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!
This episode of Mediatrocities finds me chatting with the bro/sis duo of Brian & Heidi Anne Chankin as they prepare for the grand opening of their new art gallery space, Deadly Prey Gallery. The Ghanaian posters you see on this site represent some of the craziness you’ll find within their walls.
Give a listen to the interview:
Brian Chankin was on a previous episode of Mediatrocities. You can listen to that
Deadly Prey Gallery Owners Brian & Heidi Anne Chankin (Courtesy: DNAInfo)
Also, Brian’s other business, Odd Obsession Movies, is moving and they need their lost films returned and fines paid up. If you’ve held on to his films like they were your furniture, please return them and pay your fines. Odd Obsession serves a great purpose in Chicago, exposing viewers to rare cinema you can’t find anywhere else, including online. So please help them out and share the news.
It’s rare that I can approach someone to ask, “May I film your soft opening?” and receive an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
But in this case, I’m talking about Brian Chankin, one of Chicago true treasures of the indie scene. For years, he’s been running Odd Obsession Movies, one of the greatest independent video stores anywhere (catch my 2013 interview with him here).
Now he and his sister, Heidi Anne Chankin, are just about to “soft open” (the
The show doesn’t have a theme that the title may suggest, though there will be a nod of recognition that people of Generation X are now growing old and some of the things that were once charming aren’t aging very well. Time’s inevitable hands are slowly choking the youth out of a large group of people who declared that they’d never grow old. Alas, there will also be paintings of cats & food.
It’s a one-night deal, so I guess you can consider this a sort of pop-up art event with genuine talent attached to it. Bring your cash, as the Reggae and African tunes will help loosen your wallets.
Elvia Carreon by Derek Erdman
Brian and Heidi will also have a selection of Ghanian movie and business poster art from their collection. If you’ve not seen any of these insanely wild illustrations, you are definitely missing out.
TyPi and I will be along for the event and will gather up some video to present as part of TUGM’s Noble Square video series on YouTube. Go check out that page for more vids of our adventures there.
The Underground Multiplex moves from its current location, the Brain Kitchen, on Saturday! History was made there as we’ve met with wonderful people, hosted jazz concerts, held interviews with TV news and radio stations, entertained partygoers with music and movies, and developed our philosophy of collectivism in art and art promotion.
The Brain Kitchen was a special place, but always a physically limited space, so we are off to plant roots in a new home TBD soon.
In the meantime, there are artifacts we will be selling in a wild and funky yard sale Wednesday 5/28 and Friday 5/30 from 3pm-8pm at our grand location at 1424 N Greenview in Chicago. Among the items being sold are Joe’s crazy artwork, some of my insanely cheap but interesting records. books, games, a super 8mm camcorder, a super 8 Sound FILM camera with telescoping mic and various other goodies. However, please do note the following:
Please don’t ask what specifically we’ll be selling. I’m way too busy packing and working to reply. Just stop by.
NO, we are not selling marionettes.
NO, we are not selling Meinecke or related artwork.
No early birds. We begin promptly at 3pm. Early birds will be plucked and deep fried with a delicious golden brown beer battered coating.
Come on over and pick up a piece of Chicago newsmaker history!
PLUS–Lew, co-founder of TUGM, is still looking for a roommate for a West Logan Sq apartment sublet beginning June 1st – August 31st. Strongly preferring someone who will continue on with a lease on Sept. 1st. If you are serious and interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
On March 17, 2014, I had the privilege of interviewing Gene Bowen, artist and sometime collaborator with Chicago legend Tristan Meinecke. Among the topics covered were her career in art and her remembrances of both Tristan Meinecke and Angel Casey. She was joined by Crystal Eidson, researcher and part of the Meinecke Studio team. Give a listen!
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.
“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 nature 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.
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.
I 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).
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
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.
TUGM is a community-arts organization dedicated to locally-produced transmedia.
What is transmedia? We like to think of it as:
VIDZ PIX TXT TRAX.
We advocate for independent artists and content creators. We produce live events to strengthen the local arts community. We also organize our own original transmedia productions.
Based in Chicago.
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