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By: Abigail Satinsky, editor. Mary Jane Jacob and Kate Zeller, series editors.
Chicago: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2015
Pages: 244
Dimensions: 6 in” x 9” in
Cover: soft cover
Binding: perfect bound
Color: color cover, black and white insides with 50 illustrations
Edition Size: unknown
ISBN: 9780982879856

Independent art culture in Chicago has thrived like in no other place. This book celebrates the rich, deep history of the city and its multiple generations of people who have had to make space for the art culture that they want to see that often sits outside the norm of the dominant culture. This volume includes an important essay by Nato Thompson on Chicago's mullti-use spaces. Mike Wolf, one of many collaborators in running Mess Hall (2003-2013)—an experimental cultural center we cofounded—writes about his experiences in helping to run the place and how for him it was an alternative to pursuing an MFA. This is a rich compilation of approaches and art cultures from the city.

From the editors: 

When artists break boundaries of traditional forms and work outside of institutionalized systems, they often must create new infrastructures to sustain their practices. Support Networks looks to Chicago’s deeply layered history of artists, scholars, and creative practitioners coming together to create, share, and maintain these alternative networks of exchange and collaboration.

The contributors to this collection explore how the city continues to inform and shape contemporary cultural work and the development of informal organizations. Many of the authors are contributors to the scene themselves, having envisioned, founded, and activated these new ways of working. The unconventional systems explored in Support Networks call attention to stories and experiences often overlooked in this history. Ranging from artists’ reflections to essays, interviews, and ephemera, these perspectives challenge existing narratives and foreground underrepresented voices. Through more than twenty-five diverse examples of community building, activism, and catalytic projects, readers will find the inspiration they need to build their own counter-institutions.

Support Networks is part of the new Chicago Social Practice History series, edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Kate Zeller in the Department of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

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