Revolutsiia? Demostratsiia!: Soviet Art Put to the Test
Stockyard Institute will convene a 22nd Congress at the Art Institute of Chicago with Jim Duignan, Curated by Rachel Harper, Regenstein Hall, 2:00-4:00, December 15, 2017. The gathering recognized artists involved over the life of Stockyard Institute, including Ian Duignan, Edra Soto, Adelheid Mers, Sabrina Huchthausen, Sandro Murrillo, Corey Jenkins, Bruna Duignan, and Rachel Harper, (with Mike Norse). The gathering was audio recorded.
This was a commissioned by the Hull-House Museum to build a swing which they referred to as the ‘Jolly Romp’ for a year-long exhibition called The Right to Play’. The swing is a symbol of my childhood and a memorial for the Hull House where my great-grandmother taught.
In 1987 I visited Oxbow for the first time amidst a short but uninterrupted group of months, maybe 7-9 months without drinking. There was always connecting tissue between living as an artist and the means I found to explore ideas however mind altering. There was some need in protecting myself from the unknown forces upon which no reasonable act worked. I attempted everything at getting sober. I stood unsettled in 1987 and against a Michigan tree looking at the bend in the lagoon that seemed to soothe my soul. A moment of knowing, that my life as an artist was not tethered to anything other than my will, imagination, and insistence upon simply taking my own advice.
In 2017, I returned warmed by reconnecting to a space that settled some matters of deep stirring. I walked to that place where the tree-lined up that spot perfectly for a clear view of the bend in the lagoon. This was a mystical spot I needed to mark. It was a place that helped without any real effort in 1987 other than time and distance. I built and installed a simple swing from my youth that summer. The steel and wood drawing board seat, steel chain hung, flying machines that worked to quiet my thoughts of childhood. The swing was an interrupter of grand proportions. It is there now for another 30 years, for those who wish to sit as they cast their eyes upon the bend in the lagoon and make their wish.
Hyde Park Art Center welcomes back artist Jim Duignan to expand on his previous work at the Art Center highlighting art and education in the city in PUBLIC SCHOOL on view in Gallery 1 and 2. Duignan, of the Stockyard Institute, works collaboratively with artist and educator Rachel Harper, of Seen + Heard to create a imagination-inducing installation of curious objects – including a fort, a stage, a tower, a piano, and a decommissioned school bus – to construct a new playground for all ages. At a moment when the Public Education System struggles to exist, Chicago artists ask: where is learning actually happening in this city and who gets to determine what we should know?