Ramsey Alderson, “Untitled,” 2021, stills from 2m39s video

Minor Rationalism, a large group exhibition and accompanying manifesto from the probing mind of Chicago-based artist/curator/philosopher/mathematician Eric Schmid opens at Baader-Meinhof on July 9 and runs through August 21.

The wide-ranging exhibition features the work of 30 creators whom Schmid selected for the singularity of their work and who operate outside the main, whether preferring obscurity, eschewing traditional careers or defying conventional definitions of artistry, operating instead in a decentralized hierarchy and outside the meme-stream.

Illustrating this proposed fluidity in defining artistic practice, Schmid has included those who have run project spaces off the beaten path, run tape labels anonymously, produced work under pseudonyms, chosen to make consciously irreverent or outré art, ran seminal art blogs, and theorized about art, music, capitalism, conceptualism, consumerism, etc.

Markus Oehlen, “Untitled,” 2021, inkket print, 20 x 15 in.

Thus, the show’s curator assembled these makers to highlight that the art and the aims of its practitioners are far from monolithic, instead constituting components of a continually morphing minority. Such artists, Schmid poses, delight in escaping norms and conventions and are in a continual process of becoming, or at least until codified in such art world vernacular as “vanguard” and “cutting edge”. Hence, Schmid’s appellation “minor”.

Yet, the philosophical mathematician in Schmid offers that it may be yet possible (or certainly desirable) to apply a “rationalist” structure to this display of rugged individuality. In a wide-ranging manifesto, the author calls upon a host of philosophers, semioticians and the like in support of his construct of “minor rationalism.” It’s a big bite for the general audience, but provides a framework for understanding that the curator sees underlying fundamental truths from this array of subject- and genre-bending explorations.

Participating artists are: Mattin, Stephan Dillemuth, Markus Oehlen, Robert Bittenbender, Ser Serpas, Connor Camburn, Ramsey Alderson, Lauren Burns-Coady, Emma McMillan, Matthew Langan-Peck, Asha Sheshadri, Moritz Smid, Chris Fratesi, Eirik Sæther & Bjarne Melgaard, Rachelle Rahmé, Ben Schumacher, Dustin Hodges, Zoe Barcza, Adam Revington, Benjamin Scott, Eli Ping, Zoë Mpeletzikas, Kiera Mulhern, Ben Horns, Israel Lund, Emma Sims, Joshua Boulos & Joshua Abelow, Eric Schmid and Jason Hirata.

Dustin Hodges, “:LEP_02. “2017-20, oil on linen, 66 x 34.5 in.

Minor Rationalism runs from July 9-August 21 at Baader-Meinhof, with opening receptions on July 9 from 6-9pm and July 10 from 12-6pm. The gallery is located at 1322 S. 6th Street and is open Monday-Saturday from 12-6pm. At this time, the gallery is still requesting visits by appointment by emailing info@baader-meinhof.org or using the scheduling portal on its website, www.baader-meinhof.org.

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