Tag Archives: 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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Help The Underground Multiplex Create New Programming!

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This is the current production equipment for The Underground Multiplex

by Legendary Lew

The Underground Multiplex is currently running a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for future programming.

We have a major need for a new laptop/PC; a 4T external hard drive (for achiving our videos and podcasts); and professional grade headphones for “Mediatrocities” podcasts.

All totaled, we came up with the modest sum of $820.00, an amount we hope to be able to receive by December 1st. The sooner we reach the goal, the sooner we can buy the equipment needed to continue our programming smoothly.

The picture you see above is my production equipment for The Underground Multiplex. No joke. I’ve been using a tablet with a broken interface for over a year now.

Any posts, podcasts, memes, etc. from The Underground Multiplex have come from this. In case you’re wondering, yes, I do use a magnifying glass to read my writing.

Over the last 6 years, we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal and to get some much needed attention for vital independent artists and venues. Here’s just a short list:

Plus, we’ve recorded numerous episodes of “Mediatrocities,” our own podcast covering directors and other prominent figures in the independent movie scene.

We’ve had award-winning short films and features, such as Scumbabies and Sci Fi Sol shown in multiple cities and festivals such as CIMMFest.

We believe we have great ideas for indie programming in the future, plus I have every intention of continuing “Mediatrocities,” as I am committed to having indie film artists share their works and get a voice heard. In the ocean of the Hollywood’s publicity efforts, our indie voices are vitally important.

AS A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO DONATE, TUGM WILL PRODUCE A SPECIAL EDITION OF “VITAL MEDIA” AFTER THE CAMPAIGN, AVAILABLE IN PASSWORD-PROTECTED FORM . ONLY THOSE CONTRIBUTING TO THE CAMPAIGN WILL BE ABLE TO VIEW THIS SPECIAL THANK YOU EPISODE.

Thank you for your support! And keep tuning in!
GoFundMe link: click here.

 

 

Remembering the Unknown TV Pioneer, Angel Casey

angelcaseyby Legendary Lew

Mitchell Hadley’s blog, “It’s About TV,” currently features a guest entry by Crystal Eidson, one of the people instrumental in getting Tristan Meinecke’s art work rediscovered in Chicago and the world.

Meinecke’s wife, Angel Casey, is even less known than her husband. However, she had an influence in television that still reverberates to this day. Anyone who’s interested in this trailblazer would do well to learn all about her in Eidson’s piece.

After reading it, check out angelcasey.com and tmeinecke.com. The Underground Multiplex also has loads of stuff on The Meinecke Project located here.

lew-win_20160713_205425Legendary Lew is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex and former personal video consultant of almost 20 years. He’s a writer, producer and host of the podcast “Mediatrocities” and the upcoming “Vital Media” series.

 

Mediatrocities #9: Rare Interview with 91 Year-Old Chicago Artist and Internet Sensation Gene “No Princess” Bowen

 

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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!

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

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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).

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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.

Underground Gallery Sells 30K in Excavated Art in One Night

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!

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Tristan Meinecke in his home studio, late 50s. Location of pictured art pieces still unknown.

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!

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Controversial bi-racial promo pic for Angel Casey’s “The Play House”

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.

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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