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In its inaugural season, 2nd Floor Rear featured local spaces and collectives such as the Happy Collaborationists, Defibrillator, Carousel Space Project, Logan Square Comfort Station, Pop-up Art Loop, the Peanut Gallery, and the Milk Factory, as well as emerging artists such as Tony Lewis, Autumn Hayes, Chiara Galimberti, Kiam Marcelo Junio, and Anthony Stepter. A myriad of artworks, events, and happenings from late-night studio square dancing to a dream yoga sleepover, a guerrilla sculpture garden, a site-specific installation in an underpass, and exhibition openings, with hundreds in attendance marked 2nd Floor Rear 2012’s staggering, unforeseen success.



Ongoing Installations and Events:


Chiara Galimberti

I am looking at public art as a way to open up what is possible within public spaces, especially in places that are easily dismissed. The underpass is heavily used by pedestrians because it is adjacent to a school and bus lines, but at the same time it is a sensory nightmare between the smell of cars, the sudden darkness, the loudness of the highway and the perpetually filthy sidewalks. One is instinctually prone to walk through it as fast as possible, trying not to pay attention to the surrounding unpleasantness. Many environments around the city prompt such shutting down, from overcrowded subway cars to desolate stretches of residential or industrial monotony. I am looking to explore how art can “recharge” spaces, and open up how we interact with the public sphere.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Anthony Stepter: Call for Artists

Call for Artists utilizes a functional and commonplace medium, the pull-tab flyer, to investigate public channels of communication and challenge artists’ ability to articulate themselves in an unfamiliar format.

Five to seven artists will be invited to submit proposals for pull-tab flyers. Ideally the artists will create a flyer that is consistent with their practice but also unlike a work they would create without the parameters of the pull-tab format. Selected proposals will then be executed by the artists and myself. The actual fliers (produced in multiples, with the quantity depending upon the materials used) will be distributed around public spaces where pull-tab advertisements are commonly found. The flyers will go up during the 2nd Floor Rear festival, but will remain until they are removed, covered, or simply discarded.

It is my hope that by asking artists to work within the constraints of such a simple and pragmatic medium, the project will frustrate their otherwise expertly honed skills of expression.  I have witnessed numerous artists take leave of their predominant medium, often to phenomenal results. In a way it is like asking a lefty to write with their right hand. Each letter is a struggle and as a result, each word is more carefully considered.

Call for Artists aims to create public art projects that are equally as surprising for the artists who conceive them as they are for the public who encounters them. Artists, after all, are members of the public too.   Photo: Ben Pegram


Kiam Marcelo Junio: The I am Project

I create work that investigates identity and its manifestations and permutations when presented in personal, interrelational, and larger social contexts. I am interested in the study of self in both Eastern and Western traditions. I approach this inquiry through materials in multiple media, ranging from photography to performance, video, sculpture, and site-specific installation.

My work explores the thresholds between personal and public, between nostalgia and obsession, between the addressor and the addressed. I make art that is inherently personal and revelatory, yet decisively interactive. By sharing my experiences and explorations, I intend to serve as a catalyst for others in their own self-inquiry. Doing so, I share in their journeys, and in the human condition as a whole.

The [“I Am”] project aims to stop passersby and confront them with their own reflection in an unexpected public space. “I Am” asks them to consider who they are as reminded by their own visage.   Photo: Ben Pegram


Peanut Gallery: No Loitering

The Peanut Gallery co-operative will create a site-specific guerilla installation in Haas Park (approximately 2724 W. Fullerton Ave., just east of California Ave.) including an inordinate amount of handmade, unruly and irreverent signs. These signs will instruct the viewer on how to engage with the park properly.

About Peanut Gallery:

Peanut Gallery is a space for creative collaboration, experimentation, exhibition and good, old-fashioned mingling. Their goal is to connect creative people with one another and nurture a vibrant, inclusive community of artists and intellectuals.    Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Pop Up Art Loop

Pop-Up Art Loop™ transforms empty storefronts in the Loop into cultural activations open to the public.  An initiative of Chicago Loop Alliance, Pop-Up Art Loop™ creates partnerships between artists and property owners, creating temporary gallery, exhibition, and interactive space at no cost to the artist in prime Loop locations. Enjoy photography, sculpture, 2D art, video and new media, installations and more.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova

Scheduled Events:

Tony Lewis, Christina Long, Silvia Vasilescu: Public Opinion No. 1


“at 2844 w dickens all three of them live there

the noise made it through the windows of the 5th floor apartment located on Decebal boulevard. it didn’t actually covered his voice, as rarely sounds can cover his deep cigar smoking voice. Dad propped the laptop on his stomach as he continued the heated debate over the future of romania. Via Skype. Across from him, the TV’s on. He hit his knee on the coffee table. a 2*2 feet black wood coffee table. As he shouted “the monarchy isn’t a solution!”. Stopped my ranting on how Queen Margareta would save Romanian Democracy.

In 1965 Ashely could cross the road and take the path to the right of the round church. the union society is at the end of that path. Here, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Buckley spoke freely at 9a Bridge Street in Cambridge where the room was full and lukewarm and left much to be desired of a charlatan and ultimately a boring man.

Two sisters in their kitchen off the golf course, dinner time, guitars and podcasts. Pulte architecture, granite counter tops amongst marble flooring and stainless steel appliances over looking the Michigan moors and canadian geese. chocolates are the debate of the evening and i will win.”    Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Autumn Hays: Going Woods

In making art I attempt to compose an experience that shows the viewer psychological distress corporally. It is through this that one can perceive the content, not just observe it. Though often based on my personal body as an archive my art is not there to reflect myself. It is there to propagate the affect formed by the viewer. My artworks are not truly created in the objects and performances I make, but rather it is formed in the moment it reaches the viewer. That reaction is where my artwork exists, never in the piece itself.

My work investigates the ritualistic practices of otherization. This primarily subconsciously process is often done for the good of the accuser and the other becomes mislabeled and mistreated. In my work I wish to investigate this history and it’s current practices as a form of evidence. Through performance and social experimentation I wish to examine the magical beliefs systems in the realm of fixing the other. Furthermore, I wish to perform the archives of these histories giving them physical representation.  It is through the accounting of these actions that we can begin to ask, what actions will we take today that tomorrow will be seen as maltreatment.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Casa Duno: Prescribed Meanings

  Prescribed Meanings will feature artists who examine how we assign meaning to objects, how objects serve as mediators in our interactions with others, and how, through our relationships with things, we begin to understand ourselves and the world around us.

Prescribed Meanings is curated by Cameron DuBois and Sarah Nodelman of Casa Duno, featuring works by Kayla Anderson, Veronica Bruce, and Adam Farcus. Special thanks to Chris Jones for letting us hijack his space.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Happy Collaborationists present: Jesus Mejia & Ruth: Acts Upon Us; a portrait of light and wind

Collaborators Jesus Mejia & Ruth catalogue the affinity between motion and stillness in their sculpture, Acts Upon Us; a portrait of light and wind. The artists find themselves between motions: a pile of sand transcribes the blowing wind, and a mirror reflects the waning light. Without permission, the individual is moved by all else; a beautiful inevitability.
Jesus Mejia & Ruth is a recently formed collaboration based in Chicago IL. The basis for their sculptural and performative work combines the fleeting qualities of history and science with the feeling of time: the mechanics of how we know where we are and what we are.
Happy Collaborationists is a Chicago based curatorial and artistic entity consisting of Anna Trier, Hadley Vogel, and Meredith Weber. Our focus as “Happy C.” has been to provide a venue for the creation and exhibition of performance, installation and new media derived works. Striving to facilitate the exhibition of projects and artists we believe in through collaboration and disseminating our artistic philosophy of experience and incorporation. As a collective we exist in solidarity and express this through the donning of blue wigs, creating a visual moniker. In our most recent endeavors, our curative nature is more expressly connected to our performative practice and propelled us towards a new mode of communication and bridged the gap between art and art events – curation as art.    Photo: Ben Pegram


Jeremy Bessoff @ The Milk Factory: From the Sea to the Stars

From the Sea to the Stars is a curated collection of short films describing the wonders of the night sky, the frigid mystery of the abyss and human-kind’s desire to understand their unreachable mysteries.
Curated by Jeremy Bessoff.
Fire, Air, Water (Jason Halprin)
Dancing On Accident Underwater (Jeremy Bessoff & Nick Osborn)
What Hits the Moon (Lilly Carre)
Long Vocation (Vicky Yen)
Birth of the Star Child (Jeremy Bessoff)
The Dreamless Sleep (Nancy Andrews)
A Conversation Over Lunch (Shelly Dodson)
About the Milk Factory:

Based in a former milk bottling plant located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, The Milk Factory has been occupied by groups of creatives and performers for the past decade. Transformed into a functioning gallery space in 2010 by artists Jeff Prokash and Dara Benno, The Milk Factory now strives to exhibit relevant and contemporary works in a variety of media while serving as a platform to encourage the interconnectivity and underlying community of curator, artist, performer, and viewer alike.  In an attempt to unite the multiplicity of the established modes of concept and expression found within the art and gallery scene, we have chosen to curate events that merge artists of divergent media by drawing out a common thread found within their work, thus connecting artist and audience from adjacent and dissimilar backgrounds.

Please visit our website for a list of events curated by the Milk Factory Collective.


Roofless Records at Logan Square Comfort Station

Roofless Records presents,

Florida Oasis: Full Frontal Biopsy

For the month of February, The Logan Square Comfort Station will house a mini video and performance festival, Florida Oasis, by artists Erica Gressman and Katie Torn. An event will take place every Saturday from 5-7pm, showcasing local video artists and and performers/musicians. The Comfort Station will be decked out in Florida decor to offer an oasis from the Chicago winter chill. For the first Saturday, February 4th artist, Gressman will perform a sound piece entitled Full Frontal Biopsy. The piece involves the use of technology on the body as a means to compose sound, creating a biofeedback composition. Accompanying the performance will be a live video mix by Torn that employs painting, sculpture and computer generated imagery to create a fantasy landscape of the inside of the body and hybrid figures that that could only exist in a virtual world.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova



Carousel Space Project: New Wave Ladies Night


2nd Wave, 3rd Wave, New Wave, No Wave…Although the current timeline for the feminist movement may be blurry or undefined, the quality of the artwork created by emerging female artists is clearly strong. Amid powerful movements of globalization, eco-feminism, cyber-feminism, a return to craft movement, and even progress in female candidates for political positions, the soil is rich for gender issue conversation and headway.

“New Wave” is both a verbal pun and a comparison to punk music’s electronic daughter. The sub-genre of rock music that emerged in the mid to late 1970s saw revivals in the 1990s and early 2000s. Common characteristics of New Wave music, aside its punk influences, include the usage of synthesizers and electronic productions, the importance of styling and the arts, as well as a great amount of diversity.

Juxtaposing a group exhibition of a new wave of female artists to a background of synthpop, draws comparisons to the similar timelines of the two movements and highlights their repetitive persistence and evolution over the years.





Featuring works by:

Susannah Dotson
Heeran Lee
Christalena Hughmanick
Angela Marie Hoener
Annie Kielman
Christina Long
Michaela Murphy
Rose Sexton

Curated by Robin Kang

Photo: Ben Pegram



Joshua Kent @ DEFIBRILLATOR: Of a Door, Neither Open nor Closed

“Of a door, neither open nor closed” is a performance of death and time. This new work by Joshua Kent, is the result of a collaboration between the artist and three men with no previous performance experience.

A performance of simple movements with text both original and appropriated, the piece vacillates between grinding stillness, and the frenetic energy of everyday life. Drawing from their collective experience and inexperience the performers move about the space attempting to speak to something they themselves have never personally experienced. Their efforts cannot be called heroic, as they lack virtuosity, yet something else is arrived at in the spaces of the work. As the four men occupy the room, their actions and stillness invite viewers into a liminal space, one seeking to connect viewers with both the present moment and the future.

“Of a door, neither open nor closed” is to be shown at DEFIBRILLATOR gallery, a non-profit arts organization and alternative performance space in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Performances are February 3rd and 4th at 8pm with a suggested donation of $5.

This project is supported by a Community Art Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.   Photo: Slaveya Minkova


Karen Faith @ Crawlspace: Dream Yoga Sleepover

Dream Yoga Sleepover is a lucid dreaming workshop and overnight sound installation wherein participants gather sleeping bags and listen to ambient work designed to encourage REM sleep. Part consciousness-expanding exercise and part playful journey of fantasy, Dream Yoga Sleepover employs both therapeutic and aesthetic techniques to stimulate and support each dreamer’s inner exploration.

Participants would be allowed to enter and exit at any time during the night. I will provide yoga mats to lie on, but anyone wishing to sleep over comfortably is encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and pillow.

About Karen:

Karen Faith is a mover and thinker with interests in ceremony, vibrational practices and movement-based work. Working intimately with her audience,Karen assembles sacred and vernacular material with an intention to invite integral presence. She has presented collective rituals, performative lectures and other arms and legs events at Performance Studies international (Providence, RI, London, UK, and New York, NY), Contemporary Artists Center (North Adams, MA and Troy, NY), and throughout Chicago.   Photo: Ben Pegram


Late Night Studio Stomp With Tony Scarimbolo and the Can I Get an Amen Square Dance Band

Featuring paintings by Morgan Sims and Jeff Prokash. Presented by the Milk Factory.   Photo: Ben Pegram


itsa_pony! projects: PJ Party Drop-in Brunchfast

Whether you are in your PJ’s or last night’s party dress, forestall the morning-after walk of shame and come on over to my house between 6am and noon, where I will be serving a hair of the dog, hangover breakfast essentials, and post-festival gossip all morning long. Donation suggested.

itsa_pony! projects is a Chicago-based, nomadic platform for curatorial projects. itsa_pony! projects is all about the participatory, the sincere, the intimate, and the kinda ridiculous.





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