“Illustrating the Possible”

“This is the thing about the art market. If a young kid isn’t invited to know what they have inside them, and how to unlock that, then what they have is just devices. And you pretty quickly run out of devices. I had a life before all this. The lights were off for me, I was out in the shed, but that was a really useful way into this world…I am invested in illustrating the possible.”

Theaster Gates talking about art and autobiography and “what happens when you stay”. Please read the rest here.

Things That Strengthen Us, pt 2 of 2

From Christian Wiman’s meditation, in My Bright Abyss (pg. 161):

Life tears us apart, but through those wounds, if we have tended them, love may enter us.  It may be the love of someone you have lost.  It may be the love of your own spirit for the self that at time you think you hate.  However it comes through, in all these—of all these and yet more than, so much more—there burns the abiding love of God.  But if you find that you cannot believe in God, then do not worry yourself with it.  No one can say what names or forms God might take, nor gauge the intensity of unbelief we may need to wake up our souls.  My love is still true, my children, still with you, still straining through your ambitions and your disappointments, your frenzies and forgetfulness, through all the glints and gulfs of implacable matter—to reach you, to help you, to heal you.

Things That Strengthen Us, pt 1 of 2

From Christman Wiman’s meditation, in My Bright Abyss, undoubtedly written first to the close loves of his life (pg. 161):

My loves, I will be with you, even if I am not with you.  Every day I feel a little more the impress of eternity, learn a little more “the discipline of suffering which leads to peace of the spirit,” as T. S. Eliot said, writing of the seventeenth-century poet and priest George Herbert (read him!), who died when he was thirty-nine and had only recently found true happiness with his new wife and new commitment to God.  My loves, I love you with all the volatility and expansiveness of spirit that you have taught me to feel, and I feel your futures opening out from you, and in those futures I know my own.  I will be with you.  I will comfort you in your despair and I will share in your joy.  They need not be only grief, only pain, these black holes in our lives.  If we can learn to live not merely with them but by means of them, if we can let them be part of the works of sacred art that we in fact are, then these apparent weaknesses can be the very things that strengthen us.

Looking To Move?

I saw this article in the printed January 2012 issue of Chicago Magazine.  It highlights Ed Marszewski, an artist and entrepreneur in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.  Ed is also a father.  He and his wife, Rachael, are raising a daughter, and he talks about his daughter being the motivation for the spread of business, community, and artistic activities he’s involved with.  I was glad to read it given Bridgeport’s history and its meaning, particularly for black folks in Chicago though that history isn’t the subject of the piece.  The article is also online here thankfully:

There’s a new mayor in Bridgeport, and his name is Ed Marszewski. Yes, the Daley legacy still hangs over this South Side stomping ground, an area known in the 1800s as Hardscrabble for its blue-collar residents and in later decades as the home of Richards J. and M. and the Sox. But Marszewski—owner of the contemporary art gallery Co-Prosperity Sphere; publisher of the art magazines Proximity and Matériel, the left-leaning Lumpen, and the newsletter Bridgeport International; coorganizer of the art fairs MDW and Version; and owner, with his mother and brother, of the bar Maria’s—has his own vision for the neighborhood. He calls it the Community of the Future. And he has blueprints for how to make it happen, beginning with a new brainstorming session Sundays at Maria’s—just don’t call it a salon. This is Bridgeport. It’s a bar night.

Though he’s worked off and on at the tap since his mom, Maria, took over the place in 1986, Marszewski, 43, an Evergreen Park native, first moved to Bridgeport in 1998. He’s had his finger in a bunch of pies since, but he has recently ratcheted up his involvement in economic and cultural development—beginning with the 2010 overhaul of the bar, from an old-timers’ dive to an all-welcoming craft beer destination, and lately with efforts to match budding entrepreneurs to empty storefronts.

Why the flurry? Marszewski has an ulterior motive: “All of this activity stems from the fact that I have a baby girl.” That would be Ruby Dean, not quite two, his daughter with his wife, Rachael, an artist Marszewski met when she moved in next door to the bar. “It’s very selfish. We want to increase business here because we want people to have jobs here. We want people to know this isn’t scary old Bridgeport,” he says, citing reduced gang presence, better infrastructure, and a more inclusive attitude from the local government. “I’ll work on any possible project to make this neighborhood awesome.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.