Chicago Art Review


Chicago Art Preview : Decide that this matters. by Steve Ruiz
August 20, 2009, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Chicago Art Preview

A weekend preview post!

Jason Ferguson @ ebersb9

Unlike chemtrail theories and fleshlight cleaning techniques, the Google search engine may not be the best place to find God. Or maybe it is! Ebersb9 will be hosting relics from Jason Ferguson‘s Google Searching for God, his infinity-long multi-media project detailing his search for the almighty on the Internet. Check out the opening on Friday, August 21st, 6-9 PM @ ebersb9, 1359 W. Chicago, apartment B9.

Jason Ferguson, God Sighting A

Jason Ferguson, God Sighting A

Transparent Reflect  @ The Co-Prosperity Sphere

Also posted as The Portrait Show, this southmore group exhibition will feature artwork exploring portraits and self portraits as they fit with the contemporary moment. I haven’t been to the Sphere since I watched Lord of the Yum Yum blow out the eardrums of a ecstatic five year old. That’ll be hard to top. Transparent Reflect opens Friday, August 21st, at 6 PM @ The Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 South Morgan.

Adam Golfer, Kin (9)

Adam Golfer, Kin 9

Joe Grimm and Ben Russell @ Vega Estates

Two one-night only installations go up in Pilsen’s Vega Estates this Saturday: Joe Grimm’s The World of Things in Themselves, a sensual projector show that appear to mesmerize with epileptic phasing and Ben Russel‘s An Incantation for Eternity, a five part projector and speaker and prism and feedback magic dust installation that will possibly create pentagrams in the air. Too much fun to miss. Both shows open Saturday, August 22nd, 6 – 10 PM @ Vega Estates, 723 W 16th Street.

A motherfucking CONE OF LIGHT

A motherfucking CONE OF LIGHT

Painting Competition @ Around the Coyote

There’s a 1st Annual for everything, including this competition from the freshly Splat Flat folks of Around the Coyote, curated by Sara Schnadt. Check it out this Saturday, August 22nd, 6 – 9 PM @ Around the Coyote, 1817 w division street.

Mark Hansen, Lifted Up, Leveled Off

Mark Hansen, Lifted Up, Leveled Off

Also be sure to go to the secret show. If you know what I’m talking about, I’ll see you there!

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7 Deadly Artists of the Week by Steve Ruiz
August 19, 2009, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Artists of the Week

Here’s something new I’m going to try:  The following picks are from Ryan Travis Christian, who has been posting an artist of the day pretty much every day on Facebook, and who has given me the nod to combine them into weekly posts. Look back next Wednesday for the next set!

Click on images for links.

Banks Violette, Not Yet Titled (dwg09_02)

Banks Violette, Not Yet Titled (dwg09_02)

Eddie Martinez, Against The Wind

Eddie Martinez, Against The Wind

Charlie White, Teen and Transgender Comparative Study #4

Charlie White, Teen and Transgender Comparative Study #4

James Benjamin Franklin, Prayer

James Benjamin Franklin, Prayer

William J. O'brien, Untitled

William J. O'brien, Untitled

Denise Kupferschmidt, Superpositions 2

Denise Kupferschmidt, Superpositions 2

Tauba Auerbach, Stacking (YES), Stacking (NO)

Tauba Auerbach, Stacking (YES), Stacking (NO)

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Built @ Laumeier Sculpture Park by Steve Ruiz
August 18, 2009, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Reviews

I was touring through St. Louis this weekend and stopped by Laumeier Sculpture Park to walk and sweat and see their collection, which includes a killer Tony Tasset and a friendly Vito Acconci and many others. I was also very happy to find their indoor space filled with a group exhibition from the Kranzberg Exhibition Series, a project which supports and exhibits local St. Louis area artists. Entitled Built, the show brought together six installation artists to run free in the space with sound and light and paint and sculpture and thousands of keyboard keys.

Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost, QUERTY

Sarah Frost’s two installations White Wall and QUERTY are very intense recycled or recollected constructions. QUERTY features untold numbers of keyboard keys from floor to ceiling on four walls of a small room. Like many resale/found object artists, Frost’s main focus seemed to be giving new and functionless purpose to objects whose have had a history of function (sort of like Walmart greeters), however there’s more life here than just that. Between the history present in the discoloration and wearing of the keys, their obsessive scope in display, and the tightness of the room in which they were installed, I could feel a more claustrophobic, overwhelming blankness.

Sarah Frost, White Wall

Sarah Frost, White Wall

That same disquiet was brought through with White Wall, another floor to ceiling self-supporting construction that seemed to have arranged itself by itself like a magnetic and sentient game of Tetris. I was creeped and glad for it.

Stan Chrisholm

Stan Chisholm, Mobile Homes

In another room, street artist and SAIC graduate Stan Chisholm had installed a three dimensional mural called Mobile Homes made of mostly paint and painted polystyrene foam with clothed strawmen emerging from and interacting with the work. Displaying either a great floor or tornado or stony disaster, the mural had color and graphic thundering along together. I have a feeling Chrisholm is snappable, someone to watch for.

Stan Chrisholm, Mobile Homes

Stan Chrisholm, Mobile Homes

St. Louis outsider artist Chris Norton (who is white) installed in his room a Darfur horror tale through a series of Bic pen and wallpaper drawings. The disjointed portraits stood beside unsettling first person narratives of victims of the civil war, set against harsh red walls and what could either be an unlit pyre or a thin-legger equestrian constructed along one wall and across the floor.

Chris Norton, Genocide in Darfur

Chris Norton, Genocide in Darfur

Probably the most challenging installation in the group, Norton’s Genocide in Darfur came off as a very sincere and earnest and concerned work, but I found the narratives uncomfortably unconvincing. Something in the language seemed off. I couldn’t tell if they were translated directly from the individuals shown beside them, or whether they were invented or imagined to pair with the portraits’ source photographs. Though it presents a whole number of strange conflicts about purpose and invention, I would guess the latter.

Craig Norton, Genocide in Darfur

Craig Norton, Genocide in Darfur

The first room seen on entering the gallery features Michael Behle, with his large flower and speakers audio/visual installation titled Disintegration and a small painting (Your gentleness towards me) across from it.

Michael Mehle, Disintegration

Michael Behle, Disintegration

I like Michael Behle. I think his paintings are great, and am glad we in Chicago are fortunate to have access to them at the Peter Miller Gallery. I thought his sculpture was awful. The construction and execution was just too weak to support an idea – the artist’s function of absorbing nonsense from his audience and vomiting beauty in response – that isn’t interesting or convincing. The painting Behle chose to hang was much more interesting, but it would have looked better alone.

Michael Behle, Your gentleness towards me

Michael Behle, Your gentleness towards me

And finally, the largest installation room was occupied by a very atmospheric collaboration between Cameron Fuller (work buried in Flash here) and Sarah Paulsen. The pairing was too fun, with Fuller’s sculptural stagecraft and Paulsen’s excellent video and animations fitting perfectly together. With colored light and the dancing lines of a Django Reinhardt tune, the installation felt like an arm in arm carnival at terror twilight o’clock. As fun as it was, I bet it was more fun to put together.

Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen

Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen

The whole show was a happy break from the traditional heat and humidity of a middle mid-west August sculpture romp, a well put together, cohesive group show that might not be worth the drive for the average Chicagoan, but which was a great exhibition none the less. If you’re in that corner of the states, you have every reason to stop by and make a day of it.

I give it a:

7.7

Built: Kranzberg Exhibition Series runs June 6th, 2009 to September 6th, 2009 @ The Laumeier Sculpture Park‘s Indoor Galleries, 12580 Rott Road, St. Louis.

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No News is Good News by Steve Ruiz
August 13, 2009, 12:44 am
Filed under: Artists of the Week

Unfortunately I’m spending a lot of this month on vacations that I cannot afford and am therefore missing three weeks of art openings in a row and as a result I have nothing to write about because I haven’t seen anything new. I don’t feel too bad about this weekend, considering that many (of my favorite) galleries are taking it off too, but blogs are like very tall people or haunted wine and get creepy when left alone to age.

Here are images from artists I like right now. Click on images for links.

Scott Dickson, I Smile When it Looks Like Rain

Scott Dickson, I Smile When it Looks Like Rain

Carsten Höller, Amethist, Garnets, Saphires, Aquamarine, Quartz, Topaz, Rubies, and Turmaline Inside of an Owl

Jason Dodge, Amethist, Garnets, Saphires, Aquamarine, Quartz, Topaz, Rubies, and Turmaline Inside of an Owl

Ajit Chauhan, Hair

Ajit Chauhan, Hair

Mark Freedman, Crybaby

Mark Freedman, Crybaby

Shaun O’Dell, Oracle Falcon (video still)

Shaun O’Dell, Oracle Falcon (video still)

Enjoy the hot eats and cool tweets of summer.

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