Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strolling through Artopolis 2007: Final Hour

Our stroll is coming to an end now...
and here's a few final pieces from the Antiques Fair.

The above is by Lorenzl or Preiss
(I can't remember which)
both of them being leaders in the
decorative nude figurine market of the naughty twenties.
The subsequent war seems to have killed that market,
and it never recovered.

Georges Robin 1895-1981

Something about these paintings --
as if they're trying to be timeless, generic rural scenes
appropriate for the walls of motel rooms
in scenic Wisconsin.
(but these are much better than all the
ones I've seen)

Here's another by the same painter,
so dreamy - relaxing --
this is how I feel after the sun
has been beating down on my head all day.

Alexandre Louis Jacob (1876-1972)

This painter is a bit livelier --
and seeing another piece on the internet --
I think I'm becoming a fan.

He must have been consciously retro
back when he began his career at the turn of the last century.

He's got much more in common with Jacob Van Ruisdael
than with Cezanne, Monet, or even Daubigny.

These aren't just landscapes -- they're the setting for a cosmic drama.
(like the world was supposed to be.. back in the 17th C.)

Now -- we've left the Antique Fair
.. and moved over to the gallery of Folk and Outsider Art,
discussed at greater length here

Looking at this 19 C. Burmese deer -- I'm not sure why
I shot it --
maybe the photo just does not do it justice.
It's a large thing -- and it felt good
to share its space.

Outsider art ?
Or... just an art student from the 40's goofing around
in his sketch book ?

Or .. couldn't this sell as contemporary art--
if only some of those cryptic signifiers in the
background seemed more profound
and less adolescent ?

This artist could certainly draw a
monumental figure -- if only he could have
had a career doing so.

Finally -- we're strolling into the Bridge Art Fair --
over in the Holiday Inn that adjoins the Merchandise Mart --
and home for the galleries that weren't invited to Art Chicago.

Which is not a bad thing -- except that these
galleries seem to specialize in the post-apocalyptic
.. sharing with us that urgent message of:
"The world sucks -- and so do people"

Here's another blogger's take on this show,
which is much more representative than my own.

Remember now -- people are ugly and life is miserable !

Actually, I kind of like Heinneke Beaumont 's figures --
because at least they feel calm and noble amidst the chaos.

Here's some others I collected for the website last year
(I discovered her a Navy Pier art fair two years ago)

Ian Strawn "What's rights is wrong again"

This is my favorite miserable person.
(more can be found here

Daniel Blagg "Trailer Park", 40"X60"

..and this is my favorite miserable landscape.
(from Texas -- where else ? -- the hunting ground for ugly
where Lori has found so many
faded treasures. )

Both of the above paintings are rather obviously the children of photographs -
and the photographic way of seeing -- but isn't the computer screen
the best way to see them ? Where they flash on --- and then flash off ?

I just can't imagine living in a room with them
(without a few bottles of liquor handy)

But the best part of the Bridge show --
was the 50 feet of windows
up there on the 26th floor
that look down the urban river canyon
of downtown Chicago

This was also an issue --
back when Art Chicago occurred at Navy Pier
and the view out the lobby window
of the yachts on Lake Michigan
was far more interesting
than the art works in the exhibit.


So now, our stroll is over.

It was fun -
but how I wish that eventually
this conglomeration of art exhibits
might eventually include
the kind of painting found in
the Denver Rotary "Artists of America" shows.

This is the most popular genre of American art -
for both those who collect it and those who
practice it.

Even if it's hopelessly middle-brow --
is it really so consistently awful
that it must be ignored by this
art fair of art fairs ?


Anonymous Amanda J. Sisk said...

I enjoyed your description of the deer you...shot. In my 1200s flat with the usual accordion playing far below and the pigeons peeking into my boudoir, I am shocked by your photographs of Chicago. Or rather, I am startled by the range of emotions that course through my marble veins when looking at them: I lived that. The steel, glass, concrete and furious pace of the American city...and how it will hurt to be there again, too soon...oh, much too soon. You rouse me from my glorious sleep here with images of reality.

May 18, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Hi Chris, I am "sort of back again" on the blog and will catch up soon, I have lots to send you for consideration in your 20th c figure site.

The city looks a little awe inspiring. It is clear that the exhibition was really good, do you have one every year?

I've made some comments on the Tegners works and some more on my grandfather too.

May 18, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Amanda: for whatever reason, views of the glass and steel canyons feel peaceful to me -- while it's the visual world of Donatello that excites me to a furious pace.

Robert: PLEASE start posting those pictures "time will not be ours forever, he at length our good will sever"

May 20, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Chris, my friend -- Blogger is buggy, and so your most recent post has inadvertently disabled new comments.

This happened to me as well, so I edited the post by selecting Post Options, and manually resetting comments. Apparently Blogger's been doing this in some cases to posts saved as drafts.

I mention this because I want to type happy things about your ceramist friend, who seems to really get it.

Or...could it really didn't want my random smiling comments?


May 21, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...


I hope the problem has been fixed now -- and that you can remember what you were going to comment.

(we need to encourage John with his pottery -- so he'll quit his IT job and become another art bum)

May 21, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Tell John the world is lousy with IT guys, their hours stink, the pay isn't great, so he might as well be an art bum -- his work is AWESOME.

I've seen enough weak-a**ed pottery to know the difference. He really should do more.

May 22, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...

I like the Jacob picture--that glorious and large-looking sky of cloud with the wisps of trees clumped with mistletoe, and the little figure with his faded boat...

May 27, 2007  

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