Art Letter (5/1/08)
With the Art fairs that just ended you’d think there wasn’t much going on in Chicago this weekend. Well, there’s not many things, but there are 2 big things.
Walsh Gallery is opening a good exhibit of paintings by Li Lin Lee - a Chicago painter whose work I’ve been following for about 20 years. Indonesian, raised in Chicago, these are fairly philosophical meditative exercises which for me question the relationship of the self to society and the self alone. I respect the work by am equally intrigued by the occasional similarity to Yinka Shonibare’s paintings (not sculpture) and how culturally different I assume their stimuli to be. And I’m fascinated by the poetry of Lee’s brother, Li-Young Lee. All these parallels and dichotomies enrich the work for me, and its strong already.
Looptopia is back - this Friday night, from 5 PM to dawn in Chicago’s Loop. Lots of art and “art;” dance, music, theater, and visual art. From the Art Institute to the Goodman Theater. From Sears to the Chicago Cultural Center. Art saturates the Loop. Admission is free everywhere. All night long.
As I am sure you can imagine, I spent quite a bit of time every day at the Mart’s art fairs. I particularly enjoyed the NEXT Fair where I found fun, engaging art without the pretentiousness I so frequently find at art fairs. A lot of dealer and collector friends were at ArtChicago where less cutting edge art ruled. The Artist project could have been so much better. It was crammed with mediocrity. Lost potential - so severely screwed up I hear the show has been canceled for next year. And the Antiques Show and Intuit just don’t belong. I’m glad the shows were here. It was good. It could have been great. I doubt it will ever get there.