Fresh Paint
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Art Exhaustion, Day One
And may be the only day, since Dan at Iconoduel has thoroughly covered the Navy Pier show and in comments has clarified where the NOVA location is (we tried but couldn't find it -- guess we weren't looking for a transmission shop -- and were I guess hoping for a sign (literal sign, like on paper or cardboard -- nothing fancy)). And the admirable Houndstooth has covered the same territory, so I guess I don't need to go.

Sounds like the park was a bit better. And to answer everyone's question, yes, there are facilities, and no, they aren't blue port-a-pottie booths:

We got there early, but they still weren't ready for us. One entire half of the show (perhaps a full tent) didn't have electricity until at least 1 pm, so everyone was crowded over in the lit half. The guy from Dogmatic said the worst part was that the coffee service was without electricity when they were trying to set up.

No, worse was the story of the Hotcakes Gallery guy, who was supposed to get a 12 by 12 space but ended up with 9 by 9, and one of his walls was missing when he arrived yesterday. Speaking of which, I was curious how many signed up for the bus -- 32 people! A couple of boxes of wine on the way back, and you have a party! I almost felt like driving up there just so I could take the bus down to the show and back again.

OK. So there were few big-name New York or London galleries this year (Forum seemed to be the largest presence). And none of them brought their A-Team works along. The largest, most boring presence was the Thomas McCormick gallery (Chicago), which took over what seemed like the entire center of the fairly cramped tent space. Other galleries seemed to feature the identical work I'd seen last year, only sometimes in different colors.

A big theme this year seemed to be animals. And animals becoming people or people becoming animals.

(Also Sara Stites at Liquid Blue.)

Not as much encaustic as in previous years. I saw virtually no sculpture, no installations, only a few videos, no huge bland c-prints which had littered the show for many years. Granted, these are things I tend to ignore even if they're there....

So what did I like? Mostly I liked the works on paper and a few paintings. I adored this huge jewelled drawing (this is only a detail):

If the Chicago galleries hadn't been there (in particular Zg, with a whole stable of lively art) or Carrie Secrist (who had some of the Liliana Porter pieces) and the Stray Show strays from previous years, the show would have had no life whatsoever. None.

And I liked the wigs at Sophisticated Traveler (Peoria) by Angela Barker.

Go and see for yourself. It will be very very crowded, however, and cramped. Don't bring a backpack or big coat (you'll have to check it).

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