David Constable: excur’ sus 1, one, won, ywan. 04/02 - 04/28/13

April 06, 2013

David Constable

David Constable:
excur’ sus 1, one, won, ywan.


David Constable:
excur’ sus 1, one, won, ywan.

Opening reception, Thursday April 18th, 5 - 8pm
Exh. continues through April 28th, 2013

“excursus n. a dissertation or discussion on some particular matter appended to the main body of a book or chapter append vt. to hang or attach ( to something ); to add”

For the month of April Chicago based Scottish artist David Constable will occupy the storefront space in Block 37 creating a brand new installation piece. An artists reception will be held on Thursday April 18th. David Constable maintains an itinerant practice; the simple rationale is that by doing so artistic inquiry is open not enclosed. This approach has significant philosophical and structural benefits related to creativity and its exchange.


Block 37
108 N. State St. #390
Chicago, IL, 60603


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Between Places 13, 04/14/13

April 05, 2013

Between Places 13

Between Places 13

Between Places is an exchange and exhibition project between students from CCS, Detroit and SAIC, Chicago, curated by Chido Johnson and Kirsten Leenaars.

Sunday April 14th
4 - 8pm

¡¡¡1 day only!!!

at the mothership, in Oak Park - 1155 LYman, Oak Park, IL, 60304

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Aqua Art Miami 2012

November 17, 2012

Jacob Crose, “0.01 seconds of near complete
separation from the universe #1 (of 3)”, 2012
Watercolor, Ink onPaper, 18” x 20”

What It Is is excited be at Aqua Art Miami next month for the Art Basel Miami Beach weekender. We are returning with six artists: Lise Haller Baggesen, Tom Burtonwood, Jacob Crose, Holly Holmes, Xiangshen Jason Guo and Stoic Swine, exhibiting in a range of media.

What It Is will be in the same room / booth as last year, rm 111, towards the back of the courtyard at Aqua near the hot tub. Click here to RSP for our Facebook event, if you would like a VIP pass for the fair email us at Follow us on Twitter @wot_it_is, @tburtonwood and @improbjects for updates, info and commentary during the fair.

Artist Links:
Lise Haller Baggesen
Tom Burtonwood
Jacob Crose
Holly Holmes
Xiangshen Jason Guo
Stoic Swine

For more information about the fair and the other exhibitors who will be showing this year please check out their website The PDF version of the catalog is also online and you can download it here,

Xiangshen Jason Gu "Limpaire" 2012

Xiangshen Jason Gu “Limpaire” 2012

Aqua Art Miami
at the Aqua Hotel
1530 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

In addition to the exhibiting artists we will be launching Improbable Objects first 3D Printed Edition, “Dr. N.AT.O.M.” by Jacob Crose. It will be produced in a limited edition of 20 and printed in four colors of ABS Plastic. We will be demonstrating the 3D printing process in the booth for the duration of the fair. To order your copy in advance please email

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3D Printing Day at What It Is

October 12, 2012

Improbable Objects at Expo Chicago

Improbable Objects at Expo Chicago

3D Portrait Printing Day

Saturday 20th October, 11am – 5pm

What It Is gallery, 23 East Madison, Chicago, IL, 60602

Gallery website:

What It Is will be hosting Improbable Objects at our gallery in Chicago’s Loop on Saturday October 20th to 3D scan and print people’s portraits on their 3D printers. To make an appointment with I/O to have your portrait printed in 3D please email them on or call 773-837-9809

We can print your portrait in three sizes, small (1.5 inches), medium (2.5 inches) and large (4 inches) in height.

The small size should take about 25 minutes or so to print. The medium size will take about an hour and a half to print and can be picked up from the gallery later in the day or shipped to your home or office. The large size will take about three hours to print and will need to be mailed to you.

We can also “cut and paste” your portrait onto custom objects such as an iphone case, necklace or other piece of jewelry. Consider making a unique gift for a friend or family member for the holidays.

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Alexis Cole Grinbold / Michelle Wasson, 10/26/12 - 11/24/12

Cole Grinbold / Wasson

Cole Grinbold / Wasson

Alexis Cole Grinbold / Michelle Wasson

Opening reception: Friday October 26th 2012, 6pm - 9pm
Exhibition runs thru Sat Nov 24th, 2012

What It Is
23 East Madison
Chicago, IL, 60602


Alexis Cole Grinbold

Alexis Cole Grinbold



Michelle Wasson

Michelle Wasson



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Adflora-um 42, animation

August 10, 2012

Adflora-um (42), by David Constable


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New work by Teresa Albor 09/06 - 10/06/12

Teresa Albor: Chicago

Teresa Albor: Chicago

New work by Teresa Albor
September 5 – October 6, 2012

Gallery hours: Wed - Sat, noon - 5pm or by appointment
Opening reception: Friday September 21, 2012 5pm – 8pm

23 East Madison,
 Chicago, IL, 60602

The messy vitality of a city and “why people build things as opposed to why they say they build things” inform this work, which is constructed from wood, plaster, hardware, and industrial finishes. Making the work has involved exhausting, physical, cathartic, and untidy processes. The final installation is site specific, accessed through an ornate revolving door.

Teresa Albor, August, 2012

Teresa Albor is an American artist who has been based in Chicago for two years, following over a decade living and working in London and Eastern Europe. Selected exhibitions and projects include the Industry of the Ordinary (IOTO) portrait project at the Chicago Cultural Center; a group show at the Soane Museum, London; a series of nine installations in Macedonian villages in collaboration with local poets and workers; and a large scale installation at the American Centre in New Delhi. Upcoming exhibitions include the Lodz Triennial (Poland) and an installation: All that lies beyond us, at the Loyola Museum of Art in Chicago. Albor received her MFA from University of the Arts, London - Chelsea College of Art and Design.

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Adflora-um Ad Infinitum

August 02, 2012

Adflora-um, by David Constable

Adflora-um Ad Infinitum, animated gif by David Constable

35 of 42 paper folded pieces on display at What It Is from August 2nd thru 28th.

Opening reception Thursday August 2nd, 5pm and 8pm

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AdFlora-um, new work by David Constable, 08/02 - 08/25/12

July 26, 2012

New work by David Constable

Opening reception: Thursday August 2nd, 5pm - 8pm
Exhibition continues through 25th August

23 East Madison,
Chicago, IL, 60602

Art Forum magazine is a publication which registers its foolscap upon a square. This publication is arguably at the lead edge of printing prescient; its foolscap is printed premium. Consequently AdFlora-um will feature a number of folded incursions to illustrate the manifest potential of such. Premium printed foolscap advertising/discussing Art is a manufactured prime stock which will be utilized to produce manifold paper construction.

david constable
July, 2012

David Constable is a Scottish artist based in the USA. He has exhibited internationally since 1998. Selected exhibitions include Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN; Chawnoiserie, Fountain Studios, Brooklyn, NY; 300 dpi, Foyer Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland;All‐Terrain, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Solo Exhibition, Marginal, The University of Seville, Department of Architecture, Seville, Spain; Reconstruction, Gallery HQ/Kansas City, The Stray Show, Chicago, IL and GARDENfresh Gallery, Chicago, IL. Constable received his BA Hons from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1989 and his MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL in 2003.

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Imaginal 07/12 - 07/22/12

July 03, 2012



Xiangshen Jason Guo
Yewon Son
Caroline Kim


July 12 – July 22, 2012

Curated by: C. K-m

Opening: Friday July 12, 2012


The world can be flat, concrete, and without movement. The imagination is what creates movement by conceptualizing a place called the Imaginal. Entrance into this space happens in and through the art. The Imaginal is a liminal space between reality and fantasy; a place where composition, technique, and intention are not facsimile but authentic. Each interpretation of the Imaginal is a dérive through a personalized, aesthetic landscape. Come experience the Imaginal where each narrative reconstructs what abstracted reality means in contemporary America.


Caroline is a graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in Visual Critical Studies. Her areas of specialty are Copyright in Art, Gender Studies, and Modern Philosophy.  As a Korean-American woman, her past exhibitions have been curated in a multicultural and focused approach, . Fascinated by cartography and the spaces she occupies, Caroline finds meaning by retelling her experiences through her curatorial practices. In the Spring of 2012, she published “Copyright at Art School: Protecting Artists against Copyright Infringement” and lectured on Art Copyright at Art Institute of Chicago. She has also exhibited her paintings and photography at the Sullivan Galleries and the Regatta.


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Gallery closed 05/18 + 05/19

May 15, 2012

Hey ho - this week we’re only open on Thursday. Hol and I are in NYC. Our good friend Teresa Albor is going to be sitting the space Thursday - please pop in and say hi, and check out Paul’s show while it’s still up.
Best T + H.

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Blue Noise, Trees and Boids: Algorithmic images by Paul Hertz

April 14, 2012

Paul Hertz, Postcard, 2011

Blue Noise, Trees and Boids: Algorithmic images by Paul Hertz
Opening reception, Thursday May 3rd, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition continues through June 1st, 2012
Gallery hours Weds – Sat, noon to 5pm or by appointment

What It Is
23 East Madison
Chicago, IL, 60602

773 – 837 – 9809


What It Is, is pleased to present new work by Chicago-based artist Paul Hertz who has worked at the forefront of digital based art making since the mid 1980’s. This exhibition provides a glimpse into Hertz’s working practice with a series of new digital prints derived from Algorithms produced over the last twelve months.

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What It Is, is closed Friday 9th March

March 08, 2012

What It Is, is closed Friday March 9th due 2 events outside our control, we will be open Saturday for the last day of QUADCORE noon - 5pm, see you then.

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Patrick Lichty - EX NIHILO / Improbable Objects

Ex Nihilo - Improbable Objects

Ex Nihilo - Improbable Objects

Patrick Lichty
A Digital Journal Made Manifest

Project Area: Improbable Objects
Selected 3-d printed artworks and other items.
Participants include: Samuel Bernier, Scott Carter, Theodore Darst, Mike Dorries, Micah Ganske, Claudia Hart, Taylor Hokanson, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Sophie Kahn, Patrick Lichty, Mike Moceri, Christian Oiticica, Dan Price, Rob Ray, Emily Schulert, Marius Watz, Jihoon Yoo

Opening reception: Thursday March 29th, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition dates: March 29th  – April 28th, 2012

Gallery hours:
Weds: noon – 3.30pm
Thurs – Sat: noon – 5pm

What It Is
23 E. Madison,
Chicago, IL, 60602

ph. 773-837-9809

Patrick Lichty
A Digital Journal Made Manifest

What It Is, is pleased to announce “EX NIHILO: A Digital Journal Made Manifest” a solo exhibition of works by Chicago-based new media artist Patrick Lichty. Ex Nihilo, “out of nothing” in Latin, is an outgrowth from Patrick Lichty’s obsession of the porous boundaries between the physical and the virtual.  This fascination stems from Lichty working almost entirely with digital media since 1989, and after working in the online virtual world, Second Life, for nearly 30-40 hours a week for the last three years. From this prolonged immersion Lichty felt an intense need for being in-person, and translating media works into physical manifestations such laser fabrication, commissioned Chinese oil paintings, 3D printing, and now Jacquard loom tapestry fabrication. The latter of these being derived from the first programmed machine looms of the 1750’s.  Although Lichty wants to express his virtual/mediated experience in the physical, it is still entirely framed within technological culture, of which he has been accustomed to since an early age.

The images in this exhibition are considered as a journal or travelogue of significant moments and projects from the past ten years.  These include images taken with a low resolution Casio Wristcam for his series 8 Bits or Less. Others used for the Jacquard tapestries were selected from various projects including My Day/Your Night, One, and Wikipedia Art and chosen as experiments in the translation from the virtual to the physical.

Patrick Lichty (b.1962) is a technologically-based conceptual artist, writer, independent curator, animator for the activist group, The Yes Men, and Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine. He began showing technological media art in 1989, and deals with works and writing that explore the social relations between people and media. Venues in which Lichty has been involved with solo and collaborative works include the Whitney & Turin Biennials, Maribor Triennial, Performa Performance Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the International Symposium on the Electronic Arts (ISEA).

He also works extensively with virtual worlds, including Second Life, and his work, both solo and with his performance art group, Second Front, has been featured in Flash Art, Eikon Milan, and ArtNews.

He is also an Assistant Professor of Interactive Arts & Media at Columbia College Chicago


Micah Ganske

Improbable Objects

In our project area we will be exhibiting selected artworks and objects produced by artists and makers utilizing 3-d printing as their medium. Rapid Prototyping or 3d printing is a process whereby a three dimensional object is created from a digital file using a materials based printer and laid down similar to printing images on paper. 3d printing is about thirty years old but was restricted to heavy industry and prototyping communities. In the last six or seven years as the patents for the technologies expired a whole new class of open source printers such as the RepRap and Makerbot have opened this category of manufacturing up to artists, makers, designers and the public. The result of this democratization has been a massive explosion of creative activity and problem solving as the open source community seeks to perfect better printers, easier to use applications, affordable 3d scanners and ways to share 3d models such as websites like Thingiverse. “Improbable Objects” features a number of artists and makers who are currently working with 3d printing as their medium including objects from: Samuel Bernier, Scott Carter, Theodore Darst, Mike Dorries, Micah Ganske, Claudia Hart, Taylor Hokanson, Bronwyn Holloway Smith, Sophie Kahn, Patrick Lichty, Mike MoceriChristian Oiticica, Dan Price, Rob Ray,   Emily Schulert, Marius WatzJihoon Yoo


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Improbable Objects

March 04, 2012

***Call for objects***

What It Is /  Improbable Objects seek examples of 3-d printed items to exhibit later this month at our gallery space in downtown Chicago. We are inviting Makers / Artists / Engineers + Futurists to share with us and the public objects that they have produced on a 3-d printer. We are setting aside a portion of the gallery as a “project space” to display these items. The 3-d printed section will be titled “Improbable Objects” and will coincide with a solo exhibition in the main gallery space with Chicago-based artist Patrick Lichty.

While What It Is, is an art gallery (of sorts) - we are not specifically seeking sculptures to display, per se.. all 3-d printed objects are welcome and sought after. Objects lent for the exhibition can be available for sale or not. We will endeavor to produce some kind of printed catalogue or web based archive of the works. If you are interested in participating or know someone who should be invited to take part please email me at

Title: Improbable Objects
Dates of exhibition March 22nd - April 21st.
Opening reception: Thurs March 22nd, 5pm - 8pm

What It Is
23 E. Madison,
IL, 60603

Please email me at to arrange for drop off of objects, if you are outside Chicagoland area and want to discuss shipping or printing options email me and we’ll try to work something out. During the opening we will have a number of 3-d printers in operation printing objects and sculptures for people to see the process first hand, if anyone wants to bring their own printer to make prints on the opening night - please let me know.

Thank you!

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Aqua Art Miami 2011: What It Is Booth #111

December 01, 2011

Some images from our booth at Aqua, please email for more details and if you are in Miami come see us. If you need a VIP pass please email us and we will send you one.

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Aqua Art Miami, 2011, 12/01/11 - 12/04/11

November 24, 2011

Aqua Art Miami 2011, press release

What-It-Is Projects is proud to announce it’s participation in Aqua Art Miami 2011 in concurrence with Art Basel Miami Beach.

What-It-Is  is a project space and exhibition venue initiated by Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes, and operated out  of their home in the Chicagoan suburb of Oak Park. Artists are invited to create unique and temporary art works in the domestic setting, which is open to the public by appointment.

In addition to this, What-It-Is publishes artist’s books and produces limited editions, as well as participating in international art fairs as an expansion of the project space. So far, What-It-Is has presented projects at the inaugural MDW Fair in Chicago,  the NEXT Art Fair, also in Chicago (2010/2011), Fountain Art Fair in NY (2011) and Verge art Fair in Miami (2010).

For Aqua Art Miami,  What-It-is invited an eclectic and dynamic group of artists who have previously shown at their Oak Park location, click here for a preview of featured works on display: PREVIEW OF FEATURED WORK

Andrew Rigsby
Holly Holmes
Lise Haller Baggesen
Sabina Ott
Tom Burtonwood
Stoic Swine

From Sabina Ott’s hallucinatory west coast  sensibility,  to Andrew Rigsby’s kaleidoscopic dreamscapes, Holly Holmes playful constellations,  Tom Burtonwood’s geometric permutations, Lise Haller Baggesen’s teenage Riot and Stoic Swine’s dark secrets; the show offers a variety of media, unified by a bold yet refined palette.

Each artist will exhibit one major work / installation as well as a limited edition artwork produced specifically for the event of the Aqua Art Fair.

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MDW Fair, Chicago, IL, 10/21/11 - 10/23/11

October 19, 2011

Jonathan Franklin & Selena Jones


MDW Fair

MDW Fair

What It Is: Booth #234

Fair Admission: $5

Vernissage: Friday October 21, 8-11pm
Saturday Noon to 6pm
Sunday Noon to 6pm

The MDW Fair takes place  October 21-23rd, 2011 at the Geolofts 3636 S Iron Street, Chicago 60609

GEOLOFTS is located just over 4 miles from the downtown, straddling the neighborhoods of Bridgeport and McKinley Park.

Free Parking is available in the parking lot directly south of the building. Please go down to 37th street to enter the parking lot. The exit is toward the front of the building.

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Conrad Freiburg: Home

October 03, 2011

Conrad Freiberg: Home

Conrad Freiberg: Home

On October 9, 2011, 2 pm
Conrad Freiburg: Home
A recital of songs about traveling.
The event is free.

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Oak Leaves: Sept 29th, 2011

Oak Leaves, 09/29/11

Nomadic Text, Oak Leaves, 09/29/11

“Nomadic Text” tracks a migration or words

- by J. T Morand

Oak Leaves, Sept 29th, 2011

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R James Healy talks to Bad at Sports

June 10, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

Richard Holland from Bad at Sports interviews R James Healy. Richard (an)D James talk at length about the zoetrope M16.2 that James produced for his residency at What It Is. This episode of Bad at Sports is a double feature with an excellent conversation between Troy Klyber and artist Randy Regier. Make sure you listen right to the end for the hidden track too!

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R James Healy: M16.2 Video

June 05, 2011

M16.2 3D Zoetrope from R James Healy on Vimeo.

This 3D zoetrope was created during R James Healy’s artist in residency at What It Is, Chicago, Illinois.

The piece began as a study of the American flag, its colors and the hypnotic movements of a fabric signature. Healy’s work explores perception, in the illusion of movement, the artistic practice of observation and record, and the phenomena of memory versus experience.

59 rapid prototyped models are housed in a 24 inch motorized drum. Illumination is provided by LEDs allowing the animation to be viewed in all lighting conditions.

Unlike a traditional zoetrope, the inside and outside spin in different directions resulting in the animation appearing bigger (the viewer does not need to look through the piece) Using models instead of drawings creates a far more immersive experience. Viewers can move around the piece choosing their own viewpoint like a traditional sculptural object. Another advantage of models over drawings is parallax; objects further away appear to move slower than those close by.

The stand and ‘drum’ are hand crafted from solid walnut and veneer. The majority of the other components were digitally manufactured. The zoetrope stands approx 53 inches high with a 22-inch square footprint.

His blog documents the development of the piece in depth. It covers both creative and technical issues. It was written ‘diary style’ which resulted in the recording of some unplanned topics!

The zoetrope is an edition of 13 (13 stripes in the US flag).

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Art Talk Chicago: Life+Turn: The Work of R James Healy

Art Talk Chicago

Stephanie Burke profiles R James Healy and his recent residency at What It Is

“…Healy is probably most well known for an animated video he did to accompany Chris Clark’s track Herr Barr. The video, which was the overall winner of the Radar Festival in 2007, features an animated cast of birds-cum-hands swirling and maneuvering an a way akin to flocking European Starlings. In the act of swooping and rushing, the flock sculpts and animates a human form. The video can be puzzling at first, leaving viewers wondering what exactly happened to their internet connection that caused the image to pixilated so horribly, until it dawns on the viewer that the pixilation is part and parcel of the video itself. The piece transcends simple music video tones and motifs, existing easily as an artwork in and of itself…”

Read more:

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R James Healy: M16.2

June 02, 2011

Images of the finished zoetrope, M16.2, by artist in residence R James Healy.

Video to follow shortly.

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011

R James Healy, M16.2, zoetrope, 2011, detail


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NEXT Art Fair, Chicago, IL, 04/29/11 - 05/02/11

April 19, 2011

NEXT: The Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art
April 29 - May 2, 2011
Opening Preview: April 28, 2011


Friday, April 29 11A - 7P
Saturday, April 30 11A - 7P
Sunday, May 1 11A - 6P
Monday, May 2 11A - 4P


What It Is, is pleased to announce our participation in this year edition of the NEXT Art Fair.

We will be located in booth G3, which is located near the New Insight Section curated by Suzanne Ghez, on the west side of the floor.


Lise Haller Baggesen

Tom Burtonwood

R James Healy

Patrick Lichty

Sabina Ott

Andrew Rigsby

Dave Sharma

Stoic Swine

Michelle Wasson


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WHAT IT IS: MDW Fair, Chicago, IL, 04/23/11 - 04/24/11

April 16, 2011

WHAT IT IS will be in attendance at the MDW Fair next weekend at the GeoLofts, 3636 S. Iron, Chicago, IL, 60609. Please come on by. For a map and directions please click this link.

On Saturday Tom will be leading On the Road a conversation about artist run / dealer led art fairs + expos, creating new markets, and inviting attendees to discuss the pros and cons of producing a similar satellite event outside of Chicago.

On  Sunday 24th, at 2pm,  Holly and Tom will both be participating in Better Together: A two-part conversation moderated by Jamilee Polson, Twelve Galleries Project Director, with panelists Garry Alderman and Ellen Hartwell Alderman of Alderman Exhibitions/Method Bicycle Company. The panel discussion focuses on curatorial collaboration and negotiation between partners within a fixed space.

We will be exhibiting the following artists:

Lise Haller Baggesen
Tom Burtonwood
Lauren Carter
Colleen Coleman
Theodore Darst
Anni Holm
James Jankowiak
Patrick Lichty
Sabina Ott
Rob Ray
Andrew Rigsby
Stoic Swine
Anthony Vizzari
Michelle Wasson


Public Media Institute, Roots and Culture and threewalls announce:



Visual Arts Landing in Chicago


April 23rd & 24th, 2011
Geolofts, 3636 South Iron Street, Chicago, IL, 60608

Saturday, April 23rd: 1-10pm

Sunday, April 24th: 1-6pm


CHICAGO: threewalls, Roots and Culture and Public Media Institute are excited to announce The MDW Fair, a first annual gathering of independent art initiatives, spaces, galleries, publishers and artist groups from the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond. With over 50 participants, The MDW Fair demonstrates the diversity, strength and vision of the people and places that make up the rich art ecology of our region.


Held April 23-24, 2011 at The Geolofts, 3636 S. Iron Street, Chicago, the fair features 501(c)3, commercial and unincorporated galleries, independent curatorial projects, publishers and media groups in over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space that includes a 8,000 square foot sculpture garden with work by local artists. In addition to exhibitions by participating spaces, local podcasters Bad At Sports will host a live game-show and panel discussions will be scheduled throughout fair hours chaired by Britton Bertran, Jamilee Polson, Lorelei Stewart and Steve Ruiz.


The MDW Fair is a manifestation of the collective spirit behind the region’s most innovative visual cultural organizers, focusing on the breadth of work done here by artists and arts-facilitators alike. Please join us and see why Chicago remains a center of ingenuity and talent. Participants include: Twelve Galleries, Peregrine Program, Western Exhibitions, Alderman Projects,  ACRE, 65 Grand, Roots and Culture, Lloyd Dobler, Flat 9 Prelude, Adds Donna, Johalla Projects, Devening Projects, Linda Warren Gallery, Green Gallery, Sidecar Gallery, Pentagon Gallery, Post Family, Iceberg Projects, Slow, Reuben Kincaid, The Hills Esthetic Center, Ebersmoore, Antenna, University of Illinois at Chicago, LVL3, No Coast, JNL Graphic Design, Roxaboxen, Packer Schopf Gallery, Monument II, Stockyard Institute, Harold Arts, Heaven Gallery, The Suburban, ZG Gallery, Regional Relationships, The Storefront, Hornswaggler, University of Chicago, 2nd Bedroom/TAG TEAM, Chicago Arts Review, Oxbow, Bad At Sports, What It Is, The Hyde Park Art Center, threewalls, The Cultural Center, Rebuild Foundation and  The Chicago Urban Art Society.

For press inquiries, contact Ed Marszewski at

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Tom talks to Amanda + Martin from Bad at Sports


What IT Is
What It Is booth at Fountain Art Fair, NYC. Photo: Fountain Art Fair

Amanda Browder and Martin Esteves interview Tom Burtonwood at the Fountain Art Fair in New York last month. We talk about What It Is, is; and some of the artists we were showing in NYC including Lise Haller Baggesen and Sabina Ott. Thank you Bad at Sports!

Bad at Sports Episode 293 NYC Fairs 2011

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Inaugural Artist in Residence: R James Healy

April 02, 2011

R James Healy


What It Is is pleased to announce our inaugural artist in residence R James Healy. James is staying with us in sunny Oak Park for the next month or with an exhibition of his work tentatively scheduled for late April. Based in London, UK,  James is an animator and freelance 3D artist specializing in visual effects. While at What It Is James will prototype and develop one of his custom made zoetropes.

R James Healy

Follow his progress here, on his blog and on twitter: rjameshealy

Also check out Clark: Herr Barr, overall winner of the Radar Festival 2007

“The look of this piece is a continuation of previous experiments, manipulating images by sampling. The technique is largely influenced by the Vorticist paintings of David Bomberg, specifically, ‘In the Hold’. Bomberg drew a grid over his canvas then fragmented the picture into geometric shapes whilst retaining the dynamic of the original scene. The intention of employing the technique in this piece is to create an ambiguity of form, allowing motion to reveal the subject.

Once the viewer has accepted they’re looking at a bird/hand, any similar moving black shape is adequate. As the project developed it became apparent that the hands had a strong sensual quality. Clearly this would be lost by total fragmentation. I strove to strike a balance, presenting detail in some shots, reserving it in others to give a broader sense of shape and motion. The compression required by streamed video is not sympathetic to this piece, but I do feel the intention is clear.” - R James Healy

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Fountain Art Fair New York

February 19, 2011

Lise Haller Baggesen, ‘Sound of Silver’, 60 x 60 inches, Acrylic medium and glitter on rayon velvet, 2010





March 4-March 6, 12pm-7pm


Thursday March 3, 12pm - 5pm - VIP & Press Preview

Friday, March 4, 7pm - 12am - Opening Night Reception

Performance: Gordon Voidwell, Tecla and Generic

Saturday, March 5, 7pm - 12am - Performance: Ninjasonik and NSR

Stoic Swine, ‘LORD, I’VE GOT AN AWFUL CASE OF BEAVER FEAVER!’, 60 x 84 inches, Ballpoint pen on paper, 2011


“The artists displaying their multimedia wares here are true avant-garde upstarts. Saturating your eyeballs with new imagery while listing on a rusty boat? Priceless.” -NBC New York

“Presenting a solid mix of street art, fine art, installation, performance, and all around general creativity, the Fountain Art Fair was a breath of fresh air for those tired of the white tents and fancy cocktails.”

“Possessed of a scrappy, youthful verve lacking in its more prestigious neighbors. Fountain was distinguished by a vintage street/self-taught aesthetic” -ArtForum

“The way an art fair should be.” -The Economist

“For a riverside art fair with more grit, the Fountain Art Fair truly delivers. Named after Duchamp’s famous urinal, this one had the piss and vinegar. It’s this scrappy energy that augurs well for the continued vitality of art in the age of the declining Dow.” -Time Out New York

Fountain Art Fair was founded in 2006 as an attempt to leverage support for smaller independent galleries to gain access to larger collectors and critics. Since its inception, Fountain has held five exhibitions in Miami, one in Chicago, and is now celebrating its sixth exhibition in New York.

From its roots deep within the independent Williamsburg art scene, Fountain has grown to represent over 20 international avant-garde galleries and projects, showcasing progressive primary-market works.

Fountain’s venue, Pier 66 Maritime, is a 10,000 square-foot complex adjacent to all the major New York exhibitions such as The Armory Show and Pulse New York.


Andrew Rigsby, ‘Raw Chance’, 36 x 48 inches, Acrylic on canvas, 2011



New York (February 1, 2011)

Fountain Art Fair New York will celebrate its sixth successful year of showcasing avant-garde, independent artists and galleries during Armory Arts Weekend on March 3-6.

An exhibition known for its vibrant energy, focus on daringly impressive emerging art, and complete disregard for convention, Fountain is proud to announce a lineup of exhibitors and performances that is sure to outshine last year’s art frenzy.

This year Fountain returns to Pier 66 Maritime, a sprawling 10,000 sq ft venue (including salvaged lightship The Frying Pan) that provides a raw, singularly resonant environment for experiencing Fountain’s distinct mixture of progressive art, installations, and live performances.

Featuring over 20 exhibitors and independent projects-with emphasis on cutting-edge Brooklyn-based galleries and artists-Fountain will open its doors on Thursday, March 3rd with a VIP & Press preview.

Public access to the exhibition begins Friday, March 4th at 11am. Among the art projects and exhibits presented, Fountain New York 2011 will feature several veteran participants including Christina Ray Gallery, Grace Exhibition Space, Leo Kesting Gallery, We-Are-Familia, Greg Haberny, McCaig-Welles, and more.

Fountain is also pleased to welcome many outstanding new exhibitors, including Microscope Gallery, What It Is, Danni Rash & GILF!, Camel Art Space, and Mark Demos.

Sabina Ott, ‘Not Green Not Blue’, 24 x 24 inches, Mixed Media, 2011

Recognizing and supporting Fountain’s commitment to up-and-coming, culturally resonant artwork are this year’s sponsors, including standout media institutions and tastemakers such as The Village Voice, Gakwer Artists, Flavorpill, The Onion, and The L Magazine.

Continuing Fountain’s precedent of recognizing music as a vital contemporary art form, breakout funk/pop force GORDON VOIDWELL will bring his danceable, infectious live show to Friday’s public opening night reception (March 4). With an 80’s inspired sound that’s been compared to Prince and the Talking Heads, GORDON VOIDWELL is the alter-ego of Bronx-born ex-chorister turned rap geek, Will Johnson. He will be joined by the upbeat electro-pop of TECLA, crowned by The Fader as “ringleader of a new electric circus.”

Saturday night’s event (March 5) will continue to rock the barge, with performances by hip hop/pop-punk trio NINJASONIK and other special guests.

Additional Fountain participants and sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks, as well as more details on the exciting and carefully-culled lineup of exhibits, installations, partners, and events that will push Fountain New York 2011 even further beyond the boundaries of the traditional art fair model.

Fountain Exhibitors: Camel Art Space, Brooklyn * Cheap & Plastique, Brooklyn * Christina Ray Gallery, New York * Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn * Leo Kesting Gallery, New York * Marianne Nems Gallery, New York * McCaig-Welles, Brooklyn * Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn * Mighty Tanaka, Brooklyn* Temporary States, New York * Thaddeus Kwiat Projects, New York * We-Are-Familia, New York * What It Is, Chicago
Independent Artist Projects: Allison Berkoy, Brooklyn * Danni Rash & GILF!, New York * Evo Love, Miami * Greg Haberny, New York * Marni Kotak, Brooklyn * Mark Demos, New York

Tom Burtonwood, Composition 6.1.1, 30 x 30 inches, Gouache and ink on paper, 2011

Briana Green
864.981.0288 |
Follow Fountain Art Fair on Facebook and Twitter LOCATION
Pier 66 Maritime (aka The Frying Pan) at 26th Street, New York, NY 10011
General Hours: March 4-6, 11 AM-7 PM
VIP/Press Preview: Thursday, March 3, 11 AM-7 PM
Public Reception: Friday, March 4, 7 PM-midnight
Special Event: Saturday, March 5, 7 PM-midnight ADMISSION
Public Weekend Pass: Friday, March 4th through Sunday, March 6th | $10
VIP/Press Preview: Thursday, March 3rd | $20 at door

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Caitlin Arnold interviewed by Claudine Ise for Bad at Sports blog

October 26, 2010

Installation view of Caitlin Arnold's exhibition at What It Is, Oak Park, Il.

Big thank you to Claudine Ise for publishing her article and interview with Caitlin Arnold on the Bad at Sports blog. Please check it out, Claudine and Caitlin engage in a really interesting and insightful conversation that sheds a lot of light on Caitlin’s practice and thinking as an artist.

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Chicago Art Review

January 21, 2010

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What It Is: Huffington Post / Artletter

December 12, 2009

artletter screengrab

Big thank you to Paul Klein for mentioning last weeks show in his recent Huffington Post piece / Artletter on the “Schism” in Chicago Art, and thank you to everyone who made it out to the show. Bernard and Michelle’s work is up for another week or so, to make an appointment to view the exhibition please email

Best T + H

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