Curated by isthmus

October 10 – November 15, 2008
Opening reception: Friday, October 10, 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

DOVA temporary is pleased to join the Ferris Gallery in presenting the curatorial group isthmus in their second project, REVOLUTIONS.

Exhibited here is an array of artists creating work in a variety of media that playfully addresses the concept of “revolutions,” resulting in a multiplicity of interpretations: abstract, formal, technological, social and political. One goal of this project seeks to establish a curatorial tradition based on continuous change, rotation and re-figuration. Ferris Gallery points not only to the revolutionary LA space of the late 1950s and early 1960s, but also the Great Wheel in Hyde Park, both of which sought to signal their locale as a cultural destination. As a whole, isthmus presents a negotiable set of constraints regarding the notion of “revolutions” and its contemporary context.

Artists include:
Amy Babinec, Kimmy Noonen, Matt Metzger, Nessie Ruiz, Dan Paz, Mike Schuh, Marilyn Volkman & Erik Wenzel

(hosted by DOVA temporary)
5228 S. Harper Ave
Chicago, IL 60615
Open: Wednesdays – Saturdays, 12NOON – 5:00 pm.


Envisioned as a work of conceptual art, my project for this exhibition was temporarily naming the space Ferris Gallery. I propose making this name change permanent.

Titling a work of art can be one of the most crucial steps. In my practice, titles are a key factor. They give information and direct the discourse around the work. I am interested in concise gestures. Naming a gallery is a simple enough of a concept, but leads to many areas of discussion. The name of a gallery provides a backdrop or context for everything shown within it. To a certain degree it is a brand name. Naming a gallery is free to be any number of things, unlike art institutions usually named for the locale with individual wings, rooms and galleries named for donors.

The name for this gallery, a project space for the art department at the University of Chicago should do more than state what it is in a slightly obscure manner (DOVA temporary). The name should refer to the city of Chicago, specifically Hyde Park, tie into the history of contemporary art, and in the conceptual and experimental nature of the university be a work in itself. Therefore I have proposed permanently naming the space FERRIS GALLERY.

Ferris Gallery refers to the historic Ferus Gallery which operated in Los Angeles from 1957 to 1966 among other milestones it gave Andy Warhol his first solo show. The spelling in our version is of course different, this points to the Ferris wheel, first built on our very own Midway Pleasance for the Columbian Exposition in 1893. In 2000 when constructing the ice rink, workers found wooden timbers and concrete remains of its foundation. Finally, Ferris Bueller famously took a day off and came to the city in the 1980s.

Like Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles of the late 50s and 60s, the project of Ferris Gallery is to build a scene for art and culture where one is lacking, or needs fostering. This also is echoed in the broader ambition of the Columbian Exposition: to build the notoriety and prestige of the Midwest’s major metropolis, still very much in its infancy.

- Erik Wenzel

The artist and the curators of isthmus are preparing a petition to be presented to the Univeristy’s exhibition committee, made of members of the Department of Visual Art and the Art History Department. If you support this proposition, send your name and any comments to endlessnameless at uchicago dot edu. The goal is to collect as many names as possible during the course of Revolutions, after which the list will be presented to the powers that be.


Wikipedia entry on Ferus Gallery
Gagosian exhibition in 2002 curated by Ferus co-founder Irving Blum
The Cool School an Independent Lens PBS film by Morgan Neville
Rebirth of the Cool Swindle Magazine article by Steffie Nelson
White Men Can't Paint! Charlie Finch on The Cool School

Wikipedia entry on the Ferris Wheel
Hyde Park Historical Society a brief history of the wheel and its creator by Patrick Meehan
Ferris Follow Up by HPHS Archivist Stephan Treffman


This wall was curated in a group effort by graduate students from the University of Chicago’s Department of Visual Arts under the auspices of Smart Museum curator Stephanie Smith.

We approached the project by establishing a set of criteria and themes gleaned from a critical discussion of recently acquired work by Michael Rakowitz, which is also on view in this gallery. From this starting point, we came up with the following:

PAPER: as material and subject;
CIRCULATION: alternative modes of exchange and movement;
POLITICS: contemporary culture and events as subject; and
RECONTEXTUALIZATION: items that have attained the status of art through changes in context.

With these notions in mind, we each culled through the Smart Museum’s database and selected artworks that spoke to the group’s concepts and our own aesthetic sensibilities. Through a process of debate and discussion we arrived at the works you now see. We also collectively designed the display.

As practicing artists, we also sought to engage this project with our own work: pieces were chosen or created in response to the themes and works selected. This allowed us to interact with the history of art in a deeper way, literally situating ourselves in the conversations.

“You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain ...and an athlete … and a basket case …a princess …and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, …”

Matthew Metzger
Kimmy Noonen
Danielle Paz
Vanessa Ruiz
Michal Stawarz
Marilyn Volkman
Erik Wenzel


(isthmus member works are asterisked)

* MATT METZGER • Work on Paper • 2008 • acrylic and oil on wood • courtesy the artist

Pussy Heart • 2005 • inkjet print on paper
Aluminum Heart • 2004 • aluminum foil
I miss you, come back • 2008 • pencil on paper
Love Letters to Renee • 2004–2008 • assorted correspondence in Ziplock bag
All works courtesy the artist

KARA WALKER • Freedom: A Fable • 1997 • pop-up silhouette book• Ed. of 4,000 for The Peter Norton Christmas Project, 1997 • Gift of the Peter Norton Family

H.C. WESTERMANN • The Connecticut Ballroom: Album a Dessin, Untitled [Sketchbook #15, cover], 1975–1981 • mixed media on paper • The H.C. Westermann Study Collection, Gift of the Estate of Joanna Beall Westermann

* KIMMY NOONEN AND MICHAL STAWARZ • Exchange:606** • 2008 • intermedia (photo) • courtesy the artists

JOHN LATHAM • Skoob • c. 1960 • altered commercially printed book (Dr. Eustace Chesser) • Gift of Sylvia Sleigh in memory of Lawrence Alloway

RUDOLF BARANIK • White-Out • c. 1967 • etching • 1 of 16 prints in portfolio: Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam; ed. 39/100 • Gift of Mr. Joseph Benson

PABLO PICASSO • Invitation to Dedication Ceremony, 11 March 1967 • tri-fold invitation with envelope • Bequest of Joseph Halle Schaffner in memory of his beloved mother, Sara H. Schaffner

MARTIN KIPPENBERGER • untitled • 1991 • colored pencil, crayon, graphite, and collaged letters on hotel stationery, in artist’s original frame • purchase, Gift of Carl Rungius, by exchange

HANS HAACKE • 420 West Broadway Visitor's Profile • 1973 • One of 30 prints by 30 artists in The New York Collection for Stockholm, published by Experiments in Art and Technology, Inc. • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Elden

* MARILYN VOLKMAN • Whoever digs a hole for his brother falls therein • 2008 • ink on paper on wooden structure • courtesy the artist

CAROL SUMMERS Kill for Peace • c. 1967 • silkscreen in two colors on cardboard with torn holes • 1 of 16 prints in portfolio: Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam; ed. 39/100 • Gift of Mr. Joseph Benson

AD REINHARDT • untitled • c. 1967 • serigraph printed on two postcards mounted on paper • 1 of 16 prints in portfolio: Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam; ed. 39/100 • Gift of Mr. Joseph Benson

Still We Live & Die at the Same Time and Never Notice the Difference
Both works: 2008 • decollaged cardboard drinking coaster • courtesy the artist and 65GRAND

Movie Treatment for Spiral Jetty
Movie Treatment-Spiral Jetty
Both works: 1970 • pencil on wove paper (detached from a sketchbook) • Gift of Sylvia Sleigh, in memory of Lawrence Alloway

* DANIELLE PAZ • Media Mourning • 2008 • red box, medium grey photo paper, projector, laptop, black gaffers tape, surge protector • courtesy of the artist

WALKER EVANS • Postcard Display, 1941 (negative, printed 1980) • gelatin silver print • printed by the Chicago Albumen Works in 1980 • Gift of Arnold H. Crane