Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Expo Dispatches: Sarah Charlesworth and Conceptual Photography Discussed at Art Institute

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Sarah Charlesworth. "Unidentified Man, Ontani Hotel," Los Angeles, 1980, printed 2012, No. 14 of 14 from the series Stills.

Sarah Charlesworth. “Unidentified Man, Ontani Hotel,” Los Angeles, 1980, printed 2012, No. 14 of 14 from the series Stills.

Programming across the city set to coincide with Expo Chicago began on Wednesday with rooftop parties, previews and lectures. Speaking to a near-capacity crowd at the Art Institute of Chicago’s stately Fullerton Hall, artists Liz Deschenes, Laurie Simmons and Sara VanDerBeek were joined by activist Kate Linker Wednesday evening for a wide-ranging discussion of the life and work of the late photographer Sarah Charlesworth in conjunction with the opening of “Stills,” the artist’s first solo museum show in fifteen years. Read the rest of this entry »

Expo Dispatches: Your Fair Survival Guide and Must-See Itinerary

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Ai Weiwei. "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" installed at the Adler Planetarium. Photo Credit: Natalia Salazar / Chicago Park District

Ai Weiwei. “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” installed at the Adler Planetarium. Photo Credit: Natalia Salazar / Chicago Park District

The third year of The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art (EXPO) is upon us. There is much to be seen this weekend both on and off the Pier, but no one can do it all. (I had a hard time even getting through the encyclopedic press materials in a timely manner.) So strap on your sensible shoes, paint your face like Ziggy Stardust, and keep your eyes peeled for Shaq; here are my recommendations, must-sees and predictions for what’s most likely to elicit schadenfreude.

Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass or $30 for the weekend. The fair is open 11am-7pm Friday and Saturday and 11am-6pm Sunday. Unless otherwise noted, all events are taking place at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 East Grand). Read the rest of this entry »

Social Justice at an Art Fair? Site-specific and Nonprofit Artworks at Expo Chicago [UPDATED]

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Alfredo Jaar. "Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness," 1995, neon, 65.75 x 216 inches

Alfredo Jaar. “Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness,” 1995, neon, 65.75 x 216 inches

By Alyssa Moxley

Visitors to this year’s Expo Chicago can expect to see an abundance of works outside commercial gallery booths that speak to ecological threats, the consequences of international conflict and similar socially motivated creative concerns. Human Rights Watch presents a large-scale neon installation by Alfredo Jaar, “Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness,” working with text dealing with generational learning from Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe. The Laumeier Sculpture Park opens their World’s Fair archives to New-Delhi based RAQS Media Collective, who will invite visitors to participate in a project elucidating colonial ideologies. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Hyde Park Art Center Presents Chicago MFA Grads at Expo and in Winter Showcase

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Esau McGee. "Untitled Chicago Ave. Landscape,"2013, mixed medium collage, 24 x 24 inches

Esau McGee. “Untitled Chicago Ave. Landscape,”2013, mixed medium collage, 24 x 24 inches

Selected from more than 100 nominees, the Hyde Park Art Center has announced the artists to be exhibited in its third biennial exhibition Ground Floor: Evan Baden, Hannah Barco, Greg Browe, Houston Cofield, Maggie Crowley, Barbara Diener, Assaf Evron, Andrew Holmquist, Kelly Lloyd, Jesse Malmed, Esau McGee, Ben Murray, Celeste Rapone, Kyle Schlie, Tina Tahir, Keijaun Thomas, Daniel Tucker, Ramyar Vala, Julie Weber and Nicole Wilson. All of these artists have recently completed their Masters in Fine Arts at five of Chicago’s highly ranked MFA programs: Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »