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May 2, 2005

Art Chicago 2005 Highlights


As previously mentioned, Thursday brought my art fair week to a head with Art Chicago and NOVA openings back to back. Friday was supposed to be my day at the Version>05 Kunsthalle and evening at the Pier Walk preview party, but turned into little more than a day of napping on the couch followed by some beers and some epic baseball at the Globe. (Friday night West Loop gallery openings never even entered consideration.) Saturday, then, was lost to work, Sunday to the Version Kunsthalle and a Bach Week concert.

(And if I can indulge in a bit more housekeeping: so far I've been doing my damnedest to avoid reading anyone's assessments of the fairs, trying to keep my eyes as fresh and innocent as is possible until I at least get these initial run-downs out of the way. Nevertheless, it looks like artnet has Victor Cassidy's take on Art Chicago fronted and Paul Klein has his perspective up at Art Letter. (Again, I haven't read Klein's piece yet myself, but he hasn't had too many kind words to share in the past regarding the organizers of the big fairs.) As for the dailies, I know I saw a Tribune headline heralding Alan G. Artner's score card and I'm sure the Sun-Times has Margaret Hawkins on the beat somewhere in their browser-busting pop-up hell. And, of course, never forget the bloggers: Fresh Paint, Houndstooth, Art or Idiocy?, Folding Chair (if Rowley can offer us anything from the midst of the academic crunch), and JMG Artblog.

But anyways, and all that aside, my round-up of some of the goods that caught my eye under the Art Chicago tent last week...

I'm always an absolute sucker for Laurie Hogin's bestiaries, and both Koplin Del Rio (West Hollywood) and Tory Folliard (Milwaukee) were showing some of her work. Folliard had a suite of five pairs of her small Field Guide bird paintings. Koplin Del Rio boasted two large canvases, one of which, the stunning Law of Unintended Consequences, I feel compelled to declare (though it may, when checked against my Best in Show choice from CC&C, suggest a shocking consistency of taste) the highlight of my night.

Antonio Murado's quartet of contemporized aristocratic portraits at Galeria Metta (Madrid), though not too far off standard post-Richter photo realism, were interesting nonetheless, and Robert Kelly's Thicket series at Linda Durham managed to overcome my general aversion to Santa Fe.

Weinstein Gallery from Minneapolis had a slew of mildly abject photography by Alec Soth.

Highlights from Apex Fine Art (LA) include Anderson and Low's fantastic sepia c-print of London's Battersea Power Station and various images from National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb (a photo of Lake Thun, Switzerland alongside documentary work from Japan and Armenia).

Halsted Gallery (Bloomfield Hills, MI) had a few of James Balog's digitally collaged photos of some of the "largest, oldest, strongest trees in America," composed so to allow us to see them from an idealized vantage without the distortions of perspective.

In prints and editions, Arion Press featured an edition of Milton's Paradise Lost with a portfolio of thirteen 17 x 22 Iris prints of William Blake's watercolor illustrations from 1807. Shark's Ink (from Colorado's Front Range and whom I always have a soft spot for) featured a couple decent John Buck woodcuts (The Preserve and The Mechanic) as well as tatto artist Don Ed Hardy's fantastic homage to Hokusai, a lithograph called Surf or Die. And John Szoke Editions from NYC offered some nice prints by Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt, as well as several copies of Jeff Koons' porcelain Puppy (complete with custom cardboard box).

Also definitely worth mentioning was a Duane Hanson Custodian at OK Harris (New York), who also had some nice works on paper by Ben Matthews.

Hometown photo dealer Stephen Daiter had a suite of photos from Magnum photographer Martin Parr's The Last Resort documenting the run-down English resort town of New Brighton.

West Looper Carrie Secrist appeared again (they were pulling double-duty between here and CC&C), featuring more Bill Henson. Also putting in an appearance: Todd Hido's atmospheric landsapes and Liliana Porter's clever bric-a-brac still lifes.

River North's Zg, at Art Chicago as part of this year's International Invitational, had work from just about their full stable in tow, including Ben Butler's rule-based tea drawings and pine constructions, a few gouaches by Saya Woolfalk and a couple of Molly Briggs' hot pink flashe and silver paint on panel pieces from her recent solo show. (Butler also showed up with an ink drawing at New York's Plane Space.)

Zg was joined by 6 other spaces in the Invitational, my highlights from which were Lumas Gallery for Editions form Berlin (Julie Christie and Stefanie Schneider), Perugi artecontemporanea from Padua (Alvise Bittente) and Liquid Blue from Miami (Sara Stites and Juan Doe).

International Invitational lowlight: the loud, loud, loud Jack the Pelican Presents hailing from Williamsburg. To be fair, though, they did tone it down a bit for Art Chicago, saving Peter Caine's animatronic Nazi pope and fully-engorged Michael Jackson/dirty Santa with child for their booth at NOVA.

As far as the Stray Show was concerned, I was glad to see TBA abandon the conceit of it as a separate enterprise, ghettoized in the warehouse on Kingsbury, as they instead integrating the Strays into this year's main fair and catalogue (no doubt for lack of space elsewhere, and one could imagine for a surplus of it under the big top). The Stray invitees (and there were a dozen) joined the International Invitational spaces in the southwest corner, but bore no scarlet 'S's or other differentiating marks beyond an indescript dingbat beside each gallery's name on the Art Chicago pocket maps.

Nonetheless, the Stray spaces remained easily identifiable by the unsurprising preponderance of works on paper, hung in push-pin salon format. It's a style I find as familiar as I find it grating (and it's a style Van Harrison will soon be riding off into the Chelsea sunrise), but once I can get past that aversion I can usually find something to like. To wit: Dogmatic's installation of Paul Nudd's "worm drawings" and the rather conspicuously-hung photo of a craftsman carving a wooden penis by John Neff at Western Exhibitions—not to mention Milwaukee's Hotcakes (Jeremiah Ketner and Nate Page), Houston's Rudolph Projects/ArtScan Gallery (a nice Marcel Dzama triptych), Chicago's own Drawing Project and Dallas' Plush.

"Art Chicago 2005 Highlights"
Posted by Dan at 11:21 AM


Referenced in this post:

Apex Fine Art
Apex Fine Art: Anderson and Low: Battersea Power Station
Apex Fine Art: Jodi Cobb
Art Chicago
Art Chicago Exhibitor Information: Drawing Project
Art Chicago Exhibitor Information: Perugi arte contemporanea
Art Letter
Art Letter (12/06/04)
Art in Context: Sara Stites
Art or Idiocy?
Artcyclopedia: Duane Hanson
Artfacts.net: Antonio Murado
Artnet.com: Liliana Porter
BBC: In Pictures: Paradise Lost exhibition
Bach Week
Battersea Power Station
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune: Alan Artner
Cub Reporter: Game 22 Review—Rob Glowacki
Dogmatic Gallery
Folding Chair
Folding Chair: Crunch Time
Fresh Paint
Galeria Metta
Giovani Artisti Italiani Web Gallery: Quotidiana 2000—Alvise Bittente
Halsted Gallery
Hotcakes Gallery
Hotcakes Gallery: Jeremaih Ketner
Hotcakes Gallery: Nate Page
Iconoduel: Chicago Contemporary & Classic Highlights
Iconoduel: Gallery Briefing
JMG Artblog
Jack the Pelican Presents
Jack the Pelican Presents: Peter Caine
James Balog
John Szoke Editions
John Szoke Editions: Ellsworth Kelly
John Szoke Editions: Jeff Koons—Puppy
John Szoke Editions: Richard Serra
Juan Doe
Koplin Del Rio Gallery
L'Usine Galerie: Stefanie Schneider
Linda Durham Contemporary Art
Linda Durham Contemporary Art: Robert Kelly
Liquid Blue Gallery
Lumas Gallery for Editions
Lumas Gallery for Editions: Julie Christie
Martin Parr
NOVA Young Art Fair
Navy Pier Walk
OK Harris Works of Art
OK Harris: Artist Profiles—Ben Matthews
Paul Nudd
Peter Miller Gallery: Laurie Hogin
Photography by Alec Soth
Plush Gallery
Richard Heller Gallery: Marcel Dzama
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery: Bill Henson
Rudolph Projects | ArtScan Gallery
Shark's Ink
Shark's Ink: Don Ed Hardy
Shark's Ink: Don Ed Hardy—Surf or Die
Shark's Ink: John Buck
Shark's Ink: John Buck—The Mechanic
Shark's Ink: John Buck—The Preserve
Stephen Daiter Gallery
Stray Show
Tattoo City San Francisco: Don Ed Hardy
The Globe Pub
The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton—Martin Parr & Ian Walker
Todd Hido
Tory Folliard Gallery
Tory Folliard Gallery: Laurie Hogin
Van Harrison Gallery
Version>05: Kunsthalle
Weinstein Gallery
Western Exhibitions
Zg Gallery
Zg Gallery: Ben Butler
Zg Gallery: Molly Briggs