Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Jana Gunstheimer1

E X T R A: Members of the upper class affected by inexplicable phenomenon of lost status. From millionaire to kitchen hand: When James Dobbes came home yesterday, home was no longer there. Psychological Comment: Parallels with East Germany

I came across these stuffed into newspaper stands in the loop this morning. At first I thought it was another one of those Chicago activist intervention things. You know, espousing the benefits of some leftist programme and slamming everything mainstream, and doing it in a way that can only alienate people, even those that are sympathetic to the points attempting to be made.

Actually, this is a piece by German artist Jana Gunstheimer. So it doesn’t actually have to achieve any real success since it is art. It is in connection with her upcoming focus show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Maybe I’m too elitist, but having this project take place under the authority of an institution like AIC gives it more of a kick. Especially since the elites being targeted by this mysterious sci-fi scenario of fancy condos going Cabrini Green are the same people that support places like museums. The work is aiming to examine ideas of class, economics and social infrastructures. Hopefully it will actually provide an interesting comment on those themes instead of just bringing them up, like most political art. Coming from someone born into the Eastern Bloc of Germany, she offers a unique insight.

Mixing ethnology, installation art a fictional corporation called Nova Porta and refined figurative drawing, Status L Phenomenon promises to be an interesting exhibition. This is the artists first museum show in the America. Chicago often plays home to many artists’ first museum shows, a fact often overlooked by the art press.


Jana Gunstheimer2

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