Coinciding with the 2017 Chicago Architectural Biennial, and conceived for our street-level, public viewing space this September through January, local artist Karen Reimer will create a site-specific installation that explores the architectural history of Wicker Park Bucktown in relation to the changing climate of the Midwest.
For nearly 20 years, the artist has constructed architectural interventions that reconsider modernist ideals and minimalist embodiment through the handmade and everyday. Reimer’s “on the wall” project at moniquemeloche is inspired by the damaged foundation of the nearby Holy Trinity Cathedral, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1903. One of only two churches ever realized by the architect, the building’s stucco facade is presently marred by cracks, caused by settling due to the major Midwest drought of the 2000s. Reimer will duplicate the cracks located on the north-facing wall of the cathedral onto the south-facing front windows of the gallery, which were also broken in 2009 (due to settling caused by the same drought) resulting in a mirror image crafted in gold leaf that is evocative of the church’s dome. Metaphorically, Reimer’s installation is a meditation on the larger collapse of cultural foundations and our capacity to live on the earth at all, let alone in buildings, in the climate of the future.
“on the wall” is a rotating public art project, comprised of site-specific installations on the gallery’s 10 x 25 foot front wall. It is viewable from Division Street 7 days a week, 365 days a year, through floor to ceiling windows.
Karen Reimer (American, b. 1958, lives Chicago, IL) is a recipient of the Artadia Individual Artist Grant, the Richard A. Driehaus Individual Artist Award, and the Women’s Caucus for the Arts President’s Award. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Shoretime Spaceline, Hyde Park Art Center (2016), Material Gestures: Cut, Weave, Sew, Knot, Rhona Hoffman Gallery (2014); A Study in Midwest Appropriation, curated by Michelle Grabner, Hyde Park Art Center (2013); Wall Text, curated by Zachary Cahill, Logan Center Exhibitions, University of Chicago (2012); and Endless Set, Gallery 400 (2012). Additionally, her work has been included in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Contemporary Craft Museum, Portland, Oregon; Beirut Art Center (2016); and Wallspace Gallery, New York, among others. Reimer’s works have been featured in the edited volumes Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art (Black Dog Publishing, 2008); The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production (MIT Press, 2007); By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010); and Limited Language—Rewriting Design: Responding to a Feedback Culture (Birkhauser Architecture, 2009). Endless,—the first major publication on Reimer’s pioneer craft aesthetic, was published by Gallery 400 and WhiteWalls in 2015. She is an adjunct instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.