On the heels of the “Marc Hauser is NOT Dead” campaign, the well-liked local portrait photographer (check out this magazine’s profile on him) has opened an eponymous art gallery in River North.

Almost five years ago Hauser fell off a crane during a photo shoot and was seriously injured. The long recovery forced Hauser to withdraw from the scene; many clients and admirers assumed he had perished. But Hauser is back in action and continues to take commissions in his West Side studio, and has opened Hauser Gallery to help facilitate the sale of his archives. Crain’s reported on August 7, 2012, that Hauser’s estate of 1.7 million negatives is valued at $11 million.

While Hauser lends his name to the venue, he more or less functions as a silent partner. Instead, Claire Molek has been tapped to run Hauser Gallery. It is Molek whose vision will be paramount in giving the gallery a unique identity and in bringing new talent to the somewhat tired River North gallery district. Molek formerly co-ran This Is Not The Studio, a storefront gallery in residential Bucktown focused on experimental, installation- and performance-based artwork. Molek’s perspective on contemporary art is detailed in a take-away statement at the gallery for the opening exhibition, titled MORE IS MORE, which closes tonight. Let’s hope that Molek shares her insightful and outspoken opinions for each show at the gallery.

Hauser and Molek first met about six years ago, when Molek was assisting artist Tony Fitzpatrick when he went to Hauser for a portrait. Then, Hauser asked Molek to model for him, and a friendship was born. When the garden-level gallery space in the 230 West Superior building opened up (it was formerly occupied by Lydon Fine Art, whose owner recently passed away), Hauser and Molek stepped in. “It’s an honor for me to be here,” says Molek of the building, which has a long history of housing a number of significant Chicago galleries. She continues, “It’s a different culture down here [in River North] for emerging galleries,” and she takes that as a creative challenge. The inaugural exhibit included erotic Polaroids by cult photographer Rabbits. Hauser Gallery will definitely be one to watch.

Hauser Gallery is located at 230 W Superior.


Photograph: Hauser Gallery