Pilsen's affordable art
Head down south to find artwork that doesn't break the bank.
SAIC grads Martine Syms and Marco Kane Braunschweiler opened the boutique in fall 2007 and moved to their current 635-square-foot storefront in 2008. Recent renovations yielded a gleaming, uncluttered space with funky lighting and a curtained dressing room for trying on Elizabeth Jaeger sweatshirts decorated with hand-sewn illustrations of animals, as well as other clothes, which Syms says usually range from $25 to $150. Shelves and tables hold an impressive range of what Braunschweiler calls “conceptually based” products, including a $50 songbook (complete with CD) by goofy Canadian art star Rodney Graham.
Golden Age’s prices range from $5 to $300, but most items hover near the lower end: A lovely illustrated version of Pilsen artist Dewayne Slightweight’s one-act multimedia opera The Kinship Structure of Ferns is only $15. Braunschweiler and Syms love such interdisciplinary projects. They’ve filled the store with music made or compiled by artists, including $6 cassettes on Chicagoan Peter Friel’s Young Tapes label and almost every back issue of the gorgeously packaged Journal of Popular Noise ($30, includes three limited-edition 7" records). DVDs by experimental Pilsen filmmaker Ben Russell for $20 and accessories for $10 to $60 by LULU Jewelry (a.k.a. local artists Stephen Eichhorn and Jessica Paulson) demonstrate how diverse Golden Age’s stock is: How many other stores would set up booths at both Art Chicago and Pitchfork? 1744 W 18th St (312-850-2574). Thu–Sun noon–6pm.