Practical Revolutions: WORK
by Sabina Ott

Artists Burtonwood & Holmes, Miguel Cortez, Joan Giroux, Myra Greene, Anni Holm, Friedhard Kiekeben, localStyle (Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim), and Tracy Taylor don’t privilege one practice over others that they engage in, instead, they approach all their activities as an interlocking set of art practices. These artists work across a range of platforms including sound and installation, object and video making, curation and criticism. They explore social activism and identity formation, embodying a connectivist approach toward art that is non hierarchical and fluid. Over time, the art object in and of itself becomes one of a range of practices. In this new paradigm, the network, not only the making is privileged. At the heart of such relational art is a devotion to expanding what artists do and what artists can do in the social realm, a practical revolution to be sure. Displacing the solo artist, the collective, as well as the collaborative team is one of the ways these artists seek replace traditional means of exchange between maker and viewer. Many of these artists also take the role of curator and producer, further extending the reach of their production.

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Chicago artist Miguel Cortez also embraces a fluid relationship between various roles as artist (the situationist kind), curator, and founding member of the art collective Polvo. Polvo began in 1996 and opened an exhibition space (2003-2007) in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Cortez has just started antena, a new project space dedicated to new media and installation projects on a local and global scale. Cortez’s art in all of its manifestations radically revises the role of the artist from solo practitioner to viral warrior. Some form of networking produces most of Cortez’s work –literally. His works are interactive- often made by
participants downloading stickers from the web and placing them in the urban landscape, thus de-centering the process of artistic production. “Recycle Your Ideas” is an ongoing project, in which the artist places decals at various locations, then photographs the site, draws or paints it and then generates an animation to be viewed online. Each incarnation influences the next one, and each piece is simultaneously independent and connected. His recent exhibitions include the Krannert Museum, Champaign, IL; the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago; VU Space in Melbourne, Australia. and at Mighty Fine Arts Gallery in Dallas.

See Miguel Cortez’s “Recycle Your Ideas” project here: http://recycle-ideas.blogspot.com/
Purchase PROMT from the Chicago Artist’s Coalition web site: http://www.caconline.org/default.asp?page=Prompt_Main
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