POST BY KAREN ARCHEY
Screencapture AFC, Mark Dion’s drawing via the Mildred’s Lane website
Mildred’s Lane Historical Society
Operated by artists J. Morgan Puett and Mark Dion, Mildred’s Lane serves as a residency program, museum, installation site, and exemplar in home decor, drawing hundreds of visitors a year. Accordingly, Puett, who lives at Mildred’s Lane year-round with her son Grey Rabbit, became a master in what she calls “work styles,” a system that divides labor into manageable segments, enmeshing them into daily living. The completely aestheticized compound should be considered the definition of a gesamptkunstwerk, an all-encompassing work of art. Check out Mildred’s Lane’s 2009 event calendar, and be sure not to miss neighboring artists Jason Simon and Moyra Davey’s yearly One Minute Film Festival.
True to its namesake, The Suburban exists in one of the least hip locations in world: Oak Park, Illinois. Placed next to directors Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam’s home, the gallery features site specific installations and solo shows by internationally recognized artists (think Luc Tuymans, Katherina Grosse) in its modest concrete-block interior. Based on the economy of their home, The Suburban stands in distinction from other more urban and ephemeral exhibition sites. Throughout its rich ten year history, Grabner and Killam’s project expanded physically and their programming reached a level of maturity rare for any alternative exhibition space.
This place popped up on my radar when hotshot curator Bob Nickas organized a show there in 2007. Ballroom Marfa practically deserves an award for bringing the work of artists like Carol Bove and Guyton Walker to a tiny town down by the border.