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Art Letter (11/19/04)

I ran into more good art today than expected.  Take a look at what I saw. 

Fred Bakerís Gallery is on the west side of the West Loop, over by Helix.  He moved there in 1976, even before I did. His current show is a winner - especially for a sucker like me when the subject matter is Chicago Images.  What a great concept and what a wonderful array of pictures. I love being a tourist in my own town., Just like we like movies shot in Chicago a show of pictures - good ones anyway - is equally a blast. I think this show is only up for another week.

At the other end of the spectrum is a tour de force in the really special pieces of  Karen Reimerís Boundary Troubles at Monique Meloche.  Overlapping embroidery obfuscates the meeting place of divergent pieces of fabric. Thatís it. And itís great.  Similar size and scale to Richard Tuttle they are both dumber (as if that were possible) and smarter than Tuttleís and certainly more intentional and still dumb.  It takes a special quality to be both smart and dumb at the same time. These sing.

I like being able to get out more, to see more shows and to better grasp dealerís personalities by looking at their art.  Iím beginning to grasp their agendas and better comprehend their attitudes.  I like good attitudes. I like people who hustle.

Linda Warren moved from the west coast to Chicago about a year and a half ago.  I made the same migration in 1981.  She has a strategy for her first two years of exhibits which is different than mine was (righteous aside: do you ever notice how no one elseís idea is really better or worse; it is merely different? All of us tend to argue that ďoursĒ is better, instead of learning about the nuances of the otherís differences, taking what we can, and moving on.  Sorry, this isnít about Linda but does relate to something else that came up today.)  At any rate, Linda is predominantly presenting group exhibits, like Between Realism & Metaphor, which opens tonight. It includes photographs by Tom Van Eynde who Iíve always liked and wanted to get caught up on his imagery.  I like the attitude here.

I like Aron Packer.  Heís intelligent, engaging, accessible, fun, quirky, experimental and personable - just like the art he shows.  Itís clear that he got comfortable being a wee bit odd a little sooner than the rest of us. Youíve got to go to his gallery and youíve got to go there multiple times. Itís about the consistency, the confidence, the directness and the absence of shame. His two exhibits by Lisa Krivacka and Brent Riley are another fine example.

Upstairs, Susan Gescheidle is basking in her new super-sized (well comparably) gallery. Itís great up on the 4th floor and I no longer feel like Iím visiting someone in a basement trailer home.  She too has one of those enabling good attitudes.  Odd thought:  like Linda Warren, she mixes up the art in her group exhibit. And like me Aron Packer doesnít. He keeps each artistís work separate, unto itself.  Susanís taste and mine donít intersect often and I keep looking for more occurrences because I like her and her enthusiasm.

Commitment personified. Thatís Julie Walsh.  Every time I visit her gallery I am overwhelmed by the energy she puts into her exhibits.  She reconfigures her entire exhibition space for each exhibit - walls and everything.  Each exhibit is unique. No other gallery does this.  Phantasmagoria by Miao Xiaochun features huge, highly manipulated, highly informative pictures of China and Chinese situations. Julie specializes in Asian and she does it brilliantly, just watch.

Okay.  Thatís about it for me. Go look at some art.

The sun will come up tomorrow,
Paul