Infinite Games (ExhibitionsWorks)
In 2013 the Chicago Board of Education approved a plan to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program, almost all in low-income neighborhoods. The majority of the contents of these schools – desks, tables, chairs, bookshelves – were bound for landfill until Chicago-based artist John Preus diverted them into a donated vacant storefront on the South Side. To confront the issues raised by the materials, Preus invited Parsons & Charlesworth and a wide range of artists, designers, and architects, to respond by making new work from them, and arranged for this work to be exhibited at Open House Contemporary, an apartment gallery and Airbnb in Chicago’s RiverWest neighborhood.
We created a series of works that use the found materials as metaphors for aspects of the school closures:
1) Ignored is a tricycle, rendered unusable by having a red adults shell chair seat bolted to it with it’s back to the handlebars. Ignored, 2017, fiberglass chair shell, steel trike, rubber grips.
2) Educated uses a stack of school chair frames with book holders to hold a collection of books on school and city mismanagement and corruption in Illinois (note: the books photographed above were not those used in the final piece). Educated, 2017, chromeplated steel chair frames with bookholders, paperbacks, silicon fake gum
3) Upturned is a pair of school chairs with their seats flipped over, revealing the Chicago Board of Education stencil text revealing where and when they were made. Upturned ’57 & ’59, 2017, oak