Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Scene Report From Matthew Crowther

Matthew Crowther’s scene report of Chicago, IL was originally in We Don’t Owe You A Thing #1 a fanzine about art and hardcore.

My first experience at New Capital was the opening of their first show, featuring Maria Jonsson and Greg Stimac, in December 2010. I wore a light jacket in spite of the cold Chicago winter because I often get too hot inside crowded galleries. As soon as I walked in through the loading dock entrance I knew I had made mistake. New Capital didn't have heat.

New Capital is part of a long tradition in Chicago of artist run spaces. Studios, apartments, warehouses, abandoned churches - all turned into venues to show art you won't find in the commercial galleries of the West Loop or River North neighborhoods. While this sort of thing happens in a lot of cities, the strength and commitment to this tradition in Chicago was a large part of why I moved here. Relatively low rent, some good art schools and a low money, low-pressure art scene make this a great city for artists looking to do their own thing. The spaces may be a little rough, the neighborhoods may be even rougher, but the work is worth it. Watching Greg Stimac's video ''Empire" and drinking a beer I'd pulled from a cooler in the loading dock while shivering my ass off, I was hooked.

Over the next two years New Capital consistently had some of the most interesting shows in Chicago, showing exciting young local artists as well as bringing in artists from around the world.
In December 2012 they closed. And they will be missed. But that's another thing about Chicago - it has a sort of permanent transience about it. Almost everyone I talk to is always looking to move on, myself included. But there's always somebody else coming up behind. I'm looking forward to whatever fills in the gap left by New Capital.


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