This exhibition is taking place in St. Louis at MONACO's exhibition space, and closes July 10th.
Marcus Brutus Vol. I
JC @ MONACO
Julius Caesar (JC) is an independent artist collective in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood. Supporting Chicago’s contemporary art scene outside the commercial gallery ecosystem, JC began as a Sunday afternoon showcase of SAIC students, graduates, and teachers. Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Dana DeGiulio, and Diego Leclery founded the artist-run experimental space in 2008 with a few rules in mind: all shows would be democratically voted on, but each director had one month for unilateral programming; the space would be free of commercial objectives; directors would pay dues to fund operations. Exhibitions remain democratically selected, although leadership has rotated over the years. The current directors are Josh Dihle, Tony Lewis, Roland Miller, and Kate Sierzputowski.
JC began a series of projects to engage with other artist run project spaces in 2019. Our first effort was Barely Fair, when JC hosted 24 galleries from around the world in a miniature art fair designed to bring attention to non-commercial spaces during Chicago’s Art Week. MONACO was one of those galleries to present a booth at the 1:12 scale art fair. In April JC hosted MONACO and their directors in an exhibition to share their curators with the Chicago art world. JC @ MONACO represents a continuation of these efforts to grow shared communities and networks within the artist run project world. We hope that efforts like these can help bring attention to these spaces beyond their localities where they already provide a rich cultural resource.
Directors of JC used to regularly present their own work in the gallery space, but as the space evolved over time we began to cut back on that kind of programming. Marcus Brutus Vol. I represents the first time the current directors of JC have shown together on their own. We thank MONACO for giving us this exciting opportunity. These works are indicative of the directors’ larger practices and provide a vantage point into the creative values held by each director.
Josh Dihle has recent solo exhibitions featuring large wood carvings that operate as bas relief paintings. The paintings exhibited in Marcus Brutus Vol. 1 represent the oil painting and imagery that has grounded his larger carvings. “I'm filling a portal window of space with careful, delicate touch,” says Dihle. “One work is filled with a Western yellow light while the other is overloaded with fecundity and new growth.” Beside Dihle’s dense and intimate tondos is a sprawling work by Tony Lewis, Untitled 8 (2016-). The graphite on rosin paper sculpture was first made in 2016 as a floor rubbing of a room at Bortolami Gallery (Naples, Italy). The architectural memory constructed through touch now travels to new spaces to be recontextualized by taking on a new form in new places. Roland Miller’s works present far less spatial interactivity with a series of hermetic objects reflecting on the packaging of disposable bodies as Americana. Michelle Grabner writes, "[Miller is] Critically exploiting the images that clot our political and sexual imaginations." Finally, Kate Sierzputowski brings her curatorial project Chandelier. The collaborative, studio-based practice invites artists to create miniature installations for her ear with spare materials found around artists’ studios. Works are created during the course of a studio visit, and serve as both an archive and observation of process. For Marcus Brutus Vol. 1, Kate conducted studio visits with five current and former Monaco directors to highlight the artistic practices behind the artist-run space. The works are shown alongside pieces from JC's co-directors created for a 10th anniversary exhibition in 2018.
JC is open to the general public through free, monthly exhibitions. Programming features emerging and under-represented Chicago artists alongside national and international programming. Since 2014, exhibitions have featured artists from Chicago, Berlin, Portugal, Malta, Romania, Toronto, Paris, New York, Israel, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Boston, Michigan, Tampa, and Milwaukee. Exhibitions have been featured in The New York Times, ArtForum, Contemporary Art Daily, Hyperallergic, Frieze, Chicago Tribune, ArtSlant, New City, and Bad At Sports among others.
JOSH DIHLE (American, b. 1984) received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 and his BA at Middlebury College in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include the McAninch Arts Center (Chicago,IL), Valerie Carberry Gallery (Chicago, IL), and Pleasant Plains (Washington D.C.). Group exhibitions include Essex Flowers (New York,NY), Unisex Salon (New York, NY), Annarumma Gallery (Naples, Italy), Shane Campbell Gallery (Chicago, IL), Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst, IL), the University of Maine Museum of Art (Bangor, ME), and DUTTON (New York, NY). Dihle teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and codirects the Chicago artist project space Julius Caesar. His exhibition Root Music is currently up at M+B Los Angeles
TONY LEWIS lives and works in Chicago. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions including Anthology 2014-2016, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2018); Plunder, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2017); Alms, Comity and Plunder, Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2016); and nomenclature movement free pressure power weight, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH (2015). Lewis participated in the 2014 iteration of the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY and was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.
ROLAND MILLER (American, b.1987) is a Chicago based artist and curator. He is a co-founder of Barely Fair and co-directs Julius Caesar, an artist-run project space in Chicago. He graduated from SAIC’s MFA program in 2014, and Boston University’s CFA in 2009. Finding inspiration in contemporary body culture, Miller’s source material includes famous bodybuilders, their relationship to childhood toys and adverts, and a ritualized workout routine. Miller mixes found objects with auto-fictional materials to create a liminal space for contemplating the American male figure, specifically its indoctrination, construction, dissemination and consumption through pop culture.
KATE SIERZPUTOWSKI is a curator, writer, and arts organizer based in Chicago, IL. She founded the website INSIDE\WITHIN in 2013 to physically explore and archive the creative spaces of Chicago's emerging and established artists. She has been a co-director of the artist-run gallery space Julius Caesar since 2015, is a co-founder of the miniature art fair Barely Fair, runs a small gallery on her ear called Chandelier, and recently founded the apartment galleries FLOWER SHOW and SHOWER SHOW. She is currently the Programming Director at EDITIONS Chicago and EXPO CHICAGO.