Art Letter


4/04/08

There's a short-lived calm settling over the Chicago art scene right now; sort of like the calm of a rattle snake slowly curling its tail preparing to strike.

ArtChicago returns to the Merchandise Mart April 24th through April 28th and Chicago galleries are beginning to stage the exhibitions they'll be presenting during the hometown's most important weekend of the year.

There's some good art to see and some good shows coming. These are after all the exhibitions the dealers presenting them think best defines their gallery as well as being shows they think they can make money on.



I'm impressed with what's coming up for
Artropolis and ArtChicago. The Mart's built solidly on last year's performance, substantially increasing the caliber of the galleries participating. It's a good list. And the Mart has moved the fair up several floors to where they've installed permanent walls throughout which significantly improves the exhibition's ambiance.  More than booths the space will read like lots of individual galleries.

I'm most looking forward to the introduction of
the NEXT Fair which is an invitational and will be presented just a few floors down from ArtChicago.  It is a balanced show of challenging strong galleries each of whom will be presenting but one single artist. I've had lot of problems with the hyperbolic sensationalism of the "better" fairs around the world. I've even canceled attending international shows because of the B.S.  And I'm eager to see the NEXT Fair. I expect it to be meaty. Something I can ponder and learn from - and get into some context, because there are other works nearby. I like that there's an entire show dedicated to a risky principal. Check out the list of exhibitors.  This show alone is reason enough to come, and it's not even the "A" show. That's ArtChicago with quite a few folks we haven't seen in Chicago ever - or in eons.



My work at
McCormick Place West is coming to an end.  Only Sabrina Raaf's sweeping sculpture remains to be installed. McCormick is hosting at Art Opening on the Friday morning of ArtChicago - April 25th from 9 AM to Noon.  The public is invited. In anticipation of that event I've added an audio slide show - kind of like a movie - to the images I've already had online.  Come the morning of April 25th to see it in person.



I like
Jason Peot's work a lot.  He created a significant work of art for McCormick Place and he has an exhibition opening tonight at Navta Schulz Gallery. He pushed himself a lot for his McCormick piece. He took risks and broke new ground.  His accomplishments there benefit from his thorough pursuit.  At the gallery exhibit his new pieces show an increased confidence, playfulness and assertiveness, as they reinforce what he's learned in the past.



Upstairs in
Gescheidle, Chris Verene is at it again. A really good photographer, you can't help but wonder what kind of community he grew up in, or who he hangs out with. Raised west of here in Galesburg, Verene documented his community for a longtime - his warm, friendly, vacant-looking, and just so slightly strange neighbors.  Growing on that experience has led Verene down some not so usual paths and his newest work looks at some of the friends he's made and the vulnerability they've shared - which is not something we get to see very often.



As a gallery
Linda Warren is getting more sure of herself, her aesthetic, her taste, and the zany art she's happy to be a proponent of.  Picture her new show by Carson Fox.  The amount of work that goes into these pieces is absurd.  First Ms Fox casts these fun little flowers in resin. They're very imaginative. Then she sticks pins in them a pushes the pins into the wall. Then she takes them all down to send the art to an exhibit.  They're cool, fun, dimensional, art historically referential and not too serious. But, a little bit.



Michael Genovese is an enigma.  I like his art. I keep going places expecting to find him. I've never met him. I've tracked the pieces he's made with Cody Hudson and Juan Angel Chavez.  I've followed him to the MCA where he had a recent artist-in-residency.  Just missed him.  I went early to Packer Schopf Gallery to preview the show that opens tonight sure that he'd be installing. Nope.  Finishing touches someplace else.  Oh well.  Genovese is real. His art is strong, relevant, fun, interactive, community based, solid and unique. Time to buy one






Thanks for coming along,
Paul Klein