Chicago’s Queer Thoughts Finally Opens in New York City

The artist-run gallery makes its New York debut this week.

Queer Thoughts, Nicaragua Horseshoecrabs Horseshoecrabs, Face by Seth and Rauchelle Burke (Etsy), 2014, paint on horseshoe crab.
Photo: Courtesy of QT's Facebook page.
Darja Bajagić, Reaming (2015). Acrylic-latex, canvas, cement, graphite, UV print.Photo: Courtesy of QT's Facebook page.

Darja Bajagić, detail of Reaming (2015). Acrylic-latex, canvas, cement, graphite, UV print.
Photo: Courtesy the artist and ROOM EAST.

Sam Lipp and Luis Miguel Bendaña met as students at the Art Institute of Chicago, and opened up their tiny apartment gallery after graduation.

Three years later, they’ve decided to ditch the Windy City and move to New York to expand their art world horizons and take their gallery, Queer Thoughts, to the next level.

You may have seen them at this year’s May edition of NADA New York, where they presented a work by Darja Bajagic which curator and writer Hans Ulrich Obrist and Stedelijk Museum director Beatrix Ruf declared to be the “highlight of NADA,” according to the New York Time’s T magazine. Or perhaps you’ve heard of the few pop-up exhibitions the duo have organized at Wake gallery in Detroit, or at London‘s Arcadia Missa.

Queer Thoughts, Nicaragua Horseshoecrabs Horseshoecrabs, Face by Seth and Rauchelle Burke (Etsy), 2014, paint on horseshoe crab.Photo: Courtesy of QT's Facebook page.

Queer Thoughts, Nicaragua.
Horseshoecrabs Horseshoecrabs, Face by Seth and Rauchelle Burke (Etsy), 2014, paint on horseshoe crab.
Photo: Courtesy of QT’s Facebook page.

Prepping for their inaugural New York show, a group exhibition titled “The End of Violent Crime,” the artists-dealers were in the midst of building what they nicknamed “the great wall” when they had a chance to sit down with artnet News.

The duo named the small closet-shaped exhibition space in Bendaña’s apartment “QT” as in “cutie,” Bendaña told artnet News. “It was so small.”

Since what Bendaña calls “the most ostentatious” name was settled, they then attached the name to the space. After that, it was only a matter of time before they would end up in New York City. “We’re both artists and neither of us were from Chicago,” Bendaña said. After all, “the internet only does so much.”

Lipp agreed, saying, “In Chicago, you can get a lot of visibility because it seems a lot smaller, but then there’s not as much cross-pollination. Whereas in New York, it’s the center, it’s a hub.”

Komar & Melamid with Dave Soldier, The People's Choice Music (1997). Photo: courtesy the artists and Queer Thoughts.

Komar & Melamid with Dave Soldier, The People’s Choice Music (1997).
Photo: courtesy the artists and Queer Thoughts.

Opening August 13, “The End of Violent Crime” presents a sculpture by New York-based artists Diamond Antoinette Stingily, a collage by Darja Bajagic, photographs by London-based Georgie Nettell, a Patricia Lennox Boyd video work, and two audio works, The Most Wanted Song and The Most Unwanted Song, by Russian-born duo Komar & Melamid featuring the composer (and neuroscientist) Dave Soldier.

When asked what held these artists together and their relation to the exhibition title, Lipp replied, “part of the idea was to have a title that has a loaded and ideological feeling and to contrast diverse practices against that title. Like having to reckon with that title that’s so overbearing in a way.”

He continued, “If we could live in a world post-violence, what would that mean?”

The gallery’s upcoming program includes a two-person show with David Rappeneau and Mindy Rose Schwartz in November after a September solo show with the Harry Potter-obsessed artist known as Puppies Puppies.

“The End of Violent Crime” is on view at Queer Thoughts from August 13 through September 13, 2015.


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