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Exquisite corpse is a method by which a collage of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in a sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.
“Artists are loners. I say this as an artist myself.” –Jenny Lam, Curator
You remember that kid in school, who, for group projects, would take over and complete the assignment herself because she thought that if she had full control, the group would get a better grade than if all members contributed equally? Yeah? Well, that kid probably grew up to be an artist.
What happens when we drag solitary artists out of their secluded studio cells to—horror upon horror—team up with other people, but also give them free reign to create whatever they want, however they want?
The creation of art is usually a private endeavor, yet art itself thrives in a public forum; no matter how hermetic or misanthropic its architect, art feeds off of its viewer—art enjoys adoration, delights in disgust, revels in revulsion. The interplay between private and public, between self and other, sits on a tenuous scale. What happens, then, when we subvert the private completely, when we breach the solipsistic citadel into which so many creative minds retreat?
Exquisite Corpse happens.
Curated by Jenny Lam, Exquisite Corpse is an independently run art show that features works across all media—illustration, photography, animatronics and pillow-making… and everything in between—by 40 artists from Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Amsterdam, and Melbourne. Arranged into groups and pairs, these artists—most of whom were strangers to one another before this project—were given one month to create new art, with no limitations or rules other than to work together. Chicago artist Patricia Biesen remarked, “I’ve just created one of the most unique paintings of my entire career for this.” Relinquish control and renounce convention. Break out of your comfort zone and break free. The consequences can be, truly, exquisite.
Participating artists comprise Adriane Strampp, Adrienne Glover, Amanda Mudrovich, Asia Ward, Avisheh Mohsenin, Becket Flannery, Brittany Majka, Caitlin Bergh, Carrie McGath, Cassie Hamrick, Christine Nicklos, Deirdre A. Fox, Derail Howery, Diane Ponder, Gideon Ansell, Irene Wellm, Janet Mamon, Jennifer Cartolano Moore, Jes Standefer, Jessie Winslow, Jessica Drogosz, Julia Alekseyeva, KC Winter, Kirsten Perry, Lorraine Grandinetti on behalf of Frank Grandinetti (deceased), Mairin Hartt, Mark Pol, Melina Mejia Stock, Michele McMillan, Moca Garcia, Nicole Syrquin, Patricia Biesen, Peggy Shearn, Robin Monique Rios, Sandi Chaplin, Sioban Lombardi, Tara Riley, Tucker Rae-Grant, Veronica Stein, and Zachary Trebellas.
Exquisite Corpse opened on 2 September to critical acclaim. Chicago art critic Paul Klein called the exhibition “fun, multi-faceted, and engaging.” The closing party will be held on Saturday, 17 September, from 7–10pm, at the Fulton Street Collective. There will be opportunities to interact with the art, whether it’s switching on a kinetic sculpture entwined with bicycle inner tubes and tufts of human hair; uncovering a crime scene; enclosing oneself in a suspended sheet; following an installation’s imperative title of “Make one. Leave one. Take one”; or recording questions in response to a live performance piece in which the artist will paint her body, roll onto a blank canvas, and destroy said canvas. Guests will also be invited to collaborate with one another on their own exquisite corpses, which will be displayed on the gallery walls as they are completed throughout the night. Admission is free.
To view the exhibition before the closing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born in 1987, Jenny Lam is a Chicago-based artist, artist agent, writer, and independent curator. Her past exhibitions include Somnambulist, which she curated through 4Art in the internationally renowned Zhou B Art Center. She graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. In New York, she served as the President of Postcrypt, Columbia’s undergraduate art gallery, and interned at Christie’s and at Eyebeam Atelier. She contributes to Sixty Inches From Center.
Exquisite Corpse is located on the second floor of:
Fulton Street Collective
2000 W. Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60612
For exclusive previews of the artwork and behind-the-scenes looks into the artists’ processes, visit http://artistsonthelam.blogspot.com.
For the show’s Facebook event page, visit https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=108052089292307.