Spark Plugs #3 | July 22nd

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PLUG Projects is hosting SPARK PLUGS a Saturday morning youth focused discussion and artmaking workshop in connection with The Rugmaker’s Daughter, a solo exhibition by Lexie Abra Johnson. Coffee provided!


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Open Call at PLUG Projects

Are you an artist working in the Kansas City region? PLUG Projects is now accepting proposals for our local solo gallery. If you are interested in putting together a one-person show, please submit the following:

Biography (less than 300 words)
Artist Statement (less than 500 words)
Show Proposal
Website Link

5-8 Images / Media
JPEGs, GIFs, or PNGs
For video, audio and other time-based media, links are preferred

Email with LOCAL SOLO PROPOSAL in the subject line with the above information by 11:59 PM July 28, 2017.

PLUG Projects Local Solo Gallery Map


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Come participate Thursday, June 29th at 6pm!

CRIT 31 presents artists Haley Chaffin, Zoe Chressanthis and Carolos Ortiz-Gallo, with moderators Benjamin Rosenthal and Galadriel Thompson.

Lactobacillus Amongus: Closing Potluck

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SE Nash

As part of their show, Lactobacillus Amongus, SE Nash invites you to a closing potluck event on June 25th, at PLUG Projects, from 5-7pm.

Participants of the show (the sourdough starter’s owners) will each bake with their starter this event.

Hanky Code Workshop

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The Hanky Code is a visual system used primarily by gay men within the queer community to “flag” potential sexual partners using a code of color and material signifiers worn in one’s back pocket. Boi Boy is taking over the planning room of PLUG Projects to present and discuss the history of the Hanky Code while encouraging its resurgence in queer culture. Participants will discuss the notion of queer identity, signaling within the queer community, and what it means to cruise in a digital age. During the discussion individuals will be led through a dying workshop to create a hankie that aligns with their sexual interest.


This workshop coincides with the one night only exhibition, “Select Username and Password,” opening at Front/Space, located at 217 W 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108 on June 2nd. A collaboration between Blair Schulman and Boi Boy, including works by Kevin Heckart and Matthew Johnson, the exhibition kicks off Pride Month by exploring the history of cruising from the park to iPhone.


Boi Boy would like to, “encourage our community to come out of the digital closet, reflect on our history and have a fun time dying some hankies.” Come join us a PLUG Projects from 3-4pm for a happy hour of fun!

*because of mature content, Hanky Code Workshop is recommended for 18+

Markus Amm

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Untitled, 2007, Synthetic enamel on paper and graphite on canvas140 x 107 cm

When I first encountered Markus Amm’s work in the halls of Booth School of Business, I was  quite taken with his formal/material operations. Simultaneously mysterious and obvious, I wonder what parameters or set of instructions Amm is both working within and against to arrive at these very physical constructed images. It seems there are internal forces at play that are left open for the viewer to project into and complete. It seems more about this sense of projection than erasures or sites of removal.


Untitled, 2005, Diptych, Graphite, oil on canvas board 50 x 60cm each

After visiting the paintings several times, they did not empty out quickly. Amm also maintains a body of work in the photographic process of photograms by using direct application of positive shapes against the exposure process on photo negative paper. This immediacy, limited palette, and controlled material experimentation in both the paintings and the photographs is infinitely intriguing.


A recent resurgence of the photogram process brings new light, new structures, and a new set of tensions to bear on the medium. Another artist working in the process who is also harnessing color and creating fields is, Walead Beashty.

Walead Beshty. Photogram. “DIRECTIONS: WALEAD BESHTY, LEGIBILITY ON COLOR BACKGROUNDS” at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., 2009.

“Working in both color and black-and-white, Beshty revises this historical technique by enlarging the scale of his photograms and making use of more contemporary technologies, such as color processors. In addition, rather than placing objects on photographic paper, Beshty folds or curls the paper before exposing it repeatedly to light, creating interlocking facets of prismatic color. The resulting works present themselves as seductive, elusive abstractions, yet they are actually material representations of the very process of their creation.”  –Hirshhorn Museum website

Beashty and Amm’s photo interventions immediately bring to mind the master and Bauhaus-to-Chicago pioneer of Constructivism, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. In the early 20th century Man Ray  and Maholy-Nagy first experimented with cameraless photograms. Now Amm and Beashty pay homage to these artists in their updated photogram interventions. Essentially these artists are sampling and repeating a time tested process by bringing it into the 21st century and proving it can hold new content and hold up in new contexts.

Markus Amm in University of Chicago Booth School of Business Collection.

Chroma Crush: Anne Truitt

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Anne Truitt's 35th Street studio, Washington, DC 2004.

Anne Truitt has always stood out in my mind as having a command over peculiar color. Truitt’s totemic wood sculptures hover on their bases and emit color from the inside out. This is achieved through a laborious process of mixing pigments, application, sanding down, and applying layer after layer in this manner. Pigment settles deeply into the very fiber and grain of the wood. At a certain point the “woodness” falls away and strangely, color takes on an agency of its own, supported by the structure itself. Truitt’s instinct for color and form has led her to attribute certain references to nature, geographic place, time of day, as well as the corresponding qualities of light in titles such as, A Wall for Apricots, Autumn Dryad, and Valley Forge.

Anne Truitt in her Twining Court studio, Washington, DC, 1963.

Anne Truitt began exhibiting her geometric minimalist abstractions in 1961. And in 2009 I visited The Hirshhorn Museum’s exhibition,  “Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection”  curated by Kristen Hileman. Although the installation and display strategies of the work were problematic and detract from the sculptures, it was a very complete introduction to Truitt’s oevure. The sculptures have a presence that came as a surprise and felt uncanny due to their body-like scale.

The Hirshhorn Museum presents the first major exhibition of Anne Truitt's work since 1974. "Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection" is a survey of two- and three-dimensional works made during her 50-year career. Please include a copyright credit line with any photograph of Truitt work: Artwork © Estate of Anne Truitt.

Writing in April, 1965, Truitt stated: “What is important to me in not geometrical shape per se, or color per se, but to make a relationship between shape and color which feels to me like my experience. To make what feels to me like reality.” (Private papers.) –Anne

In Anne Truitt, Working, a film by Jem Cohen, Truitt points to a “sickish color” and talks about layering that one under another in order for it to “zoom into being, in order to lift up ten feet into the air.”  (fast forward to 2:14). Cohen sums up Truitt’s endeavors in color as one that is “scientific search and in ways a spiritual search” in an attempt to “set color free in three dimensions.”

Yaddo 2003.


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