Art Letter (02/17/06)
There are several openings tonight; two of which really impress me.
I like the NavtaSchulz Gallery. The space is clean, but not over done. And friendly. Too many galleries are snooty when a stranger walks in before the show is completely ready for viewing, as if they have some pretense, pretext and predisposition that says they have to perpetuate artifice. Not here. They didnít know me from Adam and they made me feel welcome. Then I introduced myself and their tone was consistent.
Jodi Navta and Ryan Schulz clearly love the art and artists they are showing, some of whom are from Chicago. Though they surely have solid business instincts, it is the love and the art that comes first and guides the professionalism they demonstrate in their first exhibit. Bravo.
Okay, the other show that opens tonight that got my juices flowing is at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery. Iíve like Cheonae Kimís work for years. When I had a gallery I represented her. The art is fresh, abstract and intuitive. A lot of it comes from her knowledge of language and word structure. And a lot comes from her Korean culture which she didnít realize until she went back to visit after a decade long absence. It fascinates me that she has had substantially more success, read sales, outside Chicago than she has here at home. We should fix that.
In another one person exhibition at the expansive Zolla/Lieberman is a tour de force exhibition of Ďarcheologicalí sculptures by Stephen de Stabler. These works just plain sing. I first saw his work 30 years ago and now, as an artist in his 70ís, de Stabler is making his best work. So many artists work so hard to grow, progress and rise to the top, that by the time they are 50 they either start doing greatest hits, or they just fade away. What a joy to see the strength and understanding in these de Stabler sculptures. He has mastered the media and explores wonderful nuances in his glazes and how they add to the content and meaning of his work.
Something special is being inaugurated tonight. Five galleries make up the Bronzeville Art District (Gallery Guichard, Neleh Artistic Expressions, Nicole Gallery, SteeleLife Gallery and the historically significant South Side Community Art Center). Together theyíve coordinated to have receptions every third Friday of the month. And to make it really easy for all of us theyíll have a trolley that runs between all of them as well as McCormick Place. Easy parking, easy accessibility, camaraderie, new art. This is good.
Thanks for stopping by,