off the wall: Joel Ross

1 September - 30 November 2015

With THE EVER, a series of site-specific works on public bus benches throughout Chicago’s Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood, Ross offers viewers provocative prompts with phrases like THE HEAVIEST THING YOU EVER TRIED TO MOVE and THE MOST YOU EVER CARED. These voices might be sprouting from cracks in the landscape or directly from the minds of pedestrians or passengers. The signs are, in effect, asking the ubiquitous ‘you’ to fill in the blank. Do you remember holding your breath for an especially long time, trying to move something heavy, or hearing something funny? Our responses help us claim ownership of their subject; these public signs will then become private reflections. Passing by the same sign on subsequent days, viewers might see their contemplations and memories floating above the bus stop. “THE EVER” suggests the infinite number of answers to the “questions” posed by the text, but also the open-ended, always happening nature of life.


off the wall is a public art initiative that invites artists to produce site specific installations throughout the Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood. The impetus for this project is to provide a more open platform for contemporary art that engages with the public at large on a daily basis. The series reaches a demographic much larger than the standard gallery-goers and provides an open-armed invitation to discover the arts and the potential they have to influence everyday life. The project is inspired by the success of the gallery’s “on the wall” project, which has been produced in the storefront windows of moniquemeloche since 2010. Both projects are generously supported by a grant from the Wicker Park Bucktown SSA #33.