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Afternoon Shift

Giving Chicago art a more permanent home

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A correction has been made to the story.

(Flickr/Zachary Johnson)

The Chicago Artists' Archive wants artists and their work to be remembered. The archive creates a record of work so the public can experience the art outside the traditional gallery space. The collection lives at the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center.

Marc Fischer knows the importance of giving temporal work a more permanent place. As part of the artistic collaborative group Temporary Services, Fischer and his partners have contributed items to the archive. Fischer says that Temporary Services aims to expand the reach of experimental art. He says it's about more than the actual art; they also archive the press materials that artists put out to build hype about their shows. Fischer says those materials on their own can be out of context, but together can build a narrative about the artist and her work.

Housing collections from Chicago Artists' Archive at the library could be about more than just ensuring it will live; it can also promote the democratization of art. Fischer believes that more people step foot in the library than art galleries around the city, giving Chicagoans a better opportunity to experience the art that comprises our cultural landscape. The archive continues to grow, and every Saturday in June, artists can stop by WBEZ community bureaus with their art and join the archive. The library has joined forces with Sixty Inches from Center to collect materials. The group will provide the tools but artists need to bring the content.

Marc Fischer joins Afternoon Shift to explain how groups like his and Chicago Artists' Archive are working to document art connected to Chicago. 

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the relationship between Chicago Artists' Archive and Sixty Inches from Center. The Artists' Archive lives at the library, and they are collaborating with Sixty Inches from Center to help grow the Archive. 

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