Art Letter

Talent & Honesty

I keep learning more about Dawoud Bey.  He's a wonderful human being and a brilliant artist.  He reveals himself, his depth, his generosity and his talent, slowly, He wasn't raised in Chicago, but he's embraced it since his arrived over a decade ago.   When he came here he was already an adult, making mature work.  I liked it, but I didn't appreciate it in the greater context of what had preceded it - until this exhibit of his that opens at Stephen Daiter tonight. 

There are two bodies of work; one from the 70's and one from the 80's.  It's not hard to trace a thread from the present back through the works on view and see a continuity and singularity of concern and compassion, more present in the later works, and almost foretelling in the earlier. 

It's the warmth, compassion and wisdom of the photographer that enables those in his pictures to open themselves up to him, to reveal their vulnerabilities.  A reciprocity of respect.  

Dawoud Bey is a master and looking at his early work revels not only that he's put his 10,000 hours in, but that he had a natural head start. 


It's hard for me to believe that someone as marvelously unique and charmingly odd as Tom Torluemke is that he has a bunch of kindred spirits whose grotesteque and delightful art remind me of him.  Uncle Freddy's Gallery awas Torluemke's.  Em'ryn Artunian, Thomas Hagen and Billy Pozzo used to show there and now that it's closed they are brought together here in a strong exhibit at Bridgeport's Co-Prosperity Sphere,    .


See you out there!
Paul Klein