Galerie Schmid
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Forthcoming:
Jack Ryan and Adam Revington
Jake Shore and Hana Earles
Matthew Thomas Voor
Michael Pollard and Graham Vunderink


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Collected Art Writing




CURRENT:

Joshua Boulos and Horacio Alcolea Crespo

I think about how I make work with commitments and people consider me to be a social pariah. Josh said that Mathieu Malouf acts according to norms since he plays the role of the reactionary. He said that any contemporary audience enjoys the detachment of total entertainment, but these performances are within prescribed roles and norms, which the audience wants to act out for themselves, albeit vicariously through the performer. For Malouf or Carpenter, the role is of the pervert or the cynic. Tim Pierson said that the pervert can be classically understood with the example of Sade who perverted the moral law of Kant. But today in the art world, the perversion of Malouf is tame in comparison to the behavior, historically, of schoolboy drunks such as Kippenberger or Krebber. Josh said something interesting about when someone is an artist’s artist, that they have a level of unapproachability. John Kelsey in an essay referred to it as a club that you can’t get into. Me, on the other hand, Josh said... I have a continual outreach program with people where I connect with people individually about passions, interests, subculture, specialist’s discourse, whatever philosophy is current, synthetic philosophies to contemporary mathematics. The level of engagement is ultimately up to whoever wants to talk to me based upon what they already know whereas some nightlife socialite may be a conversationalist talking about general matters and they find all of their satisfaction immanently within the course of the night. Me, on the other hand, I am continually pointing outward toward an exit outside where I can nerd out with someone about the topic of say the Axiom of Choice or the work of Sigmar Polke or say Power Electronics or Mathematical Structuralism. But what fascinates Josh the most about my work is that it engages with a commitment to meaning, which may be uncool or socially unacceptable for fashion-oriented emerging artists. Maybe I make a show about Total Work of Art constellating an inferential network of artistic references in relation to past Masters without ever being any of them. Or maybe I make a show about the universalism of Meetka Otto, that anyone could be an icon, even the most well-intentioned, humble purveyor of conviviality/community. But I believe in meaning. And what is personally most interesting is that only a few of my friends bother to actually check out my Prolegomenon/Treatise where I advocate for meaning by way of topological forms although a desubjectivated sense of meaning which is located immanently within the forms of two isomorphic categories (a form of weak equivalence) or say some catastrophe model of Rene Thom. Or say the rejection of the ‘ontological turn’ of post-Kantian continental philosophy in favor of pure mathematical structuralism, which posits a pure empty form of a transcendental backdrop which is the setting for the instantiation of specific things/structures Groups, Rings, Fields, Spaces. But where people call me naive or impotent or abject, they actually just lack the requisite knowledge to understand my transcendental philosophy. –Eric Schmid



PAST SHOWS:

Lauren Burns-Coady & Eric Schmid

It’s unlikely that anyone will be able to get anything past a Meerkat without them noticing, though it’s equally unlikely that they will let you know if they are onto your game. Lauren says I will see or intuit something about a person and then I’ll create a circumstance where the person will “out” themselves as being hypocritical or contradictory. People say one thing but will behave in another way. attitude-behavior correlation paradox.

HAIM GAIFMAN. PARADOXES OF INFINITY AND SELF-APPLICATIONS, I. 1983.

Lauren thinks that I have a purity to what I’m doing that is childlike. Adults can be very disingenuous. Children’s perspicacity is underrated. ask stupid questions. Lauren noticed that I (un)intentionally set people up with challenging situations, tests. My persistence exhausts people’s composure, revealing something else in them. People construct and maintain political social identity, but when their guard goes down, they may act differently. The quest for the perfect environment through the self­ holding and self-hiding of composure, at its most excessive, insulates the individual from ever allowing the recognition they seek. I believe Lauren validates me for being myself. She listens to what I have to say and her feedback is always constructive. She’s been incredibly forgiving and respects me as a person, intellectual, and artist. Lauren said I can tune my ego out and be truly self-effacing. Her and I have a not-finite patience with each other. There’s always the possibility of an extension. I really open myself up to Lauren in a way that I don’t and wouldn’t do with other people. I believe Lauren really sees me as different and extremely interesting. There’s a real recognition and appreciation of divergence. She said I stir the pot and provoke in order to get a response. I create caricatures of my own pain in other people so that I can see it performed back at me. For example, she has also observed that I never really express anger in a visceral way, but that I use writing to incite anger in other people, as a way to break their constructed identity or get a response that is uncharacteristic. But I believe Lauren sees the provocation is all in good faith. I poke at the bull, which is, concretely, white privilege. I.e. when white people have a soft-spoken nonchalance. She phrased it as the soft violence of etiquette. Lauren said she has had to learn how to act in accordance with the dominant communication styles in certain vocational circles, so that she wasn’t perpetually Othered. import theory of subjectivity. I end up challenging the authenticity of the learned behavior and confront people with an ultimatum, which is essentially to choose between committing to your privilege or putting an effort to be genuinely sympathetic and empathetic — -to grant legibility to the Other’s form of expression. charitable read. Lauren noticed that I am hyper intelligent with regards to this affective intelligence. To point out someone’s inability/refusal to read someone who is emotional and not rational. The non-affect associated with power. But at the same time, Lauren thinks that I am hyper-rational with my studies in pure mathematics and also philosophy. The affective then becomes intertwined with the hyper-rational and the hyper-rational becomes affective. emotion and reason are not truly distinct, they are perhaps identical. imposing and reinforcing a distinction is a power move. I make work that is hyper-referential and niche and people become frustrated because it’s neither technical nor accessible. Because people want something that is measurable but what they get is a bricolage of high vocabularies, synthesized anew. Maybe my work isn’t scalable to a commodity-level and that frustrates viewers who are looking for digestible narratives. Maybe my obsession with Cologne and German art is unreadable to a larger more populist art viewership. I made a Josef Strau joke with a recent work, not necessarily knowing whether all of my friends would get it. My recent writing has exposed myself, which has been helpful. But I can be extremely judgemental of myself, which can make me feel worse about myself. But I believe Lauren is genuinely empathetic to my suffering, even to the point where she wants to empower me for something which, at least according to a system of employment, would be considered a disability. Lauren’s work is truly underappreciated and she makes work about high vocabularies in a less pretentious context.




Eric Schmid

For my comprehensive philosophical/metaphysical position, refer to my treatise here. For my cultural position, refer to my manifesto here. For the explanation in layman's terms, refer here.




Eli Ping

It troubles me to think back to a time when I lived in a basement apartment where I couldn't even stand up all the way and I had a drinking problem. Eli was the first person-cum-gallery to seriously consider my work. He gave me my first solo show. Before that, Ben Schumacher had put me in a group show at Croy Nielsen and Jared Madere put me in the Bed-Stuy Christmas show. I don't talk to Jared anymore. Ben is still a good friend. But Eli has always been on some Dad level shit.

Eli would invite me to Christmas parties at his In-Law's house when he was in Chicago. He invited me to his fourth of July party when he lived in Williamsburg. He let me take a bath at his house when I thought I had scabies.

Running the apartment gallery was my way into the art world. In the course of one year, I showed everyone who was cool at that time (or at least who I thought was cool) plus my friends. But Eli always said that what he found fascinating about my work was that I was concerned with the inside and the outside, who is included and who is excluded.

I lived for those nights out when I was in New York. I still remember the afterparty for Win McCarthy's show at Off Vendome where we were upstairs and there was a point when I was in control of the music and people told me to turn off Xeno & Oaklander. Or I remember the night when Ben bought a hotel room in Chelsea because he had just had a solo show at Bortolami and invited everyone over and I remember people were stealing the alcohol from the mini bar. Or I remember, on the night of Ben's opening, there was an afterparty at a bar and there was free food and drink tickets. I had a crush on the intern at Bortolami and Lauren's friend Nadia tried to help me talk to her. But when the time came to approach her, I was too afraid to go up to her. So I pulled some line I had seen on Youtube and said "Put your number in my phone". Ben told me "do not contact her" because I was mixing business and pleasure so I left it alone. Or I remember the night of my solo show at Eli Ping Frances Perkins and I was dancing like a fool. Jonathan DJ-ed techno music and everyone ended up leaving. I got so drunk that my friends (Carlos, Elaine, Ben, Eli, Deanna, Peter, Mike and Jonathan) were dragging me on the floor like I was the dead guy in Weekend at Bernie's. Eli bought me an Uber home.

It was never about sex. Those nights were the only time that I felt part of a community. In the course of two years of partying in NYC, I only had 1 one-night stand and also one ex-girlfriend. By default, I am an introvert, so my response to the anxiety of social situations was to get really drunk and then turn into a complete provocateur, which was opposite of how I am normally. I lived for the debauchery of the night, but it was also incredibly self-destructive because I felt miserable and emotionally dead inside.

Eli took a risk and let me curate a four-floor group show at the Harlem space of his contemporary art gallery in 2016, which he had to eventually shut down. I had just moved to Chicago and it was my first time back in NYC. I remember driving to NYC with my friend and my ex for the opening. My friend and I were newly sober and it was a serious challenge being at the opening. It was completely packed. And my friend, my ex and I had to leave early because we couldn't handle it. Now that I live in Chicago (in a condo that my parent's own), my life has turned into a hermetic life and I still get flashbacks when I'm trying to go to bed. I very much prefer being emotionally regulated and self-aware, as opposed to being some type of wannabe enfant terrible.

Eli has always kept it real with me and has reminded me that family is more important than everything else. This exhibition consists of photos of Eli's family. Eli has always cared about me. And he would buy me lunch at the Tortilla Factory in Bushwick when I couldn't even afford to go out. I love Eli so much. I love you, Eli.




Emma McMillan

Emma McMillan paints portraits of her friends. This show consists of photocopies of the drawings of Eric Schmid leading up to her final painting of the gallerist. I am honored to be considered her friend. Emma is very generous with introducing her friends to her other friends. It felt important to do this show here in Chicago within the ivory tower of my home, the John Hancock Center.

I moved back to Chicago in 2015. Shortly after, I met my ex-girlfriend and she introduced me to her friends here in the local art scene. I eventually dropped out of the local contemporary art scene and my ex-girlfriend doesn't even identify as an artist anymore. She probably has the most integrity (as a creative person) of anyone that I know in Chicago. Honestly, after we broke up in 2018, we both just dropped out and faded into our quotidian lifestyles. But I don't want to drag her into my personal story so much.

When you live in Chicago, a lot of artists graduate from the local art school and are faced with the challenge of integrating themselves into the contemporary art world. This unfortunately leads people to make compromises in terms of their practice--they become "enterprise-oriented" or put differently become selective about who they hang out with, who they drink with and who they do drugs with. A lot of artists end up moving to New York or LA or Germany.

What if when you get a break in your career and you start showing at Neue Alte Brücke and Vilma Gold, the art students suddenly want to become your friend, even the ones that may have cast you off as crazy before. I want to stay true to my vision and ideas and if that means that I lose friends, I'm okay with it. I realized that my friends here did not actually care about me--they didn't want to check up on me. During the year leading up to my hospitalization in 2019, all of the art students had essentially ghosted me. Personally, it becomes too tiresome to deal with an artist who is only interested in status and makes mediocre work and doesn't have the decency of a human connection with you, i.e. empathy.

There seems to be an alternative art ecosystem that has developed since the Internet in cities that do not have commerce. Project spaces are interconnected by one email or DM. Artists fly out for the weekend to San Francisco, Toronto, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia. Again, cities without the high-finance of investment banking and the art commerce of Chelsea/Tribeca. And the artists who do have the keys to these small spaces rally behind each other in an incestuous circle-jerk. It becomes more apparent that certain types of white privilege, i.e. being a soft-spoken white guy, are preferred. Ultimately the narrative behind all of the work en masse is "my team is the best team" and the minor league system is thus built.

Other than this alt ecosystem, the actual advancement of culture in Chicago is basically relegated to the institutions. Emma was talented enough to have a solo show at the Atlanta Contemporary. In my opinion, she could eventually have a show here in Chicago at an institution. Because Chicago is a fly-over city, the coastal regions end up taking the torch in terms of the advancement of the fashion-based art world, even institutional critique. Chicago becomes a place to visit for a weekend when some chic artist has a solo show at the Renaissance Society and there is little if any integration with the surrounding community of the Chicagoland area. Similarly, the Art Institute hires curators from bigger cities and gives artists that have more international acclaim the exhibitions, e.g. Anne Imhof, a Städelschule graduate.

My own position relative to these power structures is to fortify myself within the ivory tower of pure mathematics and contemporary philosophy, and hopefully have the time to work on experimental music and my art practice. I do have some friends that continue to keep it real here in Chicago and know of some local artists who I still respect. Emma has an especially authentic art practice and I am honored to exhibit her at my apartment gallery.




Zoe Barcza & Joe W. Speier

"Selficide Squad"

Selficide Squad is a direct affirmation of the underground art scene ethos - torn between subculture and Kunstacademies. Zoe Barcza engages in an eclectic dynamism culling a niche aestheticization of magazine culture which, as an attitude, traces as far back as Franz West. Joe Speier elides positive definitions of subjectivity through his refraction of the subject back onto itself and insertion of a depersonalized Self (he calls the works portraits).

Barcza is a true artist in her raw unfiltered works and creates a zone of pure expression, yet calculated at the distance between the mediated ideology (enframement of Plexiglass square) and luster immediacy of materiality (expressionism in the painting/collage).

Speier uses mirrors to entrap the viewer into an object-relations schema, where the participant is forced to engage with the artist's unresolved detritus and fragments from his studio. The viewer, at times, literally sees their reflection broken up by the shards of broken glass. The entirety of his project is held together by his aestheticization of Messianism (depersonalized subject splitting between ideation and de-aggrandizement as triangulated through the motifs of mirrors, figures, glue, spices, ink-pens, etc). Agamben called the borderline personality the "as-if" personality, harkening back to Adorno's "as-if" Messiah in Minimia Moralia (as Jacob Taubes once said). The aesthete, essentially. The aesthetic project engages in a contemporary transposition of the fin-de-siecle aestheticism of say Huysmans or Valery, but now situated in the trends of post-post-Internet new materialism (without the uncritical brutish clay, bread or rock fetishism ongoing today in contemporary project spaces). Speier distills the raw simplicity of the material from the immaterial via the stroke of pen, via the stroke of brush, via the stroke or splatter of glue/spice/paint into a formalist typography directly synthesized from the contemporary climate of echo-chambers of jpegs re-sublating their own tinge of hand-assembled materiality directly from their immaterial imbuement, but Speier takes it further by, now meta-stabilizing the countless permutations of post-post-net-art into a simple elegant material solution, specifically a formalist one (a la post-Krebber / Shimizu return to abstraction).

Barcza pays homage to the masters through her refined technique a la Polke, Roth, Kippenberger, Oehlen, von Heyl, Koether, West. Franz West is a point of commonality for both Speier and Barcza, as seen in the materialist sublation of itself in order to declare its own spatial phenomenology without the overly didactic pretense of American minimalism and instead thrown into the circuitry of a system of motifs (think of West's sculptures and installations). Chaimowicz or Broodthaers were probably the origin (of the built systems of motifs in postmodern art), but still much too refined in its materiality. Reference seems to be the key then if materiality is to still be rough and inexact (it follows a Roth/Kippenberger/Oehlen axes instead). Reference to what? Reference to a whole tradition of contemporary art-making that isn't prudish about getting your hands dirty, but still not in an offensive Dubuffet aestheticization of outsiderdom which seems popular and trite today. Much more calculated in terms of the telos of the system (and not some careerist telos). The telos of the virtuosic artist-hero who could literally be the plot for a Bildungsroman. But obviously not as naive as spilling your melancholy and drunken rage into a Kippenberger painting. Barcza is Cool-Hand Luke. And Speier is distilling forms from the cosmopolitan project-space (if you will) "nous". Barcza is self-aware to an extreme extent, so much that she is clearly a trailblazer in a, dare I say, Genzkenian way of novelty (the only precursors to mind are Jana Euler or Lucie Stahl but Barcza seems so aware of the beaten path that she verges toward neurotic overidentification in her methodical painting and toward ironic abjection in her collages and works for this show).

Formally, Speier and Barcza both work within the frame of the square and it works masterfully for this show, which is staged on what is essentially a table, with the backdrop of the entire Chicago skyline beside it. Once again, this contextualizes both Speier and Barcza within both a cosmopolitan context, but one that is also willfully subcultural (in a Frankfurt Stadelschule or Baltimore Springsteen kind of way), given it's an apartment gallery in Chicago, and historically, Chicago's minimal relation to commerce in the Fine Arts / Fashion (as America's Third City).




Dustin Hodges & Israel Lund

The removal of the aura of the work of art was Benjamin's polemic in the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Israel Lund and Dustin Hodges create mechanical works through either silkscreened negative photographic processes or recreations of the imaginary of an academic tradition through a choice function of its techne.

The axiom of choice was problematic for many mathematicians when Zermelo assumed it in his proof of the Well-Ordering Theorem. The axiom permeates much of modern mathematics. The proof of the existence of a basis for a vector space requires the Axiom of Choice for example. Lund's "analog.jpg" (in his own words) destabilizes the over-mechanized social relationship to technology through a thorough examination of the materiality of digital abstraction. Simondon criticized Norbert Wiener's cybernetic paradigm-shift because of its overreliance on the classification of Das Ding through its species and genera.

Similarly, Hodges dips into the well of techne, when he appropriates the work of Dieter Roth through his own recreation and rendering. The axiom of choice assumes the same extensional definition that troubled Russell with the impredicative definition of set theory, the same extensionality that was used for the arbitrary definition of a function from the domain of sets to the target of sets.

Hodges and Lund work to create a subject albeit through the removal of subjectivity. Through thoroughly examining objectivity/the canon, both artists work to destabilize the extensional presupposition of techne thereby carving out the Real and creating a space for the intensionality assumed when Russell famously said: "To choose one sock from each of infinitely many pairs of socks requires the Axiom of Choice, but for shoes the Axiom is not needed."

Through manipulating the fabric of post-digital abstraction or filtering the work of art down through a poetry of forms and the history of the imaginary, Lund and Hodges "clone" (in the Laruellean sense) a de-ontologized philosophy, a non-philosophy, a philofiction, which suspends the sufficiency of the decision of the ontological faktum which is presupposed by the empirical datum. Through the freedom of the category of "Man-in-person", both artists articulate a non-thetic duality between digital/analog, actual/virtual, form/matter, contemporaneity/history, without indulging into the weight of either pole (which would tacitly make a presupposition about the empirical ground upon a-priori background).

With the Yoneda Lemma, it is possible to view categories in terms of the explicit Hom sets, i.e. as only all the morphisms between objects. The "arrows-only" view allows one to examine a tree without reference to its internal semantics, but merely in how the tree is related to other objects (the tree is related to the soil, the tree is related to the apple, the tree is related to its roots, the tree is related to oxygen). Lund rigorously explores the materiality of the pixel in its relationship to other pixels and Hodges, the materiality of the techne of our imaginaries through related histories.

Reza Negarestani writes, "The approaching of the concept or the local site from its adjacent environment and alternative perspectives is the gesture of the Yoneda Lemma in category theory. Yoneda Lemma is a phenomenologically trivial tool, but it nevertheless possesses a formidable power to reverse-engineer local concepts by way of their neighbourhood, by way of their outside. A point is nothing but the pointer that points to it. The actual mark is a pointer endowed with a limit, just like the mark that the tip of a pencil leaves on a piece of paper. Once the point is understood as a pointer, the concept of point can be made via an infinite recursive descent: A point is a point is a point is a point ... ad infinitum. 8 Each pointer can be decomposed to a concatenation of different sets of pointers or addresses. The concept of the point is nothing but an alternating collection of gestural/perspectival pointers (arrows or morphisms). There is indeed a functionalist underside to this definition of the concept qua a local site: If what makes a thing a thing is not what a thing is but what a thing does, then we can decompose this activity or behavior (the behavior of the concept) into operative perspectives or possible activities that make the behavior of the concept in an inferential network. The study of the concept and its construction overlap, as they become part of a controlled exploratory approach." (Where is the Concept?)

After recent work with the Curry-Howard correspondence, it is possible to define a propositional logic which is based on an intensional definition, based on a constructive type theory thanks to the work of Per Martin-Löf. The construction of a logical statement is through its demonstration which serves (by way of its invocation of a type) as the proof of the existence of the statement itself. Lund and Hodges construct an intensional definition of subjectivity that "carves nature at the joints" (Plato) of the material of our over-mechanized techne, freeing a pocket of "free will" (the artist as axiomatic choice function) remaining after our instrumentalized bodies.