Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Antena @ Verge Art Fair in NYC

MAY 3-6, 2012


159 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village 

May 3 - May 6, 2012

Opening night reception: Thursday, May 3, 6-10pm

General Public Hours:

Fri & Sat
, Noon – 8pm 
Sunday, Noon-6pm

$10 day pass / $15 weekend pass

$15 opening night reception

Antena @ Verge Art NYC

Artists: Nicole Marroquin, Saul Aguirre, Miguel Cortez

Nicole Marroquin is an interdisciplinary artist whose creative practice includes collaboration, studio art, research, teaching, and strategic intervention.  As a classroom art teacher in Chicago and Detroit, Marroquin taught and collaborated with youth on art-based action research projects.   She makes art, exhibits and writes about participatory cultural production with youth and in communities.  Marroquin recieved her MFA from the University of Michigan in 2008 and is now living in Pilsen in Chicago.  She is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Saúl Aguirre is a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist/curator born in Mexico City. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Aguirre is has been a continuous contributor and collaborator with Antena and the defunct Polvo. Aguirre’s recent performances have captivated the viewers for the dramatic slow movements to portray his response to social issues; his paintings reflect the relationship we encounter with society and the problems we face manipulating images that are not to be expected. He has exhibited in Gallery 414 in Fort Worth, Texas; Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College, Chicago; Escuela Superior de Educacion Artistica, Huaraz, Peru; He has been considered a standout at NEXT 2010 Chicago by Pedro Velez who is an artist and critic living in Chicago. His work is on these public collections Casa de Cultura Calles y Sueños, Juchitan, Oaxaca, México; Escuela Superior de Formación Artística, ANCASH-Huarz Perú. Miguel Cortez is an artist/curator living in Chicago and born in Guanajuato, Mexico. He has studied filmmaking at Columbia College and art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently runs Antena, an alternative art space located in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. His artwork has been shown at Gallery 414 in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Krannert Museum and at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Other shows included exhibits in Dallas at Mighty Fine Arts Gallery, Glass Curtain Gallery and at VU Space in Melbourne, Australia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

EVIL IS INTERESTING Closing Reception April 20 from 6-10pm

by Micki Tschur, 2012, Madonna Salt and Pepper Shakers

Curated by Michael Workman/Antidote Projects

Closing Reception Friday April 20 from 7pm-10pm

Featuring work by Frank Pollard, Mike Lenkowski, Lorna Mills, Sarah Weis, Bill Talsma, Elizabeth Suter, Jody Oesterreicher, Micki Tschur, Sarah Legow, Industry of the Ordinary, Holly Streekstra, Samantha Ocasta, Jeffrey Grauel, Tony Kapel, Computers Cult, Maitejosune Urrechaga and others.

False Love 'zine with texts by AA Bronson, Michael Workman, Dan Gleason and others.
Live theatrical performances starting at 8:30pm. Performances will be videotaped and archives in the exhibition.

1765 S. Laflin, St.
Chicago, IL 60608
antenapilsen (at)
Hours: by appointment
(773) 340-3516

"Fascism … also stands for an ideal or rather ideals that are persistent today under the other banners: the ideal of life as art, the cult of beauty, the fetishism of courage, the dissolution of alienation in ecstatic feelings of community; the repudiation of the intellect; the family of man (under the parenthood of leaders)." –Susan Sontag, Fascinating Fascism

This exhibition interrogates the seductiveness and glamour of evil. Evil, after all, is adept at projecting a certain kind of charm. We cherish the antics of our TV and motion picture villains in all their insouciant brutality and eroticized violence. But evil can also exert a subtle charm in the allure of its ability to feign a release from life's problems. Accepting the Faustian bargain of evil offerings requires a willingness to enter into a complicity with that evil, and to sacrifice the ideals of the "good life" that we aspire to. It is arguable that consenting to evil is always an intimate choice, with the goal of manipulating its victims into rejecting their own self-worth and, in consequence, to giving away control over the direction of their own life-course, now subsumed in service to evil. This can take place on the level of an intimate personal relationship, as in the instance of a rakish seduction, or on the level of an entire culture, as the history of fascism has shown.

Borrowing from a diverse range of artists from Filippo Marinetti, Rirkrit Tiranamija, Yves Klein and Wyndham Lewis, the exhibition space will be converted into a domestic backdrop against which objects, activities and more will form a totalized artistic environment. Visitors will be invited to interact with this environment while performances are conducted in the manner of a teatro totale. The question of the allure of evil will be interrogated both in objects that compose the environment, in performances both interactive with the audience, and in those acted out as if no audience were present. Video documentation of these performances will be presented following their presentation, and presented thereafter as a documentary component of the exhibition.


ANTIDOTE is a roving, independent curatorial and exhibition platform co-founded by Michael Workman and Berlin-based sculptor Edouard Steinhauer in 2009. Conceived as an occasional project-based initiative, ANTIDOTE does not take on artists for career representation, preferring instead a collaborative approach to the cultivation of unconventional formal approaches to audience engagement. ANTIDOTE serves as an independent curatorial platform to advocate for and disseminate the works of underrepresented artists, specifically through special presentations and exhibitions at art fairs, publications, educational programming, and other nontraditional forms of curatorial programming, with an aim to exploring unorthodox distribution systems for disseminating artist's works. ANTIDOTE only showcases artists who have been carefully selected for visual work that consistently centers on the development of intricate imaginative world or system-based constructions, dematerialization of traditional forms, and/or whose work otherwise counters the purely object-based approach to art-making. As such, often these artists have been overlooked by the art world, since their approach often problematizes the conventions of or confounds audience expectations surrounding the industry's cultivated preference for traditional object-based modes.

See a review in NEW CITY:
See a review in the CHICAGO WEEKLY:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Vile Attraction

photo by Paul Germanos

A Vile Attraction

By Jon Brozdowski
April 4, 2012
From The Chicago Weekly

My companion Chris sits at a decade-old computer adorned with a webcam and surrounded by eight ornate red candles, patiently reading a blog post linked from the desktop: “Born like this / Into this / As the chalk faces smile / As Mrs. Death laughs / As the elevators break / As the political landscapes dissolve / As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree.” He looks down at an odd assortment below the desk, where a large plastic chain link rests on a Macbook, next to prescription bottles, thick grey rubber gloves, and a condom on a tall metal eggcup. “Oops.” He turns up to me and says, “There’s some fake blood on my shoe.”

“Evil is Interesting,” on view at Pilsen’s Antena gallery, professes to “interrogate the seductiveness and glamour of evil.” Michael Workman and Antidote Projects curated the project, which features film, installation art, and interactive pieces by twelve local artists.

Evil does tend to intrigue us: its je-ne-sais-quoi makes it a subject for popular exploration and multivalent interpretation. Its high visibility in modern life has made the idea of evil pack a smaller punch, lose a bit of its taboo, and become somehow charming, Workman suggests.

One installation displays a computer screen repeating Google searches over and over: “loud evil laugh,” “I think I am evil,” “Evel Knievel is dead,” and “my puppy is evil.” However, the pieces that consider suffering, or the display of instruments of evil, like the baseball bat slowly revolving while hanging low from the ceiling, work to dispel the notion that evil has any kind of innocent charisma.
Workman calls the exhibition a concept album in “a totalized environment… between the context of the space itself, all the various different media, videos, net art, the play, a music soundtrack, and the zine.” Due to technical difficulties (perhaps an unintended form of evil), the zine in question is not yet available, and the play’s loose script has yet to be released in print.

The 40-minute dramatic performance, titled “A Conversion,” was set in the gallery space, centered on a red couch, a red carpet, a black coffee table, and a blue dining table. According to Workman, the play is in that “60s, 70s vein of experimental theatre,” with improvised dialogue. The organic veracity of the production is accomplished by its actors’ off-the-cuff and intimate delivery.

The play concerns four characters, each defined by their jobs: Vivian the artist, Ellie the poet, Joyce the sex worker, and Gavin the hedge fund manager. Each offers a take on evil—Vivian attempts to grapple with the actions of her brother, a soldier who killed an unarmed civilian while deployed in Afghanistan. In his defense, Vivian declares that she’s ”trying to tell you this fucked up thing that happened because of the situation he was in, not because of him. All he was doing was doing his job.”

Workman explained, “The brother’s done something that ostensibly is evil, but in service of a better world.” The artist and actress Sarah Weis, who contributed the candle and computer piece and played Vivian, said, “I think she’s the most empathetic of the characters, and also… the most human, and in a way the weakest.”  The central concern of the play seemed to be the characters’ confrontations with the evil in themselves, their jobs, and their lives.

To facilitate this interaction, the script calls for one character to pause in the middle of a sex scene to “address the audience to tell them that she loves them, all the members of the audience the same way, as if they were inside her, too.”

A collection of silent films also works its way into the show.  In “The Language of the Enemy,” Zolten Gera narrates his experience being abused in prison through subtitles, cast over a montage of disembodied hand signs and gestures. In another piece, “Modern Romance,” a woman fidgets in front of the camera while a man describes a “brutal seduction,” once again via subtitles.

Throughout the exhibition, Workman pursued a “narratological” comment on how people interact with evil in their lives. “As the curator I’m saying we’ve built in this ambiguity with [evil], but more importantly, the focus is… the seductiveness of it,” he explained. The exhibition examines inner conflict, moral ambiguity, and where the two intersect with what is seen as evil, perverse, and threatening. At the end of the not-so-cohesive message, it’s unclear if we ought to be disturbed by evil’s prevalence, or entertained by its kitsch.

Antena, 1765 S. Laflin St. Through April 21. Hours by appointment. Free. (773)340-3516. An encore performance of the play is planned for Friday, April 20 at 6:00