Posted by: Mark Nielsen | October 21, 2008

Art & Identity – My Gallery Show, Plus Some Storytelling Info

 

*Suspension of Disbelief*, one of three sculptures exhibited at In a Flash Gallery

*Suspension of Disbelief* (Mark Nielsen, 2008) - one of three sculptures exhibited at In a Flash Gallery

Thank you, first off, to the people who came out to see our “Flash Art Mob Don’t Blink” group art show last week, in which I exhibited three mixed-media sculptures (see more photos below… and go here for a cool explanation of the “flash mob” concept in general).

Suspension of Disbelief (detail), Mark Nielsen, 2008

Suspension of Disbelief (detail), Mark Nielsen, 2008

It was a whole lot of fun (which was the main point of doing it), with just the right blend of amateur cheerleading/inclusiveness with professional expectations/execution. As I expected, my friend and our host Mark Walden knows some pretty great people, from a variety of walks of life.

Double Wishbone Suspension, Mark & Graham Nielsen, 2008

Double Wishbone Suspension, Mark & Graham Nielsen, 2008

 

 

 

Tacklebox for a Man's Rite of Passage (detail), Mark Nielsen, 2008

Tacklebox for a Man's Rite of Passage, Mark Nielsen, 2008

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I also enjoyed meeting the other visual artists, as well as the spoken word performers who did short pieces alongside my own poem on Saturday night the 18th. “Everybody’s got a story”, as one of our oral storytellers, William Hillman’s business card states. That’s the slogan of the Windy City Story Slam, for which Hillman is a founder, emcee, and ensemble member. 

Telling stories is also the reason I did the sculptures that appeared at In a Flash gallery: to try out a new-to-me, alternative mode to tell my story (besides words on a page, or spoken words), a new way to express or rediscover some of the more mysterious aspects of my identity.

On Saturday night the 18th, former Chicago Golden Gloves champ Hillman, (a.k.a. Bill the Butcher… his stage name, or his fighting nickname?), told a fairly humorous, mostly true story of his fifteen minutes of fame moment, when he got to spar for a full round with former world heavyweight contender Andrew Golota of Poland and Chicago (who should probably have been granted the title, but for some questionable officiating).

The Story Slam, or some noncompetitive version of it as far as I can tell, runs some weeknight at Chenaski’s bar on Damen (though the bar’s event calendar doesn’t list the Slam currently). William and the Slam also have a presence on myspace, which will most likely list an event the next time it’s up and running somewhere around town. (Or maybe he’ll straighten us out on the details as a comment below? Give me a shout out, Bill.)

I suppose I’m still a “word guy” more than a visual artist, though. Which is why this so-called art show post is more about verbal stories than about the photos, pastel work, paintings, origami and other terrific items that were on display at In A Flash (as you can see below). Being a word guy also makes a convenient excuse for the less-than-stellar quality of my low-end digital photos here, too. Oh well.

Various works on display for "Flash Art Mob Don't Blink" in Pilsen

Various works on display for "Flash Mob Art Don't Blink", Oct. 2008

So now, after hearing that the oral tradition is still alive and well in Chicago –with venues like Marc Smith’s Poetry Slam at the Green Mill, and the Windy City Story Slam as noted above– I may have to go pull out “Ricky Ray’s Traveling Body & Fender Show” from my journal (over twenty years ago now), and maybe a few other chestnuts, and work them up for possible performance around town in the future.

Stay tuned to this space for details on various amusements of that sort, and news of any future showings for my sculptures or the other artists in the show. In the meantime, these photos will have to do, and thanks a helluvalot for stoppin’ by!

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