Today I’ll be posting some images and brief commentary on this past weekend’s Artropolis/Art Chicago/NEXT fairs. There was a lot to see and unfortunately I couldn’t adequately document it all, so consider these posts in terms of what they’re meant to be:Â snapshot images of work that intrigued me, some of which has stayed with me long enough to want to find out more about the artist in the future. In a number of instances the pictures I took were poorly lit or otherwise crappy, and it would have been a disservice to the artist to post them,Â so take this as a partial and anecdotal summation, not as some sort of Top 10 -type list which I pretty much detest anyway.
All of the Special Exhibitions were very well done, although I think calling out certain works in the booths as part of the Fair’s so-called “Salute to Realism” was a bit strange. As I mentioned in a previous post, I personally liked Lynn Warren’s Hairy Who presentations the best, but I learned something from every exhibition on view and in general thought they all worked pretty well in an art fair context. There was a lot to see, and my picture-taking skills are at level zero, but here’s what I was able to capture while on the 12th floor.
New Insight (I think this was actually at NEXT, on the 7th floor, but whatever): This was an exhibition of MFA students from some of the country’s top graduate art programs, curated by Renaissance Society director Susanne Ghez. The pool of art schools included Cal Arts, Carnegie Mellon, Cranbrook, Hunter, Maryland Institute College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Art Institute, UCLA, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana, and Yale. Some interesting work here; ironically I never got a photo of Jesse Mclean’s 6 min. video of reality show losers “Somewhere Only We Know,” although I think it was probably the best work in that show.
Society for Contemporary Art’s Acquisition Selection for 2009
Members of the Society for Contemporary Art of Chicago met last Sunday to choose from works by Paul Chan, Rebecca Morris, Nancy Spero, Matt Mullican, and Martin Barre. Apologies, but I could not get a half-way decent shot of Barre’s “76-77-C,” oil on canvas painting, nor could I find an image of it online.
Partisan: Another special exhibition was the Mary Jane Jacob-curated Partisan, a group show of work selected from galleries exhibiting at Art Chicago “dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas.” You know, take what you will from a show of political art at an art fair. It’s a brave thing to attempt and I respect the effort, I’m just not sure how much attention viewers are willing to pay to a show like this one when there’s so much distraction surrounding them.
Claudine Isé has worked in the field of contemporary art as a writer and curator for the past decade, and currently serves as the Editor of the Art21 Blog. Claudine regularly writes for Artforum.com and Chicago magazine, and has also worked as an art critic for the Los Angeles Times. Before moving to Chicago in 2008, she worked at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH as associate curator of exhibitions, and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as assistant curator of contemporary art, where she curated a number of Hammer Projects. She has Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California.
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