2nd Floor Rear is a 24-hour festival of experimental spaces, apartment galleries, and ephemeral and migrant projects, celebrating Chicago’s vibrant community of alternative and DIY art spaces.

In 1980, the Neoists, a little-known avant-garde subculture descended from Fluxus, held their first annual “International Neoist Apartment Festival,” or APT, a four-day long event complete with concerts, performances, film screenings, and installations, in the apartment of one the group’s members. Drawing on the 24-hour block party model (as with Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Mainx24 festival) 2nd Floor Rear adapts the spirit of APT to a condensed, 24-hour timeline, with activities ongoing from noon on Saturday until noon the following Sunday.


Events // February 9, 2013


The Garden Apartment: Precious Moments


Precious Moments takes its name from the ubiquitous line of kitschy figurines found on knickknack shelves nation wide. These doe eyed children reveal a tension between a desire to project an inherent innocence, faith, devotion and naivete and the more turbulent and sinister aspects of human nature. The works in this show attempt to reveal the many facets of that tension by recognizing the real and true points of origin of that innocence and to uncover what lies at the heart of such a seemingly sincere gesture.

Featuring works by:
Aiden Simon
Ben Brown
Troy Briggs
Jeremiah Jones
Greely Myatt
Duncan MacKenzie

At 4pm preeminent Precious Moments scholar, Jenny Benevento, will speak about the Precious Moments figurines and other manifestations of religion and popular culture.
Donut social from 3:30-6pm.

Curated by Ann Meisinger, Laura-Caroline Johnson and Jeremiah Jones





Casa Duno: Nora Nieves and Matthew Schlagbaum: Amulets and Heirlooms

By exhibiting works by Nora Nieves and Matthew Schlagbaum at Reform Objects, a local mid-century modern furniture and housewares shop, we suggest that the works are, in fact, objects intended to furnish the home as nostalgic icons; representations of people and places past, nods to bygone emotions and identities, and admissions of failure and intentions to persevere.

Matthew Schlagbaum draws from nostalgia, identity, and remnants of the past to examine failed relationships and the precariousness of intimacy. His works are postmortem mementos that investigate the points of no return and serve as reminders of the adage, “Vision in hindsight is 20-20.” Several of his works incorporate expanding foam, a material that, by nature, leads to unpredictable outcomes. Schlagbaum embraces this unstable medium, allowing opportunities for chance to inform the result. While the completed objects may seem to be dense and heavy, literally sagging under the weight of material, they are actually remarkably lightweight and inevitably perishable. We find this paradox emblematic of the themes at play in this series of works: the ambiguity, artifice, falseness, and fragility that plague our relationships with others.

Nora Nieves, too, is motivated by a strong sense of nostalgia, although her emphasis is on places rather than people. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Nieves immigrated to the continental U.S. at the age of 27. Since, she has moved frequently into various rented spaces that have never felt like “home”. A perpetual, unsettling sense of placelessness and an overwhelming desire to belong dominate Nieves’s studio practice. She seeks catharsis through her works–floorplans from memory, repetitive floor tile patterns, and as of late, oversized amulets. Nieves’s resolve to remedy this discomfort have lead her to create her most recent body of works: decorative elements for the home that aim to combat notions of impermanence through symbolic proprietorship.





The Society of Smallness and Clutch Gallery present: Unsuspicious Activity Around an Attended Package

The Society of Smallness was established to oversee things and happenings fitting in the actual or symbolic space no bigger than a breadbox. True to our mission, we have moved into Clutch, the 25-inch square gallery that resides in Meg Duguid’s purse and is now our temporary headquarters.

For 2FR, the SOS will ride the rails with Clutch on the CTA Blue Line between Division and Logan Square. Our good looking and moderately talented docents will give guided tours of Clutch. Periodically, if we know our docents, they will grow distracted and wander off the El to get a drink, type an urgent letter, or visit other 2FR exhibitors.

The show in Clutch will feature Floating Drawings, an exquisite installation of miniature sculpture by Alexis Petroff. This is a show not to be missed!

Follow us on Twitter for our location. Hashtags: #SOS, #Clutch and #2ndfloor

Instigators, docents, and unpaid interns:

The Society of Smallness, Clutch, Alexis Petroff, Bryant Godinez, Carl Boyd, Chris Chen, Exmeralda Flores, Georgina Valverde, Kat Seno, Lissette Bustamante, Captain Fun Luvin’ Marcos Herrera, Mario Ortiz, Matt Stone, Meg Duguid, Michael Branigan, Oscar Baeza, Patrick McGee, Roberta Jacobs, and 2 French students…possibly 3.





Autotelic {Studios}: Open Studios & Coffee Colloquy

coffeecolloquy2Autotelic {Studios} is a community art studio located in a storefront just south of Milwaukee Ave. in the Logan Square/Avondale area. We currently house 6 emerging local artists and, as appointed through the Twofold collaborative project, one temporary resident. One of our main goals as an organization is not only to provide workspace for creative individuals, but also to supply them with the tools and opportunities to develop sustainable relationships and practices. Autotelic launched with the belief that in order to have successful and sustainable creative careers, we must work with and around people with varying perspectives, insights and resources. Community building is the essence of Autotelic, and we are always looking for ways to involve our own little group in the larger Chicago art community.

For the 2nd Floor Rear festival, we’re hosting an open studio that exhibits the current work of the artists working in our space. Additionally, in the spirit of community and conversation, we’re opening up our private residential kitchen above the storefront as a meeting place for the creative early birds from 7am until noon February 10th. We will provide hot coffee and tea to all visitors in the hopes to open up a conversation about community and congregation.





Abbéy Odunlami: Situation # 2 dinner with photographers 

The piece seeks to create a transitory moment and make a strong statement simultaneously for complete strangers through the experience of dinning. The moment will give regard to conditions and circumstances. The combination of circumstances and this given moment will create a state of affairs, i.e. a situation. To build on the piece that is the situation, a critical, problematic, or striking set of circumstances will be outlined; there will be a variation of topics of conversations to be had over this meal that will be chosen at random from a jar of quotes, and pre-listed topics written by colleagues, friends, and collaborators.

The dinner guests will be 4 photographers and I (5 people total) who have no known relation or exposure to one another other than their connection and curation by me. The main thing they’ll have in common will be they are all photographers.

As the dinner and conversation begins the second portion of the situation occurs.  The second portion being the relationship this situation has with the audience who are the pedestrians on the platform at any given moment the situation persists. Creating the dialogue that seeks to juxtapose “our” relationship with food, art, and commerce, and the idea of privilege.

As our audience experiences the piece, they are challenged to recognize how our relationship with viewing high art/ conceptual art relates to culture and ultimately can easily comment on our relationship with food. Who gets to eat? …and who gets to eat well? Those who pay. i.e. there are not free rides as in order to view the art/this situation or eat decently you have to pay a transit fee of $2.25.





back room projects presents: balanced and stacked


“balanced and stacked” is an interactive installation housed within a briefcase that explores our lives, our identities, and how we organize everything we encounter to keep our lives balanced. Viewers are invited to write down something they experiences during that day, a moment of their life that they had to process and balance, and add it to the installation. Viewers are also invited to read, move, and otherwise reconfigure the piece, thus testing its balance and changing the stacks. The briefcase gallery, called back room projects presents and dedicated to showing mini-art installations, is a new mobile gallery space that will travel from venue to venue, checking in on twitter and Facebook to announce events and showings. back room projects presents is organized by Jennifer Hines, a fine artist and arts organizer who ran back room projects, an apartment gallery in Avondale in 2010-2011. Hines’s work focuses on memory, narrative, and identity, and she works mainly on paper creating drawings, paintings, photography, installations, and other mixed-media pieces. The piece “balanced and stacked” explores the conceptual ideas in her “Balance” body of work, delving into the narratives and experiences of our daily lives and our process of organizing and cataloguing them, all of which build our individual identities.





 Chiara Galimberti: If  You See Something, Say Something: 99 Red Balloons

DSC_0055 copy

“My work tends to be context and place specific rather than self-referential. I am particularly interested in analyzing human behavior and the social dynamics of oppression as they play out in everyday life, and in investigating art’s place within that space. Though lately I have been working in public space, the medium and modality of the practice is not fixed, but takes the needed form to fulfill a particular investigation or project.”









Lisa Vinebaum: New Demands?

sign high_blue wall + yellow

When and why do artists work for free? What constitutes “fair pay” for working artists? (How) do abuses and gains for workers in the larger economy impact artists and cultural workers? Through the performance I hope to generate dialogue and discussion with members of the public on the definition and value of artistic work, its relationship to timed labor more generally, and the lack of precarious economic position of most working artists.

This performance is inspired by developments inside and outside of the art world, notably: cutbacks to wages and workers’ rights across the USA; attempts to limit unions and eliminate unionized jobs (within the art world, for example, Sotheby’s recent lockout of its unionized professional art handlers); and efforts by some arts organizations and WAGE/Working Artists and the Greater Economy — and more locally, threewalls — to survey working conditions for artists and initiate efforts to pay artists a fair wage for their work. This performance draws inspiration from historical and contemporary instances of artists organizing for better working conditions such as the Art Workers Coalition and Occupy Museums.

This performance is part of an ongoing series of walking performances titled New Demands? that commemorate histories of labor activism and draw attention to the ongoing erosion of workers’ rights.





Hard Gallery: Meandering: An Art Show Based on Astroturf

Meandering is a playful discussion focused on the idea and material of Astro-Turf.  Astro-Turf has been utilized for a multitude of purposes: in sporting events, as a colorful adornment for vehicles, upholstery on furniture, and even as questionably fashionable material for handbags and clothing. We have now taken Astro-turf on the next step of its evolutionary journey: to be employed as artwork. Why did we invent an unnatural plasticized object to represent a natural growth? What is it that makes a person continue their lawn to their front door in a cascade of shiny green plastic? Artists in Meandering have taken on the task of answering these questions in every way, shape, and form.





Adult Contemporary: Stranger Danger


Inspired by an interest in a wide range of love stories, Brotman and Gnatowski work to curate their pieces as lovers, friends, and relationships in between. Adult Contemporary offers the dramatic stage for these stories to unfold.







LAWN* Gallery: Conophone and Inyard/Outyard

By intermixing audio and visual components, digital and sculptural medias, and locations within, adjacent to, and even above the Lawn Gallery we hope to find and elaborate on connecting points, and draw attention to how an alternative space does or does not fit into the surrounding neighborhood.

LAWN Gallery* is an out door project-based exhibition space in Logan Square. It was founded in October 2011 by Betsy Zacsek and Juneer Kibria, as the outgrowth of an absurdist idea.  The project became an essential element in exploring the blurred work/life divide between the Artists, building a creative community close to home, and creating a place for a unique type of voice to be heard. The Gallery features short term installations by emerging artists within the backdrop of an urban yard.  The space presents several metropolitan oddities such as a wooden fire escape, herb garden, over grown weeds, concrete, alleyways, neighbors, and the ever present shifting of Chicago whether. Artists are invited to accentuate, utilize and respond to the space, incorporating the reality of an unkempt yard into their installations.





Tony Balko at the STOREFRONT: Party On, Pedestal

Commencing at sundown on February 9, the STOREFRONT will present Party On, Pedestal, an immersive audio-visual installation and performance by artist Tony Balko.  Projected light, fog and sound will transform the white-walled gallery space of the STOREFRONT into a visceral pulsating room of solid color culminating with a 30 minute live performance by the artist at 9pm sharp.

About the Artist:
Tony Balko is an artist and educator from Smithton, Pennsylvania, USA.  He works primarily in the moving image, most often attempting to elicit the ecstatic in the viewing experience.  He received his MFA in Film, Video, Animation and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also co-founded the monthly screening series Light Stroke. His work has shown throughout the United States and internationally in museums, galleries and micro-cinemas, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Milwaukee Art Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), 21C Museum (Louisville), Jefferson Presents…(Pittsburgh), Green Lantern Gallery (Chicago), New Nothing Cinema (San Francisco), and Stereo Underground (Seoul, South Korea).






Happy Collaborationists: Happy Collaborationists present Mothergirl’s Two Women Do Three Things


Two Women Do Three Things is an installation of three successive performances.

When we are sexualized, we are somehow at our most powerful and our most vulnerable. Most powerful, because our bodies are the visual currency that underpins consumer culture. Most vulnerable, because this currency, our image, belongs to the culture, and not to ourselves.

Mothergirl, Katy Albert and Sophia Hamilton, is a performance duo living and working in Chicago, IL. Their performances range from installation, durational event, and guided audience interaction. Through the use of persona, sculpture, and costume, they create metaphor environments to interact with and observe.

Currently HATCH residents at Chicago Artists’ Coalition and 2012 ACRE residents, MG has performed in Rough Trade II, Out of Site, Defibrillator Gallery, Roxaboxen, and the Milk Factory Gallery. They are founders and hosts of Bits and Pieces: A Monthly Salon for Ideas and Experiments.

Happy Collaborationists is the curatorial collective of Anna Trier and Meredith Weber. “Happy C” provides exhibition opportunities for performance, installation and media works – including but not limited to solo exhibitions, public programming and private event planning. Together Anna and Meredith also collaborate on their own performance art practice under the name Meredith and Anna.






Above Market Apartment Gallery: For a Private Space

What does it mean to allow the public into your private space? Five multi- disciplinary artists respond to a specific home environment, creating a unified space that incorporates the tension and freedom that comes from allowing the industriousness of art making to invade the privateness of home. The work presented explores the social, cultural, and political ramifications of our shifting perceptions of public and private space.

Featuring: Guy Eytan, Sarah Knudtson, Audra Jacot, Edward Muela and Christine Shallenberg






L.C. Johnson and K. Lenz present: Forgiving Resurrections


3060 Cortland is hosting an installation by eco and performance artist Meghan Moe Beitiks followed by a performance/resurrection ceremony by glitch art/dirty new media collective dither_d00m.

Dither Doom’s aesthetic combines Mayan mythology, graphic visual imagery and sound and design elements that evoke contemporary apocalyptic paranoia. Their micro-movement ended when the world failed to do the same on December 21st, 2012. For 2nd Floor Rear they will be back together for a “resurrection” ceremony to re-open the discourse their project began.

Moe Beitiks is a performance artist operating via installations, photography, and videography. For 2nd Floor Rear, Moe will extend a previous installation, Lab for Forgiveness and Apologies, by exhibiting apology videos, new versions of her ecological and scientific diagrams, and her recent forays into experimenting with the combination of radio- and ecological elements. This 2nd Floor Rear kitchen installation will be used to consider connections between the levels of appliance radiation and the radiation emitted at Red Gate Woods, a forest preserve park where parts of the Manhattan Project are buried.
Curatorially, a dialogic experiment is encouraged, sparked by the seemingly opposed arguments and possible solutions presented in these concurrently presented forms.






Jesse Malmed: Mic Check 

jessem3Evolving forms, normal jokes for weirdos, inside out sounds and all the while language is becoming: a show in a home featuring 2 laptops, an installation (look for the wall on the wall), two new projections and a performance at 1:00 AM. Works include New Camera, a field recording from the screen world of records; FLICK/E/R FILM, a low-tech animation implicating Tony Conrad, splash pages, Yahoo! images and the listserv it might be best suited to; and a suite of wonky trailers. At 1:00 AM, Jesse presents (with your help) Selections from the Body Electronic, an evolving video-based performance rife with conceptually rich video L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetics, process-intensive bi-fidelity abstractedelia and the participatory CONVERSATIONAL KARAOKE!! (in which audience members perform dizzying, strange and incisive texts of the artist’s design).

Jesse Malmed is an artist and curator working in moving images, performance and text. He has screened and performed at venues like the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center, Light Industry, the Shanghai Biennial and will premiere WREADING at the 2013 Chicago Underground Film Festival. In addition to his creative work, he programs the peripatetic Deep Leap Microcinema and writes about experimental moving images and their makers for Bad at Sports, CINE-FILE, YA5 and Incite Journal. He earned a BA from Bard College and presently attends the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.






itsa_pony! projects: Roasty Toasty Snooze ‘N’ Booze Theater

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 9.57.24 PM

At 2am sharp we’re going to take down the video installations and cushion-bomb the living room so weary festival-goers can relax and chill out to some chilly films.

Fargo, Cohen Bros

Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson

Frozen River, Courtney Hunt

Films subject to change. Winter treats served throughout the night.






Events // February 10, 2013




foggy morning 1

FOGGY MORNING is a music and performance event happening on Sunday,
February 10, from 10 am until noon.  BIG FOREVER in East Humboldt Park
is filling their house with fog and breakfast.  Dreamy music will be
performed by Jazz Bat, Vehicle Blues, Detective Novel, and Ari Mejia.
Performance by Sophia Hamilton, and a wall puzzle by Jess LeMaster.

Jazz Bat
Vehicle Blues
Detective Novel
Ari Mejia
Sophia Hamilton
Jess LeMaster

Big Forever is a crumbling two -story building built in 1899 in the
process of being flipped. However, the intention of the current
tenants of BF (formerly of Ball Hall and The Moon) is for this venue
to have infinite longevity as a place for music, musicians,
performances, performers, art, and artists.

Be our BFF:






Logan Square Farmers Market

lsfm 1

Since 2005, the Logan Square Farmers Market has been an open-air food market and weekly community gathering.  In 2009, it extended its operation to include an indoor market during the fall and winter months. The Market is open from 10 am to 2pm every Sunday at the Congress Theater from November through March, and will move outdoors to Logan Boulevard from May 19 though the end of October.

The Market is operated by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, an association of nearly 150 local businesses whose mission is to advance the civic and commercial interests of Logan Square.  The Chamber is a tax exempt 501(c)6 not-for-profit community organization.

The Market is a place where regional farmers and sustainable food producers sell their goods and build relationships with consumers, where residents come to see their neighbors, be fed and entertained, and participate in the Logan Square community.






Elastic Arts and the East Garfield Park Urban Golf League present: Anamalis Baculus Minimus

golf 7

…an animal themed mini golf park made by artists from recycled and reclaimed materials accompanying Elastic’s current exhibit  – Anamalis Propensio – from artist Greg Shirilla.

all ages FREE

Artists build “holes” with animal themes, made from recycled/reclaimed wood and cardboard, etc. to create a mini golf course.  An art display that is interactive and hands on for all ages, showcasing Elastic’s ongoing efforts to bring together community in a creative fashion.

The Elastic Arts Foundation presents creative music, multi-disciplinary performances, literary and theater productions, art exhibitions, and film/video screenings – establishing itself as a respected leader among grassroots performance organizations in Chicago. Elastic has been working as a collective for nearly 15 years. By fostering the development and presentation of innovative, non-conventional artists and art forms, Elastic also provides the public with valuable and unique aesthetic and cultural events in an intimate performance environment, free from commercial restraints.

The EGPUGL (East Garfield Park Urban Golf League) was started by friends/artists living in the area to explore the great outdoors, meet neighbors and encourage community interaction and dialogue. Inspired by the rugged roots of the game of golf (Scotland) and by the green spaces in the neighborhood (Conservatory, Garfield Park, vacant lots), EGPUGL is open to any all and all – and, no, you do not have to know how to golf, but you do have to wear plaid.

Greg Shirilla’s Animalis Propensio is a collection of drawings and paintings of portraits of animals. The portraits are gentle and affectionate, displaying Shirilla’s connection to creatures over his own human counterparts. He was born in the wonderfully rusting and collapsing city of Youngstown, Ohio. Raised on a diet of great pizza, heavy metal, comic books, and sneaking beers from the fridge, it’s no wonder he turned out the way he did. Shirilla lives with 2 cats, a frog, a mini bar, and a “vintage” tube television that is always running in the background.

Animal crackers and Arnie Palmers/ John Dalys will be served.

Clubs and balls provided.   Best plaid dressed wins a prize.    Family friendly.    Free.

For more information on the artist and the Elastic Arts Foundation visit



To see the complete archive of photos and videos, check out our Flickr.

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