Quotes from the Press

"Chris...is...hilarious...and...scrupulous...but...not...accurate."
--Judith Cottrell, "Pun Intended: Chris Wildrick at Unit B," VOA Magazine, summer 2006

 

“For several hours today, you can find Chris Wildrick somewhere out on the street or at The Hub, standing behind his suitcase set-up, and engaging people in such projects as the “Wildrick World Numbering System” and “Do I Know You?” Then, when you least expect it, for one hour--the time known only to him--Chris will assume the identity of a secret superhero. You can be just having coffee somewhere or heading to a performance and you might see him and have to wonder: Is that just Chris? Or is he an unmasked superhero? You can’t really know until you need to know--or until you ask. That’s the way it is with real superheroes; Chris is just here for a couple of days to let us in on the truth. Then on Monday, he flies back to Illinois (where he is an art professor), no doubt passing the time on the plane with one of the Samuel Beckett books he brought. Of course, that’s when his real identity would become obvious, since--in this time of supersized culture--anyone who teaches art and reads Beckett is truly heroic.”
--Violet Phillips, in an email to Philadelphia Fringe Members, August, 2002.

 

“There are two standouts, however: the works by Andrea Buckvold and Chris Wildrick, two artists who just happen to be married to each other and who just happen to have recently lived for the better part of a year in Las Vegas before returning to the Midwest. Wildrick explores the ambiguities of representation with his stacks of little hand-bound, inkjet-printed books such as "Changing My Face by Practicing Smiling," and his "William Wilson: Trees and Their Dopplegangers" sets. The latter features two large photos of trees, one being the "original" and the other being its "doppleganger" (William Wilson, of course, being the title character of Edgar Allen Poe's short story about a man who discovers his exact double). The conceit is simple but it works, forcing the viewer to muse upon the tree, which we tend in our minds to treat all alike but which, of course, are highly individual.”
--Gregory Crosby, “Subversive Kitsch,” Las Vegas Mercury, January 16, 2003.

 

“Andrea Buckvold and Chris Wildrick are married, but their art and influences are separate. Buckvold lived in Las Vegas for a short time and fell in love with the culture and architecture. She designed a fictitious theme casino called Frivoltini Casino and presents it in book form. Color swatches for the interior paint, logos and floor plans filled the pages. "Changing My Face by Practicing Smiling" is a piece by Wildrick. This piece is a display of nine miniature three-by-three-inch picture books. Everyday for 100 days, Wildrick smiled for five minutes, relaxed his face and snapped a picture. He then compiled the images in chronological order. Comparing the first picture with the last, there's not much change. Viewers on the other hand with leave the show with a satisfied smile.”
--Natalie Durante, “Escape Artists,” Las Vegas City Life, January 23, 2003.

 

“Wildrick also makes books, tidy little volumes that are inkjet-printed and hand-bound, each with its quirky project. One, for instance, collates all the words in Samuel Beckett’s "Act Without Words." In another, Wildrick laces photographs of himself jumping about in the desert with quotes from Bartlett’s containing the words “leap” and “bound.” Sounds fussy enough, sure, but another kind of escape is involved, from linear and logical expectations and into a realm of entirely different, equally arbitrary, categories....
And Wildrick’s “William Wilson: Trees and Their Doppelgangers,” drawing on the Poe story about an identical nemesis, invests utterly commonplace suburban settings with enigma.
Not overly theory-bound, but thoughtful work here—a good start for the CAC’s year.”
--Chuck Twardy, “Escape Plans,” Las Vegas Weekly, January 16, 2003.

 

“Infusing his work with a nudge and a wink, Chris Wildrick often plays the public fool. His varied past--he served as an elected government official in a small Pennsylvania township, has taught junior kindergarten in Chicago, and currently gives tours to VIPs at the Guggenheim Las Vegas--suggests that all of his endeavors are public performances....By refusing to be a perfect little cog in the capitalistic wheel, he often provides services for free: waiting at airport gates with a common name on a sign, and offering to drive anyone home with that name (I'm Here for You); or working for free for one week for anyone who asked in Will Work for Fun....For Public Process, Wildrick intends to fool the future by burying a fake skeleton with just enough mineral content and abnormalities to make it an important find for a future archeologist. It recalls Piltdown Man, a "missing link" skeleton found in England in 1912 and found to be a hoax 50 years later. Inspired by Joseph Beuys who created several pieces called The Silence of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated (referring to the time when Duchamp claimed to give up art and play chess), Wildrick creates The Paleontology of Chris Wildrick Is Overrated. Wildrick, along with a group of students, buries a skeleton...in a matrix designed to create fossils. The piece questions the basic tenets of science, the notion of narrow expertise, and the public's desire for proof.”
--Amy Bracken Sparks, "Processing in Public," Public Process catalog, 2002, pp. 3-4.


Outdoor favorites included Chris Wildrick’s The Best Tree in the World: Leaf Count and Brat Productions’ The Lazy Activist.
--Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2003 Year End Wrap Up Report, p. 2.

 

“Fortune,” by Chris Wildrick, assistant professor of Art & Design, a bowl full of fortune cookies that tell the probabilities of playing the slot machines for a year in Las Vegas, seemed to be a favorite of some viewers of the exhibit.

“I like the exhibit,” said Ethan Owens, a junior in general design. “It has given me a chance to look at what people are doing. ‘Fortune’ is my favorite because it is interactive.”
--Ashley Richardson, “SIUC Museum Hosts Annual Combined Faculty Art Exhibit,” Daily Egyptian, January 20, 2004.

 

“Chris Wildrick presented documents and records and publicly-produced work for his MFA show in the Humanities Building Seventh Floor Gallery in mid-March. His work explores similar territory as [Adrian] Piper and [Linda] Montano with nods to punk and popular culture. The work is centered on the body of the artist, without depending on either a personal investment on the part of the viewer with the well-being of the artist (no blood, no pain, no anguish of the soul) and without the elaborate ruse of theatrical performance with the uncertainty of actor/character.

His work does not easily fall into the category of performance art. It is neither soft and goopy art pretending to be theater nor loud and boorish theater pretending to be art, which are the two major trends in local performance work. His performances vanish from the field of performance art. Wildrick's work is quiet and staid with enough garishness to attract attention to the action and enough good sense to allow the performer to retire quietly into the piece.

The disappearance of the artist in the work is the primary connection with both Piper and Montano. At no time is a viewer allowed to forget that this is the work of a single person, but it is not dependent on the heroic status or the heroic stance of a particular individual. The borders of social behavior and cultural work are being crossed, without offering the crosser any privileged position. They are not shamanistic voyages into some space of great foreboding, but an attentive walk around the block, which takes on the earnest simplicity of a science fair project....

The work is the product of a sharpened sense of humor, but with a philosophical bend, albeit a hobbyist's philosophy. Wildrick describes his work as mannerist-conceptual, or an adaptation of conceptual aesthetics without the deep rigorous content. It is mannerist, or conceptual-style art. But it successfully challenges or sets a different standard for other people's work. By working quietly, using the conceptual aesthetics of deliberate actions, Wildrick is revisiting a 30-year-old ethic that stresses thoughtful production over dramatic action.”
--Joe Connelly, "Small Sparkle: Chris Wildrick's Conceptual Experiments," ArtZine 6, 1999, p. 4.