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After Junkspace

After Junkspace

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in partnership with the Chicago Artists Coalition are proud to present the sixth exhibition of their joint Curatorial Fellowship program, After Junksapce curated by Sharmyn Cruz Rivera with works by Julietta Cheung, Kate Conlon, Edie Fake, Fidencio Fi eld-Perez, Danny Floyd, Azadeh Gholizadeh, Kelly Kaczynski, Jeff Prokash, Kevin Stuart, Claudia Weber, and Gwendolyn Zabicki.

Curator's Statement

In 2002, in a special issue on obsolescence, the critical journal October published an essay by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas called “Junkspace.” He coined this term for architecture that favors market demands over human need. It is beholden to neither utility nor concept and is thus in nitely interchangeable. “Junkspace is the residue mankind leaves on the planet,” Koolhaas writes. “Modernization had a rational program: to share the blessings of science, universality. Junkspace is its apotheosis.” It is what is left after the extreme height and exhaustion of Modernism, the advent of a culture so technologically advanced that it can produce architecture faster than it can understand what it means, especially for the working people that hold it up.

“The author is dead, history is dead, only the architect is left standing ... an insulting evolutionary joke,” He continues. “A shortage of masters has not stopped a proliferation of masterpieces.” In this passage, he refers to Roland Barthes’ famed 1977 essay, “Death of the Author” which proclaims that “the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” Signaling Postmodernism’s reversal of traditional artistic hierarchies, Barthes suggests that literature comes into being through reading, not writing. Koolhaas begs the question of why architecture remains immune to such Postmodern egalitarian values. Killing the architect would mean taking control over the narratives of architecture from the ground up, or the inside out, from the inhabitants’ perspective. Thus we could ask: after Modernism is Junkspace, but what is after Junkspace? Can a creative working class reclaim meaning and human need in our built environment? This exhibition brings together artists who are examining the built environment in this spirit.

Through various approaches, they explore their surroundings with intrigue, novelty, and sincerity, whereas “Junkspace is the body double of space, a territory of impaired vision, limited expectation, reduced earnestness..., the Bermuda Triangle of concepts, an abandoned petri dish.” Some work imagines ctional architectural realities with curiosity and exuberance. Others contemplate the complicated ways that the space of home or community spaces form our identities. Many of the artists valorize labor while Junkspace tries to hide it. The artists take care in craft, while in Junkspace, “verbs unknown and unthinkable in architectural history–clamp, stick, fold, dump, glue, shoot, double, fuse– has become indispensable.”

Perhaps Koolhaas’ 2002 essay was a warning. The economic collapse of 2008 was a precipice of Junkspace out of which architecture is still climbing. The only thing more Junkspace than a high-rise luxury hotel is one half-built on inde nite hold. But with hope, we can keep this in mind while having an art exhibition in an of ce building. Koolhaas calls of ces “the next frontier of Junkspace,” but it doesn’t have to be. Even at this critical economic juncture, Junkspace can be reinvented. Perhaps we are not forever “condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of [our] best friends” as Koolhaas suggests

-- Danny Floyd

About the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship

Launched in 2016, the Curatorial Fellowship program offers an emerging curator who has completed Chicago Artist Coalition’s yearlong HATCH Projects a next-step in their professional development. The Curatorial Fellowship program charges the chosen curator to create a show with work selected from nonprofit visual arts galleries and organizations supported by the Foundation in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Visual Arts Organizations Represented

ACRE, Chicago Artists Coalition, Comfort Station, Elastic Arts, Elmhurst Art Museum, Heaven Gallery, Ragdale Foundation, Roman Susan, Roots and Culture, Spudnik Press, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Woman Made Gallery


Danny Floyd is an artist, researcher, and educator based out of Chicago. He holds a BFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), an MA in Visual and Critical Studies, and an MFA in Sculpture both from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). His work deals with the social aspects of sensory phenomena. Studio projects investigate how the built and natural environments create space for interaction and contemplation as well as the similarities between structural phenomena like language and architecture. Research projects interrogate how politics blend with perceptual realms like weather, music, architecture, and mediated cultures.

Danny currently teaches in the Visual and Critical Studies and Sculpture departments at SAIC. He founded Ballroom Projects, an artist-run space in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, which he ran for four years. He currently co-directs another independent gallery called Adler & Floyd. He has held curatorial residencies with Artists' Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE) and Chicago Artists Coalition. He was also awarded the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship in 2017. Before moving to Chicago, Danny worked and taught at a nonprofit art center in Providence, RI called AS220, where he returned as a visiting artist-in-residence in summer of 2012. For five summers he taught photography, video, painting, and sculpture at a self-proclaimed postmodern art camp in western Massachusetts called Deerfield Academy Summer Arts Camp. Danny was born in Atlanta and is an avid music fanatic.

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