After a series of exploratory trips to the places and spaces that contain traces of Chicago’s history, it seemed only fitting to shop for articles of clothing that may or may not have been a part of Chicago’s past (Goshka is an avid collector of outrageous vintage clothing items). We made a quick stop at Knee Deep Vintage on 18th Street in the heart of Pilsen’s commercial district and then continued south to look at the graffiti on the walls surrounding the Crawford Steel Factory in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood.
After hours of traversing treeless streets in the rain, Dieter’s hopes were dashed when a rare patch of green space, guarded by a statuette of Mary, mother of Jesus, proved inaccessible to the team.
The artist seen from the back, rummaging through her purse in search of an electronic cigarette—Goshka is trying to shake a twenty-plus-year smoking habit during her tenure as the MCA’s 2013 artist-in-residence.
This book is very important to Goshka’s current research. A University of Chicago Library copy of Mark A. Russell’s monograph Between Tradition and Modernity: Aby Warburg and the Public Purposes of Art in Hamburg, 1896-1918 (published by Berghahn Books in 2007), it is the only source of information currently at our disposal on Aby Warburg’s elusive “Hamburg Comedy,” the basic premise of which currently propels Goshka’s creative process—her MCA residency will eventually result (or so we hope, for now) in a “Chicago Comedy” modeled after Warburg’s original “Hamburg Comedy.” Only one essay in this book has the comedy (fully titled Hamburg Conversations on Art: Hamburg Comedy, 1896), penned in December 1896 for his family’s New Year celebrations, as its subject; Russell informs us that “the action of the three-act comedy centers on an argument over the worth of contemporary art; the protagonists are a young Impressionist painter and the art-loving uncle of his fiancée” (it is useful to note that Warburg dedicated the play to his own fiancée, Mary Hertz). The play itself, which none of us have even laid eyes upon, is held in the vaults of the Warburg Institute in London—it exists only as a manuscript and has never been translated, much less staged.
Driving up Lake Shore Drive on a cold and rainy afternoon, lake-effect fog obscured the city skyline and Lake Point Tower (the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of “L.S.D.”—how did this urban anomaly come to be?).
Leaving the car to visit the Chicago History Museum, where we visited a terrific fashion exhibit (still on view!)—Inspiring Beauty: Fifty Years of Ebony Fashion Fair. Goshka is a great connoisseur of fashion, and an avid wearer of occasionally outrageous outfits herself. Not this time around though—it was too cold, and frankly too miserably wet.