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Art Letter (4/13/07)

Argh - I’ve been under the weather all week. You know, don’t you, that if I hadn’t been, I’d have gone out and previewed all these shows below so I could have picked the good ones for you to have a better sense of what you’d want to see in person (cough, cough).

Jo Hormuth is a special Chicago artist.  For me, she’s harder than hell to quantify. She makes very personal and very public work all at once.  She has a show opening tonight at Old Gold, “a new West Side exhibition and event space. . .with the feel of a wood-paneled basement recreation room.”  Now, superimpose on that space all these appropriated images of mounted deer racks that people are selling on eBay and an absurd dialogue begins, which is of course augmented by Hormuth’s inclusion of a gaming table. And yes, she’s publishing a book of these images.  I told you she’s special.

ThreeWalls first exhibition in their new space (same address) enters its 2nd of 3 phases with the opening of “place in a flat world,” which presents videos by artists addressing ‘their’ place in a society bombarded by globalization. Curated by Chicago’s Catherine Forster of LiveBox.

Lucas Samaras is just barely on the functional side of nuts.  He’s been making disparate, fantastic work for decades. It doesn’t get seen much in the world and almost never here, which is why Russell Bowman’s survey exhibition opening tonight is remarkable.  Very nice.

Rhona Hoffman opens Part II (The 80’s) of her 30th Anniversary celebration of showing significant art in Chicago.

So far, I’ve known
Jin Soo Kim as a remarkable sculptor whose had a long relationship with Zolla/Lieberman Gallery.  Tonight she’s opening a show of paintings there. I haven’t seen them. What if they’re as good as her three-dimensional work?

Kasia Kay is presenting two exhibits opening this evening: From Poland? about “ways of perceiving ‘Polishness’ in the context of ongoing globalization,” (I’m beginning to notice a trend.) and Kim Curtis, a painter who is well-traveled and presently living downstate a bit in Urbana.

Rowley Kennerk (same building as ThreeWalls) is making inroads into Chicago and my consciousness with attractive showings of difficult art, like the films of German artist David Lieske who states he “means to purposely complicate the readability of (his) works.” Oh, Joy. But they are pretty.

NavtaSchulz has two exhibits opening tonight; one indoors of replicated engines, hearts and Hummers by David Packer and one outdoors of flags and banners by Judith G. Levy whose work addresses hooded archetypes and stereotypes of feminism.

Tonight’s also the opening of
Gosia Koscielak’s CrossMediale2, an exhibition of American and international art in new media.

GardenFresh keeps moving up in the world from their beginnings in a garage a few years ago to their handsome new space, they open a show tonight titled You Winsome, You Lose Some, which is  a great title about the increasing prevalence of cute art.

Lou Mallozzi is a genius with sound and his Experimental Sound Studio is branching out; presenting an exhibition of “static” images by Chicago’s Terri Zupanc of people and animals listening. Some are delicate drawings. Some are large scale photographs

There are three world-class galleries in Chicago:
Rhona Hoffman, Richard Gray and Donald Young, and quite a few contenders.  Rhona Hoffman and Paul Gray (of Richard Gray Gallery) have been major players in contributing to the culture of Chicago and deserve significant credit for supporting ArtChicago in its meteoric rise from the ashes to the celebratory showcase we’re about to see in two weeks.  Rhona particularly has been front and center in cajoling her peers to come to town.  And what has Donald done, who’s not participating in this year’s art fair? Opening tonight at Donald Young is another show of ceramics by Andrew Lord.  I know he is a sought after artist, but I find the work boring and not particularly competent, and ceramics is something I know a fair amount about having worked with Ken Price, Jun Kaneko and Tony Hepburn for a long time. I’d like it if someone would tell me what there is to appreciate in Lord’s work.

Maybe I’m just sick.

Thank you,
Paul Klein

PS:  In news announced this morning the
Chicago Cultural Center has received a $225,000 grant to expand the Chicago Artists’ Resource website, from the MacArthur Foundation. Congratulations (BK) to them. They deserve every penny!

PS2: Great play in an extended run at
Collaboraction: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow.  Great script. Great acting