jared packard

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Stumble Chicago

Temporary and ephemeral interventions throughout Chicago

This curatorial experiment integrates art installations with Chicago’s cityscape to offer urbanites chance encounters with creative gestures. By situating art outside the institutional framing of a gallery or museum environment, this curatorial experiment proposes art viewing as an everyday exercise and strives to engage audiences that might otherwise never seek it out.

Participating Artists: Jaqueline Surdell, Óscar González-Díaz, Erin Smego, Darryl Terrell, Anna Showers-Cruser, Alex Peyton Levine

Jaqueline Surdell

Urban Contours, June 2018

Jacqueline Surdell’s interdisciplinary practice draws from an ethos of rigorous discipline and directed stamina that defined her collegiate athletic career. Surdell integrated rope into her practice to tediously fabricate large-scale, woven and knotted sculptures that echo the endurance of athletics. For Stumble Chicago, she maps the rope’s allusions to the body and labor onto the public sphere. By making "drawings" in an abandoned lot with bright, blue rope, Surdell restructures space, volume and light as it relates to the architectural forms that support the CTA.

Erin Smego

Fast Parallels, January 2019

Smego marries industrial materials (lumber, screws, staples) and Fast Fashion products—cheap, mass-produced clothing—to create angular sculptures that examine the economic and gender implications of fashion through a visual vocabulary reminiscent of modernist sculpture.  For her contribution to Stumble Chicago, Smego adorns child-scaled sculptures with winter wear thrifted from consignment stores which she scatters along the snow-covered 606, an elevated running trail on Chicago’s NW side. Fascinated by how bulky, unflattering winter attire acts as a unifying aesthetic by rendering all bodies “marshmallow shaped,” Smego’s mannequin-like sculptures consider the false promises of Fast Fashion by tracing the life cycle of its products. Retailers like H&M and Zara claim to offer of-the-moment high fashion looks at affordable price points yet the cost of the insatiable desire for novelty is disposable products and dependency on unethical, sweat shop labor. These sculptures remind us of the economies and networks surrounding clothing while considering if the Fast Fashion model of production shares uncomfortable parallels in how we make and consume art.

Darryl Terrell

Get Home Safely, October 2018

In this project Terrell lifts three loving phrases from text conversations between friends and family and scatters them throughout the city. Borrowing guerrilla distribution tactics from graffiti artists, Terrell, his friends, and colleagues will continue disseminating these phrases on stickers throughout Chicago.

As a 6’6 gender nonconforming (GNC) person of color (POC), Terrell employs extra awareness when in public spaces because his body marks him as a target. The three phrases Terrell disributes throughout the city reflect the hyper-vigilance and interpersonal support the POC and GNC community enact while navigating public spaces. These heartwarming phrases embody the concerted care shared amongst Terrell’s community while simultaneously exposing the violence and ignorance they experience which has forged this language of protection and comfort.

Anna Showers-Cruser

Imprint Parallels

Anna Showers-Cruser’s work for Stumble was a sculptural intervention in March 2020 titled Imprint. Imprint was made in the artist’s Mckinley Park studio directly overlooking MAT Asphalt, a manufacturing plant built in 2018 without community notice or consent, prompting the formation of Neighbors for Environmental Justice. Imprintlived for 24 hours at a site equidistant between the park’s (currently dormant) community garden and the looming asphalt silos. If every movement leaves a mark, how might we leave a sign to care for someone else who comes behind us?

In a form loosely based on ancient cairns (rock formations made by hikers to mark a safe path) Imprint bore witness with impressions of touch and connection. Fingerprints and nails were suspended in concrete and grout, with cast miniature chains, medicine bottles, dried flowers, and silicone sweets tucked into its hollows. A section of silicone chain links created a transient tether between the work and the snow.

Óscar González-Díaz

Recording Strips, March 2018

Based in Chicago but originally from Mexico, González-Díaz is disturbed by the broadening political divide and rising racial tensions between his home country and his country of residence. In the midst of the heated debate surrounding immigration in the U.S., Gozález-Díaz examines the social, economic and racial makeup of his rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Logan Square and its effect on the local Latino community. He developed adhesive strips which were applied to storefronts throughout the neighborhood. Designed to be responsive to the environment and to collect passing debris, these simple, sticky strips trace the comings and goings of clientele. By locating his strips on storefronts associated with gentrification—coffee shops, book stores, high-end smoke shops—as well as establishments run by the Latino community—joyerías, dollar stores, cafeterias—González-Díaz steps into the role of sociologist, tracking the shifting community’s economic and social activities in a gesture reminiscent of the magnifying glass held to the Latino community by I.C.E. and the federal government.

Alex Peyton-Levine

Flower Bomb, January 2018

One morning in January 2018, Peyton-Levine set out in her neighborhood to create a “flower bomb.” Frequently using materials in her practice that are soft, ephemeral, and delicate, like tulle and flowers, Peyton-Levine engages stereotypes of femininity that are often dismissed as trite, cliché, or overly sentimental. But, by asserting earnest gestures and basic feelings as significant entries into critical thinking, she asks viewers to reconsider tropes of femininity and emotionality. Peyton-Levine’s floral installation emphasizes visual pleasure and an intuitive, felt, response to a public space, inviting passerby’s to connect with their emotions in the context of a specific space and moment.