What is that thing you did?

Starting in 1980, or was it 81, I moved to Chicago to study art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As luck would have it I fell in with a bad crowd and started to work in the medium of Performance Art. At the time it seemed like a happy, friendly art scene, lots of places to perform, lots of interesting work. In hindsight it seems like the Renaissance. In 1990, or was it '91, I moved to New York to find something else. I didn't find it and I surely missed the close knit scene that I had come to know in Chicago in the 80's.

There is a story here about a place and time that congealed in backroom art spaces and studios of a very talented group of artists in Chicago during the 80's and into the 90's that I am interested in documenting. Of course the fact that I am placing myself in this group may seem self serving but like my involvement with P-Form magazine I want to get this info down in type before I forget what day it is.

Looking through my records and racking my brain I have come up with a list of artists, places and other items. This list is, of course, incomplete and at best just a drop in the bucket. Were you there? Do you remember something or know about something that was left out? E-mail it to me and I'll put it up here. Things, Places and the Artists are listed below, follow the yellow brick links to the ramblings of your desire.

—Brendan deVallance


People & Groups

Jeff Abell

Violet Banks

Nancy Bardawil

Jimbo Blachly

Mike Bohacz

Lynn Book

Yvette Brackman

Susan Bradford

Mark Staff Brandl

Mary Brogger

Anna Brown

Nancy Forrest Brown

Matthew Buckingham

Katherine Boyd

Carpet Stain

Laura Dame

Robert Daulton

Brendan deVallance

Dominique Dibbell

Joan Dickinson

S. Gray Dunn

Randy Esslinger

Sharon Evans

Karen Finley

Ellen Fisher

Joanna Frueh

Gurlene and Gurlette

Ellen Glance

Goat Island

James Grigsby

Greg Green

Doug Grew

Fluid Measure

John Haskell

Kevin Henry

Werner Herterich

Kathryn Hixson

Lin Hixon

Vickie Hoch

Meg Houston


Tom Jaremba

Leigh Jones

Steve Jones

Joel Klaff

Dani K

Vlado Ketch

Paula Killen

Julie Laffin

Steve LaFreniere

Eric Leonardson

John Liebrand

Seamus Malone

Lou Mallozzi

Frank Melcouri

Robert Metrick

Micheal Meyer

Thom Middlebrook

Iris Moore

Brigid Murphy

Achy Obejas

Frank Navin

Linda Novak

Kaja Overstreet

Matthew Owens

Patricia Pelletier

Carmela Rago

Hester Reeve

Brian Routh (Harry Kipper)

Mark Roth

Cin Salach

Linda Saint Sans

Chris Sullivan

D. Travers Scott

Susie Silver

Andy Somma

Somebody's Daughters

Doug Stapleton

Lawrence Steger

Chris Sullivan


Beth Tanner

Guy Taylor

Peter Taub

Theater Oobleck

Blair Thomas

Alan Tollefson

Irene Tsatsos

David West

Susan Wexler

Dolores Wilber

Michael Zerang

Things and Places

Arc Gallery

Batteries Not Included

Beacon Street Theater

Bedrock Gallery



The Get Me High Lounge

Green Mill

Hand to Mouth

Hot House



Links Hall

Locker Gallery

Lower Links

Lounge Ax


Museum of Contemporary Art

N.A.M.E. Gallery

Noise Factory

Organic Theater

Park West

Prop Theatre

The Room

the Rainbow Room

Randolph Street Gallery

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Smart Bar


Momentary Purgatory





Did I leave someone out? Did I leave you out? Just send in a contribution on your
experiences and I'll post it.