Presenting Mundane Talismans for STARWALKER

Mundane Talisman web

2nd Floor Rear proudly presents Mundane Talismans, an exhibition and silent auction for STARWALKER, Threewalls’ 2014 benefit gala.

Works for auction by

Ali Aschman

Josh Dihle

Danny Floyd

Ellen Nielsen

Bobbi Meier

Nora Nieves

Betsy Odom

Janna Van Hasselt

Erin Woodbrey

Erin Washington

Additional work by

Corkey Sinks



Aesthetic Divination Machine

a performance by the Society of Smallness


7pm-9pm VIP Dinner

9pm-1am General Admission

9-9:30pm performance by the Society of Smallness


For tickets and more information, visit

To preview the silent auction, visit

2nd Floor Rear 2014: Second Lives

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2nd Floor Rear 2014 might be over, but the DIY art events live on! Napkin Poetry is a regular thing now, happening at Uncharted Books once a month. Jenelle Cheyne, Cassie Ahiers, and 2014 Assistant Director Karly Bergman are teaming up to bring you Table Manners, an “amuse-bouche of sketch, song, and weird sh*t, all unified on the female-food-culture menu,” every Wednesday night in May. Finally, check out the photos from Haptic: From One to Another, an afternoon of participatory performances by Aram Han and John Paul Morabito, capping off the Haptic exhibition at Adult Contemporary. 

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From One to Another 17

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From One to Another 19

Welcome to 2nd Floor Rear 2014!

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Hello Friend,

Years ago, I trekked to Paris on that specific pilgrimage that is unofficially mandatory for all art history geeks. I saw everything I could see, checking off master paintings from an itinerary culled from various introductory Western Art History textbooks. To my surprise, my favorite paintings were the unfinished ones. There was this one Delacroix in particular that depicted lions tumbling around in the desert. Somehow, the quick zips of yellow and red that were so impossibly mouth- like, so suggestive of cat jaws athrust in a guttural roar, were more captivating than any of the finished works.

Fast forward to the present. This is 2nd Floor Rear’s third season. I thought it was about time impose a curatorial scheme. I had grand plans to re-imagine the entire history of alternative creative practices in Chicago. Things didn’t quite work out that way, but really, it’s for the best. We’ve put together a solid lineup of performances, exhibitions, and creative miscellany—each with its own unique conceptual thrust.

So rather than reviving the ghosts of Chicago’s artistic past in any thematic sense, 2nd Floor Rear 2014 inflects this history in practice. We are pleased to bring you a festival that is, like all DIY creative production, scrappy yet self-aware—equal parts humor, conceptual complexity, neighborliness, relevance, and play.

If I had to choose an overall curatorial concept for our third season, it might be what one of my favorite cultural theorists calls “the messiness of lived experience.” *1 We have an exhibition about failed romances, performances that that come and go unannounced, homages to Chicago’s bohemian beginnings, and an exhibition about failed and emerging technologies, featuring Rob Hart, casualty of the Chicago Sun-Times’ mass firings. To this end, 2nd Floor Rear 2014 is less about Chicago then and now than it is about Chicago art practices here and now, inasmuch that the artistic tastes and interests of any given place and time are always an unfolding of the place’s entire creative history. Flux trumps permanence—this is the heart of DIY cultural production. To be scrappy, yet self-aware means embracing the ad hoc as a part of one’s practice; to infold improvisation and makeshift solutions as a means of navigating the complexities of lived experience.

To me, this is suits a city like Chicago. Here we are, experiencing the most brutal winter in three years, and everyone soldiers on, calling dibs on shoveled-out parking spaces, throwing on just one more sweater, and braving single-digit temperatures to go look at art in some goofy, unknown location. And this is precisely what we are inviting you to do. So join us today and tomorrow for the coldest, boldest, and in all likelihood, most unpredictable art hop around.

Happy festivaling,

Katie Waddell

Director, 2nd Floor Rear


1 Sarah Ahmed, “The Cultural Politics of Emotion”

Just a Little Fundrai$er

funraiser tote

Just when you thought 2nd Floor Rear 2014 couldn’t get any better–what with 30+ unique events including exhibitions, performances, parades, and general tomfoolery–it did. Oh Yeahyuh. In addition to all the great stuff we’ve got going on, we thought we’d throw in a little bonus for our most devoted (and charitable) audience members.

Here’s the deal–if you donate $30 or more to 2nd Floor Rear 2014, you get a special tote bag (see illustration above), which you can take to various festival locations to receive limited edition artists’ multiples. That’s right, you give $30, you get a special bag to fill with free art, to be picked up at TBA 2nd Floor Rear locations. It’s basically like trick-or-treating, but with art instead of candy. (Unless one of the pieces of art is actually made of candy. Not unheard of.) So what exactly are these free art items? One could be a zine, another could be a mixtape featuring various bands from Young Camelot, another could be an artist-designed bumper sticker courtesy of Trunk Show, and yet another might be a piece made by a 2nd Floor Rear Artist explicitly for 2nd Floor Rear patrons. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to donate to find out! Click the donation button below to make the magic happen.

P.S. Special art bags are limited, and gifted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Nab one by donating before February 1. We only have 15 left! Don’t forget to leave your name and contact info in the “Special Instructions” box.

P.S.S. There were a lot of surprise expenses this year. Even if you don’t have $30, any amount helps.

Make a Donation Button

Kickstarter Shmickstarter


Like Chicago artists and DIY curators, we are scrappy and resourceful. To us, “no” just means “try harder,” or, at the very least, “try it another way.” So while our Kickstarter wasn’t successful this year, we haven’t given up on raising some extra dough for our hardworking event producers.

 You can still donate to 2FR 2014, AND you can still get those sweet rewards for donating.

Check out our donation page for complete details.

Fund our 2014 Kickstarter: Double or Nothing (Literally)

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So, the good news is, we’ve managed to raise $850 via Kickstarter thus far (Hooray! Thanks, everyone!) The bad news is, according to the ironclad rules of Kickstarter, if we don’t raise our goal amount by the deadline, we lose all of the donations. This means that we have little more than 1 day to raise the remaining $1,150. Tricky, but not impossible. We did the math (Please be impressed. Math is not our best subject.) and determined that we can totally make $1,150 if ~77 of you donate $15, or if 50 of you donate $30. That’s ~77 sit-down lunches or 50 Urban Outfitters T-shirts that, let’s be real, you don’t really need. So why not throw that money away on something we can all enjoy?

You didn’t want that black bean burger anyway.

Done here:

Volunteer Task Force, Assemble!

2nd Floor Rear 2014 needs a fleet of outstanding volunteers to make their third year the smoothest and sexiest yet!

Do you <3 ART? Does you resume need an extracurricular? Do you wanna shmooze with Chicago’s hot new thangs? Are you a generous soul with some time to donate? If you said “yes” to any of these (out-loud or in your head) then this position is right for you!
We need help:
- Posting fliers throughout Logan Square, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village, Avondale, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and all major Universities
- Wheat pasting large posters
- Delivering festival materials to event venues
- Crafting fabric pennant banners and Kickstarter rewards
- Help event producers set up for events and install work
- The extraordinarily trustworthy can help run and monitor events
- The extra-dedicated and outgoing can act as festival “docents,” escorting festival-goers from venue to venue
- Helping venues with breakdown and cleanup
Interested?You should:
1.) Email 2FR 2014’s Volunteer Task Force Captain Karly at, letting her know you’re interested and what your special skills are.
2.) Sit and enjoy the feeling of good karma flowing back at cha. We seriously appreciate you volunteering. You will be rewarded with snacks and 2FR schwag.
Thanks for reading through this! Please forward to any potentially interested friends/roommates/randos!
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Don’t Panic!



The dreaded Winter Vortex is upon us, and with that comes cancelled meetings, emergency grocery shopping, and panic naps. But not to worry! We’re working hard to put 2FR 2014’s schedule of events together. If you sent us a proposal and still haven’t heard back, expect an email within the next 24 hours. We promise!

Your $$ –> Our $$ –> Chicago Artists’ $$ = Sharing the Love

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Donate by clicking here.

In case that blogpost title is a little cryptic for you, let us ‘splain our funding structure for this year:

Thanks to the generous support of the Propeller Fund, our general costs are 100% covered! (Everyone cheer a little cheer! Do a happy dance!) But that doesn’t mean that everyone gets a financial break. Festival participants–the curators, artists, and cultural producers orchestrating each event–still foot the bill for their respective projects. (Example: Jane hosts an exhibition opening at her space for 2nd Floor Rear 2014. Jane pays for installation, refreshments, damages, and any other event-specific costs.)

We’re launching a Kickstarter campaign for 2nd Floor 2014, but this time, all the money we raise goes back to the people producing the events. In addition to waiving the standard participation fee and hosting a special community-building event for our artists and producers, we’ll be able to offer special stipends to offset production and hospitality costs for participants. 2nd Floor believes that what is good for the artist-goose is good for the audience-gander; the more financially accessible a festival is for its producers, the more 100% free it can be for the audience. Everyone wins. *Toss hats in air Mary Tyler Moore-style.*

If we don’t raise the entire amount ($2000) by Saturday, Jan. 18, 12:01 CST, we won’t get any Kickstarter monies, and neither will our event producers and artists. Tough, but that’s how Kickstarter rolls. So pledge now! We will be your friend forever!

P.S. Did we mention that the Kickstarter rewards are actually good this year?

Coming Soon: FAQ Page

confus cat



It’s ok, google-eyed confused kitten. We all get a little mixed up sometimes. But don’t worry! We’re adding an FAQ page to answer any of those pesky questions you might have about the proposal process, finding spaces to host events, resources for artists, attending the festival, and more. While we’ve already been getting plenty of questions, we want to make sure everyone gets the chance to ask. So if you have a question about 2nd Floor Rear, email it to before December 23rd. If we don’t post it on the FAQ page, we’ll email you back with an answer as soon as we can.


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