Episode 437: Solveig Ovstebo

January 13, 2014 · Print This Article

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Solveig Ovstebo
This week: From our residency at Expo Chicago 2013 we talk to the new (as of June 2013) Director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Solveig Ovstebo.




TOP 5 LISTS for 2013

January 6, 2014 · Print This Article

Guest Post by Britton Bertran

I didn’t get out to see a lot art in Chicago this year as I was too happily busy being a Dad to the best little boy in the world.  Nonetheless, here are some lists of what I did see, what I didn’t, some predictions and some things I’m anticipating.  I know we all have a love/hate with these kinds of lists, but this should be pretty easy to digest.  Click on those links.

Exhibitions I saw:

  1. Amalia Pica at the MCA
  2. Fragment: Sampling the Modern at the Elmhurst Art Museum
  3. Wendy White at Andrew Rafacz
  4. Andrew Holmquist at Carrie Secrist Gallery
  5. David Salle: Ghost Paintings at The Arts Club of Chicago

Best Spaces:

  1. Queer Thoughts
  2. Roots & Culture
  3. Western Exhibitions
  4. LVL3
  5. PLHK

“Emerging” artists:

  1. Matthew Schlagbaum
  2. Kate Ruggeri
  3. Allison Wade
  4. Alice Tippit
  5. Danny Giles

WTF moments:

  1. Vivian Maier
  2. EXPO Chicago
  3. AIC’s Modern Wing’s closed 3rd floor
  4. The Way of the Shovel at the MCA
  5. Chicago Sculpture International’s Sculpture on the Boulevards
Mike Andrews at The Suburban

Mike Andrews at The Suburban

Exhibitions/Events I didn’t see:

  1. RH Quaytman at the Renaissance Society
  2. Medium Cool
  3. Steve McQueen at the AIC
  4. Matt Nichols at Corbett vs. Dempsey
  5. Mike Andrews at The Suburban

Anticipating in 2014:

  1. The Whitney Biennial
  2. William J. O’Brien at the MCA
  3. Christopher Wool at the AIC
  4. Christopher Williams at the AIC
  5. A new permanent space for Threewalls

2014 Predictions:

  1. The Whitney Biennial fails in the eyes of critics
  2. A major commercial gallery in Chicago will close, another will open
  3. A storied institution will lose it’s curator
  4. A galvanizing work of public art will really piss people off
  5. A better year than 2013

HAPPY 2014!

Bio: Britton Bertran ran 40000 from 2005 to 2008. He currently is an Instructor at SAIC in the Arts Administration and Policy department and the Educational Programs Manager at Urban Gateways. An occasional guest-curator, he has organized exhibitions for the Hyde Park Art Center, the Loyola Museum of Art and several galleries. You can find him trying to be less cranky about the art world on twitter @br_tton.  




Episode 433: Expo Chicago РSanford Biggers, Elysia Borowy-Reeder and Jos̩ Lerma

December 17, 2013 · Print This Article

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Sanford Biggers Elysia Borowy-Reeder and José Lerma
This week: Duncan and Richard at Expo Chicago 2013 talking to Sanford Biggers, Elysia Borowy-Reeder and José Lerma.

From Expo’s info:

Sanford Biggers, Elysia Borowy-Reeder and José Lerma in conversation with Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie for another rousing Bad at Sports discussion, hosts Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie will field interviews and commentary from Artist Sanford Biggers (SAIC MFA 1999, moniquemeloche, David Castillo Gallery, MASSIMO DE CARLO), Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Elysia Borowy-Reeder and Artist José Lerma (SAIC Painting and Drawing), most recently featured in a solo exhibition for “Chicago Works” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.




Compiling Reports: EXPO Chicago 2013

September 24, 2013 · Print This Article

In case you thought we maybe glossed over the epic amount of blood sweat and tears that went into last week’s art fair extravaganza, I thought I’d repost a few articles that came out in the last few days including this one from Art in America:

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Strong Sophomore Outing for Expo Chicago

by Brian Boucher

“I’ll tell you what distinguishes this year from last year,” Expo Chicago director Tony Karman told A.i.A. at the fair’s sophomore outing on Saturday, “and I’ll tell you in one word—sales. It was very important that big dealers like David Zwirner and Marianne Boesky do well, and they have.”

Featuring over 120 international galleries at the capacious Navy Piers (up from 100 last year), with views of Lake Michigan, Expo Chicago (Sept. 19-22) represented dealers from 17 countries and 36 cities. Some were returning, like Zwirner (New York and London), Matthew Marks (New York and Los Angeles), and Kavi Gupta (Chicago and Berlin). There were also many first-timers, including Marianne Boesky (New York), Cabinet (London), Massimo de Carlo (Milan and London) and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

While almost every exhibitor acknowledged that sales were little to none in 2012, nearly all said that business was better this year. Dealers reported a range of sales, starting as low as $4,000 for works on paper by Chicago’s own William J. O’Brien at Boesky. Works in a modest price range found the most ready buyers, but there were outliers. Boesky told A.i.A. of serious interest in an assemblage by Salvatore Scarpitta, Drummer Seargeant (1963), which was tagged at $750,000, and one dealer who declined to be named told A.i.A. that he had sold a million-dollar artwork—and to a walk-in customer, no less. read more

A handful of additional EXPO 2013 accounts can be found here:

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Paul Klein on The Huffington Post, with some lovely installations shots to boot:

This is the second year of this wonderful mid-sized art fair, with substantial galleries bringing some A quality art and almost enough cutting edge galleries showing off exciting artists to watch.There are some gorgeous treasures to be seen. 

A selection from the Annely Juda Fine Art installation.

A selection from the Annely Juda Fine Art installation.

More photos of favorite works via The Chicagoist.

Many reports via Art Fag City over the course of the week/end, beginning with from Paddy Johnson’s mixed reaction:

Importantly, the fair seems an enormous step up from anything Merchandise Mart offered, a mega-fair corporation that’s been largely unsuccessful at handling art. Much as the company does for Volta in New York, Merchandise Mart used their own real estate to house Next Art Chicago, even though its low ceilings were unsuited to showcasing art. Last year, when they closed, the organization claimed that collectors were only purchasing art on the coast lines.

A photo collection courtesy of Paddy Johnson, with “the good, the bad and the ugly:”

It’s impossible to describe EXPO Chicago without offering a few images to tell the story. This slideshow with commentary do just that. Highlights, lowlights, and everything in between below.

Andreas Lolis' marble "cardboard" boxes IN/SITU, EXPO Chicago, 2013.

Andreas Lolis’ marble “cardboard” boxes IN/SITU, EXPO Chicago, 2013.

And AFC’a closing word from Robin Dluzen:

A main concern for EXPO and the exhibiting galleries was last year’s absence of collectors and museums from the wider midwest region and beyond, and this year, EXPO managed to draw them in. William Lieberman of Zolla/Lieberman Gallery (a veteran Chicago dealer, first time EXPO exhibitor) saw his clients from St. Louis and San Francisco; Monique Meloche, also exhibiting for the first time at EXPO and the founder of Gallery Weekend Chicago running concurrently with the fair, had museum groups from Kentucky and Denver buying for themselves and buying for the museums. “MoMA is not going to buy here,” she explains, “But this can be a strong regional place.” It’s not just the out-of-towners making themselves known, but also the more reclusive local collectors. “I had Sanford Biggers in my windows for months,” said Meloche of the artist’s recent exhibition at her eponymous gallery, “I brought him here to the fair and there are Chicago collectors discovering the work for the first time.”

Dmitry Samarov writes in Art on its Own Terms:

My strategy at these fairs has always been to run through the entire thing quickly, then return to anything that made my eye stop. Most years that amounts to four or five paintings or drawings and this year was no different. There was a good corner where a David Park portrait was next to an Elmer Bischoff figure painting, with a Richard Diebenkorn drawing round the corner. I was also happy to see a Leon Kossoff painting along with a couple of drawings. There was an Alice Neal children’s portrait too, that made all the work around it look like newspaper clippings. The thing I liked best though were a couple small Harold Haydon cityscapes.

Terraniums edit

Chicago Magazine got a kick out of Seattle-based artist Vaughn Bell, mini earth-and-moss terrariums that were “available for adoption this weekend at the Expo Chicago art fair on Navy Pier.” 

And finally — Artslant Thomas Connors interviewed Tony Karman:

TC: A fair of modern and contemporary work must be something of a balancing act. You’ve got the de Kooning collector on one hand and the Simon Starling fan on the other. And I’m guessing the blue chip collector isn’t looking to acquire an emerging artist.

TK: Let me disagree with you. To some extent, there are certain collectors who will only want to buy that de Kooning. But other lifelong collectors want to be in the vanguard; they are going to look to the younger work because that is equally exciting to them. That’s probably more the norm. A great collector likes to have a balance of contemporary work and historical material.




EDITION #4

March 4, 2013 · Print This Article

Performance on masculinity not particularly manly

Boston based performance artist Garrett Yahn proved himself to be a grade-a sissy this past Saturday when, during his exhibition and performance “Old Work/New Work” at Happy Collaborationists, he applied women’s makeup to his face for nearly an hour.

Garrett Yahn doing “man stuff”

Yahn’s solo show in collaboration with ACRE and Happy C’s also featured two video works highlighting repetitive manual labor, the artist’s meticulously handwritten CV and a photo of Yahn with the goopy black mascara beard that his performance culminated in. One of the video works starred the artist’s father, who is probably horrified by the fact that his son parades around, wearing mascara in public.

Attendees of the show sheepishly sipped their beer while pretending to “get it.” Afterwards, many returned home to experiment with makeup and ponder the relationship between factory work and male drag.

Blog Roll

Sometimes life imiates art. Other times art imitates life. But occassionally life kicks arts ass so hard that art gets really embarassed and has to stay home from school for at least a week. Internet gem “You Had One Job” is one of those times.

We would mention that the MCA Chicago killed the Harlem shake, but can it be considered murder when the vicitm has been dead for years? #beatingadeadhorse

Girl Don’t be Dumb, because you shouldn’t be. And you can never get enough pink.

Meeting of the minds: Neff & Walker

“Does this cyanotype make me look fat?”

John Neff killed it last night at his opening and artist talk The Renaissance Society. The 58 chronologically titled black and white photographs in the show, produced with a MacGyvered scanner camera were striking and solemn, framed identically and hung on dark gray walls that bisected the gallery.

Neff and Walker’s discussion at the opening nothing short of enlightening. Spanning 16 years of the artists work and evolution, topics discussed ranged from John Cage to instagram and went well over the allotted time, though no one in the packed and captive audience seemed to care. Footage of the conversation will soon be available on the Ren’s vimeo page.

More information on the exhibition can be found here.

Kate Moss commissions portrait

Its been reported that the model/badgirl recently commissioned British street artist Bambi to create a painting of Moss for her home in the Cotswolds. Ever humble, Moss simply requested that her portrait be “similar to the iconic ‘Marilyn’ by Andy Warhol.” Since Kate’s country retreat has wall space to spare, What’s the T? has taken the liberty of creating a hypothetical art collection specially curated for the contemporary English Marilyn.

Work by Kirsten Stoltmann

More hypothetical art collections: Rick Ross and Martha Stewart.

Momin L.A.N.D.’s at EXPO

After announcing an in-depth partnership with the City of Chicago during a recent press conference, EXPO Chicago made a puzzling move this week by naming Los Angeles-based Shamim M. Momin as the curator of their IN/SITU program for the 2013 fair. No T, No shade; Momin is obviously qualified, but is the goal of EXPO Chicago ultimately to showcase the city or to become a platform for touring curators? Is there room at the young fair for both?

What’s the T? would like to note a clarification concerning this article: EXPO Art Week is meant to be a separate city-wide initiative of arts and culture programming while EXPO CHICAGO is still the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art.

The Weatherman Report

Per Kirkeby, Birds Buried in Snow, 1970

On The Street:

All images taken in the unbelievably long line outside The School of the Art Institute’s 2013 Spring Undergraduate Exhibition Opening Reception last Friday night, unless not.





These things.

Stranger finds himself surrounded by mediocre art, after grueling wait

After waiting hours in a line full of respectable adults and “interesting” looking millennials, a lone Chicagoan found himself trapped amongst useless ceramics, twigs, rice and what appeared to be gigantic collaborative finger paintings at the SAIC BFA Exhibition Opening this past friday night.

“All of a sudden I was sitting inside of skinned muppet surrounded by kids who looked like they all got haircuts in the dark,” said the bewildered attendee.

Confused by the plethora of elaborate business cards in a place where absolutely no business could possibly be taking place, the lone outsider struggled to make meaning out of rocks covered with sponges and photographs of morose teenagers.

After spending nearly 20 minutes watching a video of a girl to licking a suspended donut, the visitor left in a hurry, stating angrily “What is this cracked-out corn-maze and and why is everyone drinking La Croix?”



Work by Megan Isaacs (Rebuild), 2013