Friday, June 12, 2009

Carrie Gundersdorf: July 7, 2009

Come check out painter Carrie Gundersdorf as she works on-site at the MCA on Tuesday, July 7 from 11 am - 7 pm. Have a chat with the artist, ask questions, be inspired.

Carrie Gundersdorf creates abstract paintings that explore color, spatial tension, and movement. Her works refer to themes in early 20th-century art and utilize images from astronomy. Carrie received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Chris Uphues On-Site: June 2

It was fabulous to have Chris Uphues as our Works In Progress artist for June. Traveling in from Brooklyn, Uphues was able to work on several projects on-site at the MCA. He chatted with visitors and even got to show them several of his finished pieces.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chris Uphues on Tuesday June 2, 2009

We are really excited to have artist Chris Uphues participating in Works In Progress on Tuesday June 2, 2009 from 11am- 7pm. Be sure to stop by and see his work and chat with him about his process throughout the day.

Chris Uphues' paintings and drawings are concerned with a distinct visual vocabulary, embracing pop culture, graffiti, video games, comics, and all things Japanese. His work is included in major art collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. An Illinois native, Uphues received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and now lives and works in Brooklyn.

Check back for Chris' answers to the WIP Blog's questions about his process.

Sara Schnadt on May 5th

Sara Schnadt was our Works in Progress Artist on May 5th and it was great to see all of the books and images that inspire her work, as well as the materials she is working with right now. Nice to have her back and see what she has been up to since her 12x12 show and also think about her work as it relates to themes addressed by the amazing Take Your Time:Olafur Eliasson exhibition which is currently on view at the MCA.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Deb Sokolow on-site

It was great to have Deb Sokolow back for Works In Progress this April. Deb was our very first WIP artist back in October of 2007 and was a very willing participant in our little experimental program when we weren't really sure what would happen if we invited artists to work on-site for a few hours. This time we were able to invite her back to try out the new temporary wall and tables that were built just for Works In Progress.

Deb Sokolow back in 2007

Sara Schnadt

Sara Schnadt will be working on-site at the MCA on Tuesday May 5th from 11am- 7pm.

Sara Schnadt is a performance and installation artist, originally from Scotland. She creates performance installations that use found objects and everyday gestures. Through her work she explores the unifying rituals and values of western cultures, gift giving, mortality; and collective knowledge. Sarah received her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Check out more about Sara at her website:

1. Could you describe an average day in the studio? Do you have any routines?
I don’t spend a large chunk of consecutive time in my studio unless I am in production for a project, so I don’t have a set usual routine. Things that I consider part of my studio practice include research, seeing a lot of art, going to hear artist and other lectures regularly that relate to my work (I fold most of my social time into these activities to get more out of my free time and to have great creative dialogue with friends), sourcing (I spend a lot of quality time at home depot), and testing ideas and construction methods in my studio. The decision-making process for my work happens at any time during my day (on the train, at work, talking to another artist, researching online) and so the time in my studio is usually about refining an idea, making drawings about how to execute it, writing proposals, and straight building/fabricating.

2. What do you collect and how does it inspire you?
I collect vintage post cards, old national geographics, recipe books from different time periods, books about engineering, physics, the philosophy of math, architecture, interesting images on Flickr, diagrams, vintage maps. I love ephemera about the history or ethos of technological progress. This material inspires my work and also often becomes its raw materials.

3. What do you like to listen to/watch while creating?
Pandora (all sorts of music, I like to try new genre combos and test Pandora’s algorithms’ curatorial skills), and if I am doing something super repetitive, a movie (esp. I like to watch Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle -which I own- when I am cranking on building something because of its fabulous uber-can-do women who are also funny). Love that film.

4. What are some of your favorite websites/blogs to visit?
Flickr, a starting place for image sourcing, so helpful, I use it a LOT.
Facebook, for a daily sense of my art community and things going on.
Wikipedia, as a starting place for most of my research, especially when it is outside of my current knowledge base. I also find it super inspiring as a project.
Inventibles, for sourcing and inspiration. An insanely amazing site to help you find new innovative materials.

5. What would you consider to be Chicago’s best kept secret?
The beaches and beautiful lakefront public spaces. Every visitor I have hosted over the years has been surprised and very impressed by these - as well as the city’s urban planning in general.

6. What is your favorite piece in the MCA collection?
Sarah Sze’s installation Proportioned to the Groove (2005), for the architectural use of found materials, especially string. And the spectacular scale, inventiveness, grandness and whimsy of it all.

7. What do you do in your studio when you are procrastinating?
My studio is in my house, so usually that means I fold studio activities in with general house puttering (watering my plants, talking on the phone, tidying – I often like to be doing several things at once). Then after a while I settle down and can focus.

8. Who (living or dead) would you invite to a cocktail party?
Amelia Earhart.

9. Do you keep a sketchbook?
No. I keep a running list of bookmarks and a Google doc of to do’s and ideas though.

10. What's the last great book you read?
Haruki Murakami’s ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’. He is my favorite author. His narrative structures are so ingenious and his books are so curious and beautiful.

11. What do you do when you hit a creative block?
I keep the materials and visual references for the idea sitting out in my studio, move on to something else, get outside inspiration from surfing the internet, going to talks, openings, etc., and just let the idea percolate until it gels. Sometimes this takes several months or longer, sometimes it resolves quickly.

12. If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

I have a dual career, and I am most satisfied when I am working for my own art and also creating infrastructure for other artists in support of their careers (I oversaw design and build for Chicago Artists Resource website, which is also in the planning phase of going national based on my design). This gives me a much broader and richer relationship to the art world than working exclusively on my own art. If I were to do something else altogether I think astrophysics would be my first choice - you know, understanding the universe and all ( : I studied physics in college and it is an ongoing fascination.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deb Sokolow

Deb Sokolow will be working onsite at the MCA on April 7, 2009 from 11 am - 7pm.

Deb Sokolow's elaborate drawings map relationships among various people and places in her apartment complex, neighborhood block, and office, chronicling her feelings about them. Using materials common to office supply closets such as highlighter, pen, correction fluid, pencil, thumbtacks, in addition to found images and other materials, her penetrating observations of human behavior and folly offset the often comical tone of her storytelling. Sokolow received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2004.

To see more of Sokolow's work check out her website:

1. Could you describe an average day in the studio? Do you have any routines?

An average day in the studio involves drinking a pot of tea, eating peanut butter sandwiches, gazing out the studio window at the 8 lines of train track (I'm always hoping to see hobos) and browsing through news headlines on the Internet. If I see anything interesting, especially a story relating to drug lords, politics, or scandal, I bookmark it for future reference. Then I start in on whatever long-term project I'm working on at the time. Right now, I'm working on a commission for the Spertus Museum, but I'm also trying to working on some smaller, unrelated drawings and books.

2. What do you collect and how does it inspire you?

I like to have a lot of mystery and spy novels lying around the studio. Reading them from time to time helps when I'm trying to write in the voice of my paranoid narrator.

3. What do you like to listen to/watch while creating?
I listen to the radio pretty much non-stop; One of my favorite radio shows is "On the Media" on NPR, which often focuses on the political, behind-the-scenes aspects of media coverage. I'm also a big fan of Joe Frank's haunting radio narratives.

4. What are some of your favorite websites/blogs to visit? - a great resource for information on the mafia, haunted places, military leaders, and conspiracy theories. - an amazing online archive of time lines - a website where you can type in any Chicago address to find a list of reported crimes that have recently been committed in that area.

5. What would you consider to be Chicago ’s best kept secret?
During the more temperate months, there are wild flowers and grasses growing along what appears to be an unofficial biking/walking trail next to the 8 lines of train track outside my studio window. These tracks travel through the heart of Chicago. One of these days I'm going to take the trail and see where it goes.

6. What is your favorite piece in the MCA collection?
Aernout Mik's "Refraction" video installation, but I also dig Richard Prince's "Good News, Bad News" screenprint on canvas.

7. What do you do in your studio when you are procrastinating?
I surf the Internet and read about conspiracy theories. My current favorite conspiracy theory is about the New World Order headquarters being located beneath Denver International Airport. The theory claims that several clues placed throughout the airport indicate this, including a creepy, apocalyptic mural in baggage claim. I haven't been to the airport but have seen images of the mural, and it is definitely creepy. I'm planning a trip out there to investigate it further.

8. Who (living or dead) would you invite to a cocktail party?
Ted Koppel and Oliver Stone. I'd like to hear what their different perspectives are on who killed JFK. I'd also ask them advice on what news stories I should be following right now.

9. Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes, several.

10. What's the last great book you read?
"Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press" by Alexander Cockburn (Author), Jeffrey St. Clair

The revelations in this book about the CIA are incredibly disturbing.
11. What do you do when you hit a creative block?
I watch tv. There are some excellent dramas like "The Wire", "Deadwood", "Mad Men" and "Battlestar Galactica" that are rich with ideas about the narrative form.

12. If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
I think about this a lot - If I wasn't an artist, I'd be running a business where people would pay me to go into their homes and play with their cats (no litter scooping would be involved in this endeavor). Either this, or writing for a television drama.