Bless This Mess | Gallery 400 | Galleries | Chicago Reader
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The Virgo Out by Edie Fake

The Virgo Out by Edie Fake

When: Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through March 12 2011
An astounding energy radiated from the scrappy, queer arts community that coalesced around improvised venues like the Junk Shop, the Texas Ballroom, Camp Gay, and Mister City during the mid-aughts. A small slice of the dynamism that scene brought to lo-fi music, visual arts, and publishing is now on view in Bless This Mess, at Gallery 400, part of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Curated by outstanding comics artist Edie Fake--whose day-glo, rococo renderings of iconic gay bars anchor the show--Bless This Mess expresses an alternately ecstatic and melancholy preoccupation with the delicate boundary between body and spirit. Among the highlights are spare line studies of sexual positions and fantastical furniture by Robin Hustle. Lee Relvas, meanwhile, represents the gulf oil spill with text pieces in which phrases like "Ancient Seeps Into Future" carry physical, emotional, social, and environmental resonances. Relvas's large, intricate, black-on-black filigree works sum up the romanticism brimming over in nearly everything on display here. --Albert Stabler

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