Slow is an artist-run curatorial project with a deliberately unpolished gallery in Chicago IL. Our methods are hands-on, informed, irreverent, and exoteric. We feature art that is smart and accessible made by artists who deserve attention.
Ever since my advisor Brent Ghering said that twenty odd years ago, it has been apparent to me that art is a lousy arena to prove that you’re smart. There is some really great art produced by really smart artists. There are smart ideas in art. Thinking and talking art, even writing about it; it’s all good. But art will always be a closer cousin to food and sex: experience far out weighs the chatter.
All that said, artists are driven by ideas and impulses. We are highly sensitive to nuance—far more than our language to describe the nuance. There is still a great struggle happening to one of modernity’s central explorations: the connections and oppositions between the thing itself and its about-ness. The triangle, for example, is both a pure form and about a lot of things. Triangles are not removed from cultural prejudice; triangle patterns are trendy right now.
Most of the shows at slow are two or three artists. There is something about putting things in relationship to each other when their relations are not immediately obvious. It helps people dig a little. Puzzle a moment about what is at stake. The shows do something a little different than simply assess how good an artist is. A good pairing can pull an audience away from tired assumptions, the stuff we already know, and tease us toward something we still need to get to.
Artists ahead of the curve deserve exploration because their work demands exploration in return, from us. But the breath of the new often lurks in unlikely places. Slow features a fair number of artists who are showing fresh new work, but are not the new kids on the block. Energy and development over pedigree. Voices from different generations and different communities, and sometimes all at once. No rainbow coalition approach, not one-of–each.
Sense of humor helps any artist, but humor should be as particular and developed as a realist’s skill or formalist’s color sensitivity. In the words of a favorite artist, Carol Jackson, “Irony is no longer my friend.” I think that means dismissive hipsters and bitchy queens easily grate on people’s nerves. The darkest subject is often balanced by brilliant wit.
Frankness. Work that has an air of approachability wins out over esoteric. It is easy to hate viewing work where churchy silence is imposed on visitors. Slow is about dynamic programming built on strong artists, a down to earth atmosphere, a comfortable place to hang and talk, and maybe share a beverage.
I really like to like art.
Paul Melvin Hopkin
In 2009 Paul purchased a building in Pilsen with the intent of making it his home and opening a gallery. Since then he has curated over 30 exhibitions as slow. He has also curated exhibitions for Heaven Gallery, the Averill and Bernard Leviton A & D Gallery, Daly 208 Projects, and Clutch Gallery. He has written catalog essays for exhibitions at the Chicago Artists Coalition and the Robert V. Fullerton Museum, and articles published in Newcity. He was a preparator for the De Jong Gallery at the Harris Fine Arts Center, Brigham Young University and oversaw the installation of many end-of-the-year exhibitions of freshman artwork at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BFA from Brigham Young University. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is also an artist and educator. He was trained as a ceramics sculptor, but his artwork also includes watercolor and ephemeralsculptural materials like bread, margarine, and sugar.
Jeffrey became co director in 2011 but has been involved since slow’s beginning. He has curated 3 exhibitions for slow; FREE LOVE, ROBBERY IN PROGRESS, and GILDED PROSCENIUM. He is director and principle curator for Loo, a gallery he founded in slow’s bathroom. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BA from California State University, San Bernardino. His professional experience includes serving as Student Coordinator of Corporate Exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Exhibition Coordinator at the Betty Rymer Gallery, Preparator at the Robert V. Fullerton Museum, and Lead Preparator at the Wignall Museum/Gallery. As an artist, his artwork has been exhibited locally, nationally, and in his ear. http://www.jeffreygrauel.com