Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dismantling the Corporate State, and Other Amusements

Works by Anne Elizabeth Moore
June 19 – August 22, 2009

Dismantling the Corporate State, and Other Amusements is an exhibition of nine experimental works and activist projects of Anne Elizabeth Moore at Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book & Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd floor. One of the projects, Pie Off, will be presented at the opening reception on June 19 from 6-9pm. Another will be The Anne Elizabeth Moore Award for Excellence in Awesomeness which will occur at the closing event, Friday, August 21 at 6:30pm.

A staunch critic of consumerism and media activist Moore has been writing, publishing, and interceding in culture since the age of 15. The indomitable author of Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity, founding editor of the Best American Comics series, and former editor of now-defunct Punk Planet has seen her work exhibited in major museums, praised by the business press, and forcibly ejected from retail establishments. Dismantling the Corporate State, and Other Amusements includes a wide range of both personal projects and collaborations, from Chicago to Cambodia. A retrospective of sorts, this exhibition will be the first to present this work in one place.

This exhibition runs from June 19 – August 22, 2009. An artist’s talk with Anne Elizabeth Moore will take place on Friday, August 21 at 6:30 for the exhibition’s closing which will be followed by The Anne Elizabeth Moore Award for Excellence in Awesomeness.


New Girl Law: 2008 (New Girl Law Audio Book is 2009)
New Girl Law is a letter-pressed, hand-bound book created in conjunction with the 32 young Cambodian women leaders in Phnom Penh. Over a two-week period at the Harpswell Foundation Dormitory and Leadership Center for University Women, the group collaborated a revision of the traditional text known as Girl Law which circumscribes proper roles for women in Cambodian culture. This version calls for basic human rights, gender equity, the eradication of corruption, and funding for cultural production. It is a re-envisioning of a potential future for the country. Co-written in Phnom Penh, and printed at AS220's Community Print Shop in Providence, Rhode Island, New Girl Law has been the subject of several international discussions of women's position in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including two among groups of economically disadvantaged creative young women in Providence and San Antonio.

Anne Zine
Produced between late 1993 and 2004, AnneZine was a quarterly publication devoted to the unique needs of people named Anne, Annie, Ann Marie, and the like, and consisted of 47 issues, although 38 of them were fake. Each issue was created in editions of between 12 (issue #1) and 300, with multiple reprints.

The Catalog of This Exhibition
The Catalog envisions an exhibition devoted to uncreated works of art, and attempts to establish a language for talking about potential through four essays that push the boundaries of art past the visual, past the experiential, and past the conceptual into the inconceivable and impossible. It is a piece of writing that exists mainly online, but was set into a hand-bound book with coffee-stained paper for physical exhibition. It exists in a physical edition of only one. (2007)

Radical Education Roadshow: How to Make This Very Zine
Radical Education Roadshow provides do-it-yourself instructions on how to make a zine in several languages. From 2004-2009, Anne Elizabeth Moore travelled the country making zines with young people using this tool, and this is a selection of their amazing, hilarious works.

From January to February 2009, the Unlympics were a series of competitive events that engaged Chicago residents in active dialogue about the 2016 Olympic bid. The Unlympics looked at highly organized, internationally recognized, massively marketed, thoroughly branded, and extremely expensive sporting events not from a pro or con standpoint, but from a questioning standpoint. The Unlympics included real sports, fake sports, and things that should be sports but aren’t yet, including Class-Conscious Kickball, Fashion, Karaoke, Live Action Role Play Family Dinner, The Solitary Isolation Game, and Spelling. Indoor and outdoor games were held throughout the city and open to the public. These events were sponsored by organizations with a stake in the 2016 Olympic bid ( Summer Games are being planned now.

The Foundation for Freedom
The mission of the Foundation For Freedom was to bring the best and brightest former ad pros together once a year; inspire young people to leave the craft; focus the industry and public at large on the profoundly negative social and economic impacts of advertising; inspire problem-solving methods focused on the most important issues facing the real world; and shine a light on the influence that advertising, media, and marketing industries have on dwindling public space, atrophying human relationships, and the destruction of democracy. In collaboration with the Anti-Advertising Agency, the FFF created an award for one lucky ad pro, PR exec, or marketing rep dedicated to leaving their life of commercial creativity and onored them with a gala event and giant novelty check during Advertising week in New York City. (2008)

The Anne Elizabeth Moore Award for Excellence in Awesomeness (closing event)
Established in 2005 as an antidote to the several barriers that had been erected to prevent Anne Elizabeth Moore from winning other awards, the Anne Elizabeth Moore Award for Excellence in Awesomeness was created by Kevin Duneman and is juried annually by Anne Elizabeth Moore, who really only ever considers herself in the running for it. A major upset in the awards' history occurred in 2007 when dark horse candidate Sarah Fan appeared seemingly from nowhere to claim victory. The 2008 award goes to Anne Elizabeth Moore in Chicago Illinois, whose achievements had gone unrecognized for several consecutive months except for by her cat, and the occasional conspicuous consumption of pie, which, although delicious, is sometimes just not enough. The 2009 award will be the first to be judged by an open ballot. People besides Anne Elizabeth Moore will be considered for this year's award. This award will be presented at the closing event, Friday, August 21 at 6:30pm.

Operation: Pocket Full of Wishes
Operation: Pocket Full of Wishes was originally a series of eight cards that mimicked the shopping aides found in American Girl Place. The ‘wish’ cards include names, images and prices of items. Anne Elizabeth Moore’s cards bore items like “Domestic Partnership Benefits,” Safe and Effective Birth Control,” and “Free Tampons.” These were distributed inside the store to the doll consumers. Eventually, it became national news—and lead to Anne Elizabeth Moore getting banned from the store. (2004)

Pie Off
Pie Off is an Irregular Semi-Annual Competitive Pie-Baking Competition held in the United States of America, devoted to exploring the boundaries of not only good taste, but also the boundaries of what constitutes competition, how decisions are made in groups, and what the limits of consumption are for even those individuals who claim to love pie more than anything else in the world. Each competition is themed differently and was devoted to the exploration of a different judging rubric, including: popular vote, Survivor-style elimination, panel of experts, celebrity vote, US Election-style, and autocratic. Pie will be provided. Opening Reception: June 19, 2009, 6-9pm.

Anne Elizabeth Moore’s website:
Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book & Paper Arts:
Press Inquiries: Elizabeth Burke-Dain, 312.369.8695 or eburkedain at colum dot edu

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daniel Burnham’s Enduring Vision for the Philippines

Daniel Burnham Exhibit at City Gallery
September 4, 2009 – December 2009

An exhibition of photographs, Daniel Burnham’s Enduring Vision for the Philippines, opens at City Gallery on September 4, 2009. Architectural and landscape photographer Tim Long started this project in 2007 and completed shooting in a month long stay in 2008. The photographs delve into the rift created by the United States ambition to create a democratic state in a vastly distant and different culture.

In 1904 the United States government sent Daniel Burnham, a prominent Chicago architect and city planner, to the Philippine Islands to modernize the capitol city and a second smaller city to be used as the summer capitol. Plans were drawn for Manila and Baguio and building began. And though shifting political and economic interests in the U.S. eventually disrupted the projects, Burnham’s plans continued to exert an influence on architects and city planners, even building codes, well into the 1940s.

The greatest concentration of Burnham’s legacy can still be found in the tumultuous landscape of Metro-Manila, an urban continuum of over 10 million people. Clustered around a large city park designed by Burnham in an old section of the city are several graceful Beaux Arts buildings designed by Burnham protégés. Street systems typical of Burnham’s “City Beautiful” plans used in Washington, DC and Chicago emanate outward from the park to eventually fade into the fabric of a remarkably chaotic urban landscape.

Burnham in the Philippines: The Philippine Republic is generally considered to be an abject failure in terms of their democratic institutions, a notion made vivid by the Marcos era. It struck me then to learn that the U.S. government hired Daniel Burnham in 1905 to draw plans for two cities in the Philippines and though never completed, the plans were partly built and are still standing. I wondered how these buildings and streetscapes would look a hundred plus years later in Metro Manila, a megalopolis of over 11 million. It was easy to imagine a tense interplay between history, our two cultures and the architectural forms that represent them.


WHEN: September 4, 2009 – December 2009

WHERE: Columbia College Chicago’s City Gallery
806 N. Michigan Ave.

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pearl of the Snowlands: Buddhist Printing at the Derge Parkhang

Image: A woodblock cutter meticulously cuts a block for a new publication of the Parkhang. The Derge Parkhang has an excellent reputation for the accuracy of its books based on careful cutting and several stages of proofreading and correction. P. Dowdey © 2009
In an age where the transfer of information is fast becoming digital and paperless, old printing techniques acquire new meaning. The Derge Parkhang is a repository for over 300,000 woodblocks and an active center for publication of sutras, commentaries and histories of Tibetan Traditional Buddhism. It is also home to a significant collection of woodblocks for printing thangka, prayer flags, mandala and other spiritual images. Founded in 1729, this printing temple is the only survivor of the three historic Tibetan printing temples and today produces sets of sutras for believers in Tibet and inner China as well as for international believers and institutions. Experts say that 70 percent of the Tibetan literary heritage is collected in woodblocks at Derge.

Image: The town of Derge with the Derge Parkhang in the center, downtown Derge on the left and the old Tibetan town on the hillsides to the right. Goenchen Temple lies to the far right. Derge town was the administrative seat of the Kings of Derge, independent Tibetan monarchs who traced their line back more than a millennium. P. Dowdey © 2009

The Derge Parkhang is one of the foremost cultural, social, religious, and historical institutions in Tibet. Derge-published sutras are valued for their accuracy, clarity, and for the tradition that they represent. As a Tibetan monk said, “Books from Derge are simply flawless; they represent unquestionable accuracy.”

Derge Parkhang books and prints represent the summit of the Tibetan woodcut tradition. Picture prints are based on the designs of well-known artists and are cut masterfully Monks, lay pilgrims and now tourists all buy prints. They are inexpensive. . Printing at Derge is someplace between the hand work of craft printing and the mass production of commercial printing. The large prints represent an artistic and technical accomplishment rooted in the Buddhist sense of compassion. I asked one of the managers of the Parkhang how he felt when he saw someone leaving with books or a print and he told me, “I feel we have provided a service.”

Image: A woodblock carved with Tibetan text. This block has already been proofed and treated with butter for long wear. It is now ready for regular printing. P. Dowdey © 2009

This exhibition and catalog are part of an innovative project to document the social context for production of Tibetan art, to bring together different perspectives on the Derge Parkhang and its position as a living institution of Tibetan culture. What came out strongly was the local people’s rich sense of participation in the Parkhang. These were Derge people and Derge people had built and equally importantly, had preserved the Parkhang.

Image: A closeup of one of the over 500 picture blocks at the Derge Parkhang which shows the detail and depth of the carving. P. Dowdey © 2009

WHEN: opens September 11, 2009 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book and Paper Arts
1104 S. Wabash, second floor
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday

MORE INFORMATION: Steve Woodall at (312) 369-6636 or

RELATED PROGRAM: Derge Parkhang is one of the many programs in conjunction with Focus: China

Check for updated information closer to September!

Image: The upstairs main printing room at the Derge Parkhang during the lunch break. Ten teams of workers print the Derge edition of the Buddhist sutra here from woodblocks in almost the same way they did in the eighteenth century. P. Dowdey © 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Colleen Plumb on Jen Bekman News

I was really happy to see Colleen Plumb's work being featured on Flavorwire. Colleen is a Columbia College alum and has gone on to have a enviable career as an art photographer. She recently had a show at City Gallery, a photo gallery that Columbia curates. Thanks Jen and thanks Colleen.

Jen Bekman Photographer of the Month: Colleen Plumb
12:51 pm Monday May 11, 2009
by Caroline Stanley

Image credit: Circus by Colleen Plumb

Twice a month, Sara Distin from Jen Bekman Projects, Inc. contributes a post to Flavorwire about an artist or photographer. Jen Bekman Projects, Inc. includes Jen Bekman Gallery, 20×200 and Hey, Hot Shot!.

I haven’t been able to touch bacon since Michael Pollan revealed what happens to pigs and their corkscrew tails on CAFOs. I should have known better and become a vegetarian before I became a foodie, but I didn’t. Now I suffer irrepressible guilt for even craving salty, fatty slivers of swine. Colleen Plumb’s photograph, Pigs, makes me feel even worse.

Her series Animals Are Outside Today brings you this close to animals stuffed, strung, fenced, flying, rotting, leaping, and barely breathing, affirming our perverse relationship to other living things; when animals and humans meet, it’s usually to the detriment of the former. We are mostly oblivious and uncaring to that fact.

It might be because, as Plumb points out, we are disconnected from the natural world in general — isolated in urban environments, stifling instinct with intellectualism. Plumb’s photographs are alternately soft and dreamy, crisp and cold, engaging both the heart and the brain, and mimicking the natural cycle of attachment and detachment we have with our two- and four-legged friends. Funny and tragic, they acknowledge that these encounters are increasingly rare and diluted in spite of best intentions.

Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time looking at Colleen’s work at JBP HQ. She was a Hot Shot last year; and we’ve featured several of her works on 20×200 — her editions have been eagerly collected. Plumb’s works will be on view at Denver’s van Straaten Gallery starting Thursday, May 14. If you’re not in Denver, I have a perfect pairing of Plumb and Whitman for you instead, courtesy of Ms. Jen B.

- Sara Distin

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BLAB Comics Anthology Gets Midwestern

Image: Don Colley, My Burdened Heart, 16"wide x 12" deep, scratchboard drawing on laminated plastic, Originally published in BLAB! 15 (c)2009

Monte Beauchamp's annual darling of the graphic design and illustration world is a spectacular collection of cutting-edge comics, illustration, and graphic design. Blab!'s list of contributors past and present reads like a Who's Who of the contemporary visual art world including Mark Ryden, Chris Ware, Gary Panter, Joe Coleman and many more.

This exhibition will focus on the work of 4 artists from the Midwest who have been featured in the pages of BLAB! Edited by Monte Beauchamp BLAB! is an annual anthology that collects the freshest and most unique in cutting-edge comics, illustration, and graphic design. Its contributors come together from all corners of the contemporary art world to push the boundaries of visual culture. This exhibition will showcase the work of Don Colley, Tom Huck, Teresa James, and Fred Stonehouse who share more than simple geography. Their work taps into a dark narrative, that is both savage and beautiful, to present a magical vision of a gothic Midwest. This exhibition is co-curated by Monte Beauchamp and Anchor Graphics @ Columbia College Chicago. It will be on display in the Averill and Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago.

“Though BLAB!’s scope is international,” writes Bill North, Senior Curator of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, in the exhibition’s catalog essay. “The underpinning of its cornucopian visual feast is resolutely Midwestern. BLAB!, a product of the Midwest, boldly affirms the positive view of Midwestern culture. And, in the face of BLAB!, claims of the region’s cultural inferiority ring hollow.”

Image: Fred Stonehouse, Four Eyes, 12"x12", acrylic and collage on wood panel, To be published in BLAB! 19 (c)2009

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Don Colley, Tom Huck, Teresa James, CJ Pyle, and Fred Stonehouse

WHEN: June 18 – July 22, 2009

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 18, from 5-8pm

Fred Stonehouse Lecture: Wednesday, June 17, 6:30 - 7:30 pm

WHERE: Columbia College Chicago’s Leviton A+D Gallery

619 S. Wabash Avenue

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Thursday 11 am – 8 pm

COST: Free and Open to the Public


INFO: Gallery Coordinator, 312.369.8686

Press Inquiries, 312.369.8695