CHICAGO, IL.- Spertus Museum
will launch Ground Level Projects, a dynamic new initiative consisting of a series of artist commissions for Spertus glass-enclosed, street-level vestibule space. Premiering April 30, 2009, the project will engage four artists over a year-long period, aiming to foster creative encounters that investigate, challenge, and expand traditional perceptions of the Jewish experience. Because of Spertus glass façade, the resulting projects will be visible from the street, connecting public and private space and encouraging passers-by to experience the works on view in the transparent entryway of the award-winning Spertus facility, located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. The commissions will ultimately be added to Spertus Museums collection, enhancing its growing contemporary art holdings and reflecting its innovative exhibition program. Ground Level Projects, curated by Spertus Museum Senior Curator Staci Boris, is free and open to the public.
About this new initiative, Staci Boris says, Ground Level Projects provides a street-level presence for the museum and creates additional opportunities for the broader public to engage with our programs. By presenting new works of art in our vestibule space, we connect with visitors both inside and out. We also continue our efforts to explore issues relevant to a culturally-specific institution by encouraging artists to respond to the museums mission.
The inaugural project is a new work by Chicago-based artist Deb Sokolow, on display April 30July 19, 2009. Sokolows imaginative narratives of hand-drawn texts and images are loosely based on her own personal experiences as well as media stories and films she finds compelling. Spinning off into numerous tangents in an attempt to uncover truths, these comic and often-paranoid ramblings lead viewers on a journey that rarely culminates in answers. Her large-scale drawing for Spertus is inspired by her familys Chicago history (certain family documents are part of the Chicago Jewish Archives at Spertus) and the supposedly hidden stories behind certain objects in Spertus Museums Open Depot collection display.
Deb Sokolow received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Her most recent solo exhibition, You are one step closer to learning the truth, was a site-specific installation at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City in 2008. Sokolow has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Project Heartland at the Van Abbemuseum in The Netherlands (2008-2009), Mapping the Self at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2007-2008), and The Adventurous Type at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago (2007). Sokolow is also the creator of a forthcoming bi-monthly newsletter that chronicles the buried secrets of Chicagos Division Street.
The three other Ground Level Project artists will be announced at a later date.