“Patterning the Nerve Speech” Fred Burkhart – March 7th

It is a great honor to announce the next show of work by Chicago counterculture icon Fred Burkhart, who remains dedicated to promoting the cause of underground art, despite being four years into a battle with terminal cancer.


Diagnosed in January 2010, the biopsies showed that the cancer had already metastasized. His subsequent life, now in Hospice, is a miraculously reoccurring blessing.

“Patterning the Nerve Speech” is the phrase that punctuates his epic 2001 poem “A Date With Noah Webster,” and through photography, drawing, writing, hosting coffeehouses and creating a mobile gallery, Fred has helped countless people tap into the nerve speech that quivers just beneath the trappings of our material world.

His photos evoke the work of Larry Clark, with a voice that channels Walt Whitman.  Burkhart’s poetry – sometimes through a viewfinder but just as often not – is brutal and immediate.  Like much anti-establishment (revolutionary?) art, it is earnest, paranoid and at times hilarious.  Burkhart’s life and life’s work are a blurred line. A true long-haul artist, Fred has diligently documented the beats and the hippies, Kesey and the Klan, from the East Village to Venice Beach. Over the years, he’s opened his home studios to the public and nurtured a Sunday night “Underground Coffeehouse,” first on Halsted and then on Noble street.

Thirty years after stepping off the Merry Pranksters’ magic bus, Fred took his work to the streets of Chicago in his own customized art-bus. Over the years, thousands of people have been affected by his art, and his undergrounds provided sanctuary from the crass bar scene and crowded music venues for people to hear live music and spoken word in a genuine art-salon setting.

Fred continues the work of documenting his adventures.  The next project is a coffee table book of photos from his time living with the KKK, to be published simultaneously with a pulp paperback account of his time there, and how he almost lost his life to the powers of hate.

His working title is “Under the Sheets.”

Join us March 7th from 6 to ten.  The artist will be present and serving on a panel discussion on cancer at neighboring Collaboraction Theatre, presenting Anthony Moseley’s “This is Not a Cure for Cancer.” Closing reception 4/4.

EXTENDED THROUGH MAY 2nd. The Gallery is open by appointment and on Tuesday and Friday evenings after 7pm, and on Saturday Afternoons after 1pm. Feel free to call ahead at 773 875 3729.


photoset: https://www.flickr.com/photos/119596508@N03/with/12985998554

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