A Day at the Galleries
It being an unseasonably warm, sunny day -- I put the bicycle on the train and went gallery biking through the city today.
The first stop turned out to be Robert Adams , since I saw something like the above in the window -- the artist turning out to be George Josimovich (1894-1986) -- a Chicago boy who went to Paris in the twenties and mostly got forgotten.
He was good -- and he could draw the figure too -- not great -- but nice.
Here's one of the "Chicago River" that an anonymous visitor recommended (on behalf of Steve). It looks like a battle scene, doesn't it ?
But the special surprise here was a ceramic figure by Paul Bogatay (1905-1972) -- my introduction to the Cleveland school of ceramic artists
..who was obviously caught up in the wonderful world of Tang sculpture.
The horse is just a little too goofy - and the figure a little too stiff for me -- but just a little. If he had made a few thousand more of these -- I think eventually he'd get there
But I think he spent most of his time making ceramic pots -- and once again -- his adoption of the Asian forms is nice -- but he's playing in a very tough league.
My next stop was the Maya Polsky gallery -- where I found the above wacky "Portrait of an artist" by their resident Russian, Vasily Shulzhenko.
The jpg doesn't do justice to this big, ominous nightmare of a painting. (and the big black lump in the right foreground is a shaggy dog) (note to self: thank destiny you weren't born in Russia)
Moving on to my own gallery -- the Palette and Chisel -- where our annual "Gold Medal Show" was taking place -- the above being my pick who will (and should) win: Marci Oleszkiewicz's "Emerging"
..which seems to be about the same theme that I present in my sculpture of "Desire"
I love suffering women !
Moving on again -- next to Richard Love Galleries to see the Scott (Tallman) Powers show (our artclub member who beginning to have quite a career)
Why does it seem that it's always about to rain in his plein-aire paintings?
His atmosphere feels so thick and melancholy --- I can see him tucking each of his paintings under his arm -- and running for the nearest shelter.
Then it was off to the Chicago Cultural Center -- for "Material Difference: Soft Sculpture and Wall Works"
I'm not the world's biggest fan of the soft-fuzzy-wandering edge of fabric art -- but - I really like Medieval tapestries -- so maybe I am a fan -- who knows ?
My favorite piece being a string-painting by an Egyptian woman, Ghada Amer.
From a distance -- like the view shown above -- it's just a maze of colored string -- suitable for the dentist's waiting room.
But close up -- those tangles of thread conceal some really sharp line drawings of young women masturbating -- which I admit to finding an attractive theme.
(I'd feel somewhat guilty about it -- but as the artist said in an interview:"They are having too much pleasure themselves,within themselves, as to be exploitative."
Finally arriving at the Art Institute (and finding the Ryerson library closed) I decided to do a tribute to Martin A. Ryerson -- a founder of that institution who served as treasurer for it's first 30 years -- and who is still the largest donor to its collection.
What kind of taste did he have ? This issue is more important than you might think -- since attribution is basically a gallery con game. Lots of "old master" paintings were available -- but only a few are worth major museum wall space -- and somebody has to do the picking.
As I went through the collection finding the ones from his collection -- usually I thought he did good -- as with that "Master of Moulins" fragment shown above
(which was recently augmented by another fragment shown above - apparently by the same hand -- who is now called "Jean Hey" -- at least in some art museums)
Ryerson was the largest contributor to the collection of old masters -- but he also gave the museum quite a few of the Moderns -- like the Monet shown above
.. like this Renoir -- and many more paintings by these two painters -- and several American moderns as well.
He was also an early benefactor of my art club and the art library that bears his name. Thankyou Mr. Ryerson ! (that almost makes up for destruction of the Michigan forests by your lumber-baron father)