Summer Update

Dear friends, family and meaningful acquaintances,

This is just a note to give you an update on some of my recent and upcoming Miscellaneous Projects activities so that you can either check them out in person or virtually and share them with folks you think might be interested.

Some Current and Recent Activities


Last year I co-launched a gallery called Art In These Times with my companion Lauren Cumbia and tomorrow night we have the opening of our 2nd exhibition. This one is a collaboration with Nicolas Lampert of Milwaukee and deals with the visual culture of recent protests across Wisconsin through the presentation of placards, posters and photos of placards and posters. See more here and come by the opening if you are in town The attached photo is from a rally Lauren recently organized with her group Stand Up Chicago for which I made a bunch of stenciled signs reading “We Are Driven By Care and Not By Profit” which basically sums up my feelings about the conflicts happening around the public-sector budgets right now.

Also starting tomorrow I embark on a very gradual midwest tour for my book Farm Together Now. The tour starts here in Chicago at the Working Class Studies conference and will wind through Bloomington, Louisville and Urbana in the coming weeks and then conclude in Chicago on August 2nd with an event organized by Slow Food Chicago. For details see the “Events” page of our site and also check out the “Reviews” section to see what folks have been saying Also, if you want to get the book – you get 20% off plus ground shipping by entering “chroniclelovesyou” at checkout on

Those of you in Chicago inevitably know about this public art project I coordinated during the recent election season called Visions for Chicago. Well the documentation was compiled into a catalog which can be purchased from Green Lantern Press the publisher and sponsor of this project here or all the contents of the book are also here (funding for Visions was provided by the Graham Foundation). Working on this project was a real treat and allowed me to reconnect with a lot of wonderful people and also discuss the super crucial but kind of abstract concept of political vision with a wide range of Chicagoans. Some reflection on that process can be found in this interview on Organizing Upgrade and in Art21

Some folks may wonder why it seems like I go to California a lot. Well there are two reasons. One is because my Farm Together Now collaborators Amy Franceschini and Anne Hamersky live out there and the other reason is because since early 2010 I have been working as a consultant for the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts. UCIRA is a system-wide arts network and granting agency that serves the University of California system and is based in Santa Barbara. It has been a great experience for me testing out some of my localized experiences from Chicago in another context and with the folks at UCIRA I helped launch SOTA (or “State of the Arts“) a blog about the arts across the UC system: You might not be interested in everything on the blog but it actually has pretty wide relevance outside of CA to anyone working around arts education, what counts as research in the arts, and the transformation of the public educational system. In addition to editing this position has allowed me to work on strategic planning and project documentation with their organization. I will be leaving my post at UCIRA in August but will continue to do interviews and other projects with them periodically.

One last California activity that might be of interest is that last March I had the pleasure of getting to attend a residency program for two weeks at the Headlands Center for the Arts with some wonderful ecologically minded artists from across the country. I conducted interviews with my “Creative Ecologies” co-residents that you can check out here The time there allowed me to get some project planning done, writing and edit some interviews I did with members of the National Family Farm Coalition which you can view here

I won’t be traveling to CA as much anymore but if you want to invite me out there or anywhere else to do something fun or professional please do so!


This summer I am enjoying being in a planning and preparation phase – getting ready to start graduate school in the MFA program at the University of Illinois Chicago in late August. At UIC I am planning to work on several video projects that stem from questions I have been encountering regularly in recent years. I’m spending the summer learning more about the fascinating character Karl Hess who was (he is dead) an “old right” republican who turned into an urban “New Left” ecological anarchist and later turned into a back-to-the-land-survivalist libertarian. This biographical research is totally new territory for me and I am quite excited about trying some new things out and learning more about story-telling. If you know any good resources that would help me better understand the connection between the “old right” and the “new left” then please pass along! If you think that sounds ridiculous then maybe you’ll just have to wait and see if my video is convincing.

I’m also working on interviews with a bunch of artists and curators for a new endeavor called “Never the SameConversations About Art Transforming Politics & Community in Chicago & Beyond” that is being co-developed with Rebecca Zorach. Rebecca and I are looking at this as an ongoing effort that will last several years and be a repository for oral histories about important events in Chicago’s political art history as well as a collection of resources and ephemera in a physical archive by the same name. If you have relevant books, catalogs, dvds or other materials you would like to donate to the archive just email me directly to discuss a drop-off/pick-up. Seed funding to get this effort started was provided by the Propeller Fund, a new grant for self-organized art in Chicago. The first 10 interviews should be up at the end of the summer and I am having a blast conducting them so far! A bit of info is available here and the first appearance of the archive will be at the October “Hand In Glove: Alliance for Independent Arts Organizers” conference happening in Chicago that you should consider coming to or telling your friends about:

The last effort that I am hoping to wrap up this summer is to finally properly document the “Notes for a People’s Atlas” community mapping project that I launched with AREA Chicago members  (in particular Dave Pabellon) over 5 years ago. It is a mapping project that has been expanded to nearly 20 cities in the US, Europe and Latin America and has really been a central project of mine for that whole time. I am looking to wrap it up for myself and pass it onto some other folks with the launch of a website and printed catalog in lat summer or early fall.


I know this was long, but I’ve been making some notes for it for a while and wanted to get it into the world. This is the first year I have been a free-agent in a longtime in that I havent been primarily working with AREA Chicago (the organization I worked for since 2005 and left in late 2010). And so it has become a bit more important for me to keep folks in the loop about my activities this way. For the next two years I will be in school and not doing as much travel nor as much updates, but I hope you’ll all keep in touch, let me know how you are doing. Also, consider emailing me with your own definition of the term “self sufficiency“, because it is something that is confusing me a lot lately.

in cahoots,


Published by Tucker

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