content about pitch subscribe find advertise mouthoff


What the hell were we thinking, Julie?

Well, Kristen, didn't it all start with sherry and cucumber sandwiches? You were interviewing me for this show you were curating last spring. I'd been here for two years, working in my Logan Square studio, and the only people I felt I'd gotten to know were the hosts of NPR. I was really missing the critical dialogue I found so stimulating in grad school. That day was the first time I actually felt part of any sort of art community in Chicago.

I don't think you're alone in that. It seems to me a lot of people--not just the artists, but the dealers, the curators, the critics, and the public in general--haven't had the opportunity to interact as much as they'd like, or should.

Yeah. And whenever I see people at openings, it seems there's never enough time, or it's not the right place, to catch up on all the ideas we want to talk about.

On the flipside, it's been really difficult to generate as much recognition as the scene here deserves. And coming from New York, I have always felt Chicago could use some grass-roots boosterism. We should celebrate what we have in our own backyard--not wait for someone else to notice us.

That's so true--not being a native Chicagoan either, I don't really get that whole "Second City" inferiority complex. I think there's a lot of interesting work here.

One problem is that contemporary art, and the dialogue surrounding it, can seem disengaged from the lives of the general audience, whereas the actual conversations I've had within the art community have proved just the opposite. Ultimately, the "art world" is very much a part of the real world.

Even though artists spend so much time in the studio that we can forget there's a real world out there. Our first conversation was such a surprise that when I was commuting home, I went two stops in the wrong direction. Finding an opportunity for that exchange made me really excited about being in Chicago.

That's good to hear, because we don't want artists to leave! But all the things we're talking about lie at the heart of what this magazine is trying to do. We called it "mouth to mouth" because we wanted to do interview-based editorial, but also because we wanted to capture the vitality of Chicago's art scene, and make that dynamic accessible to everyone.

Definitely. It's not about putting our spin on the scene, but about creating a forum in which everyone can participate.

Yeah, we should say right now that we don't even pretend to know everything that's going on here. We're relying on the community to bring people who are doing good work to our attention, and contribute their voices and ideas to the magazine. So here's a PSA: e-mail us your pitch!

Yeah, tell us whom you want to interview, and the questions you want answered. We want to publish your conversations.

Think Andy Warhol; we did.


C'mon, Julie. It was only four months ago that we talked about this on the phone--how we both loved Interview magazine. Er, I just typed "nag-azine."

That's the very concept we're trying to get away from! Plus, you're making me sound like a flake. I got discourse, I swear!

We've all got discourse; that's the point. But Julie, tell the folks at home about their free gift.

No problem, Kristen. That free gift would be the magazine! Hopefully that will encourage people to actually read it.

Or even start more mags. We want to model the power of collaboration!

Stop hitting me, Kristen! You're not the boss of me!

Well, you keep hogging the keyboard.

No I'm not--you are! I was just about to deconstruct the hierarchical structures of language and commodity fetish that subvert the free market of ideas--

OK, you're boring the nice people. That's not what we're trying to do here.

Aw, man!