The 7th annual Guerilla Truck Show took place on a rain free evening [in contrast to the crappy weather that’s plagued the last couple of editions] and from all indications was a major success. Originally conceived as an alternative creative environment to the buttoned up atmosphere at NEOCon, it’s evolved into a full-scale Happening.
Although GTS godfather Morlen Sinoway [below]
initially intended the event to provide local designers and artisans an outlet for their grass-roots, non-corporate creative energies, the ancillary activities — music, beverages, food and undifferentiated revelry — have really become the point of the evening.
That said, the format of the exhibits — artists and designers load their wares in standard small trucks and back them up to the loading docks that line Fulton Market, between Carpenter and May Streets — has transformed the whole thing into a series of intimate, one-person shows in very confined spaces.
You may not be seeing great design in every truck. In reality, you probably aren’t seeing it in any truck. What makes the experience exceptional, though, is its genuine, unedited, singularly personal nature. GTS provides a venue for artisanship mixed with unabashed self-promotion; what’s consistent among the exhibitors is a sincere, personal investment in the work presented. See if you find that at the Steelcase or Knoll show rooms this week.
Here’s some of the work that spoke to me for one reason or another.
Most of the GTS exhibitors are locals; Damian Velasquez makes his stainless steel furniture in bright powder coated finish, in Albuquerque;
he showed at the Old Town Art Fair over the weekend, and decided to stay a few extra days to attend GTS.
Recent SAIC grad Greta De Parry makes objects out of found wood — she’s seated on a stump that’s resin sealed and partially wrapped in a milk-lacquer finish. She calls these pieces “milk stools.”
Clifford Krapfl is an industrial designer who devised this hinged, modular design that combines functions of seating and storage and it’s also stackable.
The designers of New Breed Furniture Network weren’t in their truck when I came by, but even without chatting them up, it was clear to me they’d admired Jean Prouve as well as Pierre Jeanneret and the designs for the capital at Chandigarh
In addition to furniture, artists of many varieties showed their stuff.
Danielle Klinenberg, who lives and works in the Old Town house where she grew up, showed expressive watercolors that channel her impressions of Monet’s water lilies.
Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Schafer showed horse constructions he makes from driftwood that are more than simply reminiscent of Deborah Butterfield’s work, although he began doing them years ago and was completely unaware of Butterfield until his then-girlfriend [now his wife] clued him in.
Although the artist/ dealer dynamic may be a little apposite to the whole entrepreneurial spirit of GTS, somehow it seems acceptable for art dealer Aron Packer — who has always championed new and emerging talent — to have a truck on the street. Naturally, his was more gallery-esque than anyone’s, and he featured a comic book inspired series by gallery artist Steve Seeley
The event attracted its share of design-world heavy-hitters. Here, Zoe Ryan, recently named chief curator/department chair of Architecture at the Art Institute, talks with Graham Foundation executive director Sarah Herda,
Ryan was one of the jury for the evening, which gave first prize to Craighton Berman and second to Phlux Creative’s CAFEteria installation — probably the most cerebral entry of the night, if not exactly the most accessible — or marketable. Damian Velasquez’ metal furniture [see above] placed third.
And toward the shank of the evening, a small brass band entertained at the corner, providing a sort of surreal capstone to an exhilarating event.