Chicago Contemporary & Modern Art Fair: Sights of 2015 Revealed

So happy was I to attend Chicago’s international modern art fair, Chicago Expo — to behold the strange sights and to share them with a community of seers. All I ask of art is quantity (an adequate amount of it), and the fair had a satisfyingly delirious quantity of loose fresh art. All the art was better for it, to be immediately contextualized by other images, so many of such immense meditation. My favorite images speak for themselves —




Old King Content & The Weird Art Out There

“Content is King” they had said — so Content becomes a man, the enlightened warlock despot casting spells of letters at the world, the Vector with the logic of a field of dandelions. The “they” that says this are the enlightened graphic designers and  tech types who, despite their lack of taste, engineer the Internet and spray down the world with Trapper Keeper aesthetics to trick people into buying awful products.

What if Google reworked its algorithm after the cliche “Silence is golden”, by which people encourage other people to not take up as much social space? Which is more “relevant,” the soggy blather of corporate blogs, written by unpaid intern drone adult children to feed their King the words he likes, or a irrelevant blog entry that was not even written at all? Perhaps ideally search queries should show empty pages, representing the content that was mercifully, justly, appropriately NOT imposed on the entire world via the Internet. Can’t the market reward what is not? I don’t have the answers but I’d guess the most correct response to many questions is silence.

So you can sense I am in a sour mood. Things get weird here in Chicago and I dipped into silence. I’ve seen art I loved and didn’t photograph, and I’ve missed out on some real good times. Can’t it be OK there in the void? No — the high moral logic of the Internet pleads it to be vanquished with as much tact as you can make. The evil of absence will justify the crass imposition of my perspective on otherwise ideal empty space somewhere in the Internet. Please forgive me but I must choose Good.

I’ll leave you now with the threat of my lips flapping like two wet towels in the wind, fighting this jihad against absence, and some fresh weird Chicago gallery art (uh, yes that is a complete copy of Bertolt Brecht’s FBI file on display at an apartment art show).
Jovencio de la Paz


Meet My New Favorite Chicago Painter

I found a Chicago painter I rather like. His works showed at an open studio night in Roscoe Village (neighborhood famous for infants, I always figured) at the Cornelia Arts Building, which, like a magic door that brooks only for the right moon, has just four public openings each year. When I left the painter, named Eric Weinstein, said “Maybe I will see you in the fall.”

A number of subjects lock together in a moment: there is feeling in the colors (horrific gobs of white paint) but also in how a cat’s head is cut from the frame. We witness a witness’s silent despair, and we see it set in a richly peopled world. The figures are crafted with rubbery whimsy, and good laughs go with the joy of reading our own lives inside the strange dynamic relationships implied by the images.

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Eric Weinstein 20150529_210200 20150529_210012a 20150529_210012 20150529_205845

Bird-Dogging Some Rad Realistic Paintings

I’ve been out bird-dogging art again. This week among the openHilarious Art school installation, Pilsenings I enjoyed, for example, a hilarious ART SCHOOL installation, a show of autistic painters at the Bridgeport Arts Center, and an ultra-boss show of realistic painting at the Zhou Brother Arts Center in Bridgeport. I have a bias for figural and realistic painting, and this show, Immortality and Vulnerability, sprinkled magic powder all around me.

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The Fine Art of Tomorrow’s Bachelors

The year end showcase of student art from the School of the Art Institute (up now at 33 S. State Street, 7th floor) is a happy top caliber comedy of the pretentious, profound, and profane. In my years away from Chicago I would sometimes dream about this gaudy event with its flood of ambitious quasi-amateur art of diverse media, which references touchstones of art education I do not gather and nevertheless conveys streaky neon-bold feelings and succinct aesthetic decisions. I slurped up this year’s knotty student art stew and now I feel strong. Please enjoy these choice paintings, fiber art, and sculpture from the AIC Class of 2015 (the honorary college class peers of Kanye West) —

Zipio Zhang

Nick Zuwala Starr Rojas Nathan Friedman 20150314_134255 Nathery Kinney

Winter Is Long Over For Chicago Art

I went out there tracking art again. There was some fake art, which I scorned unbeguiled by its craft, and some bad hippie art, which stirred such imbalance in me that I could only drop my cell phone before it to the gallery floor. My screen is shattered and belies no photograph of those hideous green lilies in oils.

On the positive tip, here’s some preferred art I found in Chicago lately –

The show at the DePaul Art Museum is pretty fun. They have glassed soil samples, so that you enjoy the various tastes made by the gases produced by particular microbiotic communities. Good gags.

There’s some enchanting glass at Vale Craft Gallery in River North —

The Ann Nathan Gallery in River North is my jam: current chart-topper favorite Chicago gallery. You should go look in person at this crazy pencil scroll work by Dawn England —

And here are some more lean cutlets off the near North Side —

Visions of Situations As A Beach for Flotsam

The great “yesterday night” that lasted for a season ended early this morning: I recall going across the inland freshwater sea by the gloom of night then getting tossed up at the beach. Today though my breast pockets yawn out sand I am thankful to join the land’s side of affairs.


I arrived at the outer limits of my plans (plans made months ago and worn like rings around the eyes): a new home in the old neighborhood, Logan Square. The spot is SITUATIONS, a rad long-running live-art-work-show space where I will be “the new Chip”. Now it’s simply a matter of locating Destiny and surrendering utterly to it.


Most DIY spaces quickly succumb to the boot of the Man or get swept away in the spit-warm tides of a rager; Situations has endured for more than 5 years by the civilized chill of its tenants. The waves here are good. The aesthetic of the space, chiseled into place by the community crowding within and around it, is playful and weird, as sugar-water for the muses. Enormous building-eating Amazonian babes make a totemic art guard; a drop-ceiling corridor of cats salves the birth trauma; the green planet of Bret Koontz reflects in the mirror. The play of image and colored light, in its vibration, seems like a sonic tone.

Here are visions from this secret folk art landscape –