From Chicago where art happens in real time daily, Dogmatic

1822 S Desplaines, its moving day.

The website for Dogmatic was an artifact that originated with Made At Work: What Artists Do When They Are Being Paid To Do Something Else, a program that I co-curated with Philip von Zweck in 1999. From Dogmatic's beginning we were very committed to building an archive that would reflect the resourcefulness and effusive spontaneity of the actions that these artists were undertaking in their community. Some examples of this were the hard and soft bound catalogs that were made for, Burnt Fried Set Aside: The Meat Show, the essay and the website that was commissioned for, Instalation View[sic] and the interactive digital catalog that we released with the Work Show: What Artists Do When They Are Being Paid To Do Something Else (which you might guess was also made at work by Siebren Versteeg). The original text (not shown) was similar to the piece below but it was lost and the introduction/about us blurb was rewritten. This is the text piece that appeared at from July, 2001. 
Dogmatic began in 1997. Founders Paul Chan, Aviv Kruglanski, Andrew Natale, and Michael S. Thomas were committed to civil and artistic actions that could draw attention to the growing rifts within their community. Politics, big business, institutions and their relationships to the citizenry at large and artists specifically provided us with easy targets. The gallery became a tool that provided a new form of dialogue to those who had become cynical listening to dullards describe the bland. The goals of our gallery early on were met in part by breaking down the existing models for art presentation in the traditional modern white box. The modern box was replaced by the house in which we lived while shows became thematic in an attempt capture the vitality that surrounded us and to purge the gallery of any white space by covering every inch with artwork.
In doing so we created a personal space in which a new mercurial art could be seen without the cloying persistence of old dogmas and old moneys. What we provided was a place wherein artists could be seen and talked to without the pressure to relent to a market place that was turning its back on them.
I no longer have the luxury of working with Paul, Andrew and Aviv but my mission is still short, simple and crucial. It is to present to the public the best artwork that can be seen at any given time. My shows are still intended to incite dialogue but the thematic nature of those early years has been replaced with a greater emphasis on a curatorial practice that investigates individual artists and small groups. It has always been my desire to provide the public with the opportunity to see the progression of these Artists works and their ideas before established institutions edit them. In simplest light I’m committed to giving everyone I can the chance to say that I am wrong, and an affordable space within which they can prove it.
When the website was rebuilt in 2004 following the physical move of Dogmatic to a new location I added some extra words to this brief. I was hoping to explain some of the motives for uprooting the space and how important it was to move forward and continue to adapt with our community and the new challenges that it faced.
In these intervening years Dogmatic has established a bold exception to exhibition and curatorial practice. Through the persistence of its partnership with artists and their resolve we have continued to inform the ways in which institutions throughout this city look at emerging and early career artists and the work that they present. We have demonstrated time and again the necessity and virtues in looking at the work of these artists now. When you attend a Stray Show or see a program such as Twelve by Twelve at the MCA you are experiencing the lasting impact that this resolve has had. Dogmatic has provided this along with a capacity for leadership necessary to help spawn a new generation of spaces that will confront the future with an unrelenting cheeriness.
Despite these accomplishments Dogmatic is at the end of an era. Our artist’s needs are changing. The dialogue that once served them and provided the backbone for spaces devoted to project-based work has dwindled as the community has grown. The bleak time where their continued investigations are met without hope of support or compensation for their efforts is at hand. As DIY is replaced with grab what you can, the new millennium quickly shows us how words like community and dialogue can be made passé and altruism can seem dirty. In short Dogmatic has come full circle.
However with the tools of leadership and experience at our disposal Dogmatic looks forward to meeting the realities of these times head on. The space as it has existed at 1822 S. Desplaines will forego the comforts of its home for a more transient and versatile approach to curatorial conundrums and project based work. We look forward to offering new challenges to a new group of artists both locally and those not so lucky to be from Chicago. The artists that have continued to make Dogmatic their home will also return as we push even further the notions of the gallery space as place, art as ephemera and kitsch as a site specific reality in the contemporary framework. Dogmatic will also continue its practice of making available time based franchises to artists, curators and anybody with the temerity to open such ventures.
Dogmatic will maintain and uphold its belief that art is not something accessible only to the few. It is instead a potential for all people everywhere to engage the notion of sensation and challenge the experience of history with anything they choose to make a tool of in any space anywhere. Dogmatic in short, will continue to provide leadership in a time when duck, duck goose seems a reasonable way to ring around the rosy. We will continue providing Art in any way possible to a world that’s forgetting the importance of such experiences and we will do this from Chicago where Art happens in real time at Dogmatic daily.
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