Now::Historic Archives of RSG : Many Chicago Artists/Work

Glimpse Now::Historic Archives of RSG : Many Chicago Artists/Works

  •  Nancy Bechtol

The Randolph Street Gallery Archives features photographs, event calendars, posters, and other materials documenting the nearly twenty-year history (1979-1998) of an important Chicago cooperative, gallery, and performance space. With a particular interest in the social and political issues of its time and a deep commitment to community engagement, Randolph Street Gallery was a critical venue for new forms of artistic expression and left a lasting impact both locally and globally

https://rhizome.org/editorial/2016/nov/17/ Peter Taub. DP: Could you give some background on Randolph Street Gallery? PT: Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an artist-run space in Chicago, founded in 1979. I started working there in the mid-80s. It was run by artists, directed by artists, and served artists.

Nancy Bechtol Comments:: This is just a glimpse into the place that, if you ever went there, or showed art there, it is embeded in your very soul. I was so honored several times in my early days to show my work. Controversial works were welcome.. Freedom of Art and Thought and Being There. Artists were engaged and the audience contributed interactively.

There is no saying RSG without the name of the legend\Peter Taub –longtime Director of RSG. Incredibly adapt at blending art, politics, and artists egos to create an art scene — inclusive and amazing –underlined to infinity.

For the curious, art lovers, artists and Chicago history buffs. take a look. it is a real eye opener. I just found out it was online! I flashed back to the infamous video I shot of Hamza that caused quite a stir when it played on CAN TV. honest and forthright, it nailed racial profiling..even in a well known restaurant. And my sound installation which needed walls built, and Peter Taub, assisted by husband, David, carried walls up from the basement, and made a house for the “Reagan Psalms”. “Hamza Speaks” is listed in RSG archive. Also, during the time of the Flag controversy, I displayed “On One Nightstand of and American Artist” a social political piece which also was in a group show by CAC –that gathered works done on and by flags, including Dred Scott’s piece, that was first shown at SAIC to much attention on the subject. ON and on and on..

 

Randolph Street Gallery

Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an alternative exhibition space in Chicago, Illinois, from 1979[1] until its closing in 1998 and a vital local force in the development of a variety of new art forms and the contemporary national and international arts milieu. Founded by two artists, Tish Miller and Sarah Schwartz, RSG began in Schwartz’s living room, later moving to 853 W. Randolph Street on Chicago’s west side.[2] The late 1970s, was a period when young artists in all disciplines were collectively founding visual and performing art organizations as alternatives to mainstream and commercial venues in many US cities.[3] RSG was one of more than a dozen ‘alternative’ galleries – along with many new ‘alternative’ theatre groups – situated on the near north and west sides of Chicago. The gallery’s focus was on the needs of artists and practitioners who created work that was unsupported, or at the time, perceived to be unsupportable by most commercial or institutional funders.[4] Randolph Street Gallery was also the locus for groundbreaking collaborative projects such as The File Room: An Archive on Cultural Censorship, conceived by Antoni Muntadas,[5] and was the publisher of P-Form: Performance Art Magazine.[6]

For nineteen productive years RSG fulfilled its role as cultural laboratory for Chicago and the general art world.[7] By the late 1990s, changing trends, expectations, and patterns of patronage in the arts took their toll on the gallery as well as on any of the other few comparable artist-run organizations in the United States (e.g., La Mamelle and the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, the Washington Project for the Arts in the District of Columbia) and the gallery eventually closed.[8]

Many of the emerging and mid-career artists who presented and experimented at Randolph Street Gallery are now recognized as leaders who have changed the context of our cultural dialog. They include visual and performance artists, photographers, filmmakers, sound and video artists, writers and curators.[9]

In 1999, the complete archives of Randolph Street Gallery were donated to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and include all available material documenting the nineteen-year history of RSG, a high percentage of which are original source materials. The archives contain historical records of performance, sculpture, visual and other art forms created or presented by local and international artists, artists’ portfolios, slides, posters, signage, photographs, performance art programs, publications, news clippings, publicity files, a variety of video formats, sound recordings, computer files, administrative records, and some works of art donated to Randolph Street Gallery for auctions and fund raisers.[10] Public access to the archives is possible on a limited basis and by reservation only. The Randolph Street Gallery Archives are complemented by an additional 33 linear feet of archival material from the editors of P-Form: Performance Art Magazine.

References[edit]

1.    Jump up^ Artner, Alan G. “To market…as an alternative” Chicago Tribune (17 Aug 1979: B12)

2.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “A Requiem for Chicago’s Incubator of Performance Art” Chicago Tribune (23 Feb 1998: 1)

3.    Jump up^ Warren, L. 1984. Alternative Spaces: A History in Chicago. Chicago. Museum of Contemporary Art.

4.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “A Requiem for Chicago’s Incubator of Performance Art” Chicago Tribune (23 Feb 1998: 1)

5.    Jump up^ Artner, Alan G. Muntadas’ Installation Fits Current Thinking” Chicago Tribune (27 May 1994: 64)

6.    Jump up^ P-Form: performance art news http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/pform

7.    Jump up^ Hixson, Kathryn “Randolph Street Gallery” New Art Examiner (Sep 2000: 50-51) v28 n1

8.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “Randolph Street Gallery Closes, Victim of Rapidly Declining Funds” Chicago Tribune (14 Feb 1998: 5)

9.    Jump up^ Hixson, Kathryn “Randolph Street Gallery” New Art Examiner (Sep 2000: 50-51) v28 n1

10. Jump up^ Randolph Street Gallery Archives http://libraryguides.saic.edu/rsga

External links[edit]

·        Randolph Street Gallery Archive, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

·        P-Form digital covers and table of contents, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

·        Ellen Rothenberg’s course, The Collaborative Project to preserve, process, and exhibit the Randolph Street Archives

·        The File Room. Initiated as an artist’s project by Antoni Muntadas The File Room was originally produced by Randolph Street Gallery in 1979-1998 with the support of the School of Art and Design and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

·        Two Chicago Galleries and Why They Closed by Victor M. Cassidy

·        Adrian Piper, My Calling (Card) #1 Meta-Performance (1987-88; 00:58:00) – include video file

·        Chicago Alternative ArtSpace Panel, April 2, 2008

·        Alternative ArtSpace Panel Discussion – includes audio and video files

·        Erik and the Animals, July 17, 2005 by Erik Fabian An archive of video documentation of performances at the Randolph Street Gallery from 1987-1996 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library.

·        Living Cross, Allyson and Alex Gray, Oct. 15, 1983 – Performance

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