Gallery Hours & Location
1112 N. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60622
We are currently closed during Shelter-In-Place. Please stay safe and healthy during this time and check back to keep updated on what we’re doing.
*the gallery may be closed during the first week of the month, as the monthly show is de-installed and a new show installed. Or there may be a pop-up art show or shows held also during this time; please check our calendar.
Agitator Co-operative Gallery Mission Statement
Agitator cooperative gallery is a worker cooperative that makes decisions by consensus, valuing each member’s input equally, relying on non-hierarchical collective decision making. Agitator seeks to promote and engage significant art, including art made by conventionally overlooked artists.
Members of Agitator are diverse artist-curators with various racial, socioeconomic, gender, and sexual identities. Members share a common goal to curate art work that agitates or campaigns to provoke dialog and generate diversity, while respecting each artist’s vision and self-definition.
Showing Artwork at Agitator
Agitator curator-members put out open calls for their monthly show online, so artists are welcome to respond to them. .https://www.facebook.com/agitatorgallery/
And artists are welcome to propose a popup show from one or two nights during the week between the monthly shows. Submit your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are accepting applications for new members to join our group. Please email email@example.com for an application.
We currently have eight active members; our member cap is sixteen, so we have room for more members. Being a member allows you to curate a monthly art show at the gallery (and help curate and participate in other group shows, notably the annual member fundraiser show). Members are expected to help out and volunteer at gallery openings, closings, events and activities.
Our gallery holds and hosts regular weekly and monthly events, which help us pay our monthly rent and expenses (utilities, internet, insurance), but at this point, to pay the remaining amount due, we rely on monthly member dues. The amount of dues fluctuates from month to month from $120 to $160 per month. Eventually we hope to lower monthly dues to around $60 a month, as we improve our fundraising efforts and receive grants.
Limited membership in the group is possible through donating to Agitator through Patreon as a junior and senior artist subscriber; click the Become a Patron on the Sponsorship Page of this website to become a Patreon supporter.
Sarah Bell, Lorenzo Angel Bonilla, Jennifer Anne Buckley,
Karmen Elaine, Jeff Horwat, Spencer Hutchinson*,
Emilio Nadales, Frederick Nitsch* *Founding members of Agitator
Agitator Member Statements about their current art practice and joining Agitator
There are a few things I experienced in 2016 that solidified a personal mission obtainable through my art practice and through community and collaborative activity.
I saw Henry Rollins speak (for the second time.) Rollins is the former singer of punk band Black Flag, now a spoken word and political speaker. He spoke in Chicago in early spring 2016 when the world was starting to get nervous about the next US presidential election. Without naming any names, Rollins explained to his audience that no matter who was elected we would survive. If we wanted to take action, do it within our own communities. Soon after this I also saw 2 members of Russian feminist protest punk band Pussy Riot, recently jailed by Putin, who advocated the same grassroots movements. A few months later I finished a book (for the second time) called Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Near the end of the book the main character, an agitator named Woodpecker, talks about political turmoil and how there are always two sides to the underground: “There’s the underground involved in political resistance and the underground involved in preserving beauty and fun-which is to say, preserving the human spirit.”
These concepts have become my personal mission and is manifested through the mission of Agitator.
My art practice embodies this mission through a scientific approach. I analyze parts of everyday life like heartache, misunderstandings and perspective and relate it to physiology. What actually happens in the body when these human qualities occur? How can we better understand one another with completely unique brains, experiences and associations? The only way to begin relating to another person’s perspective is to listen, ask genuine questions, and accept the differences between us all.
I create my best work when I am involved with a group of people I respect. Whether it’s meeting a specific challenge for a particular project, learning how to work with new personalities, or just being influenced by a variety of goals and work ethics – healthy groups inspire me to reach beyond what I would go for on my own.
I also jump at every opportunity to unlearn hierarchical group structure. I hope that Agitator both teaches us as individuals and inspires the people we come into contact with every day.
Larry E. Kamphausen
Iconography integrates artistic, spiritual, and religious aspects of myself. What drew me to the painting of icons was the power of the imagery and its insistence on encounter. Traditionally the icon is touched and kissed, venerated. One isn’t just an observer of an icon, and an Orthodox Temple isn’t a museum. Icons make the transcendent visible and accessible. Iconography isn’t only about making the transcendent visible but also an assertion about the value of the body and matter. The transcended is found in the body of particular human beings, the Saints, and Jesus of Nazareth, the divine human (these are the traditional subjects of iconography): Iconography is the expression of belief that the transcendent is encountered in material reality. Recently I’ve begun to explore the connection of matter and the spiritual or transcendent in other subject matter, painting still lifes and landscapes in an iconographic style and technique.
Agitator in its inception was my idea, born out of my involvement in the community art scene in Chicago, specifically in Roger’s Park, as an iconographer. All of that was collaborative and often collective action but not always democratic. As a pastor and social entrepreneur I’ve founded consensus-based collective, cooperative, and collaborative enterprises. Agitator is my first foray into founding something in the arts. Like iconography, Agitator brings together various aspects of who I am and what I do.
I decided to join Agitator Gallery in order to meet and work closely with other visual artists, as well as to have the opportunity as a member-curator of a cooperative organization to have an equal voice in how to manage a gallery.
The concept of a cooperative member art gallery really appeals to me, because I want to be a part of an art space that works on the basis of member input and consensus. I don’t want to be a member of art studio space where a studio manager or director has the last word on how a shared art gallery and space functions.
Like other art spaces and groups, Agitator also offers me a chance to learn from and work closely with other visual artists. Artistic growth and inspiration will occur from often seeing another artist’s work, spending time with this art work and, in effect, living with it. Meeting the artist of such work regularly and in person, getting to know them better and their art leads to the great benefit of being in an art community — the subtle process of osmosis you experience as art and artists inform and influence your art and your personality in new and unexpected ways.
Making art can be a lonely journey, but it does not have to be, if you work with or have regular and frequent contact with fellow artists, an art community.
Agitator provides a nexus point where the synergy of its member artist-curators will lead to unexpected encounters and unplanned for new routes to be made in their art making and being in the world. Agitator members look outward in their open exhibit calls, drawing in local artists, providing a space to share their art and meet other artists. And finally Agitator is art studio and gallery space, where a member can benefit from anyone and everyone, from every viewer and visitor, who steps into its space.
My reasons for wanting to be part of Agitator are two fold. First, and admittedly on a very personal level, I’ve been wanting a community of artists with whom to share ideas and my experience as an artist. Too much of working alone can feel isolated and compartmentalized away from the kind of meaningful engagement with others that I think I and everyone needs. To a one, I’m very pleased to say, this group delivers on that as I’ve gotten to know them.
Second and perhaps more to the point, I was looking for individuals that could and wanted to envision this collective in this gallery space as very real force for good. Much to my pleasure, I’ve discovered people who see and articulate that in different ways from me and still are patient and invested and care to listen to one another. I think ultimately, we model the change we wish to make.