Freedom’s Stand pays homage to the role of black newspapers while drawing inspiration from other influential community driven work like Chicago’s Wall of Respect and the Community Mural Movement. Freedom’s Stand takes its name from the Freedom’s Journal. Founded in New York City in 1827, it is credited as being the first black owned and operated newspaper. At the time, Freedom’s Journal provided a counter narrative to other New York newspapers that attacked African-Americans and encouraged slavery but it was also utilitarian as the founders wanted to help raise the literacy rate of free blacks across the United States
Chicago Grid, the group show hosted by Jan Tichy in Project Space 68projects, brings together artists and teachers who have previously worked with Tichy and come from both sides of this education exchange. This exhibition questions the concept of the network in its manifold forms and meanings, an allusion to the Berlin Bauhaus writers, who were fascinated by the Chicago road network.
Health Club presents work by Faheem Majeed along with artists: Nelly Agassi, Balas & Wax, Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska, FieldWork, Charo Garaigorta, Kevin Miyazaki, and Bridget O’Gorman considering the interdependence of human wellness on constructed notions of place. Not in the obvious spots like the gym or the spa, but the seemingly benevolent locations like museums, hospitals, or parks, can we really examine how a society relies on the built environment to foster mental or physical health. Drawing, installation, painting, photography, and video included in the exhibition call attention to conflicting principles historically embedded in the architecture of such recreational places that nurture both public and private growth. As a result, we come to be more observant of the functions of these voluntary civic and leisure sites, how our bodies move through them, and question our role in realizing their intentions.
Tuned Mass features “Board-up” and “Lean-to”, the latest evolution of Faheem Majeed’s Shacks and Shanties installation series. These current works speak to his interest in the signs of devaluing neighborhoods, the board-up initially serving to protect the investment of the house while serving as a clear notice of abandonment. The lean-to is the stripped-down form of the shack, the simplest form used for shelter and survival.
With his first commercial gallery exhibition in Chicago, Majeed presents two distinct bodies of work that are connected in their relationship to place and memory. For Majeed, "Impression" suggests a playful nod to the history of painting as well as the action that he takes as a core part of his practice. It also captures the ephemeral existence of his subject matter. Through the objects he makes, Majeed connects a rooted past to an often precarious present, creating a platform for the discussion of a more imminently possible future.
For “Unite,” Majeed investigates how artists, objects, and cultural workers can hold differing notions of value to facilitate the creation of more equitable institutional structures in the arts [...] The works in “Unite” present a different arrangement of Majeed’s ideas around value, structural systems, and equity. While the objects are still sculptural, they are now in a direct conversation with painting, in much the same way as Rauschenberg’s Combines and similar hybrid works defy views of what objects might be deemed art and what materials might be used to.
Referencing a previous series of work entitled Demise of the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC), Demise Shroud is a 70’ x 5’ charcoal rubbing of the SSCAC’s main gallery floors. The gallery, named after SSCAC founder Margaret Burroughs, is the centerpiece of the organization and has been the gathering place for thousands of artists and community members since 1938. In this regard, the floors have become a didactic instrument. The muslin and charcoal reference the capturing of tombstone engravings, exploring involuntary death or destruction, what it means to destroy and what can be lost or gained from destruction. The piece seeks to both memorialize history while providing an intimate critique on the survival of culturally specific institutions.
I was invited to do an installation for part of Wormfarm's Fermentation Festival. After spending some time with the farmers and landowners, listening to them talk about their families' land, I was struck by the history and invisible boundaries this land carried, about the dimensions of history embedded in the dirt, and extended out into this space that blurred convoluted red tape and land laws with memory, with family history.
In addition to presenting sculptural works and a room-sized installation, Majeed invites collaborators to activate the space through events and performances. In this way, the exhibition presents a plurality of voices, cultural perspectives, and art-making strategies that develop and expand organically, accumulating and metabolizing different materials and visitors’ experiences. Even if only temporarily, the exhibition becomes a microcosm of the greater work the artist is doing, while also alluding and drawing attention to the work still to be done.
My intentions were to create visually engaging platforms for local concerns and initiatives. My hope was that the structures could create micro communities that could support each other’s interest. I asked a diverse range of artists and organizations to engage with the structures in order to bring local and broader attention to important ideas.
Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden is a part of an ongoing series of work that utilizes cedar wood panels to host a variety of interventions. Reusing the cedar creates a layered history of all the previous locations and interventions, bringing them to each new setting and use.