Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Apartment Gallery Pops Up: The Op Shop

posted by chicago pop

An unlikely corner of Hyde Park will become the site of the neighborhood's latest "apartment gallery," a local example of a long-standing tradition in the Chicago art world of showing art in unconventional spaces.

The phenom has been buzzed upon recently in the local media, but as you can see by checking out the helpful Chicago Art Map, outside of the formal spaces of Little Black Pearl and Hyde Park Art Center, the trend of informal gallery spaces has yet to really hit Hyde Park.

That will change on November 25, when former gallery owners Laura Schaeffer and Andrew Nord open the doors of Op Shop, 1613 E. 55th Street, to the world.

The Op Shop venture, to occupy a vacant space owned by MAC Properties, follows from an apartment gallery hosted in Schaeffer and Nord's private residence. It's not really clear where this kind of venture fits in the world of conventional commercial galleries, being part living room, social center, marketplace, and art cooperative. That's what makes it interesting.

Here's what Op Shop says about itself:

We are inviting artists to bring their art, ideas, thoughts, and concerns to this space in Hyde Park in novel ways. We are open to all media. We hope to create a kind of total installation that is dynamic and constantly developing over the allotted time. The Op Shop is also set up to be a site of exchange, a place where participants are encouraged to identify their own resources and needs and come together to barter or sell objects, artworks, services, or particular skills. Artists' work and social exchange go hand-in-hand in this particular scenario.

This opportunity shop located at 1613 E. 55th Street is a short term, spontaneous pilot project for what we hope will become a series of exhibitions taking place in spaces in transition throughout Hyde Park and the south side of Chicago. By using vacant spaces with the cooperation of the owners for exhibitions, we can economize on overhead and also bring attention to unused urban space.

Especially interesting is the use of a rotating series of vacant spaces, something which turns a problem (vacant storefronts) into an asset (cultural vibrancy). Who knows? if the apartment gallery fashion gains enough momentum, and enough of them come through Hyde Park, it could infuse the neighborhood with a kaleidoscopic stream of color and inspiration.

Dates: 11/27 Fri - 12/31 Thu
Visitor hours: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Thu-Sun
Evenings, coinciding with events.

Opening reception: 11/27 Fri, from 6-10 p.m.
Silent Auction: 12/5 Sat from 6-10 p.m.
Closing party: 12/31 Thu from 6-10 p.m.


Anonymous said...

Very cool use of the old Nite and Day Foods space!

Lilithcat said...

Neat! I shall have to check it out.

Lilithcat said...

Oh, just adding that your OpShop link in the third paragraph leads to the wrong site.

chicago pop said...

Thanks, Lilithcat. Noted and corrected.

Andrew Cone said...

At one point, there was a "Thai 55" sign on the door to 1613 E 55th. Does anyone know what that was about?
Personally, I'd like that space to stay an art gallery as long as possible, as I think it would add some much needed storefront diversity to E 55th.

Open Produce considered moving over there a few months ago, but MAC wanted a little more for the space than we were comfortable spending.

Anonymous said...

@ Andrew: Maybe Thai 55 had the same experience you had?