Chicago Gallery Snack Report: Friday, July 9th


by Jeriah Hildwine
Photos by Stephanie Burke

Our beloved Jeep is in the shop with what we fear may be a blown head gasket, so although we had a lot of openings we wanted to go to, we had to pare the list down to what we could manage on bikes.  We took our bikes on the Brown Line, and headed down to River North.  We got there at around 4, before any of the openings, so we dropped by David Weinberg Gallery to chat with gallery director Aaron Ott.  We chatted with him for a while and then hopped on our bikes and headed over to the West Loop to begin our adventure.

We started off at Packer Schopf Gallery, which was having an opening for Catherine Jacobi, Nancy Bardawil, Casey Gunshel, and Danny Hein.  As usual, bartenders Oscar Barraza and Blair Michele were serving the wine.  When I first arrived, Oscar poured me a cup of Barefoot white wine.  Actually, he had already poured it, and I just picked it up off the table.  At any rate, he then informed me that one of the artists had brought some better wine, which would be served shortly.

So, I looked at the work, and then came back to try the “better wine”:  Cow
Girl Cab from DaMa wines
.  For as much wine as I drink every weekend, I don’t know much about it, but I did really enjoy this one.  Thanks for the wine, guys!  I don’t actually know which artist it was that brought the Cow Girl, but it was nice.

Packer Schopf Gallery – 942 W. Lake
St. Gleaners, Hawkers, and Reapers, work by Catherine Jacobi, Skivery,
work by Nancy Bardawil and Casey Gunsheland, South County Scrapbook,
work by Danny Hein. Reception 5-8pm. 7/9-8/21.

We rode down Ashland to 17th St., and then over to No Coast.  No Coast was having their closing reception for Megha Gupta, whose paintings adorned the walls, but as your faithful Snack Reporter I was particularly excited by the promise of “digestibles.”  We weren’t sure what they were or how long they lasted, so we hurried to get there as close to 6pm as we could!

The food artist was Marisa Muñoz, who produces “esoteric digestibles” under the name Witchpilgrim.  She talked me through a tasting tour of what she’d brought.  There were two different liquid mixtures, like syrups, to be served mixed with ice and either sake or sparkling water.  Needless to say, I opted for sake with each.

The first was a dandelion and burdock elixir with lime.  The burdock gave it some bitterness and the dandelion sweetness.  I could also taste anise, fresh ground ginger, and some sugar to enhance the dandelion’s sweetness.  I was a big fan of this one, like a sweet and spicy ginger ale, but more flavorful, and very refreshing on a hot summer day.  The second mixture was an anise hyssop with sassafras, and was more simply sweet.  Personally I preferred the more complex flavor of the dandelion-burdock elixir, especially the ginger.

Next we moved on to the cracker-looking things on the tray in front.  These, I was told, were a Portuguese-inspired recipe:  sweet lemon and oil-cured olive wafers, made with pink Himilayan “sea” salt and Meyer lemon-infused olive oil.  These were awesome.  Unlike most crackers which are generally used as an “edible plate” for some kind of topping, these are best eaten on their own, to really appreciate the flavor.  The lemon and olive interact really nicely, with the olive taking center stage but not excessively so.

For dipping, I used the seed-encrusted won-ton crackers.  These were sheets of won-ton wrapper, cut into crackers and encrusted with an egg and cream wash used to adhere black onion (Nigella), caraway, and poppy seeds; these were crisp and perfect for the task, as well as tasty on their own.  Another option were tortilla chips fried in clarified butter, but like home-made tortilla chips tend to be, these were a bit chewy.  The butter flavor was really interesting, though.

What I was dipping these into was a Mayan dish called Sikil Pak.  It’s a paste-like dip similar to hummus, but made from pumpkin seed, chard, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and habanero peppers.  I’d never had this before but it was delicious.  I’m a sucker for ancient dishes and this certainly qualifies, it’s a lot more interesting than hummus which, while awesome, is pretty familiar at this point.  You can really taste the pumpkin seed, and the other flavors back it up nicely.  This was the centerpiece of the setting, for me, and a really awesome experience.

Muñoz says of her food based work that she’s not interested in wowing people with technically difficult presentations, but instead presents edible tableaux with an emphasis on ritual and detail.  This was a total success, and major event in the Chicago art-snacking scene.  Thanks for all the snacks, Marisa!

Coast Exhibitions & Editions
– 1500 W 17th St. Closing Reception
for Megha Gupta: VISIONS FROM THE BURNED FOREST. Reception and
digestibles at 6pm.

Next we hit up the Principality of Podmajersky to see what the galleries had up for Second Fridays.  We started at the Chicago Art Department for a group show called “Action!”, work inspired by summer blockbuster movies.  CAD offered their usual choice of red or white wine (I believe, but cannot confirm, that it was Charles Shaw), and a bowl of pretzels.  Thanks, guys! 

Art Department
– 1837 S Halsted St. Action!, work by works by Ryan
Roberts, Christophe Roberts, Clare Rosean, Nat Soti, Jim Jeffers, Ali
Serradge, Sarah and Joseph Belknap, Kayce Bayer, Chris Lin, and Kerry
Flaherty. Reception 6-10pm.

We also hit up a few of the other galleries in the neighborhood; Logsdon
1909 was having their last show, and served their usual array of snacks
including brownies and blondies, snack mix, etc.  They probably had wine, too, but we were still working on our cups from CAD.  The gallery at 1907 S. Halsted, which used to be Vespine, is something else now, but unfortuately I didn’t get any information on them this week.  They had snacks, though, in the form of a cheese-and-crackers tray.  We were getting pretty hungry and so these were much appreciated.  Thanks for the snacks, and sorry I didn’t get your name!

We biked over to the Blue Line and took it up to the Chicago Ave. stop, and then biked over to Noble and Superior Projects.  As we were locking up our bikes, we saw some a falling beer bottle narrowly miss some poor girl’s head!  Despite this ill omen we headed upstairs to check out the show.  Stephanie grabbed the last beer (Simpler Times canned lager) so I had wine.  It was getting pretty late so the once-ample snack plate was pretty picked over.  I had a couple pieces of fruit.  Plus they got pizza!  Steph had a piece; somehow in the confusion and crowd and running into an old friend of mine from California, I managed to see the pizza and not eat any.  How did I do that?  I was downstairs unlocking my bike when I was like, crap, I didn’t eat any pizza.  I thought about going back upstairs and grabbing a piece, but it was too late.  We had to be moving on.  Thanks for the snacks, guys!

Noble & Superior
– 1418 W. Superior St. Younger Than Janis, work by Marcel
Alcala, Ryan Barone, Lucas Blair, Patrick Bobilin, Connor Camburn, Kevin
Clancy, Adam Cruces, Cara Anne Greene, Eliza Koch, Andre & Evan
Lenox, Vanessa Macholl, Celia Marks, Ross Meckfessel, Michael Morris,
Erin Nixon, Michael Radziewicz, Anna Rochinski, Steve Ruiz, Liz Rugg,
Hannah Verrill, Blair Waters, Ali White, Andrew Norman Wilson and Travis
Wyche. Reception 6-10pm. 7/9-8/7.

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Aaron Delehanty set all these snacks aside for me! Thanks, Aaron! Photo by Mary Richards.

Steph was drawn off by the promise of a party with a bunch of her SAIC buddies; I stopped in for a second but then I had to be headed off to Fill in the Blank for Aaron Delehanty‘s show.  It was getting close to 11, so I pedaled hard, hoping to make it there before they closed.  I’m glad I did, although they stayed open for another hour or so.  Aaron had set aside a whole tray of snacks for me!  Wow!  That’s amazing.  Dude takes care of me.  Thanks for all the snacks, Aaron, and great show!

Fill in the Blank
– 5038 N. Lincoln Ave. Visible City: Map Room, work by Aaron
Delehanty. Reception 7-11pm. 7/9-8/7.

I ended up having Aaron and photographer Megan Baker over for a late-night studio visit, where we talked about my work and I had a few more beers.  We ended up staying there until Steph called me at like 4am, calling me home.  All told it was a successful night of drinking and snacking…

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