Chicago Show Highlights Canadian Artist’s Cross-Border Trek

Andreas Rutkauskas Cutline

Andreas Rutkauskas, Cutline #4, 2011. Selenium toned silver gelatin print, courtesy of the artist

As costs mounted exponentially for an exhibit they were collaborating on, Chicago curator and professor Rhoda Rosen and University of Illinois at Chicago museum and exhibition studies master’s students Nancy Harmon and Jamie Luensman discussed ways to stretch their budget. They joked, Harmon recalls, that it would be cheaper to go to Montreal and pick up Andreas Rutkauskas’s photographs themselves than to hire shippers. “Jamie and I started looking at each other, and we were like, ‘We’d love to go and get it. Is that really an option?’” she says.

It was, it turned out, an option, and Rutkauskas was on board. “It is not the typical method of transportation. Usually my work is handled by an art shipper, or is put in a crate and sent to its destination as freight,” he says. But Rutkauskas enjoys the “poetry of the action,” which he may consider for future shows. “The back seat of a rental car is a far less hostile place than a cargo truck,” he says.

That Rutkauskas’s photographs address the “cutlines” carved in forests on the US-Canada border to make the boundary more visible further amplified the significance of the works’ physical journey. “I wish that I could say that students transporting my works across the border was a conceptual decision, perhaps making a comment on smuggling, but it was purely a financial consideration,” Rutkauskas says.

Read more of my Canadian Art magazine review.

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