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Art Letter (04/04/08)

Thereís 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 theyíll be presenting during the hometownís most important weekend of the year.

Thereís 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.

Iím impressed with whatís coming up for
Artropolis and ArtChicago. The Martís built solidly on last yearís performance, substantially increasing the caliber of the galleries participating. Itís a good list. And the Mart has moved the fair up several floors to where theyíve installed permanent walls throughout which significantly improves the exhibitionís ambiance.  More than booths the space will read like lots of individual galleries.

Iím 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. Iíve had lot of problems with the hyperbolic sensationalism of the ďbetterĒ fairs around the world. Iíve even canceled attending international shows because of the B.S.  And Iím 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 thereís an entire show dedicated to a risky principal. Check out the list of exhibitors.  This show alone is reason enough to come, and itís not even the ďAĒ show. Thatís ArtChicago with quite a few folks we havenít seen in Chicago ever - or in eons.

My work at
McCormick Place West is coming to an end.  Only Sabrina Raafís 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 Iíve added an audio slide show - kind of like a movie - to the images Iíve already had online.  Come the morning of April 25th to see it in person.

I like
Jason Peotís 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 heís learned in the past.

Upstairs in
Gescheidle, Chris Verene is at it again. A really good photographer, you canít 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 heís made and the vulnerability theyíve 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 sheís 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. Theyíre 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.  Theyíre 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. Iíve never met him. Iíve tracked the pieces heís made with Cody Hudson and Juan Angel Chavez.  Iíve 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 heíd 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