2130-40 West Fulton St.
Chicago, IL 60612
Exhibition on view: April 28-May 18, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 28, 6-9 pm
The Chicago Artists Coalition proudly presents Boondoggle featuring HATCH Projects artists, Andrew Barco, Jeff Prokash, and Gülşah Mursaloğlu.
During the Great Depression, many New Deal programs focused on putting unemployed artists and craftspeople to work, and providing government funding for public, archival, and educational projects. One such program focused on teaching simple crafts to children by which they could produce small tchotchkes to sell and raise money for their families. A typical craft was the tying of decorative, colored leather and canvas called “boondoggles” that didn't serve any purpose beyond aesthetic novelty and a sense of accomplishment in a time of extreme malaise. Like any social program, the idea came under fire from the political right who, unsurprisingly, saw it as wasting money in order to promote wasting time. The term boondoggle became immediately metaphorical for a large expenditure of effort and resources for a foolishly useless end, and that is how we use the word today.
This exhibition aims at reclaiming the word. The act of tying boondoggles was simultaneously a socially conscious and creative endeavor, and, as artists, we know better than to regard that as a waste of time. More and more, this stance becomes a critical political contention in an ideological return, where arts and social programs are first on the chopping block (right along with protections for transgender students and our environment). In this exhibition, Barco, Prokash, and Mursaloğlu create idiosyncratic problems just to solve them, needing no justification other than intellectual and emotional pursuit. The artists weave together complex meanings out of a self-imposed tangle of traditional, found, and archival materials. The improvised convolution of their installations is the very source of their ethos. Like a boondoggle, the means are their own ends.
Boondoggle is curated by Danny Floyd.