SOFA (Sculptural Objects Functional Art & Design), November 3-6, is Chicago’s premier gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. In conjunction with SOFA, the Lillstreet Gallery is proud to host the opening reception of Ring it On: Sculpture, Fashion, Function. This exhibition will showcase the sculptural and/or functional finger adornments of twenty-seven North American artists working in a variety of materials.
On this same evening, November 4, the Lillstreet Gallery will have the closing reception of Government Cheese: Poverty, Addiction, and Violence, curated by SOFA artist Roberto Lugo.
So what is “Government Cheese?” Curator Roberto Lugo describes how he was raised in a household that loved Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s food program gave away free blocks of cheese (hence “government cheese”) to qualifying families. In the curator's statement, Lugo talks about how he would later question the political intention of this "government cheese." Lugo curated a show based on artists who are influenced by their experiences with poverty, addiction, and violence; three concepts that are prevalent in poor communities. Subversively, Lugo also identifies the socio-economical and racial divisions between artists’ inspirations. Poverty, addiction, and violence are three themes that are not typically represented in galleries. Maybe these subjects are too inaccessible, too controversial, or simply too uncomfortable for the “normal” gallery audience and experience.
At the Lillstreet Gallery, we value topics like these and believe they are underrepresented in the world of fine art and contemporary craft. What is happening in Chicago and this country is directly reflected in this show curated by Roberto Lugo. One of my favorite quotes is “art is not always safe.” This exhibition is not safe, it is not cold and sterile, and it’s not trite. It’s honest and real.
We hope to see you on Friday for the closing reception of "Government Cheese" and the opening reception for "Ring it On: Sculpture, Fashion, Function."