Mindy Rose Schwartz


Brandon Alvendia


Just as Joseph Beuys and Marcel Broodthaers represented two poles of European art in the 1960s, Mindy Rose Schwartz and Brandon Alvendia have been Chicago’s complementary opposites in the 2000s. Beuys and Schwartz are the enigmatic, romantic figures creating environments that tap into collective experience through curious, lovingly crafted objects; Broodthaers and Alvendia embody the witty, prolific young polymath, strategically mining cultural landfills to challenge the boundaries of art. Curating blends seamlessly with production for Alvendia. Over the last eight months he’s put together shows in Chicago and the United Arab Emirates; in June, he reconstituted legendary live/work/party space Camp Gay as an inverted sculptural assemblage on the ceiling at Monument 2 Gallery; then he led two days of lectures, group critiques, and skill-sharing sessions in conjunction with ACRE Projects. He also runs a neighborhood cultural center called the Storefront as well as Silver Galleon Press, which makes public-domain and open-source works available in rough, hand-bound print editions made on a mobile printing unit he carts from place to place. In contrast to Alvendia’s peripatetic flurry of interactivity, Schwartz created one shining, introverted jewel in 2011. Her unforgettable solo show at Threewalls was like a three-dimensional, Nutcracker-esque hallucination manifested at a hobby shop. White cobwebs of macrame bedecked with wooden beads dangled from snaking plaster arms while painted ceramic beings with sleeping faces rose like smoke trails from bits of plywood and blocks of concrete. An intuitive warmth—balancing communal openness with tactility and mystery—unites these two artists, as it did Beuys and Broodthaers. —Bert Stabler