Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

News: Shaquille O’Neal to Curate Booth at Expo Chicago 2014

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Shaquille O'Neal standing in "SIZE DOES MATTER," an exhibition he curated for the FLAG Art Foundation in 2010

Shaquille O’Neal standing in “SIZE DOES MATTER,” an exhibition he curated for the FLAG Art Foundation in 2010

Yesterday EXPO Chicago announced that Shaquille O’Neal will be curating a booth for the FLAG Art Foundation in this fall’s iteration of the art fair. Entitled “SHAQ LOVES PEOPLE,” the project will consist of portraits produced by emerging and established artists of people across various races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. This is the second curatorial project at FLAG by the fifteen-time NBA all-star turned entrepreneur whose other cultural work includes rap albums, reality television shows and film acting. In 2010 he curated “SIZE DOES MATTER” at FLAG’s gallery in Chelsea, which included artists such as Fred Wilson, Cathy de Monchaux, Kehinde Wiley, Lisa Yuskavage and Jeff Koons. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Expo Chicago 2014 Announces Participating Galleries

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Expo Chicago has just released the list of galleries participating in the 2014 edition of the art fair that will take place September 18-21, 2014 at Navy Pier. The fair continues to grow, climbing to 137 galleries at current count up from last year’s 125. The Chicago galleries included remain much the same as in 2013, with the addition of Linda Warren Projects. Many of this year’s new additions hail from New York, Los Angeles and London, including the multinational Marlborough Gallery, and the New York-based Bortolami and Lisa Cooley, both of which have well=respected programs.

Expo will continue its section of exhibiting younger galleries in what they dub the EXPOSURE section of the fair. After being featured in EXPOSURE last year, Chicago’s own Andrew Rafacz Gallery and The Mission will both be joining the main portion of the fair. As of yet, no Chicago galleries are featured in the 2014 EXPOSURE.

The list of 2014 exhibiting galleries includes: Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Insider’s Guide to Expo Chicago

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Mike Kelley, "Memory Ware Flat# 3" at Skarstedt Gallery

Mike Kelley, “Memory Ware Flat# 3″ at Skarstedt Gallery

By Jason Foumberg

Take it as a good sign that you won’t be able to see and do everything that the Expo Chicago art fair has to offer this weekend on Navy Pier. But how to parse the great from the good? Here are some picks.

Where can you get free tickets?
Unfortunately, it’s pay-to-play. Free admission will be given only to students and faculty of SAIC and Columbia College, with ID. Otherwise expect to pay $20 for a day pass or $30 for a weekend pass.

One of the major bonuses of an art fair, for viewers and dealers alike, is the chance to have intimate conversations with curators and artists that one wouldn’t normally get to access. Expo’s Dialogues series is shaping up to be one of the best panel discussion programs I’ve seen scheduled at a Chicago fair.

Internet art critics can’t hide behind their keyboards forever. “IMG TXT” brings Paddy Johnson (Art F City), Josh Baer (The Baer Faxt) and Forrest Nash (Contemporary Art Daily) to the fore and into the flesh on Friday at 2pm. Read the rest of this entry »

Eye Exam: Second to None

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Jake Myers rides glacier sculpture

By Jason Foumberg

Did you know that the South Side MDW airport predates ORD? Whatever the metaphor, last weekend’s MDW Fair—the third iteration in two years—was the best it’s been yet and a very promising showing of Chicago’s dynamic creative population. With organizational duties shared among the Public Media Institute (Ed and Rachael Marszewski), Document (Aron Gent’s photo publishing business), Roots and Culture, and ThreeWalls, the fair’s conglomerated energy made me hopeful for the future of this art fair and Chicago’s independent art culture. In total, it was a fun event, and I hesitate getting overly serious about the MDW Fair’s consequences or meanings, even if the success of the fair means serious business for all involved. A few observations and reflections:

MDW Fair trend #1: Affordable art. From the publications tables downstairs, which featured low-cost published multiples and artists’ books, to low-priced prints throughout the fair—prints at $5 to $25 and a large-scale sculpture at $500 (John Harms’ “Kissing Booth”)—participants gladly realized the appropriate economy of scale for this alternative art fair. Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO Chicago Report: The Final Day and Final Word

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Photo: Pedro Velez

By Robin Dluzen

“There’s going to be an EXPO Chicago next year, right?” Chicago dealer Linda Warren asked Tony Karman Sunday at Festival Hall, voicing the concern that all of us are harboring. We were discussing how the fair was unfolding, Karman mentioning that he wished more collectors from the greater Midwest region would have come out and talking about the holes he’d like to fill in the future. As Karman spoke about how he was the first to arrive at the fair that morning at 9am to take in his fully realized creation before the final day’s activities commenced, he was the confident marketing machine that was responsible for convincing the amazing architects, dealers and vendors to invest in this first year fair. But as Warren inquired about EXPO 2013, Karman’s pitchman countenance disappeared as he sat down on the floor in front of our bench. With his knees bent, Karman began pulling up the dress socks that had pooled around his ankles and politely asking us to pardon that action before admitting with a sheepish smile, “There had better be a fair next year, or I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.” Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO’s Critics and Collectors

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Jerry Saltz and Robin Dluzen (photo by Pedro Velez)

By Robin Dluzen

“Chicago is slow” was the mantra throughout the day on Thursday as hopeful EXPO staff, exhibitors and speakers repeatedly assured attendees that the sparsely populated aisles and red-dot-less walls shouldn’t be judged so quickly. At 10:30am sharp, Jerry Saltz spoke to a bleary-eyed full house at the EXPO Dialogues stage after an introduction by SAIC’s Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Lisa Wainwright. A bundle of nervous energy, Saltz spoke to his Chicago roots and the city to which he flies a few times a year to advise SAIC painting graduate students. “Chicagoans are shy,” explained The People’s Critic, who admitted that though he is not an authority on art fairs, that he’d like to see EXPO Chicago replace the prominence of Art Basel Miami. “Chicagoans move slow and our money moves slow,” he said of Wednesday night’s Vernissage, which many expected to be the time when a majority of the art would be sold. After that, Saltz’s talk went a little wide, starting with an impression of Jeff-Koons-as-Ronald-Reagan before giving his advice to artists and defending the importance of art as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »

EXPO Insider Photo Diary

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By Pedro Velez

During Artforum’s dinner party on Thursday night at The Publican, renowned dealer Christopher D’Amelio told me that for EXPO Chicago to succeed it must attract an army of unidentified collectors from all over the Midwest. At least that’s what everyone is hoping will happen on Saturday and Sunday, since sales were kind of slow on opening night. After all, what does it mean when the biggest art brokers at the Vernissage were art critic Jerry Saltz and the mayor of Chicago, and not Mr. Cash?

Lauren Adams’ agitprop installation “We the People” (detail) in which she fuses slogans by the Tea Party and Occupy movements to create an anachronistic view of American politics

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EXPO Chicago Report: The Message from Vernissage

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By Robin Dluzen

“It feels like the old times,” former Chicago art dealer Melanee Cooper told me last night at EXPO’s Vernissage, “but it feels fresh at the same time”—a sentiment I heard echoed almost word-for-word throughout the opening night. In many opinions, Tony Karman and his fair have already succeeded on a number of fronts: EXPO’s Studio Gang interior is beautiful, the art is amazing, the food rocks and the people came. The galleries, many of whom haven’t been to Chicago in years, decades or even ever, brought with them the best of what they have.

The press rolled into Vernissage around 3pm, followed at 4pm by the “patrons” at $400-$600 a ticket, and while the aisles felt rather empty for the first few hours, I was repeatedly assured that the folks with money indeed were here, and presumably the money and art were changing hands. Some EXPO dealers were happy to announce sales in these early hours, like Chicago’s Corbett vs. Dempsey; some were optimistic about the feedback, like The Green Gallery from Milwaukee (in the fair’s Exposure section for emerging galleries); while a few other out-of-towners seemed less confident. Read the rest of this entry »

Old Glory: EXPO Chicago Plans to Return Chicago to the Art Fair Majors

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Tony Karman

It’s been some time since Chicago was a major player on the international art fair scene. First the International Art Exposition and, later, Art Chicago, were standard-setters in the eighties and nineties, though as Art Chicago moved out of its longtime home in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, a gradual decline led to its cancellation, under the name Next Art Chicago, earlier this year. EXPO Chicago, the product of longtime Art Chicago administrator Tony Karman, is now attempting to tap some of Art Chicago’s early prestige with a return to Navy Pier and a set-up that is, as Karman says, “respectful to the work that’s put in it.”

“Festival Hall at Navy Pier was built in large part because the art fair meant so much there was no way they could replace it,” says Karman. “So with that as a foundation there’s a way to tap a bit of nostalgia and to put a new varnish on what an art fair or an art exhibition looks like for 2012 and beyond.” Studio Gang, the architecture and design studio of MacArthur “genius grant”–winner Jeanne Gang, has designed an interior for the festival that is modeled off of the city’s urban grid, with the 120 booths of participating galleries bisected by walkways and a wide diagonal “avenue.” Karman says that capping dealers and galleries at 120 was done to maintain “quality over quantity” and prevent EXPO from turning into a mega-fair. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: GLI.TC/H Festival

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Nick Briz


Spinoza and Heidegger made similar points, illustrated with a hatchet and a hammer respectively, that a tool, subsumed in its utility, only truly becomes an object when broken—as do, by implication, our brains and bodies. At the end of Peter Greenaway’s 1985 film “A Zed And Two Noughts,” twin veterinarians obsessed with making time-lapse films of decaying animal corpses finally euthanize themselves before their automated camera—which ceases to function when the room is overrun with snails attracted to the rot. The malfunction, the glitch, breaches the thin line between the ideal, virtual form or function, and the electrified molecules comprising its material substance—and thus, new forms and functions arise. Read the rest of this entry »