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Naught Company is currently focused on attracting a group of internationally recognized artists to create permanent artworks with existing spaces and structures in order to anchor and organize a plan for the West Side of Chicago, attract interest, and catalyze development.  

Download a copy of Distributed Artwork - Prospectus exploring various precedents and sites at which artwork might occur HERE.

Read an introduction below.


Artwork can be used as a catalyst and tool to redevelop disinvested, decaying, and historically significant neighborhoods of the city.  Through creating permanent artworks with significant dwellings, sites, signs, pieces of infrastructure, and abandoned buildings, lasting interest can be drawn to the area, valuable cultural works can be created, and a starting point for an alternative redevelopment strategy can be formed. 

Transforming key points on the landscape into works of art would not only create orientation that would restructure a neighborhood and provide a new organizational structure for a future urban plan, but would invest the area with works of significant value that would attract visitors for years to come.  Large-scale artworks could be sold as a permanent dwelling to a collector while smaller works that trace these larger interventions could be sold to collectors outside the neighborhood.  Doing so would create a means by which the necessary capital could be invested in a neighborhood in such a way that the price assigned to the resulting product would provide a sufficient return on capital investment while also overcoming the deflated real estate prices that make sufficient investment to properly restore buildings economically unviable.  This distributed field of art would firmly relocate art outside of the museum and gallery in such a way that it plays a significant role in daily life, urban development, real estate, and the navigation of space. 

At the same time, using art as a tool for redevelopment would firmly reject the tabula rasa approach to urbanism that vacates, traumatizes, and anaesthetizes a site before introducing Disneyfied or corporatized space.  In place of this approach, art as a tool for redevelopment would create a route by which a latent underlying history could be uncovered, a means by which the stories of local community members could be heard, and an object, event, performance, or general structure that creates a lasting trace of this past.  Such a trace would ultimately serve as the ground on which a new entity would be built.  In this sense, the force of making the art would participate in making the site.  The art itself would be a trace of this process with a value that matures as the broader impact of art as a tool of urban development is felt.

Given the nature of the work that you have done in the past and the significant value your work has attained, you would be an ideal person to involve in this work.  Your work has consistently challenged the relationship between the object and the gallery, sought to extend the work of art into the world, and endeavored to impact the lives of communities beyond the individuals and institutions that collect your work and financially sustain your practice.  The reputation that you have earned within the art world and beyond has made it possible for you to undertake innovate projects and achieve remarkable success.  As a result, I would hope you might be willing to consider being involved in the urban redevelopment work that I am doing.

To date, this work has been focused on the West Side of Chicago and the East Garfield Park neighborhood in particular.  Over the course of the last year, I have worked with community members, community organizations, the local Aldermen, the City of Chicago, philanthropic organizations, real estate developers, designers, artists and experts in the field or urbanism, architecture, curation, and planning to understand the needs of the community, the land, and the city.  The result has been an innovative plan for the West Side of Chicago that structures redevelopment around socially engaged art, develops locally manufactured modular building technology to retrofit existing buildings, and creates ecologically and economically sustainable typologies.  These elements will be supported by digital technologies that will create a platform for undertaking this work. Throughout the process, the goal is to create new local businesses and paths by which community members can acquire new skills such that new jobs are created in order to lay the groundwork for lasting economic development.  This entire process comes together as an Ecological Operating System that can be used to assess, retrofit, build, and manage a city.

An Ecological Operating System could ultimately serve as a tool for redeveloping other neighborhoods in Chicago and cities throughout the United States and world.  Implementing such a system requires a leap of faith by the investors who will be required to put forward the considerable capital required to make such a system a reality.  I have approached a number of conventional real estate developers, venture capital firms, and entrepreneurs with the hopes that they will express a desire to be one of the first to support this work.  Although I have found considerable political, community, and intellectual support, few have expressed willingness to lead the way.  However, moving forward in providing a path by which decaying sections of the city can be saved is essential.  In this context, artists are perhaps uniquely capable of visualizing what is possible and taking the necessary steps to make a vision a reality.  As a result, I am appealing to artists with an international reputation to create ten artworks that will catalyze interest, create value, attract new residents, and lead to broader redevelopment of the area.  In order to do so, I am reaching out to the following artists (in no particular order) in hopes that ten will agree to participate: 

Thomas Hirschhorn

Francis Alÿs

Isa Genzken

Seth Price

Kerry James Marshall

Rashid Johnson

Gregor Schneider                                                           

Dan Graham

Allora Calzadilla

Mark Dion

Susan Philipsz

Latoya Ruby Frazier                                               

Scott Hocking                                                           

Joachim Koester

Rirkrit Tiravanija                                                           

Hans Haacke

Nora Schultz

Elmgreeen and Dragset                                               

Paul Chan                                                                       

Daniel Buren                                                                       

Rachel Whiteread

Carsten Höller

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

R.H. Quaytman

Urs Fischer                                                                       

Ai Weiwei

Andrea Zittel

Steve McQueen

Tacita Dean

Parreno Philippe

Doris Salcedo

Anselm Kiefer

Anne Hamilton                                                                       

Damien Hirst                                                                       

Krzysztof Wodiczko                                                           

Alfredo Jaar                                                                       

Mike Bouchet

Martin Creed                                                                                   

Robert Kusmirowski                                               

David Hammons

Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler

Ronald Jones                                                                       

Banks Violette

Rick Lowe                                                                       

Buster Simpson                                                                       

Dan Peterman                                                                       

Finishing School                                                           

Jeremy Deller                                                           

The Bruce High Quality Foundation           

Cildo Meireles

Oscar Tuazon

Monica Bonvicini

Sharon Lockhart

Mark Reigelmann                                                           

Amanda Ross-Ho

Elodie Seguin

Joelle Tuerlinckx

Johannes Vogl

Navid Nuur

Nada Prlja                                                                       

As a young artists and architect, I belong to a new generation who exists at a slight distance from many of these internationally regarded artists.   Many of these artists are likely more familiar with each other than I am.  As a result, I hope that discussion about the potential of artists to become increasingly involved with the fate of the city will occur and that together you will choose to form a group to undertake this work.  Ultimately, the collection of participating artists will constitute a community that will collaborate in exploring the often contentious relationship between art and architecture.  Together, they will create an urbanism that forges a new link between the value structure of art and that of real estate, technology, new businesses, social services, and the economy of the city in general.  My hope is that five artists will be involved in creating work for five single-family homes that will be sold to new residents who currently do not live in the community.  I hope that the other five artists will create work integrated into the transportation infrastructure, an abandoned industrial building, a vacant lot, an empty sign, and a local institution such as a school, church, post office, or shelter.

This work would draw upon past instances when artists have come together to create work that is distributed across a space, often uncovering an underlying history in the process.  Such examples might include the role of distributed reliquaries in organizing space and ritual during medieval Europe, the role of art in urban planning during the Italian Renaissance, the role of art galleries and studios in structuring and revitalizing neighborhood such as SoHo, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Places With a Past: New Site Specific Art at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival, Of Mice and Men, The Way of the Shovel, 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, and art fairs such as the Venice Biennale among others.  Unlike these precedents, the work that we will undertake on the West Side of Chicago will occur outside the sanctioned boundaries of the art world, seek to create something with a lasting presence, and serve to draw interest and future investment to the area surrounding these artworks.  At the same time, introducing these artworks would be a means of addressing a crisis of imagination and content that grips the area and that leaves storefronts uninhabited and few community members capable of envisioning an alternative.  Creating opportunities for artists to imagine an alternative would be a means of exploring how vast sections of the city might be used in the future.  Doing so through the participation of internationally recognized artists would offer a route by which such alternative visions and development strategies might receive funding.  It would be a means of connecting an international image economy and art market that grows larger and more powerful each year with a local economy that continues to struggle and fall closer to complete collapse. 

Undertaking such work will require an investment of monetary capital in order to secure the site at which the artwork will exist and in order to finance its fabrication.  This capital can be raised through investment from the current set of patrons who support the work of a given artist, the gallery that supports the production and presentation of their work, through personal investment, through grants, or through donations from philanthropists.  The artist would be compensated for the hours that they invest in creating the work as well as through a percent of the ultimate sale price of the work.  In the case of the houses, this work would ultimately exist as a dwelling that could be marketed to existing or new collectors as well as to the general population interested in living in an innovative dwelling in a section of the city that will be the home of the first Ecological Operating System.  The budget for the works sited in a house would be roughly $500 K per house.  This would include $100 K to purchase, $200 K for art and architecture, $150 K for building systems, and $50 K for design services.  The goal would be to sell such a house for $700 K.  The other five artworks would have variable budgets ranging from $50 K to $500 K.  These artworks would be sold to local institutions and collectors with the provision that they remain accessible to the public at their original site of construction.  The goal would be to have these works completed within 3 years and for the broader investment in an Ecological Operating System to begin 1 year prior to their completion.

Naught Company will help facilitate this process.  I will lead this team by drawing upon fifteen years of experience as an architect, urbanist, artist, entrepreneur, and Chicagoan.  Our team will support the following work: 1) select and secure a site; 2) mediate between the artist, their representatives, and funding source; 3) facilitate the design of the artwork through drawing, rendering, and engineering; 4) design the broader dwelling, space, or structure that the artwork will create and in which it will exist; 5) market the artwork and the broader Ecological Operating System to existing and new collectors as well as others in order to secure funding; 6) market the artwork and dwelling to buyers who want to become long-term residents and custodians of the artwork; 7) mediate between the artist and community; 8) do so with principals of ecological urbanism; and 9) lay the groundwork for broader investment in the area.  The artists and Naught Company will be compensated for the hours spent creating these artworks via the budget that will be marketed to different investors.  They will also receive compensation via a percent of the sale of artwork to the long-term custodian. 

Ultimately, our goal is to produce art in a diverse set of media at the scale of the city.  We hope to successfully appeal to artists to enter into a partnership by increasingly illustrating our vision and command of the urban stage on which it will play out.  In order to begin to do so, we require commitment from the talented individuals who will generate the artwork that will help us to transform this section of the city into a compelling site that is capable of drawing the attention of a diverse range of individuals, families, and institutions.  With your help, we will be able to animate the site in a manner that extends well beyond what any individual artist is capable of and create a genuinely novel approach to the future of the city. 

In order to provide additional context for this work, I would like to offer a series of work that has already been completed.  The following can be found at 

Under the section “Art as a Tool for Redevelopment”:

1) “Art In / With The World”

2) “Mediated Urbanism”

Under the section “An Ecological Operating System (EOS)”:

1) “Planning an Ecological Operating System”

2) “Urban, Suburban, Town, Regional, and National EOS”

3) “Collaborative Strategies for Funding an EOS”

4) “Generating Value and Returns via an EOS”

5) “Deign of EOS Interfaces and Catalog”

6) “The Art and Architecture of an EOS”

Under the section “Deployment of an Ecological Operating System in East Garfield Park”:

1) “Creating an EOS via EGP”

2) “Proposal for Housing Typology”

In addition, the section “Development Plays” will allow you to download a copy of Development Plays: The West Side of Chicago.  This work explores the possibility of using moving image episodes that fall between a reality television show and fiction as a means of investing in the area, attracting media attention, and catalyzing broader investment.

If this is an opportunity that you would like to discuss further, we should arrange for a time to discuss this work either over the phone or in person.  Thank you again for your time and consideration.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.