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Second Bedroom

What is Second Bedroom Project Space?

Story by Amy Rudberg

June 17, 2008 – Second Bedroom is a spare bedroom that Chris Smith has in his Morgan Street apartment in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. Smith and Irene Perez turned it into a project space for artists.

Before they decided to start the project, the bedroom was a storage space for Smith’s excess junk. The idea was triggered while they cleaned and edited the contents of the space. That’s when they realized the room could function as anything they wanted.

They decided to turn the private space into something for the public or in their case, since they are both art students, a space for their community, although they hope it transcends their immediate network of artist friends and acquaintances.

“We are not a commercial gallery, not even a gallery. We like to use the term project space,” said Perez. Their goal is to offer a space where artists can come and be inspired by the place and its surroundings and combine that with their own interests and practice to develop specific projects, create new work or expand their own creations.

It is also a place where they hope a dialogue about art making will come into play. They would like to help emerging artists produce work, which will serve as a catalyst for generating ideas and a forum to get feedback and create exposure.

Since it is not a commercial space, they can only offer artists a space to work as well as promotion of their work through e-mail, blog postings, Facebook and MySpace.

As an artist-run space, the emphasis is on the work and not the commercialism.

Is the space just for visual art?

The space is oriented to give an opportunity to emerging artists that want to use the space to develop, explore ideas and create new works.

In that sense, Second Bedroom is dedicated but not limited to installation art. However, they are open to all kinds of proposals such as readings and other events that can happen at the same time exhibitions are up.

They would like projects that stem from fields other than art, for example, projects with writers, scientists, or anthropologists, but realistically they are not as invested in those fields in terms of community.

If a project like this were to manifest, a considerable degree of artistic merit would seem essential. Keep in mind though that these activities would happen in an apartment where somebody lives, but it is within these parameters that they feel will assist or foster exciting works.

Is the space a temporary or permanent location?

The location is permanent, at least for the time Smith lives in the apartment. They are trying out this project during the summer with the hope they can make it work and enough interest to extend its life.
Do you have a listing of exhibitions?

So far they have the first show scheduled, an installation by Adam Farcus from June 21 to July 20. A blog exists where future events will be posted.

They have a couple of other artists who have expressed interest in working with them, and the goal is to have three shows this summer.

They are always accepting proposals, so anybody who thinks they might be interested in working with them can send an e-mail.

Irene Pérez is the Assistant Director of OSG (Orleans Street Gallery) and is currently working on putting together OSG’s 5th anniversary show. She will be showing two of her pieces at Art on Armitage window gallery from July 1 to July 31. The owner of Art on Armitage, Mary Ellen Croteau, asked her to create these pieces, which are an exploration and a comment on patriotism in the US. While Irene works mainly with fiber, she is a sculptor and not a fiber artist. Materials are very important to her because they relate conceptually to the works. There is also an element of installation in most of her works and an intent to engage the viewer physically and intellectually. Most of her work deals with concepts such a space, memory, and cultural identity.

Chris Smith is an art student at UIC.

Second Bedroom Project Space is located on 3216 Morgan Street, Apt. 4R Chicago, Ill. It’s open on Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

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