many know, (or at least I hope they know) Greek economic problems are not new, despite the way the headlines lead us to think about the current crisis. So it begs the question–if things were tough before all this, how bad are they NOW?

I am having a difficult time finding stories of individual artists, gallery owners, and art patrons who are affected by these issues. So I set out to find some of their stories myself. I am searching for interviewees who can tell me their stories or stories of people they know who are in the arts, or supporters of the arts, and are directly affected by the current levels of austerity and crisis in Greece.

If you know someone who fits the above description, or if you yourself are affected, do get in touch. I would love to tell your story and offer a more up-close view of the Greek debt crisis than we’re getting here in America with CNN and the other news services.

Contact me: jwallace@thestudiolab.net

–Joe Wallace

New StudioLab Installation Show In Progress: Adult Landscapes by Joe Wallace

Retro Oddities10An installation art project I started working on two months ago has been steadily mutating, and it’s really taken on a life of its own. I began collecting horrid old vintage men’s magazines from obscure publishers active in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and rephotographing them to create more abstract work out of the originally lurid and sometimes clinical images of men and women pretending to have sex for the camera.

The project took on a strange direction when I found my lens gravitating to the words and images that were the least enjoyable, the least evolved in terms of modern attitudes about sexuality and how men and women relate to one another; the most crass and vulgar the text, the more relevant it seemed to be in the collection of images I was growing.

It took me a long time to decipher what this growing collection of abstractions was telling me; as I worked with the images I discovered a glaring contradiction. One one hand you have the attitudes toward the women involved in the creation of the original images  and the fact that those women are in fact the backbone of the work–the lurid men’s magazines with their sexist–and occasionally possibly criminal–language (an ad for “knockout pills” was particularly troubling) could not exist if not for the participation of the models.

All at once, these mags showcase their models, while seeming to disdain or at the very least, take for granted, their participation at the same time.

I found that selective re-photographing and re-interpretation of the original work has actually in some cases increased their potential as actual erotic material. Cropping out clinical attention to specific body parts in favor of more suggestive arrangements seemed to enhance the originals, but the power of these re-interpreted images as more abstract impressions of this world are the real goal of the work.

Vintage men’s publications are time capsules that can be studied for clues about where American society has been and where it might be going. They have much to teach us once you get past the content and visual approach.

The show is called Adult Landscapes and I’m currently processing and curating the images I’ve been working with. Once the installation has been finalized I’ll announce show dates and more details.

The video below was one of my early first steps toward this work–I originally had a less focused idea in mind to showcase retro odditites on vinyl and in print, but as I continue to shoot photos in this series, the adult men’s magazine aspect has taken over. Not surprising since this subject matter raises so many questions and creates plenty of opportunity for dialog about the culture of these publications, but also Fair Use, appropriation, and repurposed work.

–Joe Wallace