One Question with Nancy Lu Rosenheim, founder of The Bike Room

The Bike Room

Rosenheim has maintained studio practices in New York City, Granada, Spain and presently, in Chicago, IL. Her solo and group shows include The Hyde Park Art Center, the Fine Arts Gallery at Northeastern Illinois University, The Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Gallery of Loyola University, The Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Alaska, The Desert Museum of Art, Palm Springs, California, the Koehnline Museum, Des Plaines, IL, Nancy Hoffman Gallery and PS1 of the Institute of Contemporary Art, N.Y, the C.G. Jung Institute and ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation, Chicago, Galería Cartel and Galería Verlín in Granada, Spain and The Singer Sweat Shop in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Rosenheim is a member of Bailliwik, an artist book collective, and is director and curator of the contemporary project space in Chicago, The Bike Room.

Neoteric Art: You are the founder, director and curator of The Bike Room. How did The Bike Room begin?

Nancy Lu Rosenheim: I began The Bike Room as an incubator where I could participate in artistic conversation in a giving, rather than receiving, capacity. As an artist, I was fatigued to be constantly taking: soliciting shows, applying for funding, seeking exposure/gigs/residencies/opportunities – the common dilemma of the artist.

I had a small, dingy cellar at my disposal – unrealized potential – and wanted to show some of the artists I most admired, but whose work Chicago rarely saw. The Bike Room is accessed through a backyard garden that I, myself cultivate. I saw an opportunity to produce pastoral events where viewers could stay, smell the sweet autumn clematis and hold tertulia. I am not the first Chicagoan to curate shows out of a basement. What is great about these endeavors is that there are no rules. You can do it your own way, and learn as you go.

In an interview with Chester Alamo-Costello, for COMP Art and Design Magazine, I mention that the shows I curate address structures very different from my own studio practice. In this way, TBR has really expanded my notion of the possible. I have shown 47 kickass artists within those cave-like walls; each individual has deepened my love of what we do as creatives. This summer, 2016, The Bike Room will be on sabbatical in order to evaluate, and perhaps re-imagine, its vision and mechanics for moving forward for the next five years.

More on The Bike Room here.
More on Nancy Lu Rosenheim here.

Top Image: Fraser Taylor, The Shetland Drawings, photo credit: David Fisk