Meet Chicago's Jackson Pollock - Cleveland Dean


"Manifesto of Self" 2009

Cleveland Dean is the Jackson Pollock of Chi-town. In this retrospective exhibition of work from the last five years entitled I heard he's an A**hole, we will be confronted by his black on black abstract expressionist paintings, his signature black and white drip work and an array of sculptural pieces. It opens on Sat., Feb. 19 at 1643 N. Milwaukee Ave. He has been utilizing this space as a studio/ gallery for the past three months specifically to produce a new series of work for the Prudential Building at 120 N. Stetson St. that will be on display until January 2012.

Dean's paintings radiate a force with each gesture of the brushstroke although there is a natural element of chance with the materials and processes. They are executed with the finesse and power of a Buddhist monk in deep meditation. Just as Franz Kline, the abstract expressionist


"A Good Death" 2010

painter would methodically plan his brushstrokes and then paint the white forms around, Dean plots each composition with a power that is focused and intentional. In the painting "Manifesto of Self" is a good example of this deliberate intentional practise. Each word and phrase stand larger than life to confront the viewer. In a recent interview with Cleveland, he stated:

"Every piece I create is a new high...I zone out, letting out my emotions, one minute I'll be laughing, the next crying... it is a release and in this way I see it as therapy."

This "zoning out" I'm sure every artist is familiar with and the high you get when you create something magical. It becomes a utopia, when one engages in an intellectual dialogue about art one enters into a euphoric state. Cleveland stresses the subconscious energy that directs him in the production of his work like a conductor of an orchestra who has an intention yet feels the music in his or her soul:

"My attitude is Hip Hop, my demeanor is Jazz and my soul is House. I paint my pieces with my soul."

This interpretation of the work would be fail proof if all the work was abstract but it isn't. In a sculptural vignette entitled "The deconstruction of thought and learnt behaviour" 2008, Dean places part of a frame on the wall, inside


"The deconstruction of thought and learnt behaviour" 2008

the frame is a noose and sitting either side are two chairs. All the objects are painted black. The piece is provocative and stands out as one walks into the studio. The symbolism within this piece is highly charged evoking hanging, lynching, the death chair or suicide, poetically speaking to these multiple interpretations. Even the title provokes one to engage in deconstructing the psychological barriers that we are indoctrinated with in a cultural context or on a personal and political level. When I posed to Cleveland that the work was a reconstruction of "Strange Fruit" he point blank refused to interpret the work in such a specific mode and engage in a public discourse in reference to lynching. In a recent interview with Mona Hatoum in the Guardian who recently won the Joan Miro art prize (the largest art prize in the world) she stated:

"There is definitely a political awareness that filters through my work...but I'm always trying to do it through the form of the work, not as a political agenda. I don't like it when people hear, 'Oh she's Palestinian,' and think this must be what the work means. It's reductive, myopic way of looking." (quote from Mona Hatoum, Guardian Newspaper, February 4, 2011)

Cleveland's work embraces a political consciousness especially in these sculptural vignettes yet to reduce it to a black cultural discourse would only be half the story but it is part of the story that we must collectively embrace. But rightly so, Dean is adamant that his work goes beyond the realms of black discourse and he successfully achieves this through a poeticism of imagery and his "depictions of nothing." In depicting nothing one is also depicting everything. The curator of I heard he's an A**hole, Claire Molek concludes, "...he lays bare his self on the wall, and invites you to do the same."

Come, engage and let us expand the artistic dialogue in Chicago, without fear we can be free!

I heard he's an A**Hole will be open to the public for one night only, Feb. 19, from 6 p.m. to 1O p.m. at 1643 N Milwaukee. After party is at Lokal, 1904 W North Ave. Curated by Claire Molek of the Studio 1020 the exhibit is sponsored by Stammich Management.

Photos by Sarah Tilotta



To Times

First of all this will not be written well. I Was There at The Scene of The Crime (s) Ironically "5" years I was doing an Action Painting at the now closed Sonotech night spot here in Chicago. Cleveland aka "Q" was there watching me, we were acquaintances/friends at the time... I knew him cause at this time he worked at the Silver Room and i would always buy sunglasses there from him. Anyway he watched me intensively and after I was finished with my piece he asked me what my inspiration was and so on was all about. So I gave him my thoughts. No biggie... he then said (like a light bulb comes on over the Ravens head) and I quote "Man Im going to do this too"... I thought cool. It feels good to inspire. A couple weeks later, I had another Live Painting show at the also now closed club Ave. M on Milwaukee Ave. With me I had a blank canvas (that i was soon to paint) as well as a Painting that i had just finished. I brought it with me to try and sell it. Cleveland and his girl friend now wife were there again watching me paint away. After I was finished, he approached me and was really interested in the finished painting I had brought along with me that night. He said, "how did you do this?"... at the time I was 23 and didn't think twice about sharing my technique of how I did it... it wasn't very complicated, although I was excited to have found out how to do through it many hours days and years of experimenting with paint. Silly me... I gave him the map... I said go to Home Depot get Black and White Rustoleum oil paint also get a spray bottle and fill it with Acetone. Apply paint and spray away. About a month later Cleveland or "Q" as i know him, had one of his if not his first show at some bar that used to be Ezuli on Milwaukee Ave. Lets just say, that EVERY painting that he did was a DIRECT copy mockery of my painting that i told him how to do a month earlier. Black Oil Paint with Aceton spray... literally every fuzzing piece. To my self, I was like... "What the" I was Less then thrilled.... I went home and painted over MY painting that at one moment was original. to see 15 half developed versions of mine, made me ill. I felt violated. He had another showing at Peoples Lounge some weeks later. There I read his Artist statement that was up on the wall. Yeahhhhh. It read pretty much exactly what I had told him the first night he saw me painting at Sonotech months back. From there I started to see him out painting Live at events I was doing. His whole music is my soul routine. i never believed it Don't get me wrong painting is great and more people should do it. its healthy Although it wasn't a very honest start to your "career" Cleveland So to Wesley: Agreed and I know what it feels like too. Ive been a fan of your work, my older brother used to take me to some cool shows when I was a younger, and I remember I went to an event you threw at your studio. It was fantastic. This is not an attack, its just the truth. And it Tends to come out eventually Anyway thought I would share my accounts of this dwindling matter Best to All Truly CHADWICK P.S. This is not an attack, its just the truth. And it Tends to come out eventually

For those still engaged

There is a group of 5 individuals from art and music coming together to have a donation/fund raising benefit for relief after the Japanese tsunami at Butterfly lounge next sunday from 7-2. If interested in giving donations for.the silent auction please contact me at or follow further information on facebook. Thank you in advance to those that even considering giving. Do for others. Thank you. One love

Agh, such a dick, stealing

Agh, such a d**k, stealing the moral high ground. Kinda hate to hate on him. That said, and because I'm here unfettered by any social disapprobrium-- a couple things: 1) While a noble cause in many ways, it's doubtful to have much actual effect. Japan is the third most developed economy in the world. Any receipts from the auction are likely to be: a) small; b) made smaller by the costs of the event and charitable structure; and, most importantly, c) not timely for emergency aid. That last part is probably the most salient point-- that any aid from the event is unlikely to be productively used because of the immediate nature of the emergency. It is, in other words, a token gesture. Which is sweet. But the people of Japan would be better served if the event were also to advocate contacting political representatives for emergency assistance (which is already substantial). Maybe set up a computer with internet access and opened to Durbin, et al.'s web page contact forms? 2) The fact that this is a sweet gesture doesn't necessarily mean it is a selfless one. Making an art-party fundraiser of a sad event can tend to falsely lend esteem to people for reasons unrelated to their own worth. This isn't to disparage the event, per se, but to point out that such token gestures often benefit those involved more than they provide for others. In other words, in "stealing the moral high ground" Dean has usurped the tragic events of Japan to promote himself. I don't want to be-labor this point, but at least voice my healthy skepticism. ...even should Dean himself truly believe his intentions are of a purer sort. 3) Which brings up what actually hit me about the post. I wanted to think it was sweet. I really did. But something kept making me queasy. Little things just didn't sit right. Like "art of sen" and "One love". And it made me feel like Holden Caufield, lamenting the phonies. In asking for donations, Dean clearly means Kimler, not me or Ismah, or Philistine, or the casual readership. Which he could have tried asking for in private. So Wes, that's kind of a public outing ("I care about Japanese people! You don't care about Japanese people!"). But for Dean to solicit Wes, he'd have to build the bridges by admitting some measure of his brazen hackery. Instead, he promotes his false cause publicly, catching Wes in a half-way embarrassing bind. There's no way he should participate, and thereby meakly become complicit with Dean, or even be interpreted to endorse him; but by not responding, or participating in one upmanship, Wes's standing has the appearance of being diminished. Why? Because the quality by which this duel is characterized no longer concerns itself with art, but rather vague humanism. Dean has shifted the ground to one he can actually try to compete on-- unsubstantiated claims of compassion rather than artistic merit or authenticity. So yeah, Wes, Dean is a hell of a self-promoter. Bet he's got friends who run Butterfly, too. But that fits with the description of him as a wicker park-ish hack, home of "live painting" impresarios and lifestyle "artists". I do hate to hate on this, as I am. But I kind of feel obligated to do it: I just plain don't think this stuff ends up being much more than people patting themselves on the back, and converting good will for a cause towards their own benefit. It's a hollow effort, a pretense at something that's enormously real, and painful, and terrifying. And the pretense of it pisses me off. Caulfield had a point. There are lots of phonies out there, living phony lives with phony concerns and phony thoughts and phony feelings. And what's so offensive about Dean is that he's one of them, and either doesn't realize it, or has cravenly exploited it.

Randoms, how jaded we have

Randoms, how jaded we have all become. Why, what in heavens name could ever, cause you to construe Dean's impressive largess as yet another cheap marketing scheme? With apparently no tragedy too great nor level too low to stoop to in the name of self promotion? For shame! Banish these thoughts from your mind my friend! I feel confident Mr. Dean's act of selfless abnegation, is awash in a veritable tsunami of sham-pain.

Mmmm, haterade. Buy you guys

Mmmm, haterade. Buy you guys a beer? (no, not you Cleveland Dean).

Pain. Champagne.

"Come, engage and let us expand the artistic dialogue in Chicago, without fear we can be free!" -Hahahaha... Jeezes. What an obvious post-grad. It's excruciatingly plain this girl has starry-eyes and reads all of the hippest blogs, but has no sense of the works themselves. She reminds me of a starving child, imagining everything she sees as a gourmet dish. much so that I've included a link to the lyrics for that song from "Oliver" ( Her commentary in no way reflects responsible criticism. It's rife with superlatives and almost masturbatory, self-aware references whose inclusion seems aimed only at impressing herself. In reference to Dean: "They are executed with the finesse and power of a Buddhist monk in deep meditation." honestly, get your head out of your a**. His trite, trope-driven (no offense Wes), frankly obvious hackery, is given the warmest ball-cupping blow job I've come across in a long while, invoking not only Pollock, but also Kline and Mona Hatoum. You'd only see something like this in costly print at a second-tier liberal arts college poof-mag. Which isn't to say my heart doesn't go out to the lost little lamb who wrote this. But grow up. I became aware of this article through a friend, and was well aware that Mr. Kimler had made some personal attacks questioning the character of your relationship with the Deanster. I'd honestly discounted them as ad hominem remarks driven by his (rightful) rage... Until I actually tried (through laughter) to read the impossibly sacharine piece. Now I'd only be surprised if the suspicions weren't true; as someone evidently well-educated, the only excuse, besides caprice, for writing any of the above, should be orgasm-induced infatuation. ...And it would still take a lot of experience with a partner's o-faces to become inured to the ridiculousness of Dean's work. So, good on you, Dean. @Wes: the rapper guy has a point. You do have an interest in defending your work against this p.o.s., but you've done that now. To do more, in this forum, is only diminishing. Please continue, however, to help isolate and mock Dean in other venues-- preferably through friends, though. @Phil: what a nice little satire. Lots of fun. Thanks for the laughs. Pain, champagne... How has no one else made fun of that sh*t yet?

Elaine -thank you for the

Elaine -thank you for the explanations and congratulations on all of the hard work you have put in creating this venue for discussion. It is a good discussion though I would hesitate to describe much of it as dialog. I would describe it as a critical blunder followed by at best, a mismatch. Neither Dean nor his supporter Elliot show evidence of having enough competency as painters or serious artists to seriously consider themselves as such. Eliot of art beat live (-readers should simply find his work on the internet -or Deans facebook -end of story): to find a situation as ridiculous as Eliot trying to engage me in a dialog about what artists or painters do or don't do, one would have to imagine some junior college thespian feeling the hubris of having a bit part in the annual school play lecturing Daniel Day Lewis on the niceties of being an actor. Its only hilarious and ludicrous. Neither derivative Dean nor his defender here are serious painters or artists, To restate a simple fact, the work is, awful. Perhaps in some other incarnation Eliot is a serious human being giving him the benefit of the doubt, -as Dean certainly is as a serious self promoting hustler. Eliot is proud of having raised an amount of cash for charity through his work: I wonder if the buyers are asked to sign a contract agreeing to display the charitable work in their homes OR NOT- I have a sneaking suspicion this stuff is living its charity event afterlife out in a lot of garages and work sheds, facing the wall, keeping the garden hose and the hedge clippers company. As for Carron Little's critical blunder -which it is,( everyone makes mistakes-) though you more than adequately give evidence of Ms Little's academic achievements Elaine, this does not answer the question of what the writers relationship to Dean is. It is almost impossible to miss just how inane the comparison of an artist of Pollock's stature, skill and absolute originality, is with a derivative, copyist hack like Dean. What was she thinking? It is a fact that most critical studies in art school shy away from actually teaching about painting -so in one way, Carron can be forgiven for perhaps not understanding what ham-fisted amateur painting looks like and is. On the other hand, with the rigorous Critical Studies Graduate program offered up at SAIC-chaired by my good friend Lisa Wainwright (who unfortunately seems to waver in her opinion as to whether I am the or one of the most important painters of this time working out of Chicago) and staffed with people the likes of James Elkins, you would think Cleveland Dean's insipid, clique installations -spray painted black chairs, black frame, black noose would have caused some suspicion as to the quality of activity taking place, set off an alarm bell somewhere for Ms. Little- There are any number of artists here who's work is in some context 'relational- to abex painting -Pollock - Jim Lutes, Vera Klement, Kim Piotrowski. Michelle Grabner- comes to mind, perhaps me -though I am more in the de Kooning camp (obviously).....I could name any number of serious painters here who might qualify -but not this derivative, second string, second hand junk. She, should know better. And, unfortunately, it is not what is stated in the article itself that has created the controversy. It is the foolish title of the article, spent on someone not very bright, who is more of a hustler peddling what is only derivative, poorly done work, than an actual artist, that has people asking questions.

" would have to imagine

" would have to imagine some junior college thespian feeling the hubris of having a bit part in the annual school play lecturing Daniel Day Lewis on the niceties of being an actor." -Wesley Kimler- It's a little bizarre that you seem unaware as to how much more ridiculous it'd be to imagine Daniel Day Lewis attending the annual school play of an in-law's nephew, and then afterward telling the poor kid what a worthless sh*t of an actor he is and always will be. Or....let's imagine Michael Jordan holding a basketball clinic at a South-Side Boys&Girls Club, where to the horror of the hosts, the children and the parents, we see him spending 2hrs dunking over 12 yr olds and screaming: "OOooOH In-Your-Face!!!" everytime. This article was forwarded to me by a friend and I don't know much about Cleveland Dean, but if he's as much of the worthless hack as you seem to feel he is, and you are as much the Titan of Chicago Art as the interwebs say you are, then why in GODS NAME are you on this rag going H.A.M. on this guy??? The friends who are commending you for exercising your right to tear this feller a new a**hole are NO friends at all. I'M your friend because with as much respect as I have for your work I'm going to tell you what your "colleagues and friends" aren't telling you. You sound like: "The Coked-Out Charlie Sheen of the Chicago Art World". Granted, you are actually respected, more articulate and less frazzled. But seriously dude, if Daniel Day-Lewis felt as you did about some 2bit imitator-actor's work, he'd pat the guy on the back and say "keep at it, but maybe try and discover your own visual language". [Perhaps you should have referenced Sir Ben Kingsley instead] It might be "your thing" to ride tupac-style on the art that you feel is bullsh*t, but you sound like a child...and it literally made my stomach hurt to hear [read] it. That said, Cleveland, push yourself harder. You might want to see the commentary here as less haterade than it is the critical rigor you could use to really challenge yourself and your work...

"imagine Daniel Day Lewis

"imagine Daniel Day Lewis attending the annual school play of an in-law's nephew, and then afterward telling the poor kid what a worthless sh*t of an actor he is and always will be. Or....let's imagine Michael Jordan holding a basketball clinic at a South-Side Boys&Girls Club, where to the horror of the hosts, the children and the parents, we see him spending 2hrs dunking over 12 yr olds and screaming:" -interesting analogies -too bad they don't really fit. First of all this Cleveland Dean is not an in law nephew, nor is this guy pushing 40 years old, a 12 year old on the south side learning how to shoot hoops- as I have said, if this was some serious young painter actually learning from me, doing work that evidenced a serious focus beyond 'making it' 'selling it' 'hustling it' -and self promotion, "painting 20 paintings a day" I would be -and have been more than once, flattered and honored. That, is not what is going on here -where this guy in his mid-late 30's, a self described businessman/hustler who 'paints from his soul' - barf- has almost verbatim images derived from my work on his business card and refuses to even admit where he got it. In this age of the internet, plagiarism has become a more interesting and serious discussion - and along with that discussion is how the internet can be used to manipulate, create image, and market. This guy is a symptom of a larger problem -which is why I chose to say something. One of the unexpected results of this thread has been all of the hard working actually diligent young artists who have contacted me to thank me for calling this career in the making', out. As for your words of encouragement to Mr Dean -I share your sentiments -though I am somewhat skeptical given the nature of the 'work' thus far. There are any number of actually young artists I do encourage -and will continue to do so -perhaps your words of encouragement Ismah, would be more wisely spent there-. As for your attempt to tell me who exactly my friends are and are not, thank you for bringing to my attention that which obviously is of deep concern to you. Perhaps you are better served sticking to the gossip rags/ Charlie Sheen where you seem better informed than you are with what is going on in my life.

Thanks for your response Wesley.

By your admission of how long you've been "making art" and by Dean's admission of how long he's been "making art", he might just be "a 12 year-old on the south side learning how to shoot hoops", relatively speaking. His age and ability to defend himself is immaterial to this fact. No one is infantilizing him. Your argument that he is ripping off your style reminds me of an incident way back when I was in high school. I was kicking a little verse in a freestyle cipher and I dropped some line about my lyrics being as sharp as Wolverine's claws. Everyone immediately started telling me that I bit that line from Rass Kass, a rapper gaining popularity at the time in the Los Angeles underground hip-hop scene. I was a half-ass L.A. rapper myself, familiar with Rass Kass and a big fan of "Remain Anonymous" which was an intense and frenetic EP of his that f*cking shattered the conventions of rap at the time; especially on the west coast where simplistic gangster rap reigned supreme. But get this, I didn't bite. Call it shared cultural phenomenon, call it proximity to similar influences...whatever you want [The author of this article correctly mentions this]. My line was crap and I did a tenth of what Ras Kass had done with the reference, but I didn't bite. His line was brilliant and the verse itself was a multi-syllabic and complicated sequence of nested internal rhyming-patterns, delivered as effortlessly as reciting "Mary had a little lamb". By comparison, mine was some half-baked bullsh*t little punchline delivered in the most basic iambic pentameter and probably sounded as infantile as "Mary had a little lamb". I sucked at rapping at the time, but I got good. I got damn good. My breath-control and enunciation never attained the skill-level of Rass Kass's, but I was better than probably 97% of rappers anywhere at that time and could navigate even a 3/4-timed beat like a Hollywood master-thief might navigate a labyrinthine laser perimeter-alarm in order to steal a Fabergé egg. Anyway,this long-winded and discursive analogy is presented as food for thought. As you have pointed out, I agree that Dean's "drips" are rather banal and uninspired, so much so as to be cheap riff's on damn near anyone or anything [somewhere there is an anthropomorphic paint-can that has been tipped over and is dripping black paint onto a garage-floor, screaming "Foul-Play!" as loudly as you are]. Why you feel as though you are the primary victim of this "theft" is interesting to me. Continuing with my analogy, I see some similarities between you and Rass Kass; he is widely regarded as a favorite rapper of many of the more well-known and multi-platinum selling rappers. He is widely regarded as one of the best to ever do it and one of the progenitors of rap as an intelligent and intricate form of poetic verse. However, he has never sold more than about 20,000 records at a pop and feels that he should be way more famous and make way more money than he does. Like you he is as equally known for his rants against the prevailing discourse on hip hop and the popularity of individuals half as talented as he is. Also like you, he has subsisted off of rap for over a decade and has not needed a day job but yet feels entitled to far more. Interestingly enough his last full-length album was titled "Van Gogh" and was shelved by his record-label. Rass Kass doesn't seem to accept that hip-hop [art] is as much about hustling as it is about talent. Hustling is an almost equitable and formidable arrow in the quiver of navigating the "Cult of Art", as is painting good or drawing well.....another arrow is the priveledge of race and but so true. Rass Kass can't accept that the honesty and integrity with which he approaches his craft does not correlate to money or fame or performing at the best venues and that the dumbed-down raps and the ignorant rappers that perpetuate them are popular and rich because hip-hop, like art is ruled by the flavor [discourse] of the day/month/year and that his personal trajectory and self-discovery has less than sh*t to do with that fact. As with yourself, Rass kass has an equal number of struggling talented and untalented young rappers who see him as a champion that is fighting the "Good Fight" as he has struggling, talented and untalented rappers who wish he'd stop being such a whinging ass-hat and just make good music. So of course, whoever these young hardworking artists are, that are compelled to congratulate you off-site because of your intellectual bravery, have you feeling validated. But truth is, you might actually benefit from having me as the "friend" who can provide you with an alternate perspective. Regarding me being better served "sticking to the gossip rags", that's exactly the sort of arrogant and narrow-minded self-importance evident in your responses on this site, that I am referring to. Hahaha..what makes you think they're mutually exclusive and that I can't do both [read US Weekly and comment here]effectively? That said, I don't have to know anything about your life to know that in some instances you might actually be the "Last Cowboy in Chicago with The Guts to Fire Away at the Mammoth Establishment With Your Twin Pacificadors" but in other instances your responses might be overwrought, arrogant, irksome and ironic given the context and circumstance.

Ismah -I think you might want

Ismah -I think you might want to get into the studio and make a record - a very long record - I'm thinking double album given the length of your response here-! Much of what you say is informed with an intelligence and lucidity I actually enjoy and, appreciate. And then comes the lapse into a form of hysteria as the exaggerated analogies creep in: I am fascinated by your rap conversation -something I know as little about as I am betting you know about the art world. Though I am aware that both the music world and the world of high art are awash in oceans of stupidity, and venality, that good music and art get made almost in spite of the culture the rise out of, this may be where the comparison ends. The music you are referencing is of popular culture -which, is not so with serious painting -a far more exotic, esoteric and less trafficked realm. Where hustling and image seems to be part of what rap is, conflated reflexively in its very expression, this is not necessarily the case with art where I see you as describing show business -not, show art. But this is beyond my point here, really another different conversation. As to your being curious as to why I feel 'targeted by' Dean......have you seen his business card -with him posed sitting on the floor -leaning against a wall of paintings that looks like hackneyed versions of my drawings? Not kind of, not influenced by, but derivative to the point of plagiarism. Identity theft. Am I concerned about him copying my full blown paintings? Of course not -he can't do it -and shows no evidence that it is even the most remote possibility he will ever even be up to an attempt. Oh sure he does other things-still curiously related to what has influenced and informed my work -but I am only discussing what was touted here as his signature style -when in fact, it is not his. I ran into an older very well known painter in the neighborhood just last night , who said something to the effect of, 'I walked in saw the black and white blob stuff that he is copying from your drawings and walked out -I like what you had to say about it on that blog.' I chose this context to say something Ismah -because it is a small context -as I see this an not deserving any more attention than it has already received. As the bad rapper hacks of Wicker Park have continually spiraled downwards in a never ending search for the ever elusive bottom of the barrel, I view Cleveland Dean as a new low. Something I want zero association with, as I do not respect it. Enough is enough. Dean is an adult -despite your histrionic analogies. He bring the pathologies and cunning of an adult to his attempt at being an artist -no matter how poor the work ultimately is. This is not a twelve year old we are speaking of here. Though I may not be as enamored nor pursue your definition of success, I find just being an artist, raising a small child by myself to be hard enough without some superficial operator glomming on to my work, to who I am, not to learn, but to copy and, market. As for Charlie Sheen, if you want to indulge in ambulance chasing -have at it my friend -though I suggest you take into consideration my initial suggestion about hitting the studio.

Armory Week

I know a sh*t-ton about the art-world. I chose to use a personal anecdote pertaining to the "rap-world" in my second post because it seemed that your remark about me and "gossip rags" was an attempt to devalue my criticism of your comments on this site simply because I referenced an element of popular culture. So I took it even further away from some nice and comfortable "Archi-Speak" [as we call it in my area of practice]. I took it back to Los Angeles, high-school, circa '93 and admittedly got pleasantly lost in the reverie of comparing you to a talented rapper whose halcyon days are by-gone. That may not be you, but I sure had a blast with it. That said I'm going to be brief cuz today is a busy-busy day and I gotta cram tons of art into a couple of hours. So here goes: you paint with integrity, that's awesome. You've carved out a self-sustaining fox-hole where like-minded artists can rail against the Eminent They and somehow still put food on their table, that's commendable..albeit a privilege others might not have...ever. That you take issue with someone "stealing your work" is perhaps understandable although questionable in this context [sorry i'm not fully convinced]. But it is precisely because you are a "high-artist" with a measure of acclaim, that I find it so bizarre that you are ranting on some local blog over a guy whom you feel is of the ilk of "hack artists", "live-painters", rasta-hat knitters, silver jewelery-makers and other yokels who peddle their craft and wares at neighborhood street festivals. Maybe because the Chicago art-world is smaller than the New York art-world it gets a little claustrophobic so when one of these "hack artists" encroach on your space you get offended cuz you feel they are so utterly beneath that you see it as your Moral Duty to deride them, their craft and remind them of their place. It lacks a certain dignity tho. #i'mjustsaying. To "Hey Random" guy, you're hilarious, a complete Motherf*cker, but hilarious.

I am also going to say this

- your gossip rag comments ARE nice and comfortable -are you kidding? You seem in fact to be most at ease discussing Dean /employing analogies that are grounded in high school- You do make some good points, I hear them -I did very much enjoy your reverie having to do with the LA 90's rap scene...) but then what you conflate this (Charlie Sheen)with what is tantamount to mainstream junk food. And then seem to take offense when I take a shot at you, criticize your point of reference as kind of lame. All done in the name of you, being here taking a shot at me: we are not having an argument in the hallways of some high school in south central LA Ismah, can't run with the big dogs -stay on the porch! I suppose you could reference Stanley Crouch's comparisons between rap and country music conflating them as low-brow entertainment for the decadent masses and feel as if you are pushing an edge from People Mag/Sheen to rap -whatever-....this is not uncomfortable for me. Perhaps you feel the LA rap seen has more of an edge and quality than People Magazine , I sure hope and assume thats true. For context, I grew up raised by wolves, living very hard in the ghetto, on the streets: -all the way from south of market and South Park in San Francisco to the maze of alley ways that comprise the inner city bazaar of Kabul Afghanistan. There is no context you can site that will cause me to feel discomfort. I make art that is complicated, tough, skilled and informed with a certain intelligence. Work that does not attempt, nor is interested in referencing popular culture. You now claim some relationship to the art world: if you are an actual painter, meaning you speak that particular language (unlike Dean) you will get this about who I am. To say it one more time, I am not into having myself used as, to quote Hey Random, a 'trope' dumbed down to the lowest common denominator by a low brow marketer. Our world is inundated with this kind of cr*p, I am not wanting or willing to be party to yet more of it. You say you remain unconvinced that Dean who you claim to not know is 'biting' my work: have you looked at the work being discussed, the very articulated biomorphic forms of my drawings and the very poor copies of them that show up on Deans business cards? Its great that you are conversant with LA high school circa 1993 -you are not there now -do you know what you are talking about here? This conversation is not about a spilled can of paint as you attempt to portray it. I am not down with the overly polite, lame a** hand wringing, obsequiousness that describes much of what is considered acceptable behavior in the art world. Its in my neighborhood, I spoke my mind to a middle aged adult, not a twelve year old, not a high school rapper in Compton. You might be more comfortable with this context, if you knew, were conversant with what is actually being discussed -which in spite of all of your charming digression, you really give scant evidence of being- familiar with. I don't feel like putting up with this clown living on me, all considered, concerning how completely obnoxious it is, I said something, get over it. I DO hear your point -and it does have some merit, and I actually thank you for for your interest -I see your opinion as having a certain validity. It gave me no pleasure to call Dean out: the upsides ( and as you have noted) downsides aside, -I felt it needed to happen, all costs considered. Now, I am going to try and take Random's advice and get out of here -not easy considering the actual quality of this discussion- which funny enough has little of nothing to do with the shite I initially referenced.

Ships in the Night

You misunderstood me Wesley. I wasn't suggesting that my anecdotes on LA rap were employed to make you uncomfortable because I saw you as some suck-a** white-boy; there was no reason to run down your street-cred. Also, I wasn't offended by your "shot" at me. I was saying that your comment about me sticking to gossip rags just incited me to take my own comments completely outside of any contemporary art dialogue because given the silly-ness of the article [Meet Chicago's Jackson Pollock?????], it's not about that. None of this is about what I'm conversant in or about proving to you what I know about the art-world and being lectured by you on what you know about the art-world. To reiterate, even if I was to emphatically agree that this dude's *most recent* work is a complete rip-off of your work [and yes I have seen the work discussed], I'd still feel you over-reacted *after you spoke your mind to Dean* and that for a tough-guy from the streets and a now established art veteran, you went on to just sound like a p*ssy-a## art Prima-Donna. That's it. And it's pretty much matter a matter of opinion, but that's what Comment Sections are all about.

Distancing yourself

I have to say Ishtar, strange you would mention wanting to distance yourself from 'contemporary art dialog' when there really isn't any here. A mere glitch no doubt for one who knows 'sh*t tons' about the art world, and is so very busy doing 'art stuff''.... even referencing the Armory Show -wow! The aesthetic void, the phony url, the 'I want to be me when I grow up high school schtick;' it all kind of reminds me of a fraudulent sales pitch...just like Dean! Mere coincidence no doubt.

as a matter of fact, given

"thats what Comments Sections are all about"...and that's what fake urls and pseudonyms are all about isn't that what this really is Ishtar? Name calling and pronouncements uttered; all, emanating from 'your safe place' i.e. anonymity or as Jack White calls it, " a sea of cowards"......uhh I thought you weren't all that familiar with 'the Deanster' ....but now suddenly you are! I bet you are, real familiar. Why not simply come out of the closet and man up with who you really are/what your relationship to Dean actually is? And btw please show me where, in any of this there is anything that would pass for contemporary art dialog- article included.

Just checked out "Sea of

Just checked out "Sea of Cowards" by The Dead Weather very DOPE!!!. Reminds me of The Black Keys and some Mars Volta [after a fleeting listen thru]. Though it was unintended as such, thanks for the referral Wesley. I love new music.

The contemporary art dialogue

The contemporary art dialogue I am referring to, are comments that have been made by you and other's critiquing the article, questioning the credentials of the author, discussing Pollock's significance and critique of Dean's artwork as it compares to your "complexity of surface, technique, color, etc", your perception of CAC, your mention of the rigorous Critical Studies program offered at SAIC, and how critical studies in art schools shy away from teaching about painting.*sounds like art dialogue to me*--All for an article titled,"Meet Chicago's Jackson Pollock - Cleveland Dean". I took my commentary away from taking that title seriously and responding to it in-kind because it is clearly absurd and perhaps intended for an audience other than "serious, high-artists" like yourself. Hence,my inversion of your Daniel-Day Lewis anecdote as a way to try and maybe suggest that you not get a migraine over any of this. Whether Dean is a grown-man or not, he's clearly no Pollock and it's the fault of the author for the ridiculous comparison, although I really don't mind employing a well known point-of-reference when writing for the neighborhood masses or tryna stir up hub-bub like this [Carron might be an agent provocateurs who knew exactly what she was doing for all we know.] So I didn't really get why you were on here schooling folks on your moral and artistic superiority, referencing "Critical Studies Programs", talking bio-morphic forms and the like --- it was weird and "too-angry" to me. You're almost like the humourless guy who doesn't get when something's a joke, intended for a different audience or complete bullshit and so he starts off on some unyielding rant and ends up sounding like a kill-joy that needs to learn when to spazz out over something and when to just drop his 2cents and keep it moving. I hope that clarifies for you what I meant by "Art Dialogue", if I used the term a little too loosely, forgive me. Anyhow, you are now sounding paranoid. I've agreed with pretty much all you've said regarding Dean and his work and have only taken issue with what I feel is your excessively arrogant and virulent responses, but now you're thinking I'm some companion of Dean's??? I don't think Dean feels I've had his back in this matter at all, what with comparing his work to a dripping paint can, calling it banal and uninspired while praising your work. No sir, I am no clandestine proxy of Deans. Also, I mentioned the Armory Show because I was literally heading out there to meet some folks, obviously not to show what I know about art [I know enough about you by now to not make such a move]. That's like the only real thing I was gonna let you know about me [that I'm in NYC] since you sound condescending, a little vindictive and very unclear on when folks deserve to be harassed or not. -not a problem I need in my life right now- But please don't let my anonymity diminish the validity of my statements tho, I've said nothing really contestable here. Anyhow, I'm in Chicago regularly because I have close friends that live there, and I have no problem coming up to you in person, introducing myself and saying "hey, its Ismah/Ishtar/AzizAnsari/Charlie Sheen from that urbantimes blog, rather than giving you a head start on besmirching my good name because you feel I've attacked you [which I haven't at all, I've actually been fair]. If that happens, hopefully by then you still won't be so wound-up. It's a shame this devolved into us bickering....glad you seemed to see my point for a brief moment.

-btw -paranoid? ahhhh......I

-btw -paranoid? ahhhh......I kind of think your anonymity conflated with your seeming preoccupation with the current doings of my life is more than a little suspect. Wound up? Hey -I'm not the one leaving novella sized blogs concerning people you claim to not know on a local rag in a distant city....perhaps you are simply at loose ends, or maybe, you need to get a life 'just sayin'.....Here: something to help you wile away all that extra time you seem to have on your hands: Twilight Singers Play Blackberry Belle

Ishtar, any opinion you

Ishtar, any opinion you choose to offer up comes with the tag of you not having the huevos to use your own name: though I am quite glad to pass along good music, Sea of Cowards references bloggers like yourself, posting under pseudonyms, living their lives through the lives of others, the context of their post persona being a cowardly act vitiating any actual content. "Besmirching your good name?" hahahaha.... Haterade? pussy a** art diva?.......what a pompous hypocrite.

Adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

Aaaah Wesley, these "novellas" take like 5min. to write, I'm not losing any sleep or being unproductive, believe me. I do admit that I am thoroughly delighted every-time I see a new response from you; we're almost pen-pals. And of course by now it's just us on this blog: a veritable John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, two indefatigable a**-hats quibbling over the internet and taking this dialogue the way of the Youtube commentaries one might see on videos of middle-schoolers slap-boxing: "coward" "p*ssy-a**" "hypocrite" "get-a-life"....hahaha. You *are* paranoid tho, I don't know Dean or you. I might e-mail you since you seem a fascinating curmudgeon of sorts, and it would probably be more appropriate at this time to have a side-bar; our dedicated audience is by now yawning and drifting off to other amusements. Thanks for the music both literal and figurative.

Ishtar -you read my mind

Ishtar -you read my mind -and, beat me to it -go ahead and do email me -I will of course honor your wishes and keep your anonymity here- I didn't get that either of our posts here were labored over- you write well and fluently. -Blackberry Belle - masterpiece

Thanks to all

It is wonderful to see the time and energy so many of you have put into a dialogue around this story. Thank you for that. We at Our Urban Times newspaper appreciate your participation and encourage you to write comments on other stories too. In fact, we encourage you all to write different articles. Mr. Rahman, I tried sending you an email but the address given is not valid. Would appreciate a direct contact with me ( Again thanks to all....The Editor (Elaine)

-I should add, I am

-I should add, I am fascinated by the ongoing attempt to infantilize Dean -portraying this middle aged man as a victimized child: "telling the poor kid"....."dunking over 12 yr olds" I also find it interesting the letters I have received from actual young artists -probably feeling some resentment over the small amount of limelight there is out there being grabbed by this entirely derivative, business savvy careerist -I think, they might actually have a point.

Responding to Mr. Stine and SAM

The dialogue that Carron Little's article has raised is fabulous! Thanks to all of you for your past, present and future comments…keep them coming. This site was created last year so there would be a place for people to be informed and have an opportunity to generate dialogue. Comment is encouraged on each and every story. Letters to the Editor are welcomed too. We do ask that writers are respectful of others and themselves! Mr. Stine, thank you for your well written posting on this story and your comments and questions about the site. Since you repeated your second posting as a "Letter to the Editor," I am answering some of what you ask below and the rest under the "Letter to the Editor." I hope both of these answer SAM's questions as well. Carron Little is our art critic. She was educated as a critic at Goldsmiths' in London. (Check them out--,_University_of_London). Her master's degree work was done at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an artist, performance artist and educator. Our Urban Times is privileged and delighted to have such a well qualified writer as part of our publication. Do we have the right to not publish? Of course. Have we done that in this discourse? DEFINITELY NOT, though we replaced some letters with "*"! Could there be other exclusions in the future for various reasons? There could…just like on the pages and over the airwaves of those big guys. However, we have NOT and will NOT use our writing or discretionary editing because someone is a friend or bought us off.

Abstract expression....

Thanks for bringing this up philistine. After reading this exchange, I keep asking myself what the relation is between Carron Little and the person whom she wrote about. Anyone care to answer that question?? "Meet Chicago's Jackson Pollock," really?......Really?????? I can think of five people who might, and that's a really big "might," fit that billing, but the person you chose is not one of them. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even come in the top 10,000 who "might" fit that bill. So I ask again, Carron, "what's your relationship with this person?" I can tell by your writing and grammar style, that you have intelligence, but it seems, you aren't wise. It's one thing to praise a body of work. It's something totally different to give this person that much credit with your opening line. If you indeed have a relationship with this person (and you should disclose this information), then you well may have sabotaged any distant notion this person had of being legitimate, if that could ever be. In the process, you make me question your integrity as a journalist. There is no Jackson Pollock in Chicago, nor anywhere else for that matter. He is dead. Just like there is no Picasso in Phoenix and no Haring in Helsinki. If you'd fact checked like a diligent person of words, you'd know that. If Jackson Pollock came back to life...which would never happen, right?..I don't immediately think he would come to Chicago, much less as the person you so recklessly compared him to. So, what was/is your motivation? It can't be the work, I've seen the work, I like the random stuff I see stuck to the sides of newspaper boxes better. If he has to go to that deep a place in his soul to dig that stuff up, I know vandals that will run circles around him with a spray can and five minutes, and they don't operate past the ID of their psyche. I don't expect you to publish this. I question the integrity of this websites organization and the writer who represents its art beat.


I have to wonder about the integrity of this publication. Why would you encourage a dialogue regarding a badly written article, and then choose what comments are worthy of publishing? Are only selected comments encouraged because you, Our Urban Times, are not impartial? (This wouldn't be a surprise, as it has been my observation thus far that integrity is both the lacking, and bonding, quality among the self-proclaimed artists of Chicago, in all disciplines.) I posted my comment regarding the work of Cleveland Dean because I know his work. I attended his retrospective show. I shook his hand and congratulated him on his efforts. I know he's a hack. I didn't decide that because someone told me he is - I saw his work in that huge, empty room. I read the article written about him. I read his biography. His "art" is not the work of an artist, it's the work of a man who doesn't have an identity of his own and wants to be something he respects, and perceives as easy to become. This article you published about him was obviously an article written by a friend, not an impartial publication. I did not call him names, like: boy, or fuc*ing bi*ch. And I didn't call him a "wannabe" either. I realized from reading the entire chain of comments relating to Dean's work that those pro-Dean (including Dean himself) were uneducated, lacked in basic understanding of art, and couldn't seem to grasp the concept of original thought. My comment, I felt to be original. It didn't slight Mr. Dean, but simply compared him to a painter of his level: Me - or really ANY child finger-painting for the first time. I was surprised to find that my comment was not included in the dialogue; but more so than that, I was depressed to find yet another bullshit web-publication that doesn't have a speck of journalistic integrity. Are you a trust fund baby? Is this website Daddy loaning you money and buying you a job because you can't get one of your own? Yes, that is a jab. Yes, it most certainly is. Who is behind this website? Don't you (all of you involved) sometimes wish that you were as original as you wish to be? It's publications like this, feeding the minds of those less intelligent and too fearful of being unique to know it, which has transformed this city into the pathetic cluster of morons that it is. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. I'm a native of INNER-CITY Chicago. The "greenest city in the country," as long as you're sure not to count the coal refinery on the south side, or the iron forging plant between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. "The greenest city in the country" without a real recycling program, but has the highest fuel taxes and just bought the police force a fleet of SUV's. "News Publications" like Our Urban Times, and "artists" like Cleveland Dean are drops of rain rusting the once great "Machine." YOU are directly responsible for turning this city into what it is today. What was once: "The City Of Big Shoulders," is now, thanks to publications like Our Urban Times, and people like Cleveland Dean, has become: "The City Of Big Phonies." Good Job.

Thank You For The Real Good Paintings ... They're Done Real Good

Dear Artists and "Artists," I don't normally post comments like this, but I've been reading the back-and-forth and would like to thank you all for the enjoyment. Last time I saw sparing like this I was devouring turkey leg at Medieval Times. Bravo. I am what one calls: a philistine. I find myself rather indifferent to the arts, to their depth, meaning, cause or effect; I have even at times stated my raw, uneducated comments out loud, and often I have done so with a bit too much volume in my voice. I don't know much about art, but I look at it an awful lot. I've seen a Jackson Pollock and said "wow, look ... drips of paint." His drips of paint are really no different than any other drips of paint, but the way I see it, he did it first. And he didn't just fall into it by being sloppy, he knew what he was doing, and more importantly, he knew why. He didn't do it because he saw someone else drip their paint and thought I CAN DO THAT! And I've looked at a Picasso and said: "That doesn't look like a face, where's the nose?" But when I walk down to Daily Plaza and look at the sculpture that, to me, resembles a horse with elephant ears, I know that it's because I'm just not looking at it right. When I walk around to the front I see the outline of a woman, looking over her shoulder. And I think about how amazing that is, like I've discovered something that nobody else has ever seen. I've seen Kimler's paintings too. I was at the MCA and one of his paintings was in an exhibit, and was virtually alive with color. There was thought, and depth, and meaning, and every time I looked at it from a different angle I saw something new. And once more, there was no way for me to compare it to any other painting in the exhibit because there was no other paintings quite like it. He was the first to do what he was doing, it was uniquely his painting. That's what art is about, isn't it? Doing something new and different? Expressing a thought, or an emotion, or an idea - capturing something that can't be put into words, that nobody else had tried to say? That may be wrong, but like I said, I'm a philistine. I like art that makes me think about something, and speaks to me. I can identify with Mr. Dean's paintings. They remind me of the paintings I've done. Paintings that I recall being extremely proud of doing once they were complete. And while walking around his retrospective show, I couldn't help but think that if I'd had one of my paintings with me, I could have hung that piece up on the wall and it would have fit in nicely because our styles seem so similar. I have fond memories of when I was a painter, back when I was young and so very briefly studied art. Seeing Dean's paintings brought me back to the sight of the endless possibilities of the blank page. The smell of the colors wafting from the open paint containers; the softness of one of my fathers old shirts placed backwards across my body with my arms stretched out through rolled up sleeves at the ready to create; the cool sensation of my little fingers reaching into the line of a rainbow and surprised by how much the paint felt like pudding in my hands. My paintings have long since slipped from the face of my mother's refrigerator door and into the trash, but it's nice to know that I could have had a career had I not found dodgeball so much more exciting.

Several response- First to

Several response- First to the numbskull QUE QUE -" Hey Wes your shit was relevant for a minute... and now its not. whattayagonnado? it happens homey" And what moment was that 'homey' -are you referring to my being the featured interview with Art In America last fall?... or perhaps its the large scale painting of mine that was recently up in the Constellations Exhibition at the MCA -and was reviewed as the highlight of that exhibition -is that the moment you were referring to?--what a dunce. Eliott -I am an artist and a painter not a charity foundation. In my opinion I am actually not attacking a genuine, serious fellow artist- the guys back on white biomorphic forms are filched (though not very well) from me -not that it matters to you -as this guy is clearly your friend -how about never respecting an artist that rips off another artist and markets it as his own? Carron Little -the biomorphic central form Cleveland -after having met me started to use is influenced by me -you mention the black on black -what has me pissed off is the black and white forms with the elliptical apertures -hardly random and not particularly Rorschach like, and widely known as my signature style -in terms of surface complexity -my canvases all begin with these forms, some stay that way, some have added color and figuration -just as the drawing are sometimes abstract and other times figurative -all, informed and made with a complexity in terms of surface, technique, color, execution of painting and drawing skills far beyond what an artists of Mr Dean's caliber is capable of- -I'm not in the business of making crude pastiches of my heroes work Carron -I'm a serious painter. I don't like getting my work lifted by someone who is not. Someone who is more of a marketer, trafficking in second hand ideation.

In conclusion

Quite frankly this discourse is beneath me however I will address it one last time in this forum. For the past 5 years I have worked diligently to establish myself as a working artist in this/the art world. I create depictions that express my inner being and leave them for those that chose to view them as that which they can make their own determination of their significance. I have put in hour upon hour each day to grow as an artist and to relay my visions to the public. As with anything there will be nay-sayers. There will be those that make accusations no matter how ludicrous they may be. There will be those that claim others as friends and that they are looking out for their best interest when the exact opposite is true. There will be haters. Haters do what haters do. If you, Wesley, have the opinion that I have copied you, have no knowledge of what I am doing or that of which I speak, don't know as much as you, can't paint, can't carry this or that, don't think I am an original, that I am a wannabe or that I am upset because I am not as famous as other artists (personally I thought that one was funny, I have no idea where you got that one from, almost as funny as the claim of me wearing a cowboy hat) so be it. I don't care. Why would I. Anyone that has seen my body of work is laughing at your accusations. My self generated growth in a short period of time with no schooling is undeniable. I have yet to reach what the public would consider a peak let alone what I would deem a pinnacle. If you are this concerned about me now you will have a long road ahead of you. It is not my job to stroke your ego. That is your task if you see fit. In order for one to be star struck one has to see a star. A senior trying to bully a freshman because he's the new popular kid in school is what you strike me as. If this is the way you wish to conduct yourself and feel proud about it, so be it. As I said, I am a grown man and I do what grown men do. Attacking someone that is making their own way WITH THEIR OWN IDENTITY is not of my pedigree. I build I don't destroy. I have done work with arts organizations here because I believe that it is important to advance the culture as well as personal career. The fact that you are putting so much effort into disparaging me only gives me power. Thank you. Now, if you'll excuse me... I have work to do. Pain, champagne... You know the deal.

First, Phil i -as I

First, Phil i -as I understand it there is one well intentioned albeit beleaguered person running this site -hence the wait on posts appearing. Cleveland, you are the popular new kid only in your mind. Oh, there are always young artists coming up that get attention, some good, some with potential -others not so much. Some make it, some don't. I do not perceive you nor do I believe does anyone else in the real art world here, as any of these things. First, you are not a kid, second I am not seeing you as a threat or a challenge, but as an embarrassment. Oh, I'm sure you are deeply impressed that CAC mentioned you as an artist to watch several years back -not understanding the context -how CAC is perceived by serious artists, the actual art world here, which CAC is not a part of, is to put it mildly, not taken seriously. Wicker Park has a long history of being the home to a whole class of bad, hack artists -with a few serious, actual, legitimate artists, some good musicians and a small number of literary lions both dead and living thrown into the mix. I see you as carrying on this unfortunate hack tradition: a bad hack trying to get publicity anyway you can. As far as what people think who are familiar with you, your work, people around you have actually reached out to me over the course of this discussion, in agreement with me, to let me know I have every right to be angry, that you know full well you are borrowing from me, that you welcome this argument as a publicity possibility. You have disparaged yourself Dean -I have merely put a light on your activities for all to see. I don't drink champagne -in fact beyond strong coffee I don't drink at all. And yes, I very much do know the deal -and now you do as well. Perhaps you should man-up and simply admit what is readily apparent to others copy cat.

When you walk into Dean’s

When you walk into Dean’s show, the first piece you see is a Pollock rip off. Unfortunately you can’t be “Chicago’s Jackson Pollock” just by dripping paint. By claiming any similarity between Dean and Pollock one has clearly missed the significance of Pollock’s work. And while Dean’s black splattered “blob” paintings don’t have the distinction that make a Kimler recognizable, they so clearly look like someone who looked at Kimler's work and thought “I can do that” without having the eye to actually be able to tell the difference. In fact, all of his work has that feel- I didn’t see one thing in that show that I didn’t see in undergraduate painting 101. Amateurs consistently paint the same exact things believing they are original because they simply don’t know any better- they don’t yet have the eye and knowledge base to recognize what might be the difference between their drip painting and a Pollock. They also frequently don't have the capacity to even be aware that they are copying something they've seen. Maybe Dean believes that acknowledging influence is enough or maybe he thinks he is producing something original. But yet he refers to himself as a "hustler" which acknowledges to me that he's perfectly fine using methods to achieve success that have nothing to do with skill, validity, professionalism, etc. We SHOULD be calling attention to self-described “hustlers” that are claiming equality with artists who have worked at a high level in their profession for decades. Kimler has every right as a professional to address another artist whose work is derivative of his and point this out to others as a problem. We should also be critiquing, or as one comment said “putting down” work that is just plain bad. It has nothing to do with insecurity, it is part of being a professional in a field that you take seriously; seriously enough to learn how to do it well and with enough self-awareness to recognize where you fit in to the larger scheme of the profession. If someone can’t be professionally responsible enough to look at another artist’s work without regurgitating it and calling it his own then it’s perfectly understandable why an artist would deny access to his images. Of course Kimler should have unfriended him on Facebook- it wasn’t petty, it was apparently necessary.

-If my initial response was

-If my initial response was too vitriolic, please go with this -or, if not, use both! Cleveland, first, since he is one of the artists you attempt to copy -its spelled POLLOCK not, POLLACK, second, since you are wanting to tell me whom I can and cannot talk to email and so on, and at what hour of the day or night, let me just say that one of the conversations I had with one of your uuhmmmm... 'handlers' -actually the show's curator -was about how she was insulted that I would think she was unaware of how indebted your work was to mine -that's your curator speaking dude- Funny how those 'Rorschach' biomorphic forms -complete with the asymmetrical elliptical apertures that look like bad, dashed off clumsy versions of my black and white drawings- that I have been at for the last two decades suddenly appeared in your work right (coincidentally no doubt) after you met me! What, did you work up the rorschach gambit in case I called you out on lifting my work? You admit you copy: well it doesn't stop with the dead guys as anyone familiar with what I do will note -and as any number of people have already noted. As far as you replacing anyone who is a serious painter in this town dude -there is a problem: beyond some hackneyed versions of several of your heroes, its pretty clear you don't know anything about painting. Now, as I noted before, you can don the paint splattered leather pants and the cowboy hat and be the artist dude, do the pose 'bare your soul' but, that's not painting. And you know what? I know how to paint. And, I know how to paint really well. -You certainly seem to like it! As far as starting wars blah blah.....burning bridges, you have no idea who I know or who I don't know, Suffice to say, you are in over your head and are outmatched. Which hardly matters to me -but might be something for you to pay attention to. And no I don't hang with the CAC crowd -just like every other serious artist in Chicago who avoids that thing. You know, if you were a serious young artist borrowing from me to find something of your own -I would admire it and, be honored -but that is not whats going on here: you are approaching 40 years old, making crude copies of other peoples work and then marketing it as your own 'signature drip/blob black and white work. I have every right to respond to you, or about you in this article as the authorship of your 'signature work', which helped make this article happen, happens to not be yours. As for what is manly -I don't like to dignify pretenders with unwarranted attention -if that makes any sense to you. -I will also say this, as a man -or women as well, and an artist, you do have to stand for something or, you will fall for anything -which is why my work looks unmistakably like....MY WORK -it has integrity and real honesty. I respect my influences enough to not copy them. "Now Leave you?" I tell you what, QUIT LIVING ON ME and you have a deal.

Cleveland -I warned the

Cleveland -I warned the curator of your 'retrospective' about being involved with you -as she is a friend of mine. Up until now I have had nothing to say to the likes of you though you always give me the big star struck look whenever I run into you. But, now I will: your blob form imitations of my work, complete with my signature interior ovalesque shapes -work that has been shown at the highest levels here and elsewhere for several decades, a are direct, blatant, very poorly done rip-off of my work. That btw you only started making after having met me. Your business card -which you handed to my assistant the other evening is not only a most curious case of artists identity theft and plagiarism, but also borderline lawsuit material. That you in fact are doing second rate facsimiles of my work has been noted around the art world. I say poorly done as it is quite obvious you cannot paint to save your life nor, know much of anything about it. But its of course not just me but a whole host of others you attempt unschooled poorly understood or realized copies of as well. In fact there is simply nothing original about anything you do. Whether doing me, Pollock, Franz Kline -whoever -you bring nothing new to any of it beyond poseur pastiche. Paint some hack like fakes -put on the paint splattered leather jeans and the cowboy hat, go to CAC panels, strike a pose- and ask the curators from the MCA why you aren't as famous as Jeff Koons. Isnt that really the deal? Idiotic. In terms of the art world here, if you had a brain in your fool head you would be concerned about this. War? Don't make me laugh. If you were some young artist inspired by my work, trying to do something with it, something half way original, -I would honestly be honored. But that's not what's going on here. Cleveland, I have forgotten more about painting and drawing and art on any given day than you have ever even imagined existed in that small little mind of yours. Replace? You couldn't carry my turp bucket around for me dude. The only thing you are replacing is last years dummy who is so clueless as to actually think he has it made. Bottom line: Chicago's Jackson Pollock? Jackson Pollock made original work. He was not a second rate copyist -

A great artist never attacks

Wesley my name is Elliott and I met Cleveland several years ago and have followed his artwork ever since. I have respected his artwork from day one of meeting him. I used to joke with him that he needs to add color to his work and express himself more thru color. We would joke about each others work but We would never ever judge each other about the work we are doing. As an artist it is your number one priority to never ever judge another artist work. I can't believe you would even do such a thing especially coming from an artist who I guess is well respected in Chicago. Mr Kimler, if you were an artist like myself who raised over $100k from the sales of my artwork for national and international charities I may consider listening to your side of the story, but when I read about another artist putting down another mans work I see that as someone that is very insecure with themselves. Take a good look at yourself and remember to respect your fellow artists. I don't even know you and I just lost all respect for you. I'm an artist who creates and gives back to make my mark in the art world. You may not know me but I am well respected and will never put down a fellow artist. Cleveland keep on drippin and creating artwork. Elliott of Artbeat live

que que...

Hey wes... its hard to be civil when i hear old f***s bitching about the new kid on the block getting attention... in which case, i wont be civil. your old... your shit was relevant for a minute... and now its not. whattayagonnado? it happens homey. what i find hilarious is when old f***s go on blogs and bitch about those of us that know how to use them. (did you really unfriend him on FB?... acting like a high school girl) best to you Wes... i would hate to be a washed up artist too.

A battle of the 'Blob'.

There is always influence through the development of art history and artists have always copied masters to develop and innovate their own style. In a Pollock show at the MOMA it depicted Pollock copying the masters for decades prior to innovating his own drip technique. But in analysis of your 'blobs' there is a similarity but the treatment, execution and process are quite different. For instance, Cleveland's blobs are predominantly black on black, experimenting with a range of different processes and producing different surfaces. In reference to the black and white drip work I discuss in the article, Cleveland employs the use of white paint into the black paint creating complex movement and bear a greater relation to Pollock's work than your own works, these are currently on display at Lokal on North Avenue. In contrast, you employ black blobs onto paper grounds that would be considered drawings compared to your paintings. We also have to consider if one has the right to copyright a 'blob', a random mark that is defined by chance? Can we please move beyond an argument of 'blobs' as I would rather discuss ideas of greater importance! Your blobs employ figurative elements that are haunting and highly crafted. Lets create a wiser world where we engage in arguments of greater meaning.

"his signature black and

"his signature black and white drip work" uuuhhhhhh.....-great line, you just have the wrong artist. I am always happy to influence -and always unhappy to have my work lifted, essentially copied, and credited to a wannabe as his signature style-

The response

This is to address Mr Kimler. I have always had respect for your work and the fact that you have been able to do what you have in our field of art. I think your depictions are very powerful and cannot be denied as good work. Now, with that said...get off your high horse and get over yourself. I try not to judge a person without me knowing them personally however this proves everything I have heard about you over the past several years. Egos can be a beneficial thing as well as a bad one. I believe in your case, well, it's just stupid. I have been influenced by many. Pollack, Kline, Japanese calligraphers and others. Sorry Wes, you didn't make the cut. Did you think that I would be meek. Not respond to the "Great Wesley Kimler". I'm a grown man son. If you have an issue with me you should have done what MEN do, sit me down and have a conversation. Don't go running to my handlers, don't whine on articles about me that aren't about you, don't write 3 hours worth of email about me at 2 in the morning, unfriend me on Facebook (childish). Have a conversation. You had the opportunity but chose to hide behind text.  You say I am "biting" your style, that "blobs" are your thing. So in other words you did nothing but copy my biggest influence Rorschach. Funny how someone with 30 years in the game can be so jarred by someone with only 5. Are you scared that the people that heard I'm an a**hole know you're an a**hole? Don't start a war son. You've burned too many bridges and I build new ones every day. I recall you stated in an article "find an artist in Chicago that can hang on the same wall as me, you can't find one". I have my own walls. I build my own walls.  Wannabe...son, I'm your replacement. Now, leave me. May your pain be champagne, mine is.  

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