Fresh Paint
Saturday, April 09, 2005
SAIC BFA Show, Teaser
Just this minute walked in the door from spending the entire day at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's annual BFA show, and I must say it was odd to experience it without the crowds and hoopla of opening night. Everything spaced out enough that you could step back (and not into) to look more. It used to be held via lottery. I wonder if it's still the case, because the sight lines for some of the most impressive pieces seemed designed. I mean, they didn't stick "20 People I Want to Fuck" in the corner of the back of the third floor.

First impressions? Saw only two or three incomprehensible piles of personal stuff on the floor, and practically no representatives of the old "bad painting" style of a few years ago (which I find I somehow miss). There were probably videos and installations here and there but I find I rarely even look at them. One had a bunch of stuffed animals up you were supposed to pet and I suppose they made a noise, but it didn't work, or else the batteries were dead, or something. This is the problem with moving-part installations.

A lot of painting, a lot of works on paper. There's always extremes. A guy who can barely seem to get one poorly executed abstract-like painting on the wall vs someone who has come up with a full wall of slick imagery plus an entire business-card, website, stationery, postcard marketing package with digital portfolio for herself.

So here's instructions for when you go: Start with the third floor (top floor) and work your way down. Wear good cushionny shoes (floors are concrete). Leave the camera home (they won't let you take pictures unless you have written permission that you have brought with you -- guards are everywhere). Bring a big shoulderbag to hold all the postcards and handouts. It can just barely be done in one afternoon. If I were a good person I'd go back and take another look at some of the pieces that I'm just now remembering (and didn't write down in the notebook).

A word to everyone in the show: I liked a lot of it this year, which may mean you're not pushing hard enough.

I'll probably have a number of posts about the show over the next few days once I clean out my purse and organize. But I'm tired now and have to let it all soak in and get something to eat.

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