THOMAS
KONG
Be Happy (2015–2017)
On permanent display
Corner Estes and Glenwood Avenues, Chicago, IL

Celebration hosted by Roman Susan Art Foundation
Sunday October 22, 3–6PM
Kim's Corner Food, 1371 W Estes Ave


In 2015, Thomas Kong began working with Roman Susan Art Foundation and a group of artists to create a public mural situated immediately outside Kim’s Corner Food. Be Happy by Thomas Kong was painted in 2017 by Kristin Abhalter, Steven Husby, Dan Miller, Cole Pierce, Kit Rosenberg, Ruby T, and Alice Tippit, with assistance from Max Guy, Maika Saworski, and Nathan Smith. This work is part of the 2017 Mile of Murals Project located in Rogers Park in the City of Chicago.
Be Happy (Street Fair)
Glenwood Ave Arts Fest
Rogers Park, Chicago, IL
August 19-20, 2017

Roman Susan Art Foundation will be hosting a pop-up exhibition of Kong's work during the annual Rogers Park street fair, the Glenwood Ave Arts Fest, on August 19 & 20.
At Work with Thomas Kong
by Dan Miller
illustrations by Ruby T
44 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, full color digital, three color RISO, with tipped in business cards by Thomas Kong and Dan Miller, and stickers hand-applied by Thomas Kong
Published by Half Letter Press, July 2017

In At Work with Thomas Kong, a new booklet published by Half Letter Press, the publishing imprint of the Chicago- and Fort Wayne-based Temporary Services, Dan Miller introduces Thomas Kong’s prolific art practice and the first three years of their experimental collaboration. Together their productions have ranged from business cards and shopping baskets to The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food. Housed in a converted storage room behind the store, The Back Room is a community-oriented art space and expanding archive of Kong’s work. Writing about the development of this interdependent relationship across gaps in age, culture, and artistic education, Miller reflects on what might be learned from both the ingenuity of Kong’s practice and their unlikely alliance. At Work with Thomas Kong includes excerpts from several interviews with Kong and illustrations by artist Ruby T, one of the project’s growing number of co-conspirators.

At Work with Thomas Kong will be released in the context of Temporary Services’ “Self-Reliance Library”—“an autonomous reading and creating library”—as part of their ongoing collaborative project “Self-Reliance School” project at Oak Park’s new Compound Yellow art space.

Order the publication at Half Letter Press
2015.07.15 - 2015.07.27
Roman Susan
Chicago, IL
July 1, 2017 - July 14, 2017

In the summer of 2015, Thomas Kong worked with Kristin Abhalter, Dan Miller, and Nathan Smith on a proposal for public mural near his convenience store, Kim's Corner Food at 1371 West Estes Avenue. In less than two weeks, Kong created 206 collage works for the project; 16 of the works were subsequently incorporated in the mural design, and exhibited at Roman Susan in April 2016.

This summer, Roman Susan Art Foundation is happy to share the full body of works with the public via nightly projections at 1224 West Loyola Avenue. The collage series will be presented sequentially in the order that they were created between July 15 and July 27, 2015.

More information on the Roman Susan website
Be A Happy Being
by Jisu Lee with Thomas Kong
122 pages, 6 x 6 inches, full color digital, edition of 100
Printed in Seoul, Korea, 2017

This self-published limited-edition publication excerpts and modifies collage elements from Thomas Kong's collages, creating an extensive lexicon of shapes in his siganture materials. A small number of these books are available for purchase directly from Thomas Kong at Kim's Corner Food.

More information on this publication at Jisu Lee's website
Property
at Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society
A project by Roman Susan
Chicago, IL
April 1, 2017 - May 5, 2017

Several works by Thomas Kong will be included in a collaborative exhibition in Spring 2017 presented by Roman Susan Art Foundation and the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society. The project reflects on the way neighborhoods emerge and change as a result of land development. For this project, the Historical Society has placed 100 images from the Rogers Park/West Ridge photography archive into the creative commons for public entries which repurpose, reimagine, or respond to these materials.

More information on the Roman Susan website
TCB
TCB Art Inc
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
August 3 – 20, 2016

Organized by Dan Miller

TCB is the first exhibition of Thomas Kong's work outside the United States. Taking Care of Business is an apt description of his unique artistic practice, in which his management of a convenience store in north-side Chicago has become a front for, or facilitator of, a prolific production line of collage and assemblage works.

The thousands of works Kong has made while working at the store betray an obvious resourcefulness and thrift, but many possess a surprising critical gravity. In the most striking, the ideologies of consumption—the very source of his business’ revenue—are systematically dismantled. Cut up and de-contextualized yet unavoidably familiar, the permanently branded shapes in these collages and assemblages have a resounding message: desire itself is now completely abstract.

For this exhibition at TCB Art Inc. the formerly Melbourne-based artist Dan Miller, one of Kong's friends and collaborators, has worked with Kong to choose a selection of works from a recent series. These collages on black plastic shopping bags and packing cardboard turn common symbols of American consumption into complex props, nuanced in their treatment of the natural and the synthetic.

A publication which functioned as a 'reader' for Thomas Kong's work published by Dan Miller (risograph on paper, 12 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, edition of 60) was available at the exhibition, and was accompanied by a specially-designed room sheet/checklist.
Download publication PDF
Download room sheet/checklist PDF

Installation photographs by Christo Crocker.

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Blueprints
at Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center
A project by Roman Susan
Chicago, IL
May 21, 2016 - July 2, 2016

More information on the Roman Susan website
or on the CIADC website

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Fillerup
Coco Hunday
Tampa, FL
March 26 – May 29, 2016

Organized by Dan Miller. Curated by Dawn Grayford, Nadia Ivanova, Rhonda Massel Donovan, Libbi Ponce, Jessi Ramirez & Emiliano Settecasi

Thomas Kong is the second artist presented by Coco Hunday, an exhibition space run by Jason Lazarus in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. An SUV full of recent artworks from Thomas Kong's growing archive was driven from Chicago to Tampa, where a group of six emerging artists studying at the University of South Florida were invited to engage the archive and curate a new exhibition of in the converted garage gallery and nearby domestic spaces.

Full documentation available at the Coco Hunday website
Be Happy (A Proposal)
Roman Susan
Chicago, IL
April 9 – 26, 2016

More information on the Roman Susan website

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The Back Room
Kim's Corner Food
Chicago, IL
Ongoing

The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food houses several thousand artworks made by Thomas Kong over the past five years. The room was adapted in 2015 to store these works in a loosely-sorted archive, alongside a dedicated exhibition space that makes use of the existing architecture.

More information about The Back Room, along with documentation of exhibitions presented in the space, can be found here.

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Wild Is The Wind
Roman Susan
Chicago, IL
January 29 – February 21, 2016

Exhibition featuring works and interventions by Gwyneth Anderson, Joshua Kent, Thomas Kong, Siobhan Leonard, Nicholas Szczepanik, and Polly Yates.

More information on the Roman Susan website

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Thomas Kong / John Neff
Night Club
Chicago, IL
October 30 – December 13, 2015

More information on the Night Club website

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Be Happy With This
Pony Club
Portland, OR
June 4 – 28, 2015

Be Happy With This presented a selection of new works by Thomas Kong at Pony Club Gallery's space in Portland's Pearl District.

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The Wide Open
Roman Susan Annex
Chicago, IL
December 9 – 23, 2014

An exercise in space management, modest means, and timeliness. The Wide Open was part of an ongoing series of programming by Roman Susan which aims to develop new, locally-focused opportunities to display, create, and experience art in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The Wide Open included a single collage work (untitled, undated) by Thomas Kong.

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