Monday, May 23, 2011

Four Statues in Aurora

I'm not a big fan
of contemporary American narrative sculpture
because it works like a cartoon in the funny papers.

I.e., once you get the idea,
there's nothing else to look at.

But I do like this one by A. Joseph Kinkel
parked in the front lawn
of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum

Maybe, that's because the fireman
resembles a recently deceased
friend of mine

Or, maybe it's because
I really like this dog,
which would be a good statue
all by itself.

Or, maybe because
this is how I feel
getting up in the morning
rushing out to
deal with my own little fires.

Or maybe because it's a good sculpture.

I certainly like it
a lot more anything else
I could find on the artist's website
most of which feels terminally cute
to me.


This is Preston Jackson's statue
of community activist, Marie Wilkinson .

Opting not to put her up on a pedestal,
instead, she's parked on a bench
in front of the Aurora public library,
inviting the viewer to sit beside her
and have a little chat.

She looks like a sweet, playful,
but also very determined person.

And quite lively,
as projected by Jackson's
somewhat cubist style.

Jackson has an aggressive style of
sharp edges, sinuous lines,
and puffy, balloon like volumes
that seems to recall
the early 20th C.
but not much ever since.

I've seen several
and usually they seem,
to me,
to have been abandoned there.

But this one rises up
and demands interaction.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artropolis 2011

Richard Kooyman

If I were to curate an exhibit
of items selected from this mammoth art fair,
it might be called "Views of the world".

(while an exhibit of everything I left behind
might be called "Are you shocked yet?")

Richard Kooyman

In general,
I seem to like views
of places that were not intended
to be seen.

Joseph Noderer

Why do I love run down places?

Anelecia Hannah

Especially sinks and bathrooms.

Cathy Lees

Maybe it's because
it's so much harder
to successfully paint places that were intended
to be beautiful.

Kim Cogan

Werner Drewes, 1932

He's better known as an abstract painter,
but I like this scene that reminds me of
small industrial towns in eastern Ohio.

Harold Shapinsky

This may have been shocking in 1950,
but was rear-guard by the time it was painted (1984)

He never achieved the brand recognition
of some of his peers,
perhaps because he was just too decorative.

Fairfield Porter

Paul Brown "Tiger"

I would like to imagine this large piece
hanging in a Rajah's hunting lodge,
beside a dozen others,
each one featuring a beautiful woman
of a different ethnicity
reclining on the pelt
of a different dead carnivore.

Robert Bauer

A bit anemic,
but some people are like that.

Bo Bartlett

This year's Bo Bartlett is one of my favorites.

I need to own this painting!

So I can perpetually wake up in the morning
in a beautiful room, in a beautiful place
with a beautiful woman.

None of which will bore me because
it's only a painting.

Renoir, 1892

Last year, I remember the Antiques Fair
had an entire gallery of bogus old masters.

But this one feels real,
and trumps all of the contemporary landscapes

Xavier Barile

Very good at what he did,
but condemned, I suppose,
to perpetual obscurity
outside the narrative of modern art.

Vaclav Vytlacil

This is my thing:
Modern Classicism.

If only Picasso had stuck with it.

******** sculpture**********

Hanneke Beaumont

One of the few contemporary figure sculptors
who makes it to the fair every year.

A bit grim and depressing,
but so much better than
all the un-sculptural doll makers.

Nicolas Africano

Here's the other figure sculptor who makes an annual appearance in this show with his lonely, beautiful, translucent women.

He may be just another doll-maker, but dolls can be beautiful too.

And he may be the only non-commission, non-teaching artist to make a living making nude figures in Illinois, if not the entire Midwest.

And every year,
there's some "new" Tang figures.

(either newly dug up - or newly made.
I hope it's the latter,
indicating the rebirth
of a great tradition)

Izdrojevicz Lipa (1907-1960)

An exiled Russian aristocrat
who took up sculpture
and did a good job.

Marcel Renard (1893-1974)

For whatever reason
in the early 20th Century
figure sculpture was more widely used
as a decorative art
than figure painting.

Marcel Renard

Other than the top
of his "Kneeling Girl"
we don't get to see much Lehmbruck
in Chicago.

This piece was hopelessly lit,
but enjoyable anyway.

*********** Chicago Artists ************

Anthony Angarola

Was he really creepy enough
to be the favorite painter of H.P. Lovecraft?

Above is a portrait of his wife, a concert pianist.

Gertrude Abercrombie

The daughter of opera singers,
and a true bohemian,
this was her portrait of another artist,
Edward Millman (1936)

Here's her self portrait from the same year.

What a woman!

Ed Paschke

Has any other painter
given their work
such a pleasant, neon glow?

Roger Brown

This piece has a nice glow, too

John Storrs

Here's Chicago's most famous
modern sculptor,
with a portrait of Jean Schweppe (1914-1963),
a socialite who was the grand daughter
of John G. Shedd

*********** Paul Thiebaud Gallery************

Celia Breisman

As it turns out,
this is my favorite gallery
at the fair.

Celia Breisman

As you look at the prices,
most of these artists
have to work very hard
to make a living.

Tom Birkner

But they offer what I like to see:

pleasant scenes of the world in which we live.

Eileen David

Catherine Maize

Catherine Maize

Catherine Maize

*********** Mary Qian's picks ***********


Here's Mary Qian's picks


Unfortunately, she did not record the name of the artist,
but only the nationality.


I kind of remember the Korean gallery
that had this kind of painting.

But it didn't appeal enough to me
to get me to stop and look longer at it.

And, it still doesn't.




Are these drawings of shrunken heads?


Here's another take on the fair, by former gallerist, Paul Klein.

He says there's too many mediocre galleries/artists -- but he won't tell us which ones.

Has the fair gotten worse as it has lost the prestige it had 20 years ago?

I do miss the two New York galleries that used to entertain me: Marlboro and Arcadia.

But I see absolutely no correlation between status and quality in the artworld.

Paul Klein says that he doesn't miss "the fat cats who used to come to ArtChicago to hunt for trophies -- but I do miss seeing the trophies they pursued"

While I miss neither one.