Tag Archives: art of tristan meinecke

In Memoriam: Genevieve “Gene” Bowen

by Legendary Lew

I’m saddened to learn of the passing of important Chicago artist Genevieve “Gene” Bowen. The folks at The Underground Multiplex first met her while working on The Resurrection of Tristan Meinecke.

I found Gene to be a wonderful presence with great stories of working with Tristan Meinecke and her own stories of her artwork.

At the time of our meeting, she (at age 91), had already been a creative force in several media. Everything from paper to canvas to pottery to, most notably, large hunks of metal welded into different shapes and molds.

She also proved to be a great model for motorcycles, as proven by the promo photo above. Yes, she did ride fast cycles when she was younger.

Meinecke Art Space has a great page devoted to here located here.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing her about her life and work. In tribute to her life, work and graciousness, I’m re-posting my interview with Gene held in Noble Square on March 17, 2014.

Thank you, Gene! Chicago is greater because of you!

 

 

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We’re Crazy to Have Waited So Long to See This Go

Meineckeclose

by Legendary Lew

This past Friday night marked a milestone in Chicago cultural history. It was the final night some very lucky art lovers were able to attend a gallery showing of master works in the artist’s original setting.  For the last two weeks, Brad and Scott Meinecke along with their crew of assistants entertained art buyers, visitors, gallery owners and others with the stories behind many of their dad’s art pieces.

But this evening was special, it was a farewell of sorts as some of the works of art had found new homes (over 50 pieces sold during the two weeks). Some friends of The Underground Multiplex stopped by as did some Meinecke family friends and associates.

Among those visiting was Gene, one of Tristan Meinecke’s proteges and his favorite one. She, in fact, helped Tristan create the found art piece commonly known as “The Image” out of a discarded tractor cover. Her recollections of Tristan and Angel Casey made for wonderful listening and put the evening into quite the perspective for me.

"The Face"

“The Image”

“Tristan was not crazy,” the spry 91-year old artist insisted, pointing a finger in a manner indicating she’s heard that accusation too many times before. “He had a mental illness.”

And indeed, Tristan Meinecke was not crazy. He was an irrepressible force of Meineckeclose2nature with a ferocious energy. You could see it in his work, displayed all at once in  his West Rogers Park cottage studio that will now be the stuff of art history.

The madness, the outrage, the playfulness–it was all there for the world to see for two short weeks.  Works hidden–in some cases over a half-century–from a previously uncaring and inattentive public.

We were the crazy ones.

The Meinecke/Casey saga continues. Head on over to the brothers’ home sites for Tristan Meinecke and Angel Casey:
www.tmeinecke.com
www.angelcasey.com

Be on the lookout for The Underground Multiplex TV show coming to CAN-TV! We’ll announce the show’s debut here on TUGM, so join us and check back often!

Untitled (The Official Tristan Meinecke Document Numbering System, Vol 1)

Paintscape no. 15: Punctum Contra Punctum

Paintscape no. 15: Punctum Contra Punctum

by Crystal

The above work is entitled “Paintscape no. 15: Punctum Contra Punctum”. Latin for point – counterpoint, the title leads us to consider the work as a visual debate, as a system in which diverse elements comment upon one another. Monochrome lines whose sweeping curves tease contradictory perspectives out of their sharp intersections weave across intermingled clouds of vivid color. A tag on the back displays the name, but the vast majority of Meinecke’s creations were untitled. This was likely a deliberate choice on his part. He preferred for each person to approach each work without any preconceptions.

1609646_10202941278755014_1189576616_nI ended up giving them all names and, for the most part, repeating those names at everyone until they stuck. Assigning each work an arbitrary number works wonderfully on a spreadsheet, but “b-43” is not especially helpful if you’re calling down a narrow stairwell at someone who’s trying to find it in the dark. In that situation, “the rainbow one with the white lines across it” could narrow it down to this and perhaps four or five other paintings. And this is the only one that’s eight feet long. Thus, to me, Punctum Contra Punctum is a delightful, stress-free object which never once during the inventory process required me to tear out any of my hair or hiss at a fellow project member in frustration. Unlike many of its friends.

There are 263 items in the inventory. They range in size from 11″x12″ sketches on fragile tissue paper (1-84) to the gargantuan split-level that measures out at 97″x50″x4.5″ (pic of b-60 leaning against a ceiling beam).

1-84

1-84

Frames, when present, can be elaborate or simple, and are often painted or uniquely shaped in such a way that they are integral parts of the artwork. A significant number of pieces could legitimately qualify as either painting or sculpture. Most are entirely abstract – though we have a running joke that if you look at any Meinecke creation long enough, you’ll see a face in it.

A guest pointed out the face in this one (1-25) to me, just yesterday, at the end of the second week of the gallery show. I was appropriately flabbergasted and burst out laughing.

Eight months ago I began my own exploration of the Meinecke family’s ground floor and basement. My original task was simply to inventory all the art it contained, and to create an organizational system which would make it possible

1-25

1-25

to keep track of all the items while the collection was cleaned and moved to a storage facility. From my experience in administrative work I knew for certain that this would be an exasperating and tedious task.

I had only the faintest suspicion that it would also be a magical adventure.

Chaos cannot be subdued. Order is forever running after it with cameras begging for a quote. In this series, I invite you to follow in hot pursuit as I strive to create the final, definitive, official Tristan Meinecke document numbering system.

The Gallery of Chicago’s Hysterical Lunatic Genius Opens February 7th

BurningAwareness

Burning with Awareness (1958-1963)

by Legendary Lew

I was trying to expand the medium of painting. Above all I wanted to do away with “good composition”. I aimed at breaking down form. I changed the shape of the work and quit relying on frames. I aspired to total hysteria.
— Tristan Meinecke

Suppose you were contacted one day by the family of a man they said was very close to international fame in the art world. Once you check out the years of art work in the small building currently housing them, you discover that the hundreds of pieces of art have a resonance, vibrancy and vitality unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. You realize you’re standing in the presence of an artist deserving a stature as great as– or even greater than–many of his contemporaries already deemed masters: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko or Phillip Guston.

This experience happened to me and now, through the help of The Underground Multiplex and the Meinecke family, you have a chance of viewing a master’s works up close and personal in his studio building beginning Friday, February 7th.

The Meinecke Family (sons Brad and Scott) are opening up the Meinecke building to the public and press for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the astonishing work of their dad, Tristan Meinecke, an incredibly restless force of nature producing not only hundreds of art pieces during his lifetime, but also performing self-taught jazz and co-founding an architectural firm with Robert Bruce Tague that transformed Lincoln Park.

Among some of the notable traits of Tristan Meinecke’s work was the split-level paintings and shadow boxes displaying a 3D effect that were sometimes only discernible from a distance…

DangerousCurves

Dangerous Curves (late 1950s)

…and also the use of discards. Tents, stray wood pieces and even asphalt freshly poured onto the street in front of his house would be included in some of his masterworks.

The Face 5 Canvass

The Face

As Joe Lewis had written previously, Meinecke and his wife, influential Chicago radio performer and TV host Angel Casey, were a power couple of arts and culture who together were renaissance figures interwoven into the fabric of Chicago.  Learn about both of them at the Meinecke Gallery showing on the following dates:

Opening Night Reception:
Friday, February 7
6pm – 10pm
The Underground Multiplex in attendance

Gallery Shows:
Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12Noon – 3pm
Sunday, Feb. 9 at 12Noon – 3pm
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 5pm – 8pm
Thursday, Feb. 13 at 5pm – 8pm
Friday, Feb. 14 at 5pm – 8pm
Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12Noon – 3pm
Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12Noon – 3pm
Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5pm – 8pm
Thursday, Feb. 20 at 5pm – 8pm

Closing Night Reception:
Friday, Feb. 21
6pm – 10pm
The Underground Multiplex in attendance

Check with The Underground Multiplex for further developments and also check out the following sites:
www.tmeinecke.com
www.angelcasey.com
The Art of Tristan Meinecke on Facebook
Meinecke Project on Twitter