In the late summer of 2013, year of the XTRACT, the sons of Tristan Meinecke partnered with The Underground Multiplex (TUGM) to resurrect the story of their iconic rebel parents. TUGM is one of the Shy City’s most ardent supporters of local underground art, and the art of patriarch Tristan Meinecke was as underground as it gets- literally!
The career of Chicago’s forgotten lunatic genius spanned over five decades and included successful forays into nearly every art medium available. His mastery was well-known by those that knew of him, but mental illness and his commitment to his family led him to eschew the art world entirely. He never stopped working, and after 88 years of pushing every boundary he ever encountered, Tristan passed in 2004. Everything he ever made that wasn’t sold (about 1/3 of his total canon) was found in the basement of the building inherited by his sons, Brad and Scott.
VIDEO – First inspection of the Meinecke basement by TUGM co-founder Joseph R. Lewis
Their mother, Lorraine ‘Angel’ Casey was a television pioneer. She was amongst the first wave of producers and performers to migrate to the nascent medium from radio. At the height of Chicago radio’s popularity in the the forties, she was the Queen- literally! Queen of Chicago Radio 1946! She performed in over a thousand live tapings that year!
She produced and performed in the very successful “Play House” kids show in the mid-fifties and received death threats for demanding that bi-racial promotional material be developed to include the African-American audience in her viewership. Just as Tristan withdrew from the art scene, Angel eventually withdrew from showbiz to focus on family. They were married for more than fifty years. Memorabilia and artifacts from Angel Casey’s reign as a Chicago media pioneer were discovered alongside the art of her husband…down in the basement.
The task of excavating the basement was immense. Hundreds of pieces of art and records outlining the full careers of two iconoclastic Chicago rebels were packed into every crevice of this dark, dirty cave in West Rogers Park. Together TUGM and the Meinecke sons designed a plan to unearth everything and coordinate the excavation with a focused transmedia promotional campaign leading up to an unprecedented DIY gallery opening in the very same basement and adjoining building where the discovery was made. The Meinecke’s would build and manage the gallery, and TUGM would build and manage the media.
On Friday, February 8th, 2014, year of the ELEVATION, the gallery opened. It will stay open for a couple more weeks. You should check it out. XOX
READ MORE About the Gallery Opening in THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Watch the TUGM Excavation Videos
Read the full TUGM transmedia story
Learn more about the history of Tristan Meinecke’s art
See pictures from the career of Angel Casey
GALLERY OPENING PICTURES BELOW