Friday, July 22, 2016

Kerry James Marshall's Masterful Works at the MCA

In an art world where Black subjects and Black artists had all but been rendered invisible, Kerry James Marshall has been making powerful images. His show at the MCA is a celebration of his mastery of painting. I find his distinctive pitch-black people recognizable anywhere I've seen his work. He is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

I recommend seeing this show along with the Art Institute's Invisible Man show of work by Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison. The two shows create a powerful dialogue between Black creatives who refuse to be rendered invisible. Mastry continues through September 25th.

Looking for the Invisible Man

I had no idea that Ralph Ellison and Gordon Parks, the author of Invisible Man and the photographer who created so many iconic images, collaborated with each other, but thanks to The Art Institute of Chicago, I do now. Sadly, their work together wasn't published as they had intended. However, through good curation, the museum has brought their words and images together for a exhibit that makes a still-timely statement about the status of African-Americans, Black men in particular, in a country continues to grant us second-class citizenship. 

In the wake of so many tragic current events, this show feels especially relevant to me. It is on view until August 28th and I definitely recommend it. This show, coupled with the current Kerry James Marshall retrospective at the MCA, would make a very thought-provoking paring.

And if you can't make it,take a look at this video from the Art Institute:

Friday, June 17, 2016

NeoCon 2016

The annual NeoCon trade show at the Merchandise Mart is an event I have come to look forward to every year. It was one trade show floor smaller this year, but I still saw a lot of things I really liked. Here are my favorite showrooms.


These are a few new companies I just found out about.



Here are a few new products:




Here are a few floral arrangements I loved.

One thing I enjoyed as an artist was seeing the way the showrooms and trade show booths used art in their spaces. What a great original piece. (Of course, I'm biased because it fits right in with my style)

Momentum Textiles hired an artist to design textiles for them, made great tote bags with the fabric and gave them away, and even brought the artist to their showroom to create a live drawing. Her name is Shantell Martin and she is based in New York.

Spec Furniture also had an artist working in their space Monday. He drew on one of their tables. Unfortunately I didn't get his name.

Izzy sponsored a coloring contest and the prize is a Sylvi sofa. They also let us color on a Sylvi sofa with Sharpies.

By the third day, the sofa had been colored in very well.

At KI, they also provided materials for coloring.

As far as color trends go, everybody is using the Pantone colors of the year, often paired with grey.


Grey is the popular neutral. Triangles and irregular polygons are popular geometric motifs.

I also had a chance to see the new look of some of the public spaces around the Merchandise Mart. I really like the new grand staircase.

But I think they should have let KI, Herman Miller, or one of their many other commercial furniture tenants design the food court. It lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. It looks unfinished.

Compare that to KI's showroom.

See what I mean?

Overall, I had a really good time and am glad I had a few days to do something I love. I'm looking forward to next year.

To see all the pictures I took, click here.
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