Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books & More

October 1, 2010 · Print This Article


Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books
Currently on display at Lillian Goldman Law Library’s rare book exhibition gallery at Yale
the series showcases examples of images of superheroes in the dock, comic books about lawyers and examples of legal disputes and Congressional inquiries involving caped crusaders. My artist sense tells me somewhere a lawyer who loves comics is currently on kayak.com reserving a seat on the next flight to New Haven, CT. Read more here & here

Merchandise Mart adds LA to the portfolio of Art Fairs
Planed to open in fall of 2011 (want to lay odds it is close if not the same time as Scope: London & Zoo?) the Chicago based Merchandise Mart has hired MOCA’s Adam Gross as director of the event. Read more here

The Art on the Walls of Wall Street 2
Even though the original Wall Street film was a better story and all around film it did lack in a few areas most of all it’s representation of art. Work, design and taste that is so garish and laughably over the top that it is highly distracting from the story being told. In the sequal the art is more established and used as pantomime of the duplicitous emotions, mood or subtext of the film. The NY Times wrote and interesting article on the process. Read more here

Egyptian Van Gogh Heist now thought to be an inside job
A while back there was the report of a Van Gogh theft from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum which had the art security equivalent of a ADT window decal and nothing more (seven out of 43 security cameras functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museum’s paintings) now the talk is that it was an inside job. This very well may be true but llet me ask how hard was the planning session for that theft? How complex could it have been since the only thing to slow one down from a theft was remembering if it was a push or pull door at the exit? Habib el-Adly, Egypt’s interior minister, said the loss was a “difficult lesson”…. Read more here

Google brings a rough version of a actual usable universal translator
called “conversation mode” which in the art world we could all use more then we would like to admit.




BaS Art Chicago Coverage: Thursday Opening Preview Photos

April 30, 2010 · Print This Article

Due to time constraints little time was spent on the 12th Floor going through Art Chicago and a majority of these photos are from the Next Preview Opening. Which from the talk that I heard no one will complain about (even though what little I saw it looked to be better then previous years but Tomato Tomäto).

Coming away from the Next show much can be said about the much smaller size, omni presence of Kavi Gupta’s Gallery & connections, growth of paid Marketing Partnerships in the show & the search for “Big” things to fill all the empty space. Having said that though I walked away with the feeling not of abuse but more how fragile this years Next really was, right or wrong. Any real complaignts I had seemed to fall more with the Marts operations side which seemed to either be skeleton staffed, temp hires or just poorly managed in general. A marked decline from previous years effort.

Best work of the show for me personally was surprisingly the independent groups and apartment galleries representation (which I couldn’t say in previous years) they really stepped up this year in both polish, substance, displaying actual works not items they want to convince you were finished works & energy. Also I don’t think enough can be said for the works in the show by Tony Tasset this year. They were well positioned, welcomed surprises & overall great work by a artist who deserves his reputation.




BaS ArtChicago Coverage: Tuesday – The Cost of Doing Business

April 27, 2010 · Print This Article

Well it’s almost that time of the year again, High Holy week in Chicago where we all pilgrimage to the Merchandise Mart and endlessly complain how much we don’t want to be there. Which is kind of a shame really? The doors haven’t even opened, exhibitors are still unloading their wares (oh I’m sorry is that word verboten? :) and there is already a collective shrug/ennui working it’s way from gallerists to collectors to The Tribune. I am not suprised, unaware as to why or in disagreement really. The only thing less exciting then spending money on a show during a depression (oh those words again) that is collectivly expected to be poorly attended, poorly reviewed, have low sales and be generally as exciting, sharp & sexy as a slightly used chew toy is to not have one at all and instead we all stay home cleaning our patio decks/yards. It’s not that I don’t get it, I do. Make the best of it, stay together for the kids, you go to war with the army you have not the army you want (yea don’t like the taste of that phrase do you lol).

In a little bit here I am going to lay into the Mart over something and I am sure it will not be the first or last time that either I, Meg, Claudine, The Tribune, Rhona Hoffman or some prairie dog on the net uninformed or unfairly chimes off but before I do does anyone remember the word “Fun”?

If you work in the Art world in any capacity right now you could be easily making a better salary in say Print on mean average so if you’re still here it’s because you love it, chose it & in fact tell everyone else it chose you. So if we are not going to make a fortune, redefine art for the hundredth time this Century, rock the culture with something new or even agree what is the new Deer, Squid or Skull for this year can we at least agree to have some fun? I’m not saying fiddle while Rome burns. Do your due diligence and once that is done, share a laugh, have a meal with a large group, drink, dance,  greet old friends from out of town or even Continent but cut the emo angst and smile (Even you Scott Speh).

Arts a joyful struggle, it never becomes a breeze & it is never the way we want it to be 100% so in the gap between perfection & worthlessness lets remember why we got into this and have some fun cause everyone from the unpaid gallery interns to Chris Kennedy is working hard believe it or not, I know.

Having now said that, there are reports coming in that the Merchandise Mart is looking to charge the exhibitors $49.99 a day for wifi access. Now I have personally worked to provide wifi access for over 100 exhibitors in a large space and can say it is a thankless task that is readily abused by 10% of the users, requires constant oversight if you have power fluctuations of any sort, is consistently reported down when in reality it works and the problem is exhibitor’s laptops running Chinese drivers, or Macs with more warez then actual programs.

Oh do I have sympathy but $49.99 a day let me say that again so that it sinks in $49.99 a day is “screw off” pricing that you do to chase away clients so that you don’t have to provide the service to many & the ones that you do it’s crazy profit. So is that where the business model is right now with the Mart? Are things so tight that we are looking to cut costs and services or gouge to bridge the gap? If so I am sorry for your troubles but if not this is beyond the pale pricing and even I am going to call bunk on that.

Change it before you open, it’s the best PR you can have with exhibitors stuck in one place for hours on end when you can provide reasonably priced internet. Trust me many would rather surf and email then sell, you think I’m joking but I’m not. There is no excuse for that price point unless we’re talking 10MBs up and down which I almost know we are not.

Lets do some good sales, make some good connections & remember have some fun. I’ve seen accountants smile more lately.




Episode 194: Paul Morris

May 17, 2009 · Print This Article

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This week: Duncan talks to Paul Morris the Art Czar of a number of art fairs who really goes by the title of Vice President of Art Shows & Events for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. to discuss Artropolis, his history as an innovator and gallery owner, and where the art world is headed. Read more




Art Chicago Wrapup: Special Exhibitions Edition

May 6, 2009 · Print This Article

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:  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,  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.
Ryan Sluggett (UCLA), Untitled 2008, acrylic, solvent transfer on canvas.

Ryan Sluggett (UCLA), Untitled 2008, acrylic, solvent transfer on canvas.

Nery Gabriel Lemus (California Institute of Art), Praxis within the politicization of my formative years, 2009, installation shot.

Nery Gabriel Lemus (California Institute of Art), Praxis within the politicization of my formative years, 2009, installation shot.

Im Schafer, (Cranbrook), Area Codes, 2008, slipcast ceramics, automotive paint, chrome, neoprene, wood

Im Schafer, (Cranbrook), Area Codes, 2008, slipcast ceramics, automotive paint, chrome, neoprene, wood.

Kristof Wickman (Hunter College), Untitled, 2008, laminate, mixed media.

Kristof Wickman (Hunter College), Untitled, 2008, laminate, mixed media.

Kristof Wickman (Hunter College), Untitled, 2008, laminate, mixed media.

Kristof Wickman (Hunter College), Untitled, 2008, laminate, mixed media.

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.
Matt Mullican, Untitled (Before Birth), Untitled (Death), Untitled (Sign), Untitled (Heaven), 1980, sign paint on paper. A Society for Contemporary Art Acquisition Selection

Matt Mullican, Untitled (Before Birth), Untitled (Death), Untitled (Sign), Untitled (Heaven), 1980, sign paint on paper. A Society for Contemporary Art Acquisition Selection.

Paul Chan, a Society for Contemporary Art Acquisition Selection

Paul Chan, 6th Light, from the series 7 Lights, 2007, digital video projection. A Society for Contemporary Art Acquisition Selection.

Rebecca Morris, Untitled (#15-07), 2007, a Society for Contemporary Art Acquisitions Selection

Rebecca Morris, Untitled (#15-07), 2007, oil on canvas. A Society for Contemporary Art Acquisitions Selection.

Nancy Spero, Woman Breathing, 1978, hand print on paper, a Society for Contemporary Art acquisitions selection

Nancy Spero, Woman Breathing, 1978, hand print on paper. A Society for Contemporary Art acquisitions selection.

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.
Partisan at Art Chicago

Partisan at Art Chicago.

Peter Drake, Horn, 2008, acrylic on canvas, at Partisan/Art Chicago.

Peter Drake, Horn, 2008, acrylic on canvas, at Partisan/Art Chicago. (Photo from Linda Warren Gallery)

Partisan at Art Chicago

Partisan at Art Chicago.

Dinh Q. Le, Untitled from the Hill of Poisonous Trees (two men), at Partisan/Art Chicago

Dinh Q. Le, Untitled from the Hill of Poisonous Trees (two men), at Partisan/Art Chicago. Photo from Artnet; PPOW Gallery.

Dinh Q. Le at Partisan / Art Chicago

Dinh Q. Le at Partisan / Art Chicago.

Tania Bruguera, San Titulo (Habana, 2000), 2006, lambda print

Tania Bruguera, San Titulo (Habana, 2000), 2006, lambda print, at Partisan/Art Chicago.