Q&A with Critic Matthew Lacker on Gabriel Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures

We spoke briefly with art critic Gabriel Kendra about his critical practice as well as his obsession with artist Matthew Lacker’s Ten-Second Sculptures, four of which are featured alongside Kendra’s analyses in the latest Meekling Review. Lacker’s analysis of Kendra’s $33,224,369.98 was featured previously on the blog.

From Matthew Lacker’s lecture on Gabriel Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures at the NeoFuturarium, September 21, 2017.

What first drew you to Gabriel Kendra’s work? And please, tell us more about his Ten Second-Sculptures in relation to his larger body of work.

His larger body of work–at least as far as I have seen–seems to focus on living a life that produces a constant stream of actions, objects, events, performances, structures, and thoughts that each individually could be construed as artworks. When I first encountered it I was fascinated by the way that art can be made so readily and so freely, it’s almost too good to be true. Whether it’s hitting a snooze button or swiping a metro-card I can sense that artful intent is present. I also feel that this artful intent is eager to be researched, developed, produced, market, financed, and distributed, which admittedly is the extent of my involvement with it.

I’m curious about your passion for non-glossy finishes. What else are you passionate about, Matthew Lacker?

When I was younger strangers would often confuse me with “Matte Lacquer” which is the matte version of a liquid made of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances, that dries to form a hard protective coating for wood, metal, etc…  As a child I was fascinated that another Matt Lacker existed, and I guess my fascination just grew from there.

 Is art history/criticism your usual metier?

No, actually. I began as someone interested in the creation of art but found that it was not my forte.  I lacked the panache, both technically and conceptually to compete in the mêlée that is the modern art world and ultimately felt that I was just a poseur with a Papier-mâché facade. Perhaps it is a faux pas to admit such personal failings, but now it is a fait accompli. I think I have evolved beyond the gaffe of my earlier career, and have become a creative entrepreneur of sorts, a generalist where each task is an hors d’œuvre which combine into an overall joie de vivre. I do not primarily dabble in art history or critique but it is one of my intellectual ac·cou·tre·ments. A knot in my macramé of pursuits I suppose.

Do you know if Kendra is constructing more 10-Second Sculptures in response to these politically fraught times? If so, can you disclose any hints as to what they might  involve?

I am sure he is. As far as I am aware Kendra is in a near perpetual state of performing actions and identifying objects that have profound political and cultural resonance.  He often does not speak candidly as to their meaning–I will have to take time out soon to examine them for significance.

Matthew Lacker is passionate about non-glossy finishes.

Gabriel Kendra is from Richmond, Virginia, and a graduate of VCUArts, currently living in Chicago and occasionally making zines.

Find more of Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures & Lacker’s analysis in The Meekling Review:

Matthew Lacker on Gabriel Kendra’s $33,224,369.98

Join us TONIGHT for a new hour of TALKS featuring two lecturers presenting on their work in The Meekling ReviewC. Relkbi (aka Rebecca Nakaba) will be presenting on her B-Movie research and Matthew Lacker will be speaking on Gabriel Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures. Lacker’s analysis of Kendra’s $33,224,369.98 (below) also appears in The Meekling Review.

$33,224,369.98 is an instillation by artist Gabriel Kendra consisting of a medium-sized slab of 24-karat gold (donation courtesy J.P. Morgan) situated in an abandoned plot of land in Richmond, Virginia, where the artist currently resides. This action speaks plainly of society’s dichotomous relationship with the economy and the environment, as well as illustrating Homo sapiens’ unchanging relationship with the landscape over the history of recorded space-time.
The object proclaims the dominance of American capitalism despite growing ecological anxieties—its existence a reference to the entire history of human achievement, which has allowed for the accumulation of and forging of precious metals into art objects. The placement of the golden slab into a less-valuable landscape is a reference to the 21st-century technological achievements eclipsing the venerability of works of God—specifically the hundreds of years of natural endurance which have crafted the landscape.
By investigating the subjective measures of utility and worth, this Ten-Second Sculpture seems to concisely and authoritatively bring to a close the age-old question of what is greater: man’s lust for capital or for the sublime.
The golden slab was valued at approximately $33 million at the time of the project’s execution.
Matthew Lacker is passionate about non-glossy finishes.
Gabriel Kendra is from Richmond, Virginia, and a graduate of VCUArts, currently living in Chicago and occasionally making zines.

Find more of Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures & Lacker’s analysis in The Meekling Review:















A whole new hour of TALKS!
Thursday, September 21, 9:30 PM
The Neo-Futurarium


Meekling TALKS are fictional lectures for lifetime learners and people who want to KNOW, regardless of the facts. This evening’s talks will feature two distinguished lecturers presenting original research recently published in The Meekling Review:


Dr. C. Relkbi (AKA Rebecca Nakaba) will be discussing her scientific research on B-Movies, possibly addressing such questions as: do swamp habitats alter a monster’s genetic makeup, thereby making it even more monstrous? what is it about exposed female chests that make Science fiction monsters attack?


The art critic Matthew Lacker will be presenting on the work of artist Gabriel Kendra, talking in particular about Kendra’s Ten-Second Sculptures.


This evening of TALKS is just one of many events happening in conjunction with Lit Crawl 2017.  

Come early, stay late, and end your crawl with us! (& thanks to Metropolitan Brewing, for providing free beer!)



The Neo-Futurarium
5153 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60640


***Meekling TALKS are sponsored by Meekling’s Department of Continuing Education***

Flummery: Meekling Talks 12/3

Come out & join Meekling’s Department of Continuing Education for our final TALK of the season, with an evening of flummery. This event is a great event for lifetime learners, and for people who want to know things, regardless of the facts.
Thursday December 3rd, 8pm
Tritriangle, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Floor, Chicago
$5 Suggested Donation

Tonight’s talks will feature flummery & lecturing by our distinguished speakers—

GUY EYTAN in conversation with a gate (McKinlock Gate at Northwestern University Chicago Campus)

JAY BESEMER on The Sexual Practices of Popular Diacritical Marks

ANNA WOLFE-PAULY on Wind Reading

Things that should not be picked up in the first place

Do you like going out on a Monday Night? Do you want to see a great performance? Huh? Huh?

Why don’t you come visit us at the Meekling Press headquarters, AKA Jura$$ic Park, tomorrow (MONDAY NOVEMBER 16) for a performance of Becky Grajeda’s

Things that should not be picked up in the first place: part 4

November 16, at 7:30pm, 2059 N. Racine Chicago IL

Here’s a clip from a previous performance in this series:

In Becky’s words:

Existing somewhere between sound and comedic art, Becky Grajeda’s “Things that should not be picked up in the first place” is a series of performances in which a panel of Chicago-based artists and non-artists improvise a conversation, while embedded in a live mix of sound art and/or music. Grajeda and fellow panelists will discuss topics ranging from the banal to the socially relevant, together devising, deconstructing, and perfecting absurd concepts and contexts. The live mixed sound art will disrupt and inform the panelists’ conversation, each taking turns at the periphery of the soundscape.

Becky Grajeda
Nicholas Davis, sound and performance artist, member of Meekling Press
Neal Markowski, musician, sound artist, founder of the Single Action Rider label
Jacob Layne Miller, writer/actor/director, producing partner at Gratuity Not Included Productions

Tickets: $10

“Things that should not be picked up in the first place” is being developed during Grajeda’s Artist Sponsorship at High Concept Labs, Chicago.



Back to School with Meekling Dept. of Cont. Ed.

The information presented by these distinguished lecturers may be fabricated, but that makes it no less useless. Please join us for the first evening in our 2015 fall lecture series: Meekling TALKS: Confabulations.


1550 N. Milwaukee, 3rd Floor, Chicago
8pm, October 8, 2015
$5 suggested donation

Facebook Event

The Clairaudient at Work

Nicholas Davis describes and demonstrates his practice of CLAIRAUDIENCE, receiving audio signals from creatures & objects that have passed beyond the grave, from aliens in the farthest reaches of space, and from the deepest depths of the human psyche. Supernatural or just super? You be the judge.


Understanding Molecular Typography by H.F. Henderson.
Understanding Molecular Typography by H.F. Henderson.


Woody Leslie explores H.F. Henderson’s UNDERSTANDING MOLECULAR TYPOGRAPHY, and the system explained therein of deconstructing letters into their constituent molecules. Will this change the way you interact with words, language, communication with your peers? Will you soon see the letters on the page start to dissolve into vibrating strings right before your eyes? Yes, probably!

Objects & Fragments & Magic

In this session Greg Howard leads workshop on Writing-as-Collection, which will include reading from his work and strategies for writing-as-collection, with bonus exercises to complete before and during.

Gregory Howard teaches creative writing, contemporary literature, and film studies at the University of Maine. His first novel Hospice has just been released by FC2. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife and cats.

(& be sure to check out Dennis Cooper’s tribute to Hospice here: http://goo.gl/G5zFTe)



~to complete before~

Part 1
Spend a part of your day or week collecting objects. For our purposes here, let’s define objects broadly–not just literal objects like things you find on the street, in your room, in a friends room, but also perceptions, memories, ideas, sentences or lines from work. Basically collect anything that fascinates you are captures your fancy.

Now make a list. Be specific in your list. The fabric of your language is important here. Don’t just write “the photograph.” Write instead: “the photograph of the vacation in which the girl, who wearing a green one-piece swimsuit with golden fish on it, looks bored while being entertained by a street magician who looks malevolent and possibly drunk.” In other words, describe your objects well.

Write a short narrative based around your list (250 words). Use the actual language of your list.


~to be done during~

Part 2
While I’m talking make a new list. What words or ideas strike you while I’m talking? What suddenly looks new or strange in the place that you are in? Look at your new list of objects. Why are they interesting? Why are they important? Who might find them fascinating? Write this story by connecting it to your previous narrative, the one you thought you had finished (surprise!), thus creating a newer longer narrative. How can you connect these two? How might they be “read together”? Try to keep the surprising and fragmentary nature of the pieced going. Don’t smooth things over. (another 100-200 words)

The Calligraphic Poems of Isidora MondXKii II

Dan Ivec will wear the mask of Aaron Octavio MondXKii in order to discuss at length the calligraphic poetry of his cousin, Isidora MondXKii II. Her work exists in a basically dead language which was read and spoken in certain, vast cities on the moon. Primary sources – original manuscripts and photographs – will definitely be discussed.


DISTANCE LEARNING begins next week with 


Pop. Billions of people drink it every day, but why? On Pat’s Pop Show Live!!!, international pop expert and YouTube sensation, Patrick Klacza, will investigate the reasons why, after centuries, humans continue to drink pop. He’ll also predict what the future holds for Earth’s most precious resource.

Featuring a surprise guest and all-new pop reviews, this installment of Meekling’s Distance Learning program is not to be missed.