Art Letter


11/19/04

I ran into more good art today than expected.  Take a look at what I saw. 


Fred Baker's Gallery is on the west side of the West Loop, over by Helix.  He moved there in 1976, even before I did. His current show is a winner - especially for a sucker like me when the subject matter is Chicago Images.  What a great concept and what a wonderful array of pictures. I love being a tourist in my own town., Just like we like movies shot in Chicago a show of pictures - good ones anyway - is equally a blast. I think this show is only up for another week.

At the other end of the spectrum is a tour de force in the really special pieces of  Karen Reimer's Boundary Troubles at Monique Meloche.  Overlapping embroidery obfuscates the meeting place of divergent pieces of fabric. That's it. And it's great.  Similar size and scale to Richard Tuttle they are both dumber (as if that were possible) and smarter than Tuttle's and certainly more intentional and still dumb.  It takes a special quality to be both smart and dumb at the same time. These sing.

I like being able to get out more, to see more shows and to better grasp dealer's personalities by looking at their art.  I'm beginning to grasp their agendas and better comprehend their attitudes.  I like good attitudes. I like people who hustle.


Linda Warren moved from the west coast to Chicago about a year and a half ago.  I made the same migration in 1981.  She has a strategy for her first two years of exhibits which is different than mine was (righteous aside: do you ever notice how no one else's idea is really better or worse; it is merely different? All of us tend to argue that "ours" is better, instead of learning about the nuances of the other's differences, taking what we can, and moving on.  Sorry, this isn't about Linda but does relate to something else that came up today.)  At any rate, Linda is predominantly presenting group exhibits, like Between Realism & Metaphor, which opens tonight. It includes photographs by Tom Van Eynde who I've always liked and wanted to get caught up on his imagery.  I like the attitude here.

I like Aron Packer.  He's intelligent, engaging, accessible, fun, quirky, experimental and personable - just like the art he shows.  It's clear that he got comfortable being a wee bit odd a little sooner than the rest of us. You've got to go to his gallery and you've got to go there multiple times. It's about the consistency, the confidence, the directness and the absence of shame. His two exhibits by Lisa Krivacka and Brent Riley are another fine example.

Upstairs, Susan Gescheidle is basking in her new super-sized (well comparably) gallery. It's great up on the 4th floor and I no longer feel like I'm visiting someone in a basement trailer home.  She too has one of those enabling good attitudes.  Odd thought:  like Linda Warren, she mixes up the art in her group exhibit. And like me Aron Packer doesn't. He keeps each artist's work separate, unto itself.  Susan's taste and mine don't intersect often and I keep looking for more occurrences because I like her and her enthusiasm.

Commitment personified. That's Julie Walsh.  Every time I visit her gallery I am overwhelmed by the energy she puts into her exhibits.  She reconfigures her entire exhibition space for each exhibit - walls and everything.  Each exhibit is unique. No other gallery does this.  Phantasmagoria by Miao Xiaochun features huge, highly manipulated, highly informative pictures of China and Chinese situations. Julie specializes in Asian and she does it brilliantly, just watch.

Okay.  That's about it for me. Go look at some art.


The sun will come up tomorrow,
Paul