APRIL, 2013

It’s been quite the last couple months, to say the least.

Let me start by saying that this is probably the best show I have put on the wall – I have never been more proud to showcase a group of artists. Each of these artists I have been following for a long time, and each of them has recently reached a new level of awesome. You don’t have to take my word for it, either. I invite you to get on their websites, and see how far each of them has come in their practices. Then, you should probably buy up their older work, too, while it’s still affordable.

I opened HAUSER Gallery with Marc Hauser, just a couple months ago (forever ago).  At that time I had mixed (to say it nicely) feelings about the “art world” – it physically depressed me that so much genius across the Chicago landscape was often forgotten, pushed to the periphery, and often times flat out ignored. Artists progress our civilization, art saves lives, art transforms community, but most everyone thinks it should be for free – they think the government is responsible for ensuring we do not become second class citizens – or they assume the .05% of the population that make up the collectors in the world are responsible. You wonder how we all make it happen?  Most of the time in the early years, it's just actually really hard and/or we're eating mayonnaise sandwiches or ramen, it takes a lot to make it work, often we do it for a while and then we give up. My thought was, how in am I ever going to be able to create a space  where the people have space to cultivate their interest and realize how valuable this stuff is in our society?

We were given the space as a pop up to push Marc’s work. But Marc also had this amazing collection of not only his own works, but other people’s works, and he too had made it a part of his mission to give back – he had been buying up art from young artists since he was 16. That was his thing, that was my thing, so why not have some fun? We weren't taking it very seriously, it was an afterthought. Might as well throw up some emerging work and see what we can do with it while we’re here. So we threw MORE IS MORE. And after bringing all this amazing young talent into the neighborhood and with the support of this amazing community we were able to secure the space for 6 additional months. It was the people, it was you (and our landlord) that gave us each a platform and the space necessary to explore, grow, and create this presence. 

During our time at Hauser I thought to create a recurrent event in River North, where we were located. River North is kind of the seat of old world art world as well as a lot of the market in Chicago. I wanted it to cater to everyone and slowly more and more people were involved. We started to ask questions like, what if we were able to create the kind of visibility required for all levels of the scene? What if we all felt welcome, and what would happen if we all united to share our common values and goals? What if we could convince all these galleries to be open all together again for just one night a month, and what would happen if the whole of the Chicago art community committed to gathering in this one place at the same time?

And suddenly, all of the impossible became a little more possible. We started canvasing the idea, and I called it The New Art World – sort of funny and ironic, right? At this time, we were simply planning an event, and I sat down with the ladies from MCA first Fridays (because they want to make art for everyone, too), and Miss Jessica Warchall said, no, no, no, listen to yourself, it’s the BRAVE new art world. And just three weeks later, I was getting phone calls from people I didn’t even know, telling me that they wanted to participate, and wondering how they could help. People I had never spoken a word to in my life were finding me at openings saying, are you the girl that’s trying to revitalize the Chicago art world? I’m thinking – how is this possible? How do all these people already know about this project? And it dawned on me again – this isn’t just an event. It’s a movement.

All this being said, we want you to be the first to know that the end of this exhibition, we’ll be relocating our headquarters and exhibition space to somewhere around Franklin/Superior, and reopening as The Brave New Art World. There is now a team of 12 of us – some of the most dedicated, talented and excited young administrators that I know, and almost all the galleries have agreed to participate. The spaces who haven’t, we’re pretty sure simply haven’t met us yet.

The event itself features critical talks, performance art curated by Joseph Ravens, and a widespread cultural survey of local artisan products dispersed throughout the galleries. It occurs every first Thursday of the month from 5PM-8PM. The movement is about providing a space for all of us to share and grow in the cultural renaissance that’s already happening, and that’s been happening for some time now, in Chicago. It’s about unifying our community, so we all can see it, and meet one another, and collaborate, and it’s about bringing art to the people.

Essentially, The Brave New Art World is a city-wide unification project dedicated to the service of consciousness. We are all responsible. Words do not express how truly and deeply I look forward to seeing you on the other side.


Claire Molek