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April 28, 2005

Chicago Contemporary & Classic Highlights

I scrambled down to Navy Pier after work yesterday for opening night at Chicago Contemporary & Classic. Art Chicago and NOVA both hit tonight so, for the time being (and for lack of time), just a brief rundown of some CC&C highlights...

Foley Gallery, a nearly brand new Chelsea photo space, featured several images from Jona Frank's High School series (which appear almost too cinematic to be believed) and a couple of large prints from Bart Michiels' The Course of History (featuring expansive, pastoral landscapes from historic European battle sites). Also quite good were Thomas Allen's pulp tableaux still lifes and Stephen Aldrich's collages of 19th century illustrations.

New York's J. Cacciola had some nice figurative oils from Linda Christensen and Alex Kanevsky. Galerie de Bellefeuille, from Montréal, had several large canvases by John MacDonald that I was less enthusiastic about, but which I grew to like after a bit of time with them.

Also from Canada, Michael Gibson Gallery offered a few nice works by Shari Hatt, including an integrated wall-grouping of her dog portraits and four large photographs of what I can only assume to be (after a look at Hatt's collections listing) constumes from Liberace's personal collection. Also of note at Gibson: Dominique Rey.

Among local galleries at CC&C, Carrie Secrist was by far the most impressive. Best of all were photos (by now rather familiar) from Bill Henson and paintings by Matthew Brown (who it looks is also being featured in Secrist's current gallery show).

Miami's Carol Jazzar had a number of large and bright photo-based acrylic-tape-on-canvas works by Brad Kuhl and Monique Leyton that, though incredibly gimmicky, did register an impressively executed illusionism.

As is often the case at art fairs (particularly those focusing on Modern work and earlier), prints new and old were plentiful: A Leonora Carrington silkscreen titled Bird Bath caught my eye at The Gallery of Surrealism, Worthington Gallery had several great Käthe Kollwitz prints, and Jason Jacques featured heliogravures of Gustav Klimt (including The Kiss, Judith I and Water Serpents I and II) and collotype gravures of a few poses by Egon Schiele.

Better yet were a Lucien Freud dog etching at Browse & Darby and a Vija Celmins ocean lithograph at Nikola Rukaj (Rukaj also had some Josef Albers screen prints, but these were more miss than hit)

Other spaces of interest... StART from London (George Forsyth's Mandy), Galerie Egelund from Copenhagen (Marianne Lipschitz Jørgensen and Anders W. Ø. Larsen), lorch+seidel galerie from Berlin (Marta Klonowska), Galerie Lélia Mordoch from Paris (Imamura), Mixographica from LA (Donald Sultan) and Chiaroscuro from Santa Fe and Scottsdale (Tasha Ostrander's Deer Portrait I and one uncannily purple painting by David Hirschi).

Highlight of the CC&C project spaces: Michelle Brody's installation of papyrus plants growing in vertically-suspended plastic tubes.

Biggest guilty pleasure of the evening: 19th century painting at Julian Beck.

Best in show (a personal, idiosyncratic pick at best, a tedious pun at worst): an 18th century British dog portrait (described here*) hung at Finch & Co. (who also feature a few of the other more unexpected pieces in the fair, including a small Russian icon of Christ on the cross).

*Update: well, that Google cache disappeared awfully quick. Here's what the Sunday Business Post had to say about Finch & Co. back on April 10:

Extraordinary art finds at Finch & Co

An interesting sporting picture appears in he catalogue of London dealer Finch & Co, purveyor of all things extraordinary. It is a mid-18th century English oil portrait of a pointer dog, whose collar is inscribed Thynne Worthy ± Chilton Candover 1749.
The pointer is a breed of gun dog rained to find and "point'" at game so he gun can take aim and shoot. Chilton Candover is a Hampshire village, probably that depicted in the painting. Acquired from the estate of an Irish amily, the painting has a price tag of tg£42,000.
Anybody seeking something with disinct pizzazz should sign up to Finch & Co's mailing list. This year's stock ncludes a table made from the ear of an African elephant, bound at the edges with he skin of a boa constrictor (stg£3,750), and a mid-19th century, highly ornate burr oak and vine wood table in the cottage orne style, similar to the furniture designed by John Nash for the Swiss Cottage at Cahir (stg£3,250).
There is also a relic from the Boer War, a chair of a style ripe for the global potlight, called South African Cape Dutch. Made from stinkwood with a rawhide thong, it would have been created mid-19th century by a joiner who probably doubled as a wagon maker in he days of the Great Trek. It has a small brass plaque reading "Taken from a armhouse near Ermelo SA 1901. By John Disney 1st Essex Regt'".
Other unique items include a Roman solid gold and carved cornelian intaglio ring from the 1st century AD (stg£1,750), a pair of 19th century Canadian Mukluks, and the perfect gift for your personal trainer, a pair of 17th century (Ming dynasty) ivory massage balls (stg£750). Finch & Co, 0044-207-4139937, www.finch-and-co.co.uk.

"Chicago Contemporary & Classic Highlights"
Posted by Dan at 05:05 PM


Great post and overview of the art fair. I am looking forward to seeing the show on Friday. I am telling people reading my site, www.jmgartblog.com, that they should check out your site for some excellent reading.

Posted by: Jeff on April 29, 2005 at 01:27 AM

So you think Navy Pier is worth it? I did the park today -- still trying to sort it out. Nothing very impressive, I thought, on the whole, and one whole tent didn't have electricity until about 1 pm. People were stumbling around. We were thinking of doing the pier on Monday. We tried to find NOVA this pm, but couldn't find it! No signs or anything!

(unless I screwed up and was in the wrong block altogether)...

Posted by: Cynthia on April 29, 2005 at 09:13 PM

If you were unimpressed by Art Chicago, I think you'll probably like CC&C even less—smaller, and much more kitsch. Bear in mind, too, that parking at the pier tacks on an extra $20 to your bill.

Re: NOVA... I hope you weren't looking for it over on Fulton. After some major problems cropped up at the space over there, the entire show wound up taking place at the transmission shop/parking garage across from Kavi Gupta/Carrie Secrist on Washington, non-profit and artist spaces in the second floor offices (the new "Network of Visual Art" space), commercial spaces in a small tent in the parking lot behind the garage. A real mixed bag.

Posted by: Dan on April 29, 2005 at 11:49 PM

Referenced in this post:

Art Chicago
Artcyclopedia: Egon Schiele
Artcyclopedia: Gustav Klimt
Artcyclopedia: Käthe Kollwitz
Artcyclopedia: Lucien Freud
Artcyclopedia: Vija Celmins
Artfacts.net: Marta Klonowska
Browse & Darby
Carol Jazzar Gallery
Carol Jazzar Gallery: Kuhl & Leyton
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chiaroscuro Galleries
Chiaroscuro Galleries: David Hirschi
Chiaroscuro Galleries: Tasha Ostrander
Chicago Contemporary & Classic
Chicago Gallery News: Worthington Gallery, Inc.
Finch & Co.
Foley Gallery
Foley Gallery: Bart Michiels
Foley Gallery: Bart Michiels: The Course of History
Foley Gallery: Jona Frank
Foley Gallery: Jona Frank: High School
Foley Gallery: Stephen Aldrich
Foley Gallery: Thomas Allen
Foley Gallery: Thomas Allen: Uncovered
Galerie Egelund
Galerie Lélia Mordoch
Galerie de Bellefeuille
Galerie de Bellefeuille: John MacDonald
Gallery Hopper: Thomas Allen at Foley Gallery
Gallery of Surrealism
Gallery of Surrealism: Leonora Carrington—Bird Bath
High School—Jona Frank
J. Cacciola Gallery
J. Cacciola Gallery: Alex Kanevsky
J. Cacciola Gallery: Linda Christensen
Jason Jacques, Inc.
Julian Beck Fine Art
Michael Gibson Gallery
Michael Gibson Gallery: Dominique Rey
Michael Gibson Gallery: Shari Hatt
Michael Gibson Gallery: Shari Hatt—Biography
Michael Kohn Gallery: Matthew Brown
Michelle Brody
Mixographica: Donald Sultan
NOVA Young Art Fair
Nikola Rukaj Gallery
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery: Bill Henson
StART Contemporary Art