Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Art Chicago and NEXT Art Fair

Mitsuru Takeya, "Shark", Megumi Ogita Gallery, Tokyo

Judy Pfaff
Judy Pfaff

Matthew Abbott, Electric Doorbell Machine, 2010, acrylic and oil on linen

Richard Bosman

Rob Wynne, "Oops!", Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Chicago

Rob Wynne, Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Chicago

Barry Lategan, Twiggy

Art Chicago and NEXT Art Fair took place last week in Chicago's towering Merchandise Mart there on the river. I spent two days winding my way through booths, chatting up dealers, and clicking photos with my phone camera.

The Chicago fairs are inevitably much more conservative than their New York/Miami/Basel counterparts, and less shocking to say the least. Chicago's scene is much more 'hangable', as they say in the biz. It's art that we want to own, live with, hang over our sofas. Rothko called this type of art 'mantle paintings' for that very reason. Yes, he meant it as an offensive critique, but there is a time and a place for art that we relate to on a aesthetically visceral level.

Take Barry Lategan's Twiggy. There is nothing new or radical (let's use the word 'radical' more, shall we?) about those sepia tones and familiar coal eye liner, but its just so good and iconic that it still works. No one would care about such a portrait at the Armory Show, but in Chicago we gape. Brooklyn's Judy Pfaff is an old favorite of mine, and I would KILL to get a Rob Wynne exclamation for my bedroom. I've used that Richard Bosman piece on this blog before, and seeing intaglio so beautifully executed actually made me salivate.

NEXT is Art Chicago's cooler, hipper, younger, and more affordable counterpart, and took place just a short elevator ride away. (Actually the elevator service at the Merch Mart is nuts! Can someone please get in there and restore those cables before they all start plummeting, as is one of my worst nightmares post The Tower of Terror circa 1992.)
Ryan and I ate up the tiny watercolors by unknown (until now!) Japanese painter Mitsuru Takeya at the Megumi Ogita booth who painted that shark up top. He's also living as my phone wallpaper at the moment, grinning all the while. We were introduced to the work of Brooklyn painter Matthew Abbott who has an opening in his Williamsburg loft later this month and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be there showing my support. (Congrats Matthew and Amanda on the space!)

The art was good. It was solid, clean, and worthy. But, let's be honest, I'll be ready for something a little less 'solid' come Basel. I'll side with Rothko over Picasso any day.
(Note: sorry about the formatting on this. Much to my annoyance, Blogger just can't seem to get it together when I try to add multiple photos to a post. Gar.)


Mach1 said...

I like almost all those pictures, but if you pointed a gun at my head and told me I had to pick one, I would go with Matthew Abbott.

Sarah said...

Come to his loft party with me in williamsburg on the 25th then!