Monday, September 24, 2012

The Expo Chicago art show: a 2 dimensional SOFA



In one of my favorite movies, Zoolander, Ben Stiller plays a famous fashion model who has gotten a lot of publicity because he is about to reveal his new "look," his signature facial expression.  An eccentric designer named Mugatu is the only one not falling for the hype and finally screams to the audience of his fashion show, "Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

And that's kind of how I feel about Expo Chicago. To me, despite all the hype that the Expo Chicago art show would be so different from anything we have ever seen before in Chicago, it was a lot like SOFA, only with more two dimensional art and less furniture.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  In fact, I enjoyed it just as much as I have enjoyed the SOFA show.  But perhaps because I am not an art world insider and don't know all the behind the scenes events surrounding these shows, my perspective is limited.
Anyway, back to the Expo.  As I said, it was like SOFA.  Not just because it was in the same space, the Festival Hall at Navy Pier, but also because of the participating galleries.  They were, for the most part, well-known galleries from around the world, showing works by famous artists, both rising stars and deceased modern masters, like the Gordon Parks: At 100 retrospective.  What it didn't have very much of was controversial art, or work by emerging artists.  That was one of the things I enjoyed about the NEXT show at Art Chicago.  I liked the getting a chance to see work by art students as well as new galleries that were just getting started.  There was not very much of that at Expo Chicago.  But I was glad to see nonprofit galleries like The Hyde Park Art Center represented, along with university galleries from Columbia College and University of Chicago, and Bad At Sports showed off their 3D printers and drew a crowd of fascinated onlookers.  Of course, I never attended Art Chicago during its Navy Pier heyday, so I can't make a comparison between the two.  But here are some artists I liked.  You can click the photos to go to their websites to see more of their work:



Scott Reeder - New Kinds of Music
Scott Reeder - New Kinds of Music



Enrico Castellan - Superficie Blanca



Gunther Veder- Nagelecke



Allan D' Arcangelo - Marilyn
 
Michael Reafsnyder - Big Red
Michael Reafsnyder - Big Red


Craig Norton - Carl Hammer Gallery
Craig Norton - White Picket Fences



Jennifer Bartlett - House, Dots, Hatches (detail)





Arch Connelley - The More



Julie Hefferman- Self Portrait Dressing Wounds
Julie Hefferman- Self Portrait Dressing Wounds



Norman Bluhm - Circus
Norman Bluhm - Circus


Polly Apfelbaum - Love Park 26
Polly Apfelbaum - Love Park 26


Ivelisse Jiminez - Detour #1
Ivelisse Jiminez - Detour #1


Jim Lutes - Little Worlds
Jim Lutes - Little Worlds



Tony Cragg - Round the Block


Judy Pfaff - enter the dragon
Judy Pfaff - Enter The Dragon



HC Berg - Visual vortex
HC Berg - Visual Vortex


Joseph Raffael - New moment
Joseph Raffael - New Moment



Rosana Castrillo Diaz - Untitled 2012
Rosana Castrillo Diaz - Untitled 2012


Lorna Simpson - Jet #11, '58
Lorna Simpson - Jet #11, '58


Jules de Balincourt - We Regret To Inform You There Is Currently No Space Or Place For Abstract Painting




Tony Tasset keeps it weird



Louise Nevelson


 
From Contemporary art Museum St. Louis, an interactive installation by Lauren Adams - We The People
Lauren Adams - We The People


One rare political piece was the We the People installation in the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis space by Lauren Adams, with walls covered in Revolutionary War era wallpaper updated with slogans from Occupy and The Tea Party.  Visitors were invited to paint their own political messages on plates, which were displayed on shelves on the walls.  Sadly, by the time I figured out what I wanted to say, they had run out of plates.  I guess people have a lot to say since it's an election year.


Also take a look at video art by Gregory Scott and Tony Oursler on their galleries' websites.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you know it's rare that I find video art that I actually like, but I think what these two artists have done is very innovative and engaging.

I think Expo Chicago was a success and look forward to attending it again next year.

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