The Heart of the Matter
The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in partnership with Chicago Artists Coalition are proud to present the inaugural exhibition of their joint Curatorial Fellowship program, The Heart of the Matter curated by Jessica Cochran with work by Esau McGhee, Laura Davis, Alex Bradley Cohen, Roberto Jamora, Alice Tippit, Jovencio de la Paz, Jean Schuster, Josue Pellot, Howard Fonda, Anna Kunz, Polly Yates and L.J. Roberts.
The protagonist of the meta-fictional novel, The Illogic of Kassel, is a Spanish writer-in-residence at the citywide Documenta biennial, where he moves through a sometimes-foreign, sometimes-familiar sea of contemporary art and ideas, experiencing in near-simultaneity the cyclical highs and lows of an artist’s inner life. On his last day walking the German city of Kassel, he expresses an absorptive “peak”:
“Art was, in effect, something that was happening to me, happening at that very moment. And the world seemed new again, moved by an invisible impulse. Everything was so relaxing and admirable, it was impossible not to look. Blessed is the morning, I thought." (Enrique Vila-Matas)
As cultural producers, how is our capacity to make catalyzed by what Vila-Matas calls the ‘invisible impulses’ that move through the world? In this sense, how are the objects and images we make something of a vital record; a form of transmission; an extraction from the everyday?
What unites these works—mostly “faces and places”—is some observable manifestation of the artist's everyday life through closely observed gestures that span intimacy, awkwardness, specificity and inimitability. At the heart of each work we can perhaps locate, at arms length, the mobilization of some “invisible impulse” or energizing force – it may be an Instagram photo, a magazine, a bottle, studio remnants, rocks, a residency, a friend, a joke, or a llama. In a world saturated and fast, these artists model slowness and divergence, situating themselves and re-situating themselves in relation to the world, as if art is always, "in effect," happening.
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, Elastic Arts, Elmhurst Art Museum, Heaven Gallery, Ragdale, Roots & Culture, Spudnik Press Cooperative, Threewalls, Union Street Gallery, and Woman Made Gallery.
Viewing is by appointment only.
Jessica Cochran is a Chicago-based curator and arts administrator currently affiliated with the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She has organized exhibitions for the Contemporary Arts Council, Poetry Foundation, Art Chicago/NEXT and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in addition to numerous alternative spaces. Her written work has appeared in Curating Now, Newcity, CS and Proximity, in addition to numerous exhibition catalogs. She is currently working on two independent curatorial initiatives: Timeline Projects and the Abundant Archive, and has taught both arts administration and art history at Columbia College Chicago and Dominican University.
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