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Alternative space: Lasso Gallery at the Butcher Shop

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Lasso Gallery

An interview with Karin Patzke and Carrie Ruckel, Lasso Directors

Patzke and Ruckel launched Lasso Gallery in September 2007, opening with the exhibition Involving Violence. Patzke is a candidate in the MA in Modern Art History at SAIC and works as the Rapid Imaging Project coordinator at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ruckel graduated from SAIC in 1999, and works at Chicago Access Network Television.

Why the name Lasso Gallery?

We’re both from Texas. We thought “Lasso” would be reminiscent of our backgrounds and at the same time, a name that would be engaging and inclusive, not aggressive or exclusive. Plus, we like the idea of “rounding-up” or “roping in” different people for shows.

The work we show attempts to negotiate a dialogue between artists and audience, about social issues, in ways that other traditional (and even non-traditional) galleries do not. We prefer to go to a show were we can talk about the work on the walls in a way that relates directly to contemporary events.

What caused you to choose an opening show around the theme of violence?

Obviously there is a lot of violence in the world … It can be overwhelming sometimes, and we wanted to see how artists are dealing with violent acts, and how is society dealing with these acts. Do we disengage, avoid, or desensitize ourselves? (Sometimes you have to.) If you’re interested, take a look at the essay “Involving Violence, a writing in progress” on our website.

Is there a key focus or ethos to the gallery as a whole?

We are very interested in showing work that deals with social or political issues both locally and globally … Group shows, lectures, conversations and associated published material will allow us to explore one idea in a variety of ways. By presenting work by multiple artists, we’re attempting (successfully, we hope) to continue the dialogue that the artists create within their own studio environment.

Do you two always set the theme of upcoming exhibitions and get artists to submit, based on your themes? Or can artists/curators or artists submit whole exhibition proposals?

We want to do both. We like creating shows around a theme that we hope will instigate certain thoughts and discussions. We are currently accepting proposals and shows from artists and curators, our main concern is to build a community where contemporary and historical ideas can be explored and to create a dialog.

Are most artists exhibiting still studying?

In the current exhibition, we have a variety of artists at different levels in their careers. Students, recent graduates, emerging and established artists of all ages and disciplines.

Who are the local emerging artists to keep an eye on this year in Chicago?

We are really happy and excited about the artists we’ve gotten to know for this show.
The local emerging artists in this show are: Benjamin June, Krista Wortendyke, Regina Mamou, Masaco Kuroda, Jason Stec and Cordell Thurman.

Are the works for sale?

Most of the work is for sale. We are asking patrons interested in purchasing pieces of art to contact the artist directly. We are currently not taking a cut of any purchases but will accept a small percentage as a donation from the patron or artist, or a combination decided upon between the two parties.
How are you managing to fund the running of the space?

Right now, out of our own pockets.

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