Monday, January 10, 2011
Ten for Ten: Anthony Stepter
For the end of 2010, Art or Idiocy? has invited ten guests to each contribute a list of ten items. Join us each week as a new list is published. Earlier contributors include Steve Ruiz, Danielle Paz, Nicole Mauser, Thea Liberty Nichols and Marilyn Volkman.
Anthony D. Stepter is an arts administrator. He moved to Chicago from Washington, DC in March of 2010. He is originally from Grand Rapids, MI.
I’ve met quite a lot of really great people involved with the arts since moving to Chicago. Unfortunately for them, my enthusiasm for meeting new people often results in awkward situations. This list could have been so much longer.
Top Ten Awkward Art World Introductions of 2010
Rowley Kennerk - I went to high school with Rowley's wife, and have been hearing about him for years. One day a friend said that she wanted to stop by one of her favorite galleries. A few minutes later I found myself standing in Rowley’s gallery, mumbling "you don't know me, but I know your wife and I've known of you for years." Instead of pretending the gallery was closed in order to get this weirdo out of his gallery (which is what I would have done), Rowley showed me around the place and we talked about music for a while. Later, because he knew I didn't have a job when I moved to Chicago and because he's one of the nicest guys in town, he offered to let me sit in the gallery on a couple of occasions when he couldn't be there during open hours.
Shannon Stratton - I ended up sitting next to Shannon on a bus after an opening one day so I introduced myself. As soon as she mentioned that she was Canadian, I excitedly told her how much I love Montreal. It was a true statement, but also sort of like meeting someone from Mexico and telling them how much you love Cancun. She totally pointed this out. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be allowed in threewalls anymore (they have a strict "No CTA Creepers" policy), thankfully I've been back a dozen times for openings, the amazing public culture lecture series, and of course the best parties in town!
Nato Thompson - While on a break from the sessions at Open Engagement in Portland this spring, a group of us were trying to decide what to do for the next 30 minutes when some guy in cowboy boots got really excited and started leading the whole group across the campus. When we got to where he was taking us, we found ourselves watching a Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) game going on in the park. Later I found out they guy in the cowboy boots was Nato Thompson. I think Nato might be the best, most innovative and thoughtful arts administrator in the country right now. He also apparently gets really excited by grown-ups casting fake spells on each other and brandishing swords covered in duct tape.
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle - He was speaking to a group of teachers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was helping set up the room for the presentation. I forget what the exact problem was, but we needed to block some light so he could use the projector. Iñigo came up with a solution: He’d tear the top off of a box and cover the intrusive light source. Since I was still eating the pizza the boxed contained, I thought he might be joking. He wasn’t.
James Elkins - Again at SAIC, I was prepping a room for a meeting and basically the whole 6th floor of the building smelled like butt. James Elkins came up to go to his office and asked me if I knew what the smell was. I had to simultaneously play it cool and pretend that I wasn't in the middle of reading two of his books and also convince him that it wasn't me or my colleagues that had made the whole floor smell terrible. What's the postmodern take on "He who smelt it dealt it?"
K8 Hardy - Like a pair of 12 year-old boys at spring training me and my friend Aimee ran up to K8 Hardy after a lecture and demanded that she take a photo with us. Since we are not 12 year-old boys and this was the Great Hall at Cooper Union and not spring training, K8 looked appropriately weirded out. She did take a photo with us though!
This is Aimee Buyea (runs SugarCity in Buffalo, NY), K8 Hardy, and me.
Theaster Gates - At the threewalls spring auction, I won dinner at Theaster Gates’ house. This was easily one of the best nights I’ve had since moving to Chicago. This one was actually more awesome than awkward.
Anne Elizabeth Moore and Fereshteh Toosi - I met both of them separately, but in both cases when I introduced myself, I totally pretended I wasn’t already following them on Twitter. #OMG!I’mYourBiggestFan!
Erik Wenzel - Long before I met Erik, I heard about his taste in t-shirts, his ability to go to all the gallery openings, and his run-ins with someone named “The Shark.” Imagine my surprise when I realized halfway through a panel discussion on art criticism, that the guy talking about cat videos on youtube was the same guy who occasionally wears his “Fuck you, you fucking fuck” t-shirt to his friend’s gallery openings.
Scott Wolniak & Erik Wenzel at Bob Jones An Object in the Woods at 65GRAND