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Annotate Art With Post-It Notes At An Interactive New Bridgeport Exhibit

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 17, 2016 3:34PM

Annotation is having a moment. Genius has millions in venture capital funding; everyone is commenting on everyone else's Google docs; and on a more local scale, independent Chicago curator Jenny Lam's latest exhibit, LEXICON, is opening at Bridgeport's Zhou B Art Center on Friday. The exhibit will feature work from more than 40 artists from around the world, including the works above—but there won't be an artist's statement in sight. Instead, Lam wants viewers to annotate the art with written or illustrated reactions penned on Post-It notes.

“Because Post-It notes are relatively small… you have to think of something very concise,” Lam told Chicagoist. “I am envisioning people writing like one or two words, or little essays.”

If all goes according to plan, drifts of these Post-Its will accrue over the course of the show. “In the beginning, it’s going to just going to look like a regular art show with works hung on the walls,” Lam explained. But by the end of the show, she hopes there’s “a big accumulation” of notes.

LEXICON isn’t Lam’s first meditation on the relationship between art and its audience. In many ways, this show is a sequel to her breakout 2012 show: I Can Do That, exhibited at Variable Space in Wicker Park. At the show, art supplies were put in front of each piece, and visitors were encouraged to physically change the artwork, either by adding to it or by trying to copy it. The show was named the audience’s choice for “Best Art Exhibit” in NewCity’s Best Of Chicago issue that year.

“That was a show based on how people look at contemporary art and often say, ‘Well, I can do that,’” Lam told Chicagoist. “It was a fun, tongue-in-cheek way to both challenge that and address that so-called issue, and not in a negative way."

Now, Chicagoans will get something slightly different from Lam, who’s been based in Chicago since 2009. The concept is all hers, one she “eventually developed” after Sergio Gomez, Zhou B’s director of exhibitions, asked her to curate a show at the space. “I basically had free reign to do whatever I wanted on the 2nd floor,” Lam said.

Soon, viewers will have that same freedom—and plenty of Post-Its.

LEXICON runs through July 9 at Zhou B Art Center, located at 1029 W. 35th St. The opening reception is this Friday, June 17, from 7 to 10 p.m.