A black pick-up truck sped down West Chicago Avenue in the course of the early hours of Sunday morning, August 27, earlier than smashing head-on into Andrew Rafacz Gallery within the West City neighborhood of Chicago. The three folks contained in the automobile walked off the scene showing unscathed on the time, forsaking the truck that had obliterated the gallery’s huge window entrance, irreparably broken its partitions and flooring, and utterly destroyed artist Roxanne Jackson’s eight-foot-tall sculpture.
Safety footage shared by native information outlet Block Club Chicago on August 31 reveals the truck smashing into the gallery at roughly 2:45am final Sunday whereas a small group of onlookers located one storefront over shuffled away from the harm. Another video recorded on a house safety system reveals three people rising from the automobile, seemingly unhurt, and leaving the scene.
In an interview with Hyperallergic, gallerist Andrew Rafacz stated that whereas he doesn’t suppose his enterprise was a direct goal, he believes the crash was “an intentional stunt.” Rafacz added that he and his spouse, gallery director Jenal Dolson, are independently gathering proof to doubtlessly press fees if the culprits are discovered.
Hyperallergic has contacted the Chicago Police Division for updates.
The gallery, which moved to the West City neighborhood virtually 4 years in the past as the realm blossoms as town’s gallery district, is prone to stay closed for 4 months for repairs whereas Rafacz navigates by means of documenting damages and submitting insurance coverage claims. “The harm is catastrophic, and as of yesterday the police haven’t moved the investigation ahead,” Rafacz stated.
Bulldozing by means of Roxanne Jackson’s solo exhibition Candleholders for the Underworld, the truck demolished one in every of her sculptures, valued at over $22,000 based on Rafacz, and pelted the remaining with shattered glass. The steel spindle basis of the demolished “Candy Leaf Twilight” (2023) tower was pushed by means of the stained oak flooring of the gallery and remains to be caught there, jutting out of the wooden by a foot and a half. Within the discipline for over 20 years, Rafacz stated that calling Jackson concerning the destruction of her work was “really on the backside of the checklist of cellphone calls he ever needed to make.”
On high of the damages to Jackson’s work, Rafacz stated that the crash delivered a serious blow to artists Michael Bühler-Rose, whose concurrent solo present Cuts You Up needed to be lower brief, and Shaun Leonardo, whose solo present was set to open in September however is now postponed indefinitely.
“It was a very arduous name, and I didn’t make it flippantly,” Rafacz stated about suspending Leonardo’s exhibition relatively than shifting ahead with it one other means. “What I’ve discovered is that in the event you attempt to pivot and do one thing lower than what you have been initially beginning off with, inevitably it doesn’t actually materialize the best way it ought to.”
In gentle of the damages, indefinite closures, and lack of work and enterprise, Rafacz and Dolson have been met with an outpouring of assist and solidarity from their neighborhood. “Simply being reminded of all of the those that have form of come by means of the gallery and thru my life in consequence has been extremely invigorating and admittedly, their messages are what’s shifting us ahead,” Rafacz stated.
“This [crash] is the form of factor that in all probability would’ve shut me down if it occurred 10 years in the past,” he continued. “However that is what I do know and what I really like, and to have all of that assist from others validates us even additional.”