Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Public School, a solo exhibition by BOLT Artist-in-Residence, Jeffrey Grauel.
Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.
--Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, (1970)
Public School brings together two new bodies of artwork by Grauel: hooked rugs, their outmoded-grade-school-subject-matter covered in layer of shag; and, wooden sculptures inspired by a bamboozling childhood visit to a Southern Californian ghost town amusement park. The labor intensive process used to produce one set against the illusion of natural laws defied in the other.
A new essay by J. Nicole Brooks will accompany the exhibition.
At the end of every Calico Mystery Shack tour, guides lead groups in an “oath”:
Guide: Repeat after me: I
Guide: Got taken
Group: Got taken
Guide: That's the whole oath
About the artist
Jeffrey Grauel is a sculptor, curator, and gallery director. His artwork has been presented in parking lots, former mortuaries, museums, corporate lobbies, malls, galleries, abandoned lots, faculty offices, and the windows of Tiffany’s. He co-directs Slow, a Chicago artist-run gallery and curatorial project. Since 2009, Slow has worked with more than 100 artists to present their artwork in over 80 exhibitions. He also runs Loo, a gallery located inside Slow’s bathroom. He earned a BA in Fine Art from California State University, San Bernardino and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
About the Writer
J. Nicole Brooks is an actor, playwright, and director. She is a Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble member. Recent acting credits include Beyond Caring (Lookingglass), Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad (Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre), and Death Tax (Lookingglass). She is author of Fedra: Queen of Haiti a retelling of Jean Racine’s Phedre and Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten about female rebel fighters in Liberia. New works in development include The Incredible Adventures of Yuri Kochiyama (supported by a grant from the National Endowment For the Arts), HeLa (commissioned by Sideshow Theatre Company), and Her Honor Jane Byrne (commissioned by Lookingglass). Directing credits include: Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure (co-directed with Krissy Vanderwarker), Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting, and Black Diamond: The Years The Locusts Have Eaten.