Chicago's Mobile Gallery 'Unpacked' Continues To Provide New Space For Artists

Chicago's Mobile Gallery 'Unpacked' Continues To Provide New Space For Artists

An exhibition on wheels.
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If you have already read Part One of two articles on Unpacked, Unpacked: Our Gallery In A Truck (It's even crazier than it sounds), you are familiar with the artist collective and mobile exhibition space as well as the events of our Chicago opening on May 20th. Here is a more in-depth coverage of the exhibition itself and the curation involved in the themed group show.

Unpacked: Mobile Gallery is a co-op initiative and alternative artist-run exhibition space founded in April of 2017. The DIY artist space is a “mobile gallery” or “pop-up truck show” that allows for guerrilla art shows around the city of Chicago. Exhibiting work in a moving truck is a creative and cost-effective way to conduct pop-up shows in the city. The initiative was founded as a communal project for artists to curate, showcase and have total control over how and where their work is exhibited in a unique and interactive space.


un·pack

/ˌənˈpak/

verb: past tense: unpacked; past participle: unpacked

- open and remove the contents of (a suitcase, bag, or package).

- analyze (something) into its component elements. : explicate unpack a concept


Noah Kashiani

Declined Liability


The unconventional space of a mobile gallery inspired the theme Unpacked. The space is transient, lasting only for a short time, just as the artists of Unpacked are by large working and staying in a place for a short period as graduate students over fifty miles West of Chicago. As DeKalb-based artists many of Unpacked’s members are commuters. To commute from the near-desolate area of DeKalb to the enriched art scene of Chicago for pop-up exhibitions is to build community. Unpacked Collaborative is mobile as a means to strengthen local and global networks. The mobile space supports the informal and formal goals of experimental cultural centers while adding to a tradition of growing independent, cooperative and artist-run spaces in Chicago. Unpacking concepts through an exhibition of transitory objects and art pieces, both the artwork and its artists here today, gone tomorrow. Unpacked offers a closer look at concepts we often digest without full-recognition.


Faith Wittrock

Knick Knack Patty Wack

From icons and images, to literal objects we carry with us from home to home, Unpacked explores an array of ideas communicated as emotional baggage, character complexity, unrealized expectations or short-lived experiences. Faith Wittrock’s Knick-Knack Patty Wack embodies the thrillful re-discovery of a cherished belonging during the tedious process of a move. The tiny picture frames are custom painted treasures enveloping girlhood nostalgia and the sentimental ties embedded within objects. Making a space designated for your cherished objects ties into the romanticization of a new home and new beginning. Carry It With You and Setting Roots tie into this idea of making a new home and claiming a space. Carry It With You is a detailed print of the artist’s apartment and the many objects she surrounds herself with. Samantha Mendoza depicts objects both sentimental and functional, from artwork and books to empty bottles and garbage. The image perpetuates the nontraditional idea of a home not being dependent upon good housekeeping and hospitality, but as a place of solitude. Setting Roots a sculptural piece consisting of a cardboard rose placed on a collection of earth. The materials relate to moving boxes and the land claimed by the artist. Furthering the narrative of claiming land, Gray has urinated on the dirt, as a means of marking his territory.


Samantha Mendoza

Carry It With You


Terrance Gray

Setting Roots


Rebecca Griffith

The Land Before Time (1988 -1998)

Rebecca Griffith creates work that examines the process of coping with her mother’s illness from a young age to adulthood. Her work unpacks the need for protection by making blankets, quilts, and pillows from VHS tapes. The artist’s only recollection of her mother not being sick comes from the early 1990s, when her mother ran a video store, creating a unique relationship to the material. The work transforms the vulnerable, magnetic tape of a VHS into an object of comfort.


Naomi Elson

Open Up

Multi-disciplinary artist, Naomi Elson, invites viewers to contemplate the tradition of weaving as it is regarded today. Textiles have a distinguishable household connection, but she pushes its boundaries further in her dynamic corner piece, Open Up, which opens the question, “does weaving have a place in the art world today?” Her work opens a dialogue with the surrounding environment and creates relationships between the site and the viewer, the horizon line of the exterior and the interior of the mobile gallery, treading the line between acceptance and rejection.


Lauren Iacoponi

Recognize Growth

Fiber artist Lauren Iacoponi reflects vulnerability, acceptance, and progress in Recognize Growth through a balance of vibrancy and darkness in abstract upholstered forms. The installation is equated to a sense of growth paired with the ebbs and flows of life, a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth. Gaping orifices posture the intense need to express or let something out. The outpour can be viewed as a necessary cleansing. Where the dark knotted strands seem ominous, the soft peach strands unpack an entirely different narrative, communicating one’s needs and having the courage to be honest with others and oneself. These forms can be seen flourishing as a result in flowery upholstered blossoms. As a whole, the installation relies on parts and counterparts. The upholstered objects can be seen as seductive, comical, weighted, erotic or absurd. The contrasting material invites contemplation where the viewer can glean a poetic, emotional narrative of tension and release, decline and regrowth.


Shane Bowers

Declined Liability

Sculptural artist Shane Bowers brings forth the idea that identity is translucent in society. The self preservation of identity is broken down and rebuilt again and again. Bower’s self portrait deals with the artist’s experience with transformation, and contemplation of what is behind one’s own mask. Identity carries on as an important role in Rafael Rocha’s work, which depicts bags of fruits. Though seemingly simple in subject, the work plays on the dichotomy of Latin and Euro Americanism, which unravels issues of cultural and self-identity. Rocha intends to break down issues of oppressive hyphenated classism through his exquisitely crafted piece. The canon of traditional sculpture is used as a repetitive vehicle to purge ideas of identity at a personal and social level. Rocha's colors celebrate spiritual wealth the way these marginalized communities utilize color to visually enrich their environment.


Rafael Rocha Jr.

Earnings


Reints offers a glimpse at emotional baggage in her moving self-portrait Just Looking. Her statement chronicles the quick unraveling of the events that take place when faced with cancer:

Tuesday, January 10th - meeting with doctor for pain in right breast

Monday, January 16th - mammogram

Tuesday, January 24th - biopsy

Thursday, January 26th - biopsy results

Monday, January 30th - meet with surgeon

Friday, February 3rd - ocular x-ray and MRI

Tuesday, February 7th - Redo MRI, blood work for genetic counseling

Tuesday, February 21st - Genetic testing results

Friday, February 24th - Meet lawyer for medical power of attorney, will, and living trust

Wednesday, March 1st - Surgery

Tuesday, March 7th - Post op appointment

Wednesday, March 29th - Treatment plan appointment

Wednesday, April 5th - 2nd opinion

Monday, April 10th - Pick up dry ice for cold cap therapy, unpack caps

Tuesday, April 11th - Begin chemotherapy



This is just the beginning for us, we plan on continuing to use this pop-up artist space for many exhibitions to come. This project-space will travel and exhibit throughout the greater Chicagoland area from “First Fridays” in Pilsen, to openings in the West Loop artist district. We are making a name for ourselves and invite you to join us on that journey.


To follow our space more closely

- Visit Our Website
- "Like" Our Facebook Page
- "Follow" Us on Instagram



Cover Image Credit: Photo by Lauren Ike

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7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important

"Literature Is One Of The Most Interesting And Significant Expressions Of Humanity." -P. T. Barnum
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Today, there are too many people who believe that literature is simply not important or underestimate its abilities to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life, and that one who is more passionate toward literature and other art forms will be destined to a life of low-paying jobs and unsatisfying careers. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is insignificant. To me, however, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world. Here are just a few reasons why literature is important.

1. Expanding horizons

First and foremost, literature opens our eyes and makes us see more than just what the front door shows. It helps us realize the wide world outside, surrounding us. With this, we begin to learn, ask questions, and build our intuitions and instincts. We expand our minds.

2. Building critical thinking skills

Many of us learn what critical thinking is in our language arts classes. When we read, we learn to look between the lines. We are taught to find symbols, make connections, find themes, learn about characters. Reading expands these skills, and we begin to look at a sentence with a larger sense of detail and depth and realize the importance of hidden meanings so that we may come to a conclusion.

3. A leap into the past

History and literature are entwined with each other. History is not just about power struggles, wars, names, and dates. It is about people who are products of their time, with their own lives. Today the world is nothing like it was in the 15th century; people have changed largely. Without literature, we would not know about our past, our families, the people who came before and walked on the same ground as us.

4. Appreciation for other cultures and beliefs

Reading about history, anthropology, or religious studies provides a method of learning about cultures and beliefs other than our own. It allows you to understand and experience these other systems of living and other worlds. We get a view of the inside looking out, a personal view and insight into the minds and reasoning of someone else. We can learn, understand, and appreciate it.

5. Better writing skills

When you open a book, when your eyes read the words and you take in its contents, do you ask yourself: How did this person imagine and write this? Well, many of those authors, poets, or playwrights used literature to expand their writing.

6. Addressing humanity

All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection. We learn that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring. We learn that life must be lived to the fullest. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity.

Literature is important and necessary. It provides growth, strengthens our minds and gives us the ability to think outside the box.

Cover Image Credit: google.com/images

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Here's Why You Find Lara Jean The Most Relatable Character Ever

If you haven't seen this movie, you've got to!

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First of all, let's just say this is the cutest teen movie I've ever seen in my life.

All of the characters, while some of them may be a little trope-y, they're done in a way that makes them all authentic, honest and original. I love them all.

Everyone has a back story and is explained well enough that you know what their role is. Some movies don't do this well. Even though you basically know what's going to happen, because, at the end of the day it is still a teen movie, you're going to sob and maybe even scream.

But back to my queen, Lara Jean, and why she's the absolute best

1. She Has Amazing Style

Were y'all keeping up with the fact that she was putting complete and total looks together that entire time? From the socks to the scrunchies, to the shoes; she looked great every single day! I really can't even believe Gen tried to come for her? Rude.

2. Her Best Friend Is Also Cool

Chris AND Lara Jean together?! Stylish, fashionable, hilarious: iconic! 10/10, I love their friendship and how they're the only ones each other trusts. The way they take care of and look out for one another is great. Plus they both have such great personalities.

3. She Daydreams

I love how Lara Jean lives in her own head. She has all these ideas of what love is because she's read about it and imagined it, but she's never experienced it before. Reminds me of someone I know (me).

4. She Pushes People Away

Not necessarily a positive thing about her, but this makes Lara Jean a real person and less like every other perfect fairytale, teen romance movie to ever be made. She has a problem letting people in and her background and the dialogue in the movie actually explains why.

5. She's Not One Of The Popular Kids

Whenever they make a teen movie, there's always the popular kids and I love when the protagonist/main character isn't one of them. I wasn't one of them in high school, so making movies about the cool kids doesn't make them easy to root for.

6. She's a Person of Color

Do you know how great it is to see a POC as the lead in a teen movie? I watch a lot of these because I'm garbage and it's usually a blonde white girl who's like stereotypically attractive but not "popular," and it just makes the movie harder to relate to. I think having the lead be a person of color makes the movie a little more accessible to more people. Because people who look like Lara Jean can see themselves in her and it's important for young people of all types to be recognized in media so they can feel heard and understood. I just love that!

7. She Wins In The End

Even After Gen was terrible to her the whole movie and she lost Peter, Josh and her own freakin' sister, she eventually gets the boy and repairs her relationship with her best friend and her sister! Ahhh, We love a happy ending!

As I said before, this is truly one of the greatest movies I've seen in a very very very long time. All of the characters are so likable, even Lara Jean's dad. It's like "Mean Girls" but so much cuter and less dramatic.

As a fan of the genre of teen romance, I'm glad a movie like this exists, with a woman of color as the lead and a sad backstory, but a cute and witty family. It's truly all the things I ever wanted in a teen romance.

Thanks, "To All the Boys I've Loved Before."

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