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November 30, 2004

Cranks and Hyperbolae All Around

In drafting my recent post on local crank Alan G. Artner, I'd been tempted to bring up his recent unhinged panning of Fiona Tan's piece at the MCA, Correction.

I, myself, had found Tan's piece to be really pretty decent but, given just the slightest whiff of 'spectacle' (I, for one, hardly found the piece "overlarge"), Alan high-tailed it to Crankytown, going so far as to declare that the show represents "a profound lack of judgment" on the part of artist and curator. Whoo!

But, however ruffled his hyperbole got my feathers, I found that Artner's trademark crankiness served him fairly well when it came to dealing with the museum's concurrent Kai Althoff exhibit, Kai Kein Respekt (Kai No Respect).

I was rather unfamiliar with Althoff before this and had actually been looking forward to seeing the show. My hating not on autopilot, I still found myself quite disappointed by the ridiculous muddle I found.

Artner, I think, gets this one dead right: Kai is utter trash. (Though I think the bit of vitriol heaved at the feet of Chicagoans' love for outsider art was unnecessary, if unavoidable with Mr. Artner.) Granted, most will probably find something to like here, mostly because the exhibit offers up a tiny bit of everything (I did appreciate his graphic sense), but the small triumphs don't come close to outweighing the dreck that surrounds them. One gallery is devoted to an installation of what Artner accurately describes as "unaltered refuse," a foul-smelling pile not even remotely refined enough to qualify as what Tyler Green has termed "scattertrash."

Anyways, Artner's kind of a wash on this one. Still, I consider this license enough for me to get my own crank on...

How disappointed I was to log on to Gapers Block today and see this little art review capsule in the Merge column:

If you are downtown this holiday season, the MCA has quite a few exciting exhibits worth checking out. Unfortunately their current headliner "Between Past and Future" stinks—the art seems to be on display more for its existence than quality. The Kai Altoff exhibit however, is fantastic and shouldn't be missed. Why is "No Respect" a good exhibit? Much modern art is examined and consumed in seconds. Once you "get" the idea, there is little beyond the surface to study and examine. Kai's work, however, offers not only a chance to get below the surface with his varied and media and themes, but his technique is excellent. It's a fantastic show, and I even found myself enjoying the music from his band Workshop, playing anonymously on the record player in the background.

Now, I wasn't ravingly enthusiastic about Between Past and Future, either when I saw one half of it at the ICP this summer or the whole shebang once it hit the MCA and Smart Museum this fall, but I still found it to be quite nice. It's nothing blindingly novel and there are a number of serious weak points but, all told, it's one well-rounded exhibit.

One Brian Sobolak (BS) though—apparently channeling the cantankerous Jay Sherman—simply tells us it "stinks." A minor lapse into crankiness? Probably. But let's not sell this fellow short; the laudatory comments that follow regarding Althoff possibly suggest a total deficit of judgment. Honestly, what about Althoff's art takes one deeper "below the surface" than the bulk of modern art? Seriously, I'm open to opinions.

So, nevermind Brian's naysaying. Between Past and Future is well worth your time (and, if you haven't already, be sure to hit the second half at the Smart Museum). And forget Alan's bellyaching and spend a few minutes with Tan's inmates and guards. Ignore my cranky complaints, too, and check out Althoff—but expect a whole wealth of storm and stress, signifying very little. Then loop around and catch the MCA's current permanent collection display, Stalemate, which is itself quite excellent. All exhibits remain up into January (Stalemate ending first, on the 2nd), so you've got a month or two yet.

More on Fiona Tan's Correction: Margaret Hawkins in the Sun-Times (via Google cache); Ruba Katrib at panel-house; Interview with Fiona Tan from WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight (Real Audio)

More on Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China: Todd Gibson at From the Floor, with a follow-up here; Artner in the Trib; Stacy Oborn at The Space in Between; A chat with co-curator Wu Hung from WBEZ's Hello Beautiful! (Real Audio)

"Cranks and Hyperbolae All Around"
Posted by Dan at 07:36 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (4)

Paschke Price Points

For those unimpressed by more traditional eulogistics, Crain's Chicago Business offers up something a bit more vulgar:

Is death the ultimate career move?
Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Paschke worked in what some regard as a regional location. Art prices, however, are often driven in global market capitals like New York and Paris.
Most experts say the perception of provincialism coupled with Mr. Paschke's prolific output kept him solidly in the mid-range as far as the prices his work commanded during his lifetime. Sean Susanin, owner of local auction house Susanin's, puts that range between $10,000-$100,000.
According to Merle Klein, owner of M. Klein, a local auctioneer, recent auction prices for Paschke works—which serve as a key gauge for measuring worth—have been below the $40,000 mark.
In December 2003, Christie’s Auction House sold "Saint Gloria and the Troll" an acrylic on canvas from 1974 for $33,460. In May of 2004, another acrylic on canvas, "Jackie-O," sold for $28,800. A Playboy 40th Anniversary logo, acrylic on foamcore laid on linen, went for $13,145. And a 1984 oil on canvas called "Formalesque," put up on June 30, had an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000 but didn't sell.
Mr. Susanin says he auctions six to 10 pieces of Paschke’s work a year. "Large canvases have been fetching in the $20,000 range," for work done in the 1970s and 1980s, says Mr. Susanin. "Works on paper"—drawings, watercolors—command anywhere between $2000 and $10,000.
Two works posted on the Web site of the Maya Polsky Gallery, Paschke's dealer at the time of his death, Candida 36 x 24 Inches oil on linen and Entrare 24 x 36 Inches oil on linen, are each offered at $18,000. Ms. Polsky did not respond to phone calls by press time.
Jacques Koek, a Chicago art collector, has five Paschke's in his collection from the artist's early days. He won’t disclose what he paid for the work, but says he currently has no plans to part with them. "People say artist’s prices go skyhigh," says Mr. Koek. "Normally that's the case. I think it might be very good for the gallery."

On the positive side, I suppose it's an ultimate sign of relevance when news outlets use your death as an opportunity to speculate coldly on its material benefits.

Ed, you've arrived: transcending death in the late-capitalist mode.

"Paschke Price Points"
Posted by Dan at 10:02 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

Paschke in the Dailies

Alan Artner in the Tribune: "Ed Paschke: 1939–2004—Visionary painter took art to new level"

Tribune obit.

Sun-Times obit—staff reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika with contributions from Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss: "His work epitomized art in Chicago"

(Weiss: "Theater's Shakespeare painting a defining image of artist's work"; "Wide range of influences evolved into a vision very much his own")

*Update: Artdaily, Reuters

"Paschke in the Dailies"
Posted by Dan at 11:46 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

Ed Paschke

Chicago painter Ed Paschke has died.

He passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving morning, possibly from a heart attack.

He was only 65.

"Ed Paschke"
Posted by Dan at 11:12 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

November 27, 2004

Die Welt According to Herr Doktor Merkwürdichliebe

As Europe goes toe-to-toe with the Ruskies in Kiev, as Washington and Moscow work to revive the nuclear arms race (at least at the level of bluster and bombast) and as the manly cry to Preserve Our Essence goes up on the homefront...

In a limited engagement at the Music Box, Nov 26–Dec 2: a fresh, 40th anniversary print of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

I'm downright giddy.

Not a fan of the ranking game, I'll rarely cop to having a 'favorite' anything. But, if pressed for a favorite filmmaker, Kubrick is an easy choice. And, if pressed for a title, Strangelove generally tops my list.

Ebert and Wilmington discuss.

I'll resist the urge to quote the whole damned screenplay (at any rate, all that's available* is an early shooting draft featuring an odd extra-terrestrial narrative frame, a version of the infamous alternate pie-fight ending and nary a word about bodily fluids, and also naturally lacking all of Sellers' improvizational brilliance). So, just the classic moments, poached from IMDb:

General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack.
General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?
General Jack D. Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.

Not to neglect President Merkin Muffley's eleventh hour War Room phone call to Soviet Premier Dmitri Kissoff:

Hello?... Ah... I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... yes... Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri... Clear and plain and coming through fine... I'm coming through fine, too, eh?... Good, then... well, then, as you say, we're both coming through fine... Good... Well, it's good that you're fine and... and I'm fine... I agree with you, it's great to be fine... a-ha-ha-ha-ha... Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb... The Bomb, Dmitri... The hydrogen bomb!... Well now, what happened is... ah... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of... well, he went a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... he went and did a silly thing... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Dmitri... Let me finish, Dmitri... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?... Can you imagine how I feel about it, Dmitri?... Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello?... Of course I like to speak to you!... Of course I like to say hello!... Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It's a friendly call. Of course it's a friendly call... Listen, if it wasn't friendly... you probably wouldn't have even got it... They will not reach their targets for at least another hour... I am... I am positive, Dmitri... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then... I'd say that, ah... well, ah... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri... I know they're our boys... All right, well listen now. Who should we call?... Who should we call, Dmitri? The... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters... Where is that, Dmitri?... In Omsk... Right... Yes... Oh, you'll call them first, will you?... Uh-huh... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri?... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri... I'm very sorry... All right, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are... So we're both sorry, all right?... All right.

On the Good Doctor's plan:

General "Buck" Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?
Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
Ambassador de Sadesky: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

"Mr. President, we cannot allow a mineshaft gap."

*Update: via Wikipedia, a Strangelove continuity script.

"Die Welt According to Herr Doktor Merkwürdichliebe"
Posted by Dan at 03:46 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Alan Weighs In

How lite he is...

Out here in the Second City we are thankfully shielded from the MoMA echo-chamber. I've yet to read most, let alone all, of the reviews Tyler and others have linked to, and, whether the topic is Jacksongate, tripping up the stairs with Matisse or an apparently egregious lack of benches, I've extended myself the luxury of not really having to care all that much.

But, lest we grow too satisfied in our ignorance, we can rely on the inestimable Alan "G-Funk" Artner to bring it on home, and to crank it up. Joy.

He treats us to something of a discourse on that oh-so solid distinction between "modern" and "contemporary" in art, holding that contemporary art as such ought to be incommensurable with the mission of the Modern. If only we did things here like they do in gay old Paris:

In a state-supported museum system, MoMA might have become for the 20th Century what the Musee d'Orsay in Paris is for the 19th—a museum consecrated to only that segment of art history it has treated through the finest works held in the greatest depth. But, clearly, that was not thought to be enough in the United States.

Try and believe that the Tribune's top contemporary art critic is spitting out crap like this:

Here the most money and prospective gifts are now in the area of contemporary art, and the same has been presumed of audience interest. The supposed relevance of contemporary art is an especially significant consideration if you charge the highest admission fee of any major art museum in the world ($20 at MoMA). So you must not only emphasize the intent to acquire contemporary art but also the ability to show it in an edifice big enough to accommodate more of it so many more people will come see it—even if it's not what you are.

(I suppose someone's determined that Cindy Sherman and Joseph Beuys, even if they lack relevance, are more reliable crowd draws than Monet and Cezanne.)

I don't doubt that there are important issues at stake regarding any such turn toward the contemporary for an institution as historically situated as MoMA, but I frankly can't get past the personal prejudices Artner leans on here. The opposition he sets up is clear but flatly ridiculous as an over-arching rubric: modern = private intimacy + rigorous difficulty; contemporary = out-sized spectacle + vulgar entertainment. His sympathies clearly run with the former. But in which camp does he place, for sake of an example, Barnett Newman's continually rising star? Would he really describe Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as an intimate easel painting?

Let's wash this all down with a modicum of faint praise:

MoMA has some of the best of a number of contemporary artists, from Giovanni Anselmo to Elizabeth Murray and Martin Puryear to Kiki Smith, as well as several in a generally admirable installation of drawings. However, when you have vast spaces to fill—including a permanent video gallery—there's a priority to fill them, even with pieces as empty as those on view by Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Peyton and Matthew Barney. Like Nature, a museum abhors a vacuum; paradoxically, the vacuous are helping fill it.
For four generations MoMA revealed profundity in all kinds of modern art. Will its still-to-open education center do the same with the contemporary? It had better. Else, the three restaurants, two bookstores, two theaters and enormous special exhibition space in this plain-showy building will readily become what the Modern now seems bent on embracing—entertainment.

What a crank.

Alan, you're enough to make me want to turn to Hilton Kramer for a dose of sanity.

"Alan Weighs In"
Posted by Dan at 01:14 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (7)

November 19, 2004

Oh My Golly: or What a gas it was to see them

By popular demand...

Lawrence Avenue outside the Aragon Ballroom on Wednesday night (the Pixies' fifth straight sell-out night at the 4,500-capacity venue) had the feel of pilgrimage. Arriving just minutes ahead of opener Urge Overkill's set, I found the line to be frisked stretching under the Red Line. Men, women and children of all ages had gathered for what most had written off as an impossible dream since the band's breakup-via-fax in '93...

The Pixies: Fat and Fabulous 2004.

The night was nearly ruined for a few by a ridiculous and unexpected prohibition on cameras. A friend had to run back to her car (a 20-minute walk away) to stash hers before they'd let her in, getting back barely in time for the Pixies to take the stage. I don't quite get the reasoning here, though I suppose they just might not like us documenting Frank and Kim in all their agèd corpulence. If my cell phone were a bit more deluxe, I might've snapped a few shots to share out of spite. But, alas, I remain stuck in the dark ages.

Not to get too distracted from the Rock 'n' Roll, though...

The show itself was flat out outstanding.

They throttled through virtually their entire catalogue (notably absent, oddly enough: "Oh My Golly") with great efficiency, stopping only occassionally and just briefly enough to allow Kim Deal to mutter something incomprehensible to the crowd: "Blah, blah, Urge Overkill;" "Squack, squack, Steve Albini." The only song from the regular set that I recall possibly going into extra innings was "Gigantic," their finale, the ending of which they may have drawn out so to offer some goodbyes. Little fuss, less muss.

Encore featured "Here Comes Your Man" (during which a handful of half-wits bolted for the exit so as to beat the traffic) and an extended "Vamos" featuring over-the-top guitar and effects pedal voodoo by Joey Santiago and a brief drum solo from Dave Lovering.

They rocked impressively sharp and surprisingly hard for a crew of geriatrics (pushing 40), their sound managing to fully overtake the cavernous Aragon. I'd been a little worried during Urge Overkill's set, which was far too screechy for my tastes, but the Pixies' more generous sound held up nicely under the faux Spanish facades, the vocals occassionally drowned out by the heavy wash of guitar and bass—nevertheless, el Francisco Negro can howl like the devil. Bottom line: they rocked even those of us in the far back—hard—and I found myself not caring in the least that the sightlines at the Aragon are shit.

On top of all this, the band really seemed to be enjoying themselves at least as much as the audience appreciated this opportunity to see the Fucking Pixies, live. Have any of them have ever played for crowds as rapt and adoring as those they've encountered on this tour? They seemed appreciative. And by all accounts they seem to be getting along famously, which is lovely to see. Now they're talking about a new album, possibly produced by Tom Waits... uhh, eventually.

Highlight of the night: Tough to pick, as there was nothing remotely disappointing, but one tune from early in their set stands out in my memory. It might've just been the vibes from Deal's booty-rocking bass, but I felt some goddamn chills during "Where is My Mind." It was only the third or fourth song they played, but I experienced just about as transcendent a moment as I think I've felt at any musical performance. And not once did I think about Fight Club. Float away with me, won't you:

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself
Where is my mind?

Punning linkage:

The Tribune: Lively, laughing Pixies ride wave of adoration
Slate: Back to Black
Too many to list: Here Comes Your Band

"Oh My Golly: or What a gas it was to see them"
Posted by Dan at 05:12 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

Power and Portraits in Pyongyang

Been meaning to post this...

On Wednesday, the Times reported on some mysterious disappearances in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang:

TOKYO, Nov. 16—Portraits of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, have been quietly taken down this fall in important institutions in the country's capital, Pyongyang, several diplomats there say..
Analysts are debating the reasons, with explanations that range from a demotion of North Korea's "Dear Leader" to a simple desire to place the portraits in more ornate frames.
In a country where the cult of the Kim family is a primary binding force, people have been sent to prison for failing to dust their leader's portrait or for allowing ink drops to blot his image in a newspaper. A woman who died trying to rescue Kim family portraits from a burning school was elevated by the state-controlled media to national hero.
But according to reports from Pyongyang by the Itar-Tass news agency and an ambassador in the capital, guests at recent Foreign Ministry receptions have seen only portraits of Mr. Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, a former anti-Japanese guerrilla leader who founded North Korea in 1945.
"Only a light rectangular spot on the yellow whitewashed wall and a nail have remained in the place where the second portrait used to be," the Itar-Tass correspondent said of the People's Palace of Culture.
Separately, a European ambassador in Pyongyang has told his country's ambassador in South Korea that he started noticing last month that Kim Jong Il portraits that had been displayed outside some schools and other institutions in Pyongyang were now gone, the Seoul-based ambassador said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"One possible explanation is some shift of power, a weakening of the position of Dear Leader, who has not been seen in public for some time," the ambassador in Seoul said. "But I wouldn't bet on any explanation."
There has been no official reaction from North Korea to the reports. But a North Korean diplomat in Moscow was quoted Tuesday by Itar-Tass as saying: "This is false information, lies. Can the sun be removed from the sky? It is not possible."

What would a lonely despot be without the obligatory image cult? It does bring to mind a bit of image theory borne out of the Second Council of Nicea (related as it was to an understanding of imperial portraiture and presence):

To make our confession short, we keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions handed down to us, whether in writing or verbally, one of which is the making of pictorial representations, agreeable to the history of the preaching of the Gospel, a tradition useful in many respects, but especially in this, that so the incarnation of the Word of God is shown forth as real and not merely phantastic, for these have mutual indications and without doubt have also mutual significations.
We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people. For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honourable reverence (aspasmon kai timhtikhn proskunh-sin), not indeed that true worship of faith (latreian>) which pertains alone to the divine nature; but to these, as to the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross and to the Book of the Gospels and to the other holy objects, incense and lights may be offered according to ancient pious custom. For the honour which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented.

"Power and Portraits in Pyongyang"
Posted by Dan at 03:45 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

Nothing to See Here

Since my jaunts through the River North and West Loop openings at the end of October, my little gallery run-down has been languishing, unfinished, in hard drive limbo. By the time I get around to posting it, all the exhibits I highlight are bound to be down. My excuses for this are many and varied, begining with this, not to mention this and this.

Further excuses can be furnished upon request (email above).

Those looking for some guidance on their gallery outings, then, would be wise to visit Fresh Paint, where Cynthia has choked back the shrill lefty hate-speech long enough to post two of three promised run-downs from the districts, here and here.

If that don't cut it, well... I hear Chicagoist is looking for Fine Arts contributors [via Gapers Block]...

As for me, the Art will have to wait for now. Tonight's all about the Rock:

cease to resist, giving my goodbye
drive my car into the ocean
you'll think i'm dead, but i sail away
on a wave of mutilation
a wave
i've kissed mermaids, rode the el niño
walked the sand with the crustaceans
could find my way to mariana
on a wave of mutilation,
wave of mutilation
wave of mutilation
wave of mutilation

Urge Overkill opens. Should be alright.

"Nothing to See Here"
Posted by Dan at 05:29 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (5)

November 16, 2004

Art Chicago Lives: or Location, location, location

This art fair business is officially getting interesting again.

Having settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against them by McPier, Thomas Blackman Associates has announced a date and location for Art Chicago 2005. The future of the Stray Show remains in doubt.

If you'll recall, Blackman's renewed fair will be held under a 125,000-square-foot tent (as it had been in its formative years). They've now found a place to pitch it, and I've gotta say I like the location: Grant Park's Butler Field, just east of the Art Institute and kitty-corner with Millennium Park.


Recall also that TBA had hoped to move the fair to mid-summer so as to avoid running against the spring auction season out east and various shows abroad. Butler Field, however, was unavailable then and so the coming installment will again be held in the spring, April 29–May 2—a mere week before Pfingsten Publishing's competing Chicago Contemporary & Classic fair that is taking over Art Chicago's old spot at Navy Pier, May 6–9.

SOFA ran its stint at the pier earlier this month, so I'd imagine it's only a matter of time before we learn whether or not Mark Lyman and his crew will now follow through with their plans for a third fair, bringing us the red-hot, Leone-style showdown we've been promised. Might I suggest the weekend of May 13–16?

The big question regarding Art Chicago is whether moving it off of the pier will be enough to revive what has become a struggling enterprise as of late. Blackman is quoted in today's Sun-Times:

"The fair needs to be reinvented from time to time to make it new and exciting, and this is an exceptional opportunity for us to do that again," Blackman said of the new venue, which will be similar to that of Art Chicago's first two years. "People remember the original shows we did in 1993 and '94, and they remember what a great setting it can be."

And yet it seems that there are no drastic changes in the works:

"We're planning on doing the show that people have been most familiar with for years in Chicago," Blackman said.

I'd imagine, though, that this is mostly an attempt to reassure vis a vis Pfingsten's rush towards the second tier.

(Little more at the Trib.)

At any rate... let the jockeying for exhibitors begin.

"Art Chicago Lives: or Location, location, location"
Posted by Dan at 10:37 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 9, 2004

Artists: Increase the Size of Your Google...

J.T. Kirkland of Thinking About Art, spurred by a lackluster reaction from DC-area galleries and artists, is opening up a small project he began in October to interested artists elsewhere.

Here's the idea, from his original post:

It should be clear by now that I am fascinated with the mind of the artist. Considering that, I've decided to embark on a little project. I am looking for local artists (DC, MD, and VA) who are interested in participating. Here's the deal: first, if I am not familiar with the artist's work I will want to review it (jpegs, Web site, maybe even a studio visit, etc). Once I get somewhat familiar with the work, I will communicate a single word that comes to mind about the art. I will ask that the artist write 100-500 words about the chosen word and what it means in their art. Because the "question" is so open ended, I think it will allow the artist much freedom to discuss their work and their thought processes. I would then like to publish the writing and a couple of examples of the artist's work on this site.

The respondents thus far:

Charles Neenan: Tradition
Kelly Towles: Color
Ryan Mulligan: Originality
Matt Hollis: Confinement
Dean Fueroghne: Originality
James W. Bailey: Obligation
J. Coleman: Depiction
Andy Moon Wilson: Decision
Molly Springfield: Language
Bryan Whitson: Scene
Elyse Harrison: Motivation
Jiha Moon Wilson: Influence
Alexandra Silverthorne: Derivative
Jose Ruiz: Contemporary

(Hmmm... Note that only "originality" is listed twice.)

Whether or not Kirkland's framework of 'one artist–one word' appeals to you, 100–500 words is a pretty modest request. Consider it free airtime and a chance to beef up your Google footprint with a minimum of effort (read DC gallerist Lenny Campello's take at DC Art News on the importance of getting yourself one of these). Artists and galleries ignore the internets at their own peril.

It's all quite easy: just send some jpegs to this fella and he'll get you started. He's practically begging to lend you a hand:

If you are in California, shoot me an email. If you are in New York, shoot me an email. If you are anywhere else, shoot me an email. Even though this site is primarily focused on Washington, DC, I'm interested to find out if artists elsewhere are more interested in the intellectual aspect of being an artist.
Open for discussion is this: why wouldn't an artist want to participate in this project? I won't accept the "I don't have time" excuse. I just don't believe that someone can't spare 30 minutes of time. What then is the reason??

"Artists: Increase the Size of Your Google..."
Posted by Dan at 05:15 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

November 8, 2004

A Brief Explanation as to Why I Suck

Cognizant though I am of readers' requests for more consistent posting, some of the more observant of you may have noticed a dearth of activity around here.

Well, among other things, I'm preparing for a move later this month. No, not to Toronto, silly... north Rodgers Park. Round about these parts:

The latest incident happened near Paulina and Howard Streets when Leonard Soberanis, 21, of Evanston fired a handgun at a man and chased him east on Howard, said Laura Kubiak, a Chicago police spokeswoman.
As Soberanis, an alleged gang member, chased the man, two armed and uniformed security guards jumped out of their car and ordered Soberanis to stop drop his gun, Kubiak said. Soberanis fired at the guards, who shot back and chased him, Kubiak said.
Soberanis continued chasing and shooting at the first man and fired back at the guards, who continued to return fire, Kubiak said. The guards eventually caught up with Soberanis and subdued him several blocks away, Kubiak said.

At any rate, time not spent scouring eBay for body armor will be devoted to sorting through all sorts of crap I'll never need or use, wisely purging some of it and quietly repacking the rest. Posting will undoubtedly remain light.

In the meantime, anyone looking for anything resembling consistent Chicago art coverage can always turn to... uhh, err... hmmm... shit...

"A Brief Explanation as to Why I Suck"
Posted by Dan at 10:18 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (3)

Expansion Fever, Catch It

Tyler Green gave a heads up yesterday on tomorrow's planned unveiling of the Whitney's expansion plans, as designed by Renzo Piano. Tyler lists among other recent, current and future museum projects undertaken by Piano's workshop the recently completed Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, a contemporary wing for LACMA in LA (amid a cloud of controversy) and a project under consideration for the Gardner Museum in Boston.

Missing from his list: the Art Institute of Chicago's major expansion, a (mostly) contemporary and modern wing currently slated for 2007. Located alongside Millennium Park, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect's new wing will find itself in an architectonic showdown with Pritzker Prize-winner Frank Gehry's shiny new Pritzker Pavillion.

The AIC expansion project continues apace, as signaled by a story in Friday's Trib reporting that Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the institute's credit outlook in part on the strength of their expansion fundraising:

Moody's cited the institute's plans for a $198 million addition to be designed by Renzo Piano. It said the institute appears able to raise enough gifts to build and endow the wing without needing to issue bonds.

See more in the AIC press release, via PR Newswire.

No word as to how much the public will be asked to kick in. As of September the public share of the cost stood at $185 million of the $285 million total needed for construction and endowment (per Victor Cassidy, who noted that new AIC director James Cuno—who took leave of the Harvard University Art Museums when plans for a new Piano-designed museum on the Charles were scrapped—"was hired specifically to get the new wing up").

"Expansion Fever, Catch It"
Posted by Dan at 04:23 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 3, 2004

What the Doctor Ordered

This sounds about right:

Homer: [stirring a bowl] Aw, Marge, this is so depressing, my only hope is this homemade Prozac. [tastes it] Mmm, needs more ice cream.

"What the Doctor Ordered"
Posted by Dan at 11:55 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

Concession Depression

This shit's official:

President Bush won a second term from a divided and anxious nation, his promise of steady, strong wartime leadership trumping John Kerry's fresh-start approach to Iraq and joblessness. After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat called Bush Wednesday to concede Ohio and the presidency, The Associated Press learned.
Kerry ended his quest, concluding one of the most expensive and bitterly contested races on record, with a call to the president shortly after 11 a.m. EST, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.
The victory gave Bush four more years to pursue the war on terror and a conservative, tax-cutting agenda and probably the opportunity to name one or more justices to an aging Supreme Court.
He also will preside over expanded Republican majorities in Congress.
"Congratulations, Mr. President," Kerry said in the conversation described by sources as lasting less than five minutes. One of the sources was Republican, the other a Democrat.
The Democratic source said Bush called Kerry a worthy, tough and honorable opponent. Kerry told Bush the country was too divided, the source said, and Bush agreed. "We really have to do something about it," Kerry said according to the Democratic official.
Kerry placed his call after weighing unattractive options overnight. With Bush holding fast to a six-figure lead in make-or-break Ohio, Kerry could give up or trigger a struggle that would have stirred memories of the bitter recount in Florida that propelled Bush to the White House in 2000.

Fear wins the White House. Let the Democratic cannibalism begin.

I don't need Tom Skilling to tell me: this is gonna be one cold winter. I need some booze.

"Concession Depression"
Posted by Dan at 11:47 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)