Monday Morning Quarterback: Friday 11/19

Ok, finally getting up to near the present. I’m writing this Sunday, the 21st, so these are the shows we went to two nights ago, and are freshest in my mind. This is going to be another weekend of only Friday openings, not for lack of great stuff Saturday and Sunday. Friday night we made it to Kasia Kay Gallery, Tony Wight Gallery, Western Exhibitions, FireCat Projects, and the new space Pentagon now occupies.

Time Switch, work by David A. Parker at Kasia Kay

Half the photos were compelling, the other half felt mis-matched. I was
interested in the narrative of the graveyard/mine, especially when the
pauper’s graveyard thread was introduced. I wish it had stopped with
that narrative. 

J:  I liked the cliff stuff, just because I
always liked the image of these fancy homes or golf courses or whatever
being built right at the top of a cliff that seems moments away from
collapsing.  It seems like the perfect metaphor for decadence, not in
the sense of eating rich chocolaty desserts but in the sense of a
civilization being in decline because it’s gotten rich and complacent
and soft.

Sex, Death and God, work by Ken Fandell at Tony Wight

S: Ken makes very pretty pictures. I will leave it at that.

This show felt basically like studies in texture and color.  “Tail”
looks like a ratty mink stole made of hair clippings.  “Bougainvillea
Down The Block” looks like a denser-than-usual pile of the titular
plant’s dried flowers, which drop to the ground and accumulate into a
papery purple carpet.  (The press release tells me the flowers were
individually photographed and digitally stitched together.)  And the
bananas:  some kind of Velvet Underground/Andy Warhol kind of thing? 
The title, “This May Be Perfect For Art,” suggests a reference of that
kind, but also brings up the funny image of an artist with a banana in
his kitchen that is moving from okay-in-a-smoothee to
better-make-banana-bread, and deciding it would be easier to appropriate
it as art.  It also reminds me of a funny story a student of mine told
me, about encountering a banana peel left comically placed in the middle
of a well-trodden path through the snow across a lawn on a college
campus.  Art installation or practical joke?

Deb Sokolow at Western Exhibitions

Deb is amazing, as is her work. It was incredibly hard to interact with
her work correctly during the opening, seeing as her work requires
detailed reading. The bits and pieces I could scan were great, as
always, but I must go back to read it all. I also want one of her
tumbler glasses.

J:  You know, I’m usually the first one to
recite the familiar lines about an artist’s work being done a disservice
by the crowd at an opening, and Western Exhibitions is notoriously
well-attended, but in this case I feel like the work actually held up
pretty well to the crowd.  Presuming I was able to physically elbow my
way through the people just chatting to stand in front of the work
itself, once I got in front of each piece I was able to lose myself in
it pretty quickly.  Especially the works that were more like a solid
block of text; reading those while pressed shoulder-to-shoulder with my
fellow viewers provided that same sort of pressurized, insulated comfort
as reading on the train, a sort of Hug Machine a la Temple Grandin.

Tony Fitzpatrick: The Night Parade at FireCat Projects

Congrats to Tony on this amazing “new” space. I saw a lot of red dots
during the show, no surprise as Tony knows how to move his work. I’m
excited to see who he brings into the space in the future.

J:  Now this
was a packed show!  I’d never been to Fitzpatrick’s studio before it
became this exhibition space, but it looked great.  Fitzpatrick is
definitely one of the rock stars of Chicago’s art scene, and like Tom Torluemke
seems to be more of a “take the bull by the horns” kind of independent,
rather than someone who’d rather hand his work over to a gallery to
deal with.  I’ll gladly wear his buttons next to my “Torluemke Loves
Me”.  Artists:  make buttons!  Everybody likes pieces of flair. 
Fitzpatrick has been doing some public/commercial work lately, and I’ve been reading his articles on Artnet.

work by Hiba Ali, Natalie Brilmeyer, Woori Cho, Meg Dancy, Justus
Harris, Walter Latimer, Kira Mardikes, Tilly Pelczar, Marie Socha and
Vincent Uribe at Pentagon

S: Fun times at Pentagon’s new space. I
was so distracted by this time in the night, I barely saw the work. I
remember the photo of the girl in the suitcase. Looking forward to a
bright future for Garcia’s new space.

J:  Yeah, I’ve got to
admit, this was pretty much just a party for me, hanging out with
friends.  It was a lot of fun, but the art got the short end of the
stick.  I did like the girl in the suitcase, though.

Stephanie Burke
was born in Nevada City, CA in 1984. She received her BA in Studio Art
and Anthropology from Humboldt State University in 2007, and her MFA in
Photography from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009.
Currently she lives in Chicago with her husband Jeriah,
makes work, teaches, writes for Bad at Sports, is Editor-in-Chief of Art Talk Chicago, works as Managing Editor and Director of Operations at Chicago Art Magazine, as well as maintaining
her own blog, The Gallery Crawl and So Much More.
When not making, teaching, looking at, or writing about art, she enjoys
running around in the woods, drinking beer by bonfires, crazy quilting
and target shooting.

is an artist, educator, writer, and snack enthusiast.  You can see his
work at,
and read his columns at Art Talk Chicago and Chicago Art
.  Jeriah lives and works in Chicago, with his wife Stephanie

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