A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

The Artist's Studio

Summer Studio, 2010. Installation view at SAIC Sullivan Galleries. Photo: Danica Willard

Citywide Collaboration: Studio Chicago

This yearlong collaborative project focused on the artist’s studio. Through exhibitions, talks, publications, tours, and research, participating organizations celebrated the working artist and revealed their sites of creative production from historical and contemporary perspectives. Beginning with Chicago Artists Month in October 2009 and continuing through Artists Month in October 2010, the programs presented as part of Studio Chicago sought to further collective inquiry, leading to a deeper, more nuanced understanding among the artist community, and broadened awareness and understanding by asking critical questions, presenting new scholarship, or proposing new ways of thinking about the artist’s studio. Programs also served as forums for exchanging solutions or reflecting on the practical realities of working in the studio. Studio Chicago also sought to build community, serving as a catalyst for new or newly strengthened relationships among those involved–audiences and organizers alike. Studio Chicago Core Partners were: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Gallery 400 at University of Illinois at Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and threewalls.

Daniel Lavitt, Here to There, Me to You, and Back Again, 2009. Installation view, Picturing the Studio, SAIC Sullivan Galleries, 2009, Photo: James Prinz.

Exhibition: Picturing the Studio

Picturing the Studio (December 2009 – January 2010) explored the richly complex, politically and psychologically charged notion of the artist’s studio today. With works by over thirty artists, this exhibition also featured several specially designed installations undertaken by artists on site. Co-curated by then SAIC professor Michelle Grabner and Columbia College faculty Annika Marie, the exhibition featured works by: Bas Jan Ader, Conrad Bakker, John Baldessari, Stephanie Brooks, Ivan Brunetti, Ann Craven, Julian Dashper, Dana DeGiulio, Susanne Doremus, Joe Fig, Dan Fischer, Julia Fish, Nicholas Frank, Alicia Frankovich, Judith Geichman, Rodney Graham, Karl Haendel, Shane Huffman, Barbara Kasten, Matt Keegan, Daniel Lavitt, Adelheid Mers, Tom Moody, Bruce Nauman, Paul Nudd, Frank Piatek, Leland Rice, David Robbins, Kay Rosen, Amanda Ross-Ho, Carrie Schneider, Roman Signer, Amy Sillman, Frances Stark, Nicholas Steindorf, and James Welling. Picturing the Studio was also presented as the annual exhibition for the College Art Association’s 98th Annual Conference held in Chicago in February 2009.

Cover, The Studio Reader, edited by Michelle Grabner and Mary Jane Jacob

Publication: The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists

Evolving from this wider inquiry, SAIC co-published with the University of Chicago, Press The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists (2010). Edited by Michelle Grabner and Mary Jane Jacob, The Studio Reader pulls back the curtain from the art world to reveal the real activities behind artistic production. What does it mean to be in the studio? What is the space of the studio in the artist’s practice? How do studios help artists envision their agency and, beyond that, their own lives? This forward-thinking anthology features an array of contributors, ranging from Svetlana Alpers, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Storr to Daniel Buren, Carolee Schneemann, and Buzz Spector, each of whom locates the studio both spatially and conceptually—at the center of an art world that careens across institutions, markets, and disciplines. The Studio Reader reconsiders this crucial space as an actual way of being that illuminates our understanding of both artists and the world they inhabit.