I didnâ€™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. Â Nonetheless, here are some lists of what I did see, what I didnâ€™t, some predictions and some things Iâ€™m anticipating.Â I know we all have a love/hate with these kinds of lists, but this should be pretty easy to digest.Â Click on those links.
A major commercial gallery in Chicago will close, another will open
A storied institution will lose itâ€™s curator
A galvanizing work of public art will really piss people off
A better year than 2013
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. Â
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:
“I’ll tell you what distinguishes this year from last year,” Expo Chicago director Tony Karman toldÂ A.i.A.Â at the fair’s sophomore outing on Saturday, “and I’ll tell you in one wordâ€”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 toldÂ A.i.A.Â of serious interest in an assemblage by Salvatore Scarpitta,Â Drummer SeargeantÂ (1963), which was tagged at $750,000, and one dealer who declined to be named toldÂ A.i.A.Â that he had sold a million-dollar artworkâ€”and to a walk-in customer, no less.Â read more
A handful of additional EXPO 2013 accounts can be found here:
Paul Klein onÂ The Huffington Post,Â with some lovely installations shots to boot:
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.
They Won’t Roll Themselves
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.
John Neff in Conversation with Hamza Walker at the Renaissance Society
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
As if there weren’t enough already
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.
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
For Chicago IL
Per Kirkeby, Birds Buried in Snow, 1970
On The Street:
Fashion from the line outside the SAIC BFA show
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.
Stranger finds himself surrounded by mediocre art, after grueling wait
Onlookers struggle to make sense of SAIC BFA Exhibition
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
Header image is a installation shot of “No Show” at the West Pilsen Sculpture Garden.