Sunday, November 04, 2007

S.O.F.A. 2007

Gordon Crosby

Here's my stroll through the 2007 S.O.F.A. exhibit
(Sculptural Objects Functional Art)

There's never much in these shows that appears to me
to be either sculptural or functional (except as Bling)
.. but I enjoy walking through them anyway,
and fantasize finding them
in the upscale apartments of fashionable young ladies
who have invited me up for a cup of tea.

This time,
in the manner of "The Antiques Road Show"
I've recorded the prices,
as well as the other info on the tag

Gordon Crosby, born 1938, $1000

Naturally, I'm the most attracted
to the understated,
the traditional,
the pieces that seem to point to healthy,
quiet lifestyle of contemplation

Ryoji Koie

Ryoji Koie, born 1938, teabowls, $1900 each

Sam Herman, 1960, $5500

So, I'm partial to the old guys,
like this British fellow,
and I have no idea
what qualities the abstract painting
of the past 50 years
might have that can't be found
in his blown glass.

Sam Herman, 2007, $1250 and $2450

Sam Herman

I think I began to appreciate this kind work
about 50 years ago,
with my small, but choice
collection of marbles.

Bjorn Ekegren, born 1955, Sweden

What kind of woman would own this piece ?
Tall, lithe, blond, athletic,
probably into sailing.

Tali Daton, 2007

And what kind of woman
would show these in her apartment ?

Tali Daton, 2007, $5900

obviously one
with a great sense of humor

Michael Lucero, 2007, $27,000

Moving on now
to the most outrageous things.

(this show had plenty of outrageous -
it's not especially what I like,
but I thought it should be documented -
sort of like ---
a magnificent train wreck)

so if you saw this is a person's home,
nothing they could say or do
would surprise you

Shayna Leib, $27,000

Shayna Leib

This kind of thing
is actually very relaxing for me,
and I'd love to find it
in a doctor's waiting room

Walter Zimmerman
"Incident", 2007, $950

But what are we to make of these things ?
(there were about a dozen of them,
stretched out across the gallery wall)

Walter Zimmerman

They do, indeed
seem to record an "incident",
one that no man
would like to experience

Joel Masewick, Acrylic and steel on canvas, $7,000

This piece is just so whacky,
it needs to go somewhere, but where ?

the waiting room
of an auto repair shop ?

Marvin Lipovsky, 2006, $36,800

I discovered Marvin last year,
and I keep on liking him.

This piece reminds me
of one of the color-swirly party balloons,
that's just popped !

and how is this detail one bit less profound
and meditative
than a painting
by Mark Rothko ?

Chris Antemann, $3200, porcelain, decals, luster

Moving on now to the figure sculpture,
there basically two kinds in SOFA:
the cute and the ugly.

This one comes the closest to
having some of the best qualities
of European porcelain,
while it's narrative
is wonderfully goofy
(please don't spill that hot tea !)

Dorit Levi-nstein, $7000

Doesn't this feel way-too French ?
I love it.
(and like it better than most contemporary figure sculpture)

The piece has been cast in bronze
and then painted

Mike Moran, $4500

O.K. -- this figure is just plain ugly

but it's a promising approach:
concrete modeled on top of rebar
to make an inexpensive,
life size

Philip Soosloff, "Closing Time", $3400

This illusionistic relief
is much more effective in person

Rudy Autio, "Currents", 1997, $48,000

Rich people like to have living rooms
that are way too large,
and there's plenty of empty space left,
even after they put in the mammoth sofa and coffee table.

That's what this kind of large, 36" high ceramic is for.

It's an elegant space filler.

Rudy Autio, "Daedalus", $60,000

Which is not to disparage this
figurative work.

The quality reminds me of
the figurative ceramics commissioned
by leading artists 100 years ago,
the golden age of early modernism.

Toshiko Takaezo, 1997

Back to the ceramic pieces,
I guess I feel that that the whole point
of this genre is to simplify shape
and explore surface.
And who's better than the Japanese ?

Yasuhiro Kuhara, b. 1954, 12" high

I find this sort of thing so relaxing

Jay Strommen

Americans, on the other hand,
like a looser, more homey feeling.

I would love to drink hot chocolate from these cups.

Melanie Brown, $2200 for the set

.. and I think these eccentric ladies need
each others company.

Wouldn't you expect to find this
in the home of a Thai Buddhist priest ?

Samy-David, $5000

Samy-David has opened ceramic boutiques
throughout Israel -- and now into Europe.
Oprah is a fan -- and so am I.
(but I don't think those flames
will keep the pot warm)

Sara Flynn, "Vessel Council", $2090

This might be the portrait
of some kind of women's health

Thomas Schmidt, "Origins", $1500

Young Mr. Schmidt has crossed over into sculpture here,
and it reminds me of those gnarly rocks or pieces of weathered wood
that Chinese collectors have mounted for display.

Agathe Larpent, "Tourbillon", $6100

I like this piece,
but I would really like to cut off a slice
and serve it with butter and jam

Edward Eberle

This looks like a homage to the 1950's

Eva Kwong, "Bacteria , diatoms, cells", $10,000

Absolutely perfect
for a doctor's waiting room.
(or... maybe not)

Gretchen Ewart

Not too many bowls
favor the inner to the outer.

One might expect the owner of such a piece
to be a woman of high integrity

Jane Jermyn, $2650

Wouldn't you like find an apartment
filled with dozens of these things ?
What kind of a person would make
such a collection ?

Bill Nasogaluak (Tutuyakyuk)

Why is this the only gallery of ethnic art at S.O.F.A.

Is that Eskimo art is somehow higher class
than the decorative arts of Africa, Asia, India etc ?

Or --- is it just that Galerie Elca (Montreal)
was the only ethnic gallery
that could afford a booth ?

They had a good exhibit of Inuit pieces that,
overall, were much better than what is mostly found on the internet.

Though it's not quite up to the best that I've found elsewhere ,
especially my favorite, Ashevek Tunnillie

All of these are pieces made in 2007 (or 2006)

Mark Pitseolak (Cape Dorset) $2000

Nuna Parr (Cape Dorset) $7200

Toonoo Sharky (Cape Dorset)

Lino Tagliapetra, $35000

Back to the glass,
this is one that I would actually like to own,
since it's quiet, elegent
and most importantly,
easier to dust

Loretta Yang

This Taiwanese woman
is apparently a film star
as well as a glass maker,
and there is a kind of sensual
munificence that feels so Chinese
(like -- I know that I can't afford
to even look at it)

Nad Vallee

For some reason,
the gallery watcher
was very nervous about me
taking this photograph.

Perhaps I was stealing its soul ?

Noel Hart

What is it about this piece
that makes it feel so Austalian ?
(and not, say, Brazilian)

Jack Richardson

Before I read the label,
I thought this was glass,
but, of course, it's stone
that's been turned on a lathe.

Wouldn't this make THE perfect receptacle
for the funerary ashes
of an elegant woman ?

Bennett Bean, 5' x 7' wool rug

Bennett Bean

Mr Bean is a delightful aesthete
who seems to have a perfect sense
for what wealthy Americans want in their homes.

What says wealth and passion more than red and gold ?

John Kuhn, $45,000

This piece belongs on the officer's deck
of the starship Enterprise

Jorg Zimmermann

And this set of jars
were only partially transported
(during a malfunction of
a teleportation machine )

Jose Chardiet, 1987

It's very difficult to look at this
without a chuckle

Cesare Toffolo

The only figurative
glass I found in this show


Browngrotta arts, 1990

And now on to the other strange materials --
this is acrylic and dyes on rayon

Mayme Kratz

and these are corn flower husks
fixed in resin.

Cheerful, isn't it ?


Blogger Princess Haiku said...

Your blog is a vizual delight. I wandered in here and so glad that I did. I would like to visit Chicago and its art museums someday.

The simplicity and warmth of the bowls strikes a cord with me. I am going to link you and come back and spend more time at an earlier hour. It seems I always find the most intriguing new places when I need to be signing off.

Greeting from Northern Cal.

November 05, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Princess Haiku, I bid you welcome !
And browsing the recent activity on your site -- I regret not finding it until now -- and look forward to following your stroll past the beautiful things that interest you.

I did visit San Francisco once - forty years ago - during the Summer of Love.

I don't know whether you were there -- but you would have fit in quite nicely.

November 05, 2007  
Anonymous suburbanlife said...

Great post, Chris. A nice selection of post WWll contemporary 3D stuff. The glass stuff seems to be to me tchotchkes, did so even back 30 or 40 years ago - they never seemed to have got into the spirit of what was possible with the material beyond those zoomorphic forms and pulled glass tendrils and blobs of fused glass But they were costly back then and if one had the disposable cash and desire to show it could be spent on superfluities then these kinds of glass things made wonderful conversation pieces. Ten years ago I bought one of these at auction for $5 Can. There were no other bidders, and the piece was splendidly tacky. I ended up dropping it on the pation bricks after a couple of years of pondering why someone might have parted with a good was of cash for such a monstrosity, and further example of my taste for oddities. G

November 05, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

I've recently been thinking about you every morning, Suburbanlife -- whenever I hear construction noise and remember how much you miss it.

(I don't want to make you too envious, but I heard lots of loud and repeated hammering this morning)

Regarding all that art glass -- I would, of course, never own it. There's the fragility -- but also the mandatory dusting -- it would feel like a life sentence to me.

But I would like to discover a piece in someone else's house.

As long as someone else has to worry about it -- it's translucent surfaces just seem to broadcast a carefree and lighthearted feeling.

BTW - if you still have any "oddities" in your collection -- why don't you put a few online ?

November 05, 2007  
Blogger Cam said...

I liked the Sam Herman glass. I really like blown glass, but I think I agree with you - in your home it's just a dustcatcher.

November 08, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...

I'm back to thinking that a huge part of the fun of mountshang is experiencing the quicksilver mind of Chris Miller as he contemplates, rejects, adores, or perceives with a touch of whimsy. These are among my favorites of your posts: these wanderings among the arts.

November 12, 2007  
Blogger Walter Zimmerman said...

Mr. Miller --

I think I may have sent you a carefully-worded comment, or maybe it's been jettisoned into cyber-space because I didn't have a google account before I started writing to you. In any event, it was interesting to find my glass/mixed media work, the 'Incident' series, included in your personal tour of the recent Chicago SOFA exhibit.

Just because we don't want to experience something, does that mean we don't need, perhaps, to look at it anyway? Or is the only respectable function of art to soothe and reassure the viewer?

(And, if that's the case, I'm interested that you "see" so much of the work included in your tour hanging in doctor's offices. Who would see it there? People whose lives are unblemished?)

Ah well, enjoy your ruminations, and thanks for stopping and looking at some of the things I make.


Walter Zimmerman

And my work looks much, much better when it hasn't been dusted. Ever.

November 13, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Thankyou all for stopping by and commenting on my worthless blabbedly blog.

Walter Zimmerman asks:

"is the only respectable function of art to soothe and reassure the viewer?"

And rather obviously -- over the last 100 years -- exactly the reverse has become the case -- which is why I live on Mount Shang.

But here on Mount Shang, we let life be just as arbitrary, confusing, upsetting, and occasionally catastrophic as it tends to be -- while we look for art that offers the consolation that a loving mother offers a child.

But I like to look at train wrecks too !

November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any content coming ?

December 13, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

I don't know how to answer this anonymous question - except to say that whatever content there's ever going to be has already arrived.

December 13, 2009  

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