Wed-Thu: 11AM-5PM | Fri-Sat: by advance appointment
Wed-Thu: 11AM-5PM | Fri-Sat: by advance appointment
Chicago Artists Coalition welcomes the public to view exhibitions by emerging Chicago artists, join us at opening receptions, or attend education events

2130 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60612

Wednesday-Thursday: 11AM-5PM

Friday-Saturday: by advance appointment

Reception Opening

Friday, February 21, 2020 / 5-8pm

Work by

Tamara Becerra Valdez

Open Hours: Wednesdays, 10am-2pm and Fridays, 3-7pm

Tamara Becerra Valdez

February 21 - March 13, 2020; January 4 - 21, 2021

Extended: January 6 - January 21, 2021 by appointment only. Please reserve your time here.

"When a building is destroyed, it leaves a hole in a succession of facades, sometimes revealing intimate traces still there on the party walls: bathroom tiles, a faded poster. Such vestiges look extremely outdated, miserable and touching, while being doomed to be bulldozed. But what is even more disturbing than these faces without volume is the possibility of a volume without a facade."
- Hélène Meisel

Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present BUILD YOUR SELF, a solo exhibition by BOLT Resident, Tamara Becerra Valdez that opens on Friday, February 21, with a reception from 5-8pm.

The works presented in BUILD YOUR SELF stem from Valdez’s deep interest and continued investigation into the archaeology of contemporary, banal material culture and human interaction, individually and collectively, produced with the urban landscape. Valdez gathers found objects, such as door handles with broken key locks, confetti remnants from last night’s party, handwritten notes and photographs, and carefully sets them on or into nooks and recesses of sculptures or architectural details in the gallery. Through a combination of found and crafted objects, preserved and discarded, Valdez constructs a series of new sculptures made from detritus and set in a subtle reconfiguration of space—introducing spatial and architectural interventions in the gallery.

Molds and casts of trash and debris remark on the loss and degradation of our eroding environment. The result could be described as an attempt to index and archive the total event of a small, individual moment. Rusty and worn, weathered or destroyed, the sculptures support the left behind, ditched, dumped and discarded into new modes of meaning and values.

Such traces collected are a reminder of the beauty of wear and tear on the surfaces of everyday life— and the impact of a journey that has been taken. Tripping. Falling. Missteps. Stumbling moments. Another attempt to pick oneself up, again.

Image courtesy of the artist.

More About the Exhibition

Learn more about the artist's interests in identity, infrastructure, and environmentalism, and witness the creative influences that inspired BUILD YOUR SELF.

“Traveling simultaneously fast yet slow, my still yet moving alternate body sings a
wordless and wondrous song in the company of my multitudinous self.”

- Pauline Oliveros, “The Earthworm Also Sings” (1992)

As stated by Pauline Oliveros and told to me by my dear friend Paige Naylor, Deep Listening is “learning to expand the perception of sounds to
include the whole space/time continuum of sound” and “…discerning the effects on [our] body-mind continuum, from listening to others, to art and to life.” In many ways, acoustic ecology connects us with our understanding of the world and witnessing its changes, for better or worse. What does the ear want to hear?

Bearing witness is a valuable way to process an experience, to give empathy and
express support, to lighten our emotional load with another. Can the seeds hear
Cecilia’s melodies singing to them as she plucks them for preservation? Can the whales
feel his human heart vibrating in the water from their first encounter? Who wrote this
confessional on the wall for me to find?

"It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we
tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think
thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties."
- Donna Haraway, “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene” (2016)

READ “The Earthworm Also Sings” by Pauline Oliveros

worlding ripping nature is a 1.5 hour YouTube video playlist I created to accompany the re-opening of my exhibition, BUILD YOUR SELF, at the Chicago Artists Coalition. The video playlist attends to the promising and the threatening in the world amassing a tune-in to the sound, the image, the self, the animal, and the earth—herself. This playlist serves as a resonating landscape of the inner workings and musings taking place, apart and simultaneously, within my mind. Enjoy the program in its full length or have the sounds and images accompany the ongoing of your everyday. I’ve included videos from remarkable and influential artists, poets, filmmakers, and musicians such as Anna Arismendez of Caña Dulce y Caña Brava, Cecilia Vicuña, Jose Olivarez, May Ayim, and others.

Download a supplementary read of “The Earthworm Also Sings” (1992) by Pauline Oliveros on the @cacoalition website.

WATCH worlding ripping nature YouTube playlist program

About Artists
2019 - 2020
Tamara Becerra Valdez

Every landscape is frequented by past ways of life. How to address a way of being in the world asks us to be attuned to place, time, and intent. Through an interdisciplinary art practice, Tamara Becerra Valdez observes the meaning and function of discarded and abandoned materials to consider how historical topographies arise through traces in the urban social landscape. The ephemeral nature of human behavior leaves an impression in her work. 

Her work has been exhibited at Mexic-Arte Museum, Gallery 400, Comfort Station, and Sector 2337 as part of the 2018 Lit & Luz Festival. She has held positions in programming and special collections at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, and the Harry Ransom Center. She has been an artist-in-residence at ACRE Projects and Human Sciences. From 2017-2019, Valdez served as a Graduate Research Fellow supervising the artistic and creative direction in the collaborative, multi-disciplinary project, “Political Ecology: Platform Chicago,” supported by the Institute for the Humanities (UIC) Humanities Without Walls consortium and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tamara received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and MFA in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 


Image:  Tamara Becerra Valdez, NENO at Cullerton and Throop St. (Second Geographies), 2018, Video still 

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