Old Town Art Center: The Legendary Chicago Society of Artists “A 135-Year Legacy Continues” Old Town Triangle Association Chicago 6/28-8/5 2022


“From Jarlshof Pasture” manipulated photo infused on metal 24″ X 30 ” C. 2021 David Bechtol
“Broken Wings” digitalpaint/photo on infused metal plate framed 16″x16″ c.2022 Nancy Bechtol
“Renascence for Edna ” (detail) color laser print on paper with edges hand colored.10″x8″ c. 2022 James McNeill Mesple’


~ David Bechtol ~ James McNeill Mesple’

~ Nancy Bechtol

The Leslie Wolfe Gallery

1763 N North Park Ave 60614
proudly presents the legendary CSA

Exhibition | June 28 through August 5, 2022 Gallery Hours | Tuesday – Friday 10 AM – 5 PM | Saturday 10 AM – 1 PM

The Chicago Society of Artists is a non-profit organization established in 1887. Now well into its second century, CSA is the oldest continuing artist association in the United States. Early members of the Chicago Society of Artists including John Vanderpoel, Ivan Albright, Frances Badger, and LeRoy Neiman, established and maintained high standards for membership that continue today. Much of CSA’s renown is due to member versatility which includes painters, graphic artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, art critics, gallery owners, and art educators. After 135 years, CSA continues to play a significant role in the arts by providing opportunities for artists to share their art production and experiences through a continuing series of exhibitions and educational programming.

All Invited to view this historic group show. Artists in exhibition:

Jose Agustin Andreu, Jon W. Balke, Norman Baugher, David Bechtol, Nancy Bechtol, Shel Howard Beugen, Kathryn A. Budd, Catherine Cajandig, Barbara Eberhard, Anne Farley Gaines, Kathryn Gauthier, Corrie-Lou Livingston Glass, Sandra Holubow, Nikkole Huss, Patricia Coffman Huss, Robert J. Johnson, Gregorio Mejia, James McNeill Mesple’, BettyAnn Mocek, Jacqueline Moses, Donna Nevels, Didier Nolet, Deanna Withers Rallins, Sandra Reibscheid, Gloria Rigoni, Robert Schiltz, Jack Siegel, Jane Stevens, Michael Veltman, John Pitman Weber, Richard Werle, William F. Whiteside, Pat Wright


David Bechtol Artist Statement


Photography is an integral part of my life. Each image captured attempts to take the viewer on a journey, to transport them to that place of wonder and grandeur as I experienced it, to feel the sense of awe, beauty and peacefulness.
As a boy growing up in rural Michigan, I had many chances to take long, slow walks in the forest, soaking in all the beauty a child sees in nature. Now I use photography to slow down life and try to take in all that nature has to offer as I once did those many years ago.
I am a self-taught photographer and have studied the photographic process for over 40 years. My interests include the digital realm where my technical background lets me exploit all that the camera can capture.
Throughout my travels, I try to bring back and share a vision of some of the awe-inspiring vistas I encounter. No matter where you are in the world, nature’s extraordinary beauty is around every corner.
I believe that great images are always around us. They are ours to capture with our vision and share with the world.


James Mesple’ Artist Statement

This painting was inspired by the poem “Renascence” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Ancient Myths, Poetry, and Music inspire my visionary, narrative paintings. As a child, my maternal grandfather told me stories drawn from his Osage (Native American) heritage, creating a bridge to the Classical world, since both cultures are animistic seeing Spirits in everything.


Nancy Bechtol Artist Statement

Chicago woman artist whose work spans several media, decades and styles. This work has natural formations but you also get the sense of the urban. They contain their own universe. You see an intensity .
Earlier in her career, she studied painting with Don Baum, artist and curator, and was influenced by the Hairy Who, and the Chicago Imagists. With an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she was inspired and mentored by pioneering video artist Phil Morton, founder of the Video Area. “My art is really a mixed bag. I adapt to whatever works for the concept. I work in digital media, photography and video, both experimental and documentary style. As an artist I often reinvent myself.”


All Welcome to Visit the Exhibition!

Embrace summer: DB HZ panoramas and NB VRTCL panoramas. NOW 2018

Leaving Seward via Resurrection BayHubbard GlacierLost Artists Features

DAVID BECHTOL.  wall installation panoramas Alaska (above)

EMBRACE summer
NANCY BECHTOL. wall installation vertical pano series: Body Wraps (above)
2630 W. Fletcher
The Lost Artists Colony
Chicago (North Side)*, IL 60647
June 9th – June 9th

Opening: June 9th 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
one day only. all welcome. free event

Now::Historic Archives of RSG : Many Chicago Artists/Work

Glimpse Now::Historic Archives of RSG : Many Chicago Artists/Works

  •  Nancy Bechtol

The Randolph Street Gallery Archives features photographs, event calendars, posters, and other materials documenting the nearly twenty-year history (1979-1998) of an important Chicago cooperative, gallery, and performance space. With a particular interest in the social and political issues of its time and a deep commitment to community engagement, Randolph Street Gallery was a critical venue for new forms of artistic expression and left a lasting impact both locally and globally

https://rhizome.org/editorial/2016/nov/17/ Peter Taub. DP: Could you give some background on Randolph Street Gallery? PT: Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an artist-run space in Chicago, founded in 1979. I started working there in the mid-80s. It was run by artists, directed by artists, and served artists.

Nancy Bechtol Comments:: This is just a glimpse into the place that, if you ever went there, or showed art there, it is embeded in your very soul. I was so honored several times in my early days to show my work. Controversial works were welcome.. Freedom of Art and Thought and Being There. Artists were engaged and the audience contributed interactively.

There is no saying RSG without the name of the legend\Peter Taub –longtime Director of RSG. Incredibly adapt at blending art, politics, and artists egos to create an art scene — inclusive and amazing –underlined to infinity.

For the curious, art lovers, artists and Chicago history buffs. take a look. it is a real eye opener. I just found out it was online! I flashed back to the infamous video I shot of Hamza that caused quite a stir when it played on CAN TV. honest and forthright, it nailed racial profiling..even in a well known restaurant. And my sound installation which needed walls built, and Peter Taub, assisted by husband, David, carried walls up from the basement, and made a house for the “Reagan Psalms”. “Hamza Speaks” is listed in RSG archive. Also, during the time of the Flag controversy, I displayed “On One Nightstand of and American Artist” a social political piece which also was in a group show by CAC –that gathered works done on and by flags, including Dred Scott’s piece, that was first shown at SAIC to much attention on the subject. ON and on and on..


Randolph Street Gallery

Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an alternative exhibition space in Chicago, Illinois, from 1979[1] until its closing in 1998 and a vital local force in the development of a variety of new art forms and the contemporary national and international arts milieu. Founded by two artists, Tish Miller and Sarah Schwartz, RSG began in Schwartz’s living room, later moving to 853 W. Randolph Street on Chicago’s west side.[2] The late 1970s, was a period when young artists in all disciplines were collectively founding visual and performing art organizations as alternatives to mainstream and commercial venues in many US cities.[3] RSG was one of more than a dozen ‘alternative’ galleries – along with many new ‘alternative’ theatre groups – situated on the near north and west sides of Chicago. The gallery’s focus was on the needs of artists and practitioners who created work that was unsupported, or at the time, perceived to be unsupportable by most commercial or institutional funders.[4] Randolph Street Gallery was also the locus for groundbreaking collaborative projects such as The File Room: An Archive on Cultural Censorship, conceived by Antoni Muntadas,[5] and was the publisher of P-Form: Performance Art Magazine.[6]

For nineteen productive years RSG fulfilled its role as cultural laboratory for Chicago and the general art world.[7] By the late 1990s, changing trends, expectations, and patterns of patronage in the arts took their toll on the gallery as well as on any of the other few comparable artist-run organizations in the United States (e.g., La Mamelle and the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, the Washington Project for the Arts in the District of Columbia) and the gallery eventually closed.[8]

Many of the emerging and mid-career artists who presented and experimented at Randolph Street Gallery are now recognized as leaders who have changed the context of our cultural dialog. They include visual and performance artists, photographers, filmmakers, sound and video artists, writers and curators.[9]

In 1999, the complete archives of Randolph Street Gallery were donated to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and include all available material documenting the nineteen-year history of RSG, a high percentage of which are original source materials. The archives contain historical records of performance, sculpture, visual and other art forms created or presented by local and international artists, artists’ portfolios, slides, posters, signage, photographs, performance art programs, publications, news clippings, publicity files, a variety of video formats, sound recordings, computer files, administrative records, and some works of art donated to Randolph Street Gallery for auctions and fund raisers.[10] Public access to the archives is possible on a limited basis and by reservation only. The Randolph Street Gallery Archives are complemented by an additional 33 linear feet of archival material from the editors of P-Form: Performance Art Magazine.


1.    Jump up^ Artner, Alan G. “To market…as an alternative” Chicago Tribune (17 Aug 1979: B12)

2.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “A Requiem for Chicago’s Incubator of Performance Art” Chicago Tribune (23 Feb 1998: 1)

3.    Jump up^ Warren, L. 1984. Alternative Spaces: A History in Chicago. Chicago. Museum of Contemporary Art.

4.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “A Requiem for Chicago’s Incubator of Performance Art” Chicago Tribune (23 Feb 1998: 1)

5.    Jump up^ Artner, Alan G. Muntadas’ Installation Fits Current Thinking” Chicago Tribune (27 May 1994: 64)

6.    Jump up^ P-Form: performance art news http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/pform

7.    Jump up^ Hixson, Kathryn “Randolph Street Gallery” New Art Examiner (Sep 2000: 50-51) v28 n1

8.    Jump up^ Obejas, Achy “Randolph Street Gallery Closes, Victim of Rapidly Declining Funds” Chicago Tribune (14 Feb 1998: 5)

9.    Jump up^ Hixson, Kathryn “Randolph Street Gallery” New Art Examiner (Sep 2000: 50-51) v28 n1

10. Jump up^ Randolph Street Gallery Archives http://libraryguides.saic.edu/rsga

External links[edit]

·        Randolph Street Gallery Archive, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

·        P-Form digital covers and table of contents, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

·        Ellen Rothenberg’s course, The Collaborative Project to preserve, process, and exhibit the Randolph Street Archives

·        The File Room. Initiated as an artist’s project by Antoni Muntadas The File Room was originally produced by Randolph Street Gallery in 1979-1998 with the support of the School of Art and Design and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

·        Two Chicago Galleries and Why They Closed by Victor M. Cassidy

·        Adrian Piper, My Calling (Card) #1 Meta-Performance (1987-88; 00:58:00) – include video file

·        Chicago Alternative ArtSpace Panel, April 2, 2008

·        Alternative ArtSpace Panel Discussion – includes audio and video files

·        Erik and the Animals, July 17, 2005 by Erik Fabian An archive of video documentation of performances at the Randolph Street Gallery from 1987-1996 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Flaxman Library.

·        Living Cross, Allyson and Alex Gray, Oct. 15, 1983 – Performance