Lubeznik in Michigan City hosts Meloche and various Chicago artists
Monique Meloche has exhibited artists of color at her gallery in Chicago’s West Loop since it opened some 20 years ago. They come from all over the United States and around the world. And they don’t look at the world with kindness.
Meloche has now filled the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City with the work of his artists. She took the time to speak with La Tribune about the “Moniquemeloche presents…” exhibition, which opened in June and will continue until October 21.
She talked about some of the artists in this exhibition, which she curated herself, and how they cleverly change our view of issues.
Lora Fosberg, Lubeznik Exhibitions Director, explains, “Not only is Monique Meloche one of the best galleries in the Midwest, but some of the artists in the exhibit are world-renowned and can be seen in some of the most popular museums and galleries. important. in the world.”
It’s part of Lubeznik’s effort to embrace more diverse artists, following his previous exhibition, “LatinXAmerican.”
March 2022:Got Latinx art? DePaul and Lubeznik in Michigan City make up for the “abyssal” lack.
Artists here include Sanford Biggers, Layo Bright, Dan Gunn, Sheree Hovsepian, Rashid Johnson, Kajahl, Ben Murray, Ebony G. Patterson, Karen Reimer, Jake Troyli and Nate Young.
Q: You say you exhibit at the Lubeznik in part because you have ties there, including a long-standing working relationship with Fosberg, who often works with Chicago artists. Is this your first show at Lubeznik?
This is the first time that I have occupied all the space. They entrusted me with the three galleries to exhibit the artists we have represented for 20 years. Some come from our galleries. Some are special loans from customers. Most of the work is recent.
Q: As you do in your Chicago gallery, it seems like you were aware of how art filled a particular space. You mention an upstairs project room that turned out to have the “perfect dimensions” to display the works of Jamaican artist Ebony G. Patterson. Patterson’s work includes “the project of 72”, which is a combination of digital images, bandanas and other things that reflect a 2010 armed conflict in Jamaica between a drug cartel and the military and police. of the country, in which 73 civilians were killed (72 of them were men).
Once you see it, you’ll think it was made specifically for the room. … I didn’t want to register just any artist. I wanted to keep it with architectural integrity in mind. I am very happy with the installation.
Q: After 20 years of exhibiting diverse artists, are there any new ideas you still get from them?
There are so many different voices. What I find most interesting is that all of these diverse voices are addressing the same issues. And the only voice that doesn’t tackle it is the white dominant voice.
Q: You mention how these issues range from white colonialism in Jamaica to racism in the United States.
Everyone comes with their own voice. I have worked with Vietnamese and Filipinos, but all can be read worldwide. You don’t have to be Filipino. The world opens up to this image. This is the history of the world of art on a global scale, and all their voices are common concerns. They just approach the issue from different angles.
Q: Speaking of artists in the show, tell me about Rashid Johnson.
We started working with him when he was 21. He was born and raised in Chicago. … He came to see me when I was opening the gallery and said, “I want you to represent me. I said, “You have to get your MFA.” He studied photography. He came back. … He became a global superhero.
Q: You describe one of Johnson’s rooms, where he took a picture of his father, enlarged it, and made it into a series, embellished with paint.
He is a very conceptual artist who works in many mediums. … It’s a self-portrait as well as a portrait of his own art history. … It’s (his father’s photo) kind of like a stand-in for Rashid. … His work is endlessly complex. At first it is thought to be just a portrait. Then you realize there’s a lot more going on.
Q: Tell me about the work of New York artist Sanford Biggers in the exhibition.
For the past twelve years he has investigated the history of quilts in relation to the Underground Railroad. There are accounts that there were secret messages embedded in the quilts to indicate if there was safe passage. There is much debate about whether this happened. So he reused quilts from the pre-emancipation era. … He manipulates them (cuts them up, then pieces them into new quilts and artwork). He puts his own hand in his own works. Some traditionalists may say, “How dare you desecrate one of those quilts?” But he considers himself to be in line with his ancestors. He had acquired a whole collection of quilts that were eaten away by moths, which encouraged him to go on. There is an Afro-Asian side to his work as he spent two years in Japan. …Sanford just had a major study of all his quilt works just closed in Louisville (Speed Art Museum). It’s been to the Bronx (New York Museum of the Arts) and Los Angeles (California African American Museum), and there’s a big book (“Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch”).
Q: The narrative on the quilts resembles, in a way, the songs with coded messages that runaway slaves sang to alert themselves along the Underground Railroad. In Zimbabwe, code songs had also been used in its war for black independence.
Her traveling series of quilts is called “Codex”. (The museum’s exhibits were titled “Codeswitch.”)
Q: Biggers also offers a unique take on victims of police brutality, titled “Bam.”
He had a collection of small statues and took them to a shooting range and had someone sculpt them ballistically (just to mangle them). He had them filmed in high definition. And then tanned them. He names each of them for an actual victim. (In the exposure) the video clip is in slow motion, and you hear the gunshot. It is a very serious work that he has done.
Q: These sound like deep and difficult issues.
I was very happy that they gave me the leeway to go. Artists face very serious problems of racism and colonialism. It’s not a walk in the park — what we show in our gallery.
• What: “moniquemeloche presents…”
• Where: Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W. 2nd St., Michigan City
• When: Until October 21
• Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT on Saturdays and Sundays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
• Family day: Free tours, snacks and artistic creation from 1 to 3 p.m. CDT on October 15.
• Visits: Free gallery tours are available for small groups and organizations in English and Spanish. To schedule a docent-led tour, contact Janet Bloch at [email protected] For children’s tours, contact Nelsy Marcano at [email protected]
• COVID protocol: Masks are optional
• Admission: Free
• For more information: Call 219-874-4900 or visit lubeznikcenter.org.