In 2011, after staging the multimedia artist Mark Bradford’s retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, curator Tricia Van Eck decided to leave and turn a dilapidated mansion on a quiet residential block in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood into an experimental art space. Using every inch of the 4,200 square foot home now known as 6018North, Eck has invited artists such as Amanda Williams, Vlatka Horvat, and Moises Salazar to create ambitious site-specific works that widen the definition of what art can be, who it’s made for, and where and how it’s created.
“It’s been a huge push of mine to bring artists and audiences together,” says Van Eck, who spent 13 years curating shows at the MCA. “I wanted to take art to the community and provide a space to give emerging artists a space to show their work. I am most interested in work that is high-risk and often young artists have amazing ideas, but sometimes they don’t have the space. I am trying to remove the barriers and provide space for the artists,” the curator tells the Creators Project. Van Eck has also sought to bring artists projects to other communities around the city in an effort to break down the barriers that exist between museums and the viewing public. Currently on view on the city’s Ohio Street Beach is an architectural work titled, House. Van Eck worked with artist Sarah FitzSimons to erect the public work as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
6018North's current exhibitions include Chapel and Its Elemental—two shows that both reference architectural forms. In Chapel the artist Rodrigo Lara Zendejas uses his grandparents' small personal chapel in their home in Mexico as a reference to construct, on the first floor of the house, a memorial to artists by replacing his grandparents statues of saints with sculptures of artists Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jean-Michel Basquiat laying in Andy Warhol’s lap.
Its Elemental draws from architect Rem Koolhaas’ 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale work, The Elements of Architecture, where the architect laid out the fundamental building blocks of, well, building. Artists use the house to incorporate art and design into Koolhaas’ elements. The group show includes artist Nance Klehm’s S(h) it-in compost toilet, modeled on ancient Roman toilets, and Kathleen McCarthy’s Antechamber, which explores the movement of people within public space.
“We are doing interesting things in a non-commercial way,” says Van Eck. “We want to elevate the level of attention that is brought to Chicago artists, and influence how art is being made, because what we are doing in the communities of Chicago is unusual in the art world.” She adds, “People don’t often get to interact with art outside of an white cube—they are drawn to the physicality of the house and they feel like the work is being made for them.”
Chapel and Its Elemental continue through January 3, 2016. For more information on 6018North, click here.