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Feature Mon Apr 21 2008

An Interview with Nicholas Freeman

Based in Humboldt Park, the Finch Gallery is one of the many Chicago arts spots featured in Artropolis, an arts extravaganza taking place April 25-28 at the Merchandise Mart. As part of its participation, Finch put out an open call for submissions of essays and writings on the arts, independent actions, and commentary, the fruits of which will be published and distributed to the public and reprinted on the gallery's website. (The deadline for submissions is April 23; send entries to info@finchgallery.com.) Finch Executive Director Nicholas Freeman recently spoke to GB about his vision for the publication, his gallery's upcoming goings-on, and his positive spin on "money laundering."

Tell us about Finch Gallery's role in Artropolis.

As far as we know, we are the sole representative of a free and socialist art movement at Artropolis. We have commandeered a storefront on the second floor of the Merchandise Mart, and as freely as we were given the space, so shall we share the opportunity with many of our independently-minded friends. The Finch annex will present an alternative to the pay-to-play system in the art world, removing the gallery owner's role as taste-maker and allowing for art to be seen the way that it should be: free of charge and pretense.

What's the impetus for assembling the publication?

We simply wished for other voices to be heard. There is no specific message involved; it's just an example of what the city can produce if given the opportunity.

Who will edit/select pieces for publication?

I'm going to use almost everything except for some overly negative submissions.

How are you covering printing costs?

I work in a downtown bar during the day, so I take stock market money and turn it into public arts funding. I think of it as money laundering for the city.

Do you see this publication project turning into something bigger down the line -- a series, perhaps?

This might translate into a regularly published journal. There's gobs of blogs -- some of them very good -- but there's not much written work that is available in print. Unfortunately, BAT, a quarterly journal, recently decided to stop its run; so maybe we can help fill the void.

Who are some of your favorite arts writers and thinkers?

I dig Robert Storr and Yve-Alain Bois. Mr. Fish and Gary Trudeau are two of my favorite cartoonists and are where I get most of my information. I also really like Alan Artner's sizzling reviews of the River North scene in the Trib.

What's the upcoming "Benefit for Mary Brown" about?

Our dear friend and "house momma," Amber, has a mother in a dire health situation. We're hosting a silent auction to raise funds for her treatment. There will be work by over 25 artists, food, drinks, DJs, the works. It happens on May 1.

This action [illustrates] one of the reasons that we were founded; for all the bitching that I've done at a bar, it's wonderful to be able to actually help produce better situations, not only for artists, but for the city in general.

The Finch Gallery is located at 2747 W. Armitage (at California). The Benefit for Mary Brown takes place Thursday, May 1 from 7-11 p.m. For more info, visit the website or call 312-622-8921.

About the Author:

A native of Johnstown, PA, Lauri Apple is a contender for the title, "world's most renowned bag lady," thanks to her somewhat popular (at times) website, FoundClothing. Lauri has a JD and doesn't know why, but it will take about 30 years for her to pay it off, and that worries her. Her favorite cities are Prague, Pittsburgh, Austin and Chicago. When she's not looking through people's trash, she's either painting, taking pictures, or making/thinking about making cartoons about her weird life.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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