FarBar: Mark Gonzales, Alexis Sablone, and Kyle Beachy
The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry invites you to join us for a FarBar program with two of skateboard culture’s most visionary and respected figures, Mark Gonzales and Alexis Sablone, in conversation with writer and critic Kyle Beachy.
LIVE STREAM LINK HERE
Closed captions will be provided.
In the 60-some years since its emergence as post-war American plaything, skateboarding has found its way into every facet of American, and eventually international, culture. With Gonzales, it was ushered into gallery and museum exhibitions. With Sablone, skateboarding entered the discourse of design and built architectural environments. In Beachy’s work, it becomes a facet of literary theory, memoir, and identity. Now, on the cusp of skateboarding’s debut as an Olympic sport, the three will discuss how their creative and embodied practices have been informed by skateboarding, and consider its nuanced ecosystem of competition, community, and individual expression. Is anything lost when skateboarding joins the Olympics? Can a commodified and centralized subculture remain an outlet for the weird and uncanny?
Mark Gonzales is an artist and professional skateboarder. Gonzales is largely credited with initiating a progressive style of skateboarding that ultimately grew to define street skating as it exists today. In 2011 he was named by Transworld Skateboarding magazine as the most influential skateboarder of all time. His professional career began with Vision Skateboards in 1985, going on to co-found the skateboard company Blind in 1991 and later Krooked Skateboards in 2002, where he is also responsible for the brand's visual identity. His current sponsors include Krooked, adidas, Spitfire, Independent, and Supreme. Beyond skateboarding, Gonzales maintains serious and prolific practices as a visual artist and writer, exhibiting his work widely and publishing books, zines, and poetry such as Mark Gonzales (Rizzoli, 2020), Non Stop Poetry: The Zines of Mark Gonzales (Printed Matter, 2014), and High Tech Poetry (Contingency Publishing, 2002).
Alexis Sablone is an artist, architect, and professional skateboarder. She has been skating in competitions since she was 12 and is a frequent participant in the X Games. Her current sponsors include Alltimers, Converse, Thunder, and Dial Tone. Sablone also creates works of animation, illustration, sculpture, and architecture, earning a master's degree in architecture from M.I.T. In 2018, Sablone was commissioned to create a skateable, public sculpture in Malmö, Sweden. The New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine have both featured Sablone in recent issues.
Kyle Beachy is the author of The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life (Grand Central, 2021), a book of nonfiction, and the novel The Slide (2009). Beachy was also a contributor to the fourth issue of the Gray Center's journal, Portable Gray. He lives in Chicago and is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Roosevelt University.
Conceived as a way to maintain the ethos of our regular Sidebar series for the pandemic moment, FarBar is a vehicle for artistic and scholarly dialogue with practitioners from around the world. Throughout 2020-2021, our planned conversations with artists in Puerto Rico, Haiti, South Africa, Vietnam, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Chicago will revolve around translation, indigeneity, ecological and economic collapse, logics of extraction, crisis, and memory, and the archive. Being online for the year will also enable the Gray Center to reach audiences well beyond our Chicago geography, so please invite your far-flung friends.