Archive for the 'Art Fairs' Category

REPORT: CHICAGO

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Expo Chicago, Sept 18-21, is the “Back-to-School fair” for the art world.  First up following the summer season, it’s not a primary event, but one that is useful and certainly offers highlights. Exhibitors hail internationally to serve an audience that is primarily Midwestern.  A great city to visit, Chicago is a first-class destination for architecture, ranks at the top for outdoor, public sculpture and boasts some truly inspiring private collections. I visited five of them while I was in town and they were memorable.

Amanda Ross Ho, “The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things”,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, plaza installation

The afternoon of my arrival, I had just enough time to make a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was happily greeted by Los Angeles-based artist, Amanda Ross-Ho’s inaugural public outdoor art project. Titled “The Character and Shape of Illuminated Things”, the work explores how photography mimics the ways in which we see. The artist has turned the entire plaza into a photography studio, complete with color calibration card.

Theaster Gates, “13th Ballad”, mixed media sculpture,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The key exhibition inside the Museum is “Theaster Gates: 13th Ballad”. This presentation is an extension of “12 Ballads for Huguenot House” which was one of the most applauded installations at Documenta in Kassel, Germany, last summer. Gates is a deeply emotive artist and brings his authenticity to each sculpture, performance and urban intervention that he creates. Chicago-based and internationally acclaimed, his work was also presented by Kavi Gupta Gallery in a one-person exhibition.

The Fair has made a welcome return to Navy Pier. Now in its’ second year, management has rallied the community and is making a noble effort to ensure continuity. The afternoon preview allowed spacious and relaxed viewing. There was nothing too surprising but the caliber was solid and there’s always something to learn and a few jewels to find.

Monique Van Genderen at Susanne Vielmetter booth,
Expo Chicago

Robert Gober at Matthew Marks booth,
Expo Chicago

David Zwirner brought a tour de force painting by Lisa Yuskavage in three panels measuring about 15’ long. It’s first public viewing, the artist had withheld the piece in her studio since 2010. Matthew Marks offered a significant sculpture by Robert Gober. Susanne Vielmetter featured a strong presentation for painter, Monique Van Genderen.   Barbara Mathes put together another beautifully curated booth spotlighting Jack Pierson.  Chicago’s Alan Koppel Gallery showcased an excellent  range of work from refined photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto to contemporary sculture by Rebecca Warren.

Shannon Findley at Jessica Silverman booth,
Expo Chicago

A section of the Fair titled “Exposure” was dedicated to participation by newer galleries who have been in operation for seven years or less. Each highlighted one or two artists from their program. The standout installation was presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery of San Francisco with her artist, Shannon Finley, who lives and works in Berlin. The paintings are acrylic on canvas backed by wallpaper also created by the artist.

Jaume Plensa, digital fountain, Millenium Park,
Chicago

It’s hard to resist a walk through Millenium Park on any visit to Chicago. Anish Kapoor’s sculpture dazzles the crowd and Jaume Plensa’s heroic fountain continues to thrill as his object sculpture proliferates around the globe. Millenium Park was completed in 2004. In 2009 the Nichols Bridgeway was opened which connects the park to the third floor of the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, both of which were designed by Renzo Piano. Striding the 620’ long bridge to the doorstep of the Art Institute is to transit from one great treasure to another.

Nichols Bridge designed by Renzo Piano,
from Millenium Park to the Chicago Art Institute

A SATURDAY IN LA

Friday, June 28th, 2013

DWELL ON DESIGN

Dwell on Design Conference, Los Angeles Convention Center

Dwell Magazine, which is devoted to modern architecture and design, was launched in September 2000. The Dwell brand has subsequently grown into a significant player and resource in the design field. The magazine’s editors are the curators of the annual Dwell on Design conference which took place at the LA Convention Center on June 21-23. Billed as America’s largest modern design event, it includes the presentation of products, services, demonstrations, educational platforms and home tours. Overall, the show makes an impressive contribution to the way people think about design and it’s relationship to the environment.

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ART BASEL, DAY 2, June 12

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

David Smith, installation view, Galerie Gmurzynska, Art Basel

Art Basel now has two VIP days before the public opening tomorrow.  Many people completed their visit in one day so today was less crowded but no less intense. I scoured the booths I missed yesterday and made return visits to others I had already seen. Despite the most thorough viewing, it is not possible to see everything. Reports for business are strong and much activity is still anticipated.

Ethnographic installation (detail), Museum for Culture, Basel

After departing the fair, I was looking forward to two museums visits, the Kunstmuseum and the Museum of Cultures (Museum der Kulturen).  Specializing in ethnographic collections of artifacts from Europe, the South Pacific, Mesoamerica, Tibet and Bali, the Museum of Culture is one of my favorite places in Basel. The current exhibition focuses on material from the Amazon, addressing the relationship between permanent collection holdings and historical events in the Amazon region. The Museum has one of the most comprehensive Amazon collections in Europe, with an emphasis on the period between 1950-2010.

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ART BASEL, DAY 1, June 11

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Jorge Pardo lamp installation, at Neugerreimschneidger, Art Basel

Leon Golub, painting, at Anthony Reynolds, Art Basel

Despite the proliferation of fairs around the globe, Art Basel in Switzerland remains the best and brightest. The top galleries in the field are all present with their highest quality artworks. The audience is the most sophisticated and discerning. The surrounding venues are world-class with the Kunstmuseum, the Beyeler Foundation and over two dozen other museums in Basel and the Kunsthaus in Zurich one hour away.

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