Monthly Archives: November 2008

Shout Out for CHICAGOPEX 2008 – Nov 21-23, 2008

1856 Chicago ILL. to Kankakee City paid the 3 cent domestic letter rate

1856 Chicago ILL. to Kankakee City paid the 3 cent domestic letter rate

November 21-23, 2008
Hours: F 10-6, Sa 10-6, Su 10-4

Sheraton Chicago Northwest
3400 West Euclid Av
Arlington Heights, IL  60005

CHICAGOPEX 2008 is the 122nd annual exhibition of the Chicago Philatelic Society, and is annually the largest stamp show in the Midwest. Over 4800 pages of philatelic material will be on display, and 75 dealers including the United Nations Postal Administration and the United States Postal Service will be in attendance. Both the show and parking are free. This year the theme of CHICAGOPEX is “Enjoy Scandinavian Culture”, as we will be hosting the Scandinavian Collectors’ Club as well as the Mobile Post Office Society and the Auxiliary Markings Club.

The 300 frame exhibition is an American Philatelic Society “World Series of Philately” show, so the grand award winner will be eligible for the APS’ Champion of Champions in 2009. Among the exhibits are Eliot Landau’s “Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War” which is on its way to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum to help commemorate Lincoln’s birth bicentennial in 2009. Also this year in addition to the many fine dealers (the bourse is sold out again this year), Regency-Superior will be holding an auction at the event.

If you attend one stamp show event in your lifetime, CHICAGOPEX 2008 is the place to be! I will be hanging out in the Youth Booth (Lake Ontario room) most of the time where kids can get free stamps. If you stop by, please come say “Hello”; if I am not around ask someone.

If you want to whet your appetite on postal history and philately, and those collecting disciplines’ specific relationship to mail art and artistamps, check out:

More info at:

Here is the list of the traditional exhibits; many local stamp clubs will also be participating with one-frame exhibits:

First Day Covers in the Mailstream
Auxiliary Markings of the German Colonies and Offices Abroad (CPS Member Showcase)
20th Century U. S. Auxiliary Markings Documenting Delay of, or Inability to Deliver, the Mail: The First 50 Years (Court of Honor)
Got Postage?
Twisted Caps – Twisted Mail
Post Office Forms: U. S. Registered Mail 1867-1910
Forgeries of Japanese Postage Stamps
Lithuania 1918-1944 and from 1990
Colonial Central America
Unofficial Registration of Mail in the U. S. 1845-1855
Air Letter Sheets (Aerogrammes) of Trinidad & Tobago 1943-1988
Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Series of 1945-46 and Its First Day Covers
In Celebration of the Centenary of the United States – Great Britain Transatlantic Penny Post, 1 Oct. 2008
Count Zeppelin’s Airships – The Pioneer Period
The First Three U. S. Postal Issues Designed at the B.E.P. 1898-1902
‘Groszy’ Provisional Issues of Poland 1950-1952 and Their Use
German New Guinea 1888-1914
The Murder of Lidice
The Small Heads of the First Definitive Set of the USSR 1923-1927
The Sportsman – Hunter, Angler, and Trapper
Postal Artifacts of the Holocaust
German North Atlantic Catapult Airmail 1929-1935
Evolution of the American Public Library
Washington and Franklin Coils 1914 Issue Perf. 10
Washington and Franklin Coils Rotary Press Issues 1914-1922
United States Prexies – A Rate Study
Forerunners of the Holyland
Revenue Imprinted Railroad Tickets of the Spanish American War Era
Mahatma Gandhi – His Place in India and the World
Prohibition: The Road To, Through, and Out of the Noble Experiment
Christmas Dinner at the Portland Hotel, Portland, OR 1914
Straightline Cancels on Confederate General Issue Stamps
The Development of Electronic Postage
American & British Military Use of Railway Post Offices in 1898 to 1920 (CPS Member Showcase)
Imperial Postmarks of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Chelyabiask to Manchzhyriya
Railway Postmarks of Illinois to 1882
Postmarks of the Traveling Post Offices of Luxembourg
Scandinavian Volunteers in Finland during the Winter War (CPS Member Showcase)
Scandinavian Participation in Wars of the Early Twentieth Century (CPS Member Showcase)
Danish West Indies Mail: 1748-1879 (Court of Honor)
Mail between Norway and Denmark
Denmark: Conscience, Conflict, and Camps 1932-1949
Slesvig: from Danish Duchy to Prussian Province 1587-1867
Denmark: The Christian X Issues of the 1940s and Their First Day Covers
Canceled Lund
Finnish Railway to St. Petersburg 1870-1918
Sweden – The Medallion Definitives, 1910-1919
Usage of the Ring Stationery of Finland 1891-1911
The Local Stamps of Sweden 1856-1872
The First Postage Stamps of Scandinavia – Denmark, Norway, Sweden
The Three Skilling Posthorn
Iceland: King Christian IX Issue

– Andrew Oleksiuk – Board Member – Chicago Philatelic Society


Tim and Beth Kerr’s Halloween Home

Greetings from my last night in Austin, Texas. I’m here with Temporary Services for an exhibit at a space called testsite. One part of our project was to do interview booklets on the band The Dicks and with Tim Kerr (of Big Boys, Poison 13, Lord High Fixers and many other bands). We never got a chance to see any Dicks members who are still alive and/or in Austin but we had lots of time to spend with Tim Kerr, and as an added ultra punk bonus, we got to have lunch and hang out with Ian McKaye for a few hours while he was in town for a talk.

This morning, before going to one of many Mexican brunches, we briefly stopped at Tim and Beth’s house. They’ve lived there since the early 1980’s and their home is an incredible overwhelming trove of toys, music stuff, records, books, art by Tim and many other people, old Halloween costumes and punk rock and other music memorabilia. In a “Voodoo Shrine” – which I probably should have photographed – there were items that past house guests added like old fingerless skeleton gloves that Glenn Danzig contributed many years ago.

Here is the Halloween section of the house. Pretty much all of the house is filled with mini collections within collections but this area was a little extra focused:


The fridge:


Extra punk rock bonus: Alternate drawing for the cover of Minor Threat’s “Out of Step”:


Posted by Marc Fischer

Scrappers – Mary Robnett












Set inside Chicago’s labyrinth of alleyways, Scrappers tells the stories of three men who support their families scavenging discarded metal with brains, brawn and battered pickup trucks. The film will be a feature length documentary that situates scrapping within the global marketplace through a verite style and a deep sense of emotional immediacy.

The filmmakers met while studying at the University of Chicago, and were key crew members on two other feature length films now in distribution: Thax, which premiered at the 2007 Chicago Underground Film Festival and is available through Golden Age Gallery, and Crime Fiction, which premiered at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival and is available through Anthem DVD.

I attended a benefit for Scrappers earlier this year, and got a chance to watch some clips from the film (which I believe is still in post-production). You can read more about the film and find resources for scrap metal enthusiasts here.

Assignment #5 Archive of Contemporary History

            Whatever the intention of the artist was in starting the collection, one of the major differences between an artist’s collection and that of a non-artist’s is whether or not the collection results in exhibition.  Once the collection is exhibited, it becomes a piece of artwork—the viewers need to pay admission fee to the museum, they are not allowed to touch the display, and are prohibited from singling out an item and purchasing it. 

While participants may be required to pay admission to swap meets and the vendors could be particular about the fashion they display their collection, the main audience of the exhibition, be it a small vending stall, is still collectors.  The vendors assume knowledge from the visitors to some extent, and they interact with each other face to face.  In another words, the exhibitor and the audience are both on the same platform.  The nature of the collection is more versatile than that of an artist’s: it is not sacrosanct and the number of the items could change, and so could the value of the items.

Similarly, a collector displaying his collection will not make him an artist.  He could be an authority in the field, and the items on display may not be on sale.  The collector may not always be present at the exhibition site, and the relationship between the collector and the viewer may be more distant.  Yet, the nature of the collection still remains to be a hobby: it is usually not regarded with any values outside the field.  A few pieces from a collection of rocks may gain attention from geologists, but the collector himself will not be called a geologist.  A collection of antique furniture could be praised for its beauty even from those ignorant of the field, but the collector will not be called an aesthetician.

What makes a collection an artwork, then, is perhaps the uniqueness in the categorization of the collected items.  “Archive of Contemporary History” by Karsten Bott is a collection of everyday artifacts.  The amount of the collection is in itself overwhelming.  And since the collection is so vast and cannot be labeled easily, it does require some interpretation from the audience.  However, what makes Bott an installation artist is the uniqueness of the display and the categorization of the items. 

Bott claims to spend a lot of time inputting data of his collected objects to the database, creating links and cross-references.  Though the categorization is not shown with the display, the continuation from one object to the other next to it is somewhat obvious, whether it is neat lines of objects related to plumbing, or a group of plates that comprise a part of a huge display that viewers see from a bridge.  Most items are not unusual when taken out from the collection, and therefore the value of the collection is not the rarity of the items.  Rather, it is the context that the collected objects create in the display that matters, and Bott himself is very aware of this effect: “I put a structure on the collection of my archive that defines things other than alphabetically.  I am humanizing these things. It’s like a giant polka.”(The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, May 5, 2002) 

The effect of unique categorization is more explicit in Bott’s book, “One of Each.”  The title already illustrates his ideas about categorization, with some mockery.  Selecting 2000 items from over 500,000 items he owns, he attempts to create a sense of compiling an exhaustive encyclopedia by choosing objects that best represents the category.  His idea of classifying the objects is more apparent since the items are labeled in the book, and displays how he defies and mocks the conventional categorization.  He brings his personal perspective into the exhibition of his collection, and he makes viewers to accept that perspective.





700 Obama covers

Here’s a link that’s going around that is a pretty wild collection — 700-some covers from publications announcing Obama’s victory:


Kris Kuksi – Jeremiah Spofford

After we talked about Chris Burden in class and his grey lamp posts I remembered Kris Kuksi and his found object assemblage.  He collects all sorts of toys, models and dolls, paints them and arranges them into landscapes/reliefs reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch.   


Hans Peter feldmann, Mike Kelley, Christian Boltanski-Maria Jönsson

I’m interested in the differences and similarities between three artists who mock the art world and esthetics their mischievous relationship to high culture and I’m interested in the simplicity of form in their work and their straightforward modes of presentation.

Hans Peter Feldmann- dumbfounding and profound wit, paper light, loaded with meaning, or no meaning.

“A single image can be completely mistaken. For this very reason he never makes individual pictures but always series. His series aim at the mean value. And some pictures within a series that are, in a sense, too good, are then being sorted out, since he regards aesthetics to be a thing for other professions and other times.”

The bone-dry wit of the subjects he categorically chooses to document and hang on the wall is mixed with the lingering feeling that it’s not that easy, what feels so light is about something much heavier. Some of his documentation becomes evidence, it’s hard to make polaroids of a selection of clothing without it feeling heavy, as in all the clothes of a woman, an obviously edited collection of female clothing.

Mike Kelley-
In one project Mike Kelley looks at old paintings he did in art-school and repaints them in the same painterly way, as a way to force himself to go back there. The saved paintings works as an archive of his history that he uses to make work about development, memory and the institutionalization of education and art.

ART:21:      Explain the concept behind your project “Day is Done.”
KELLEY:      “Day is Done” is built around the mythos that relates to “Educational Complex” and the history of a kind of symbolist attempt at uniting all the arts. “Educational Complex” is a model of every school I ever went to, plus the home I grew up in, with all the parts I can’t remember left blank. They’re all combined into a new kind of structure that looks like a kind of modernist building. I started to think about this structure through the Gesamtenswerk, the ‘total artwork’, of Rudolf Steiner, where he tries to combine all the arts and develop a kind of rule system according to which every art form is related. So the architectural relates to the dance relates to the music relates to the writing. But it’s also a kind of religion. And so my religion for this structure is repressed memory syndrome. The idea is that anything you can’t remember, that you forget or block out, is the byproduct of abuse and that all of these scenarios are supposed to be filling in the missing action in these blank sections in this building. It’s a perverse reading of [Hans Hoffman’s] push-pull theory. (cont.)
ART:21:      It’s almost like working as an anthropologist.

KELLEY:     Yes, I think of it very much that way.

“I’m an avant-gardist. We’re living in the postmodern age, the death of the avant-garde. So all I can really do now is work with this dominant culture and flay it, rip it apart, reconfigure it, expose it.”

Christian Boltanski
In his preliminary years, Boltanski painted in an autodidactic way, concerned primarily with themes of historical significance. However, by the 1970’s, (26 years old 1970) Boltanski removed himself from the painting arena and began his quest for remnants of his own past through selected artworks. These artworks led Boltanski to question the substance he had used when creating his own artworks. However, this introspectivism supplied him with the motive for other artworks in which non-truths and the realisation of fundamental truths converged. Boltanski reconstructed his own youth in this method.
Having been born in France post-Holocaust, Boltanski had a challenging childhood since he had a Jewish father. In his early work, he would often invent his own childhood and history using other people’s photographs. He would purposely choose photos that could be anybody and would often use many of them together to further implicate anonymity of the figures. This furthered the universality of his work.

‘Something like 60 per cent of my work is destroyed after every show. And if it’s not destroyed, it’s removed, or I’ll mix one piece with another. When I make a show it’s like when you arrive at home and you open your fridge at night and there’s two potatoes and one sausage and two eggs, and with all that you make something to eat. I try to make something with what is in my “fridge”.’
‘One of the beauties of my life is that I never work. I’m lazy and I have no other way to work. I teach this to my students: you must wait and hope – there’s nothing else you can do. And when you have an idea, you can do it in ten minutes.’
His artistic work is haunted by the problems of death, memory and loss; he often seeks to memorialize the anonymous and those who have disappeared.