Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

05 January 2014

The Chicago Art Fair, Artist Project, Sharkstock: A Quasi-Chronological Report in Name-Dropping Fragments

First published May 10, 2007


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My adventures in Artropolis. With far too many pictures of myself.
I got back Tuesday to Switzerland after my 6 day extravaganza in Chicago, but slept through the rest of the day. I had a fabulous time and will try to extol it in surges, as recollections and considerations come to my mind.

My return to Chicago after 17 years began as I flew in Wednesday the 25th and was picked up by The Shark, Wesley Kimler, at the Damen stop. Swiss airlines got me and my surreptitiously imported artwork (in a 6-foot long “undiscussed,” yet X-rayed, roll) safely from Zurich to Chicago. It was an enjoyable flight in which I, surprisingly, sat next to one, and behind two, artworld denizens who are on the jury to decide which artists from the Swiss city of Lucerne get the use of a Chicago live-in studio, in four month blocks each. The man with whom I talked the most is named Beat Stalder. He is an interior / exhibition designer and architect with the Transportation Museum in Switzerland as well as a curator-juror-type. We discussed many things and he even agreed with my concerns about the Consensoriat , in which both he and I are ever-so-slightly involved as well, as juror and critic. We also discussed a certain curator from Lucerne and St. Gallen who earlier had supported my work and written about me, yet who currently is peeved with me, according to reports, due to my published, open questioning of the behind-the-scenes rigging of a regional group exhibition, wherein I performed that most heinous of crimes in Switzerland and the artworld — I actually stated out loud something everyone knows and deplores, yet “one” is supposed to be clued-up enough to never say and “one” is to pretend that it is not true. Yessir masser. Brav ist besser. Well-behaved artist vassals. According to my new acquaintance, this person “is so” and will get over it. I will give various names and numbers of Chicago artists to Stalder, and he will then pass them on to the artists coming to Chicago. Be on the look out for them and welcome them into your midst. It will be good for them and good for Chicagoans to get some international contacts directly and outside the regularly controlled conduits.

Immediately I had some great discussion with The Shark and was overwhelmed by his immense studio, The Sharkpit. I was also thrilled to almost immediately meet David Roth, the other chief Sharkforum contributor, webmaster, sculptor and rock musician, as well as Wesley’s pal the genius musician Nicholas Tremulis, whose music I have always been a fan of since ever his Island Records days. And I met the stunning and talented jazz singer Stephanie Browning, who knocked ‘em dead later in the week at Sharkstock. Amazing voice and vocal expressiveness. Wesley’s place sure is a-hoppin’.

The next day, Thursday morning, I hung my show, as I couldn’t do it Wednesday, since the Merchandise Mart didn’t have evening set-up hours, something they’ll need to address next time. Because Wesley was up all night every night getting the Sharkpit ready for Sharkstock 2, he couldn’t get going early Thursday. However, I was lucky that Paul Klein, retranslated into Magnus Grossartig by me, jumped to the rescue. This ex-gallerist, art expert, collector and now art organizer is also the author of regular art reviews at his site, The Art Letter. He is a veteran of many art hangings (we should really modernize to lethal injection) and we got a complicated booth-hanging done rather quickly. Thanks! Afterwards, he and I rushed through the entire show, the “main show” that is, Art Chicago. Paul wrote about it here. I agree with his article wholeheartedly, especially the line that “ArtChicago in particular and Artropolis in general are fantastic.” Some quick thoughts in particular follow.

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Klein Cover Painting by me

I go to The Basel Art Fair (in Basel, Switzerland) every year. I have been to various of the other smaller fairs throughout Europe. I was much more than pleasantly surprised by Art Chicago. The hallways were wide, the booths had ample independence. There were a few “repeating” artists as there are every year and in every fair — one of the hobbies of regular fair-goers is to try to spot this celebrity-of-the-fair and compare notes with others about who they saw a lot of, what stuck out as “everywhere.” Strangely enough it appeared to be Robert Motherwell, who I have never seen in this role before, and Jim Dine. The Motherwell’s were a bit weak for him, but good. Dine, who is abhorred in Europe (they are trying to rewrite Pop so that Warhol, Germans and French becomes the stars), is, as always either very good (the Robes) or very bad (the Cubist Venuses).

Beyond this little visual game though, something far more important stuck out to my eye. The galleries were showing work primarily by renowned artists, top o’ the pops if you will, yet the whole thing was clearly of very high quality and far, far less consensus-trendy than Basel usually is. I was delighted. The choices were superb within the realm of the possible (although impossible choices would indeed be a delight to dream of). I mean this in a positive sense. Often at Basel I get the sense that the Consensoriat has dictated the shopping list, and it is highly populated with the flavor of the week. I did NOT feel so in Chicago. There was even a high incidence of the Consensoriat’s abused step-child, painting. And good painting, from Conceptual Painting (David Row), New Painting (a la David Reed) to directions as yet unnamed. Amazing. What I wouldn’t have given for a couple of booths filled with only Reed, Mary Heilmann, Wesley Kimler, Mark Francis, Marianna Levant, Jeff Zimmerman and, well, me .

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Me in front of a painting shown at the fair

Bridge was crowded, it contained a surfeit of over-packed galleries, but revealed a wealth of stimulating art. In general, I saw, perhaps, too many “cute ideas” in place of deep commitment, but that’s the artworld nowadays and the Bridge galleries had much to appreciate outside that grumble. I would advise allotting more space to each gallery and wider aisles next year, nonetheless. I spent some time talking to the people at Cynthia Corbett Gallery from London. They showed a wide variety of artists from a very enjoyable, decorative, postmodern painter of poured-resin works, Klari Reis, to a quasi-traditional painter H. Craig Hanna (he can draw) to a sculptor of small-scale, jokey variations on Michelangelo’s David, Lois Carson. Nice range. Additionally, I touched base with Brook Dorsch of Dorsch Gallery from Miami, Florida. He showed many works of very high quality which I enjoyed — his website reveals even more. (He says Basel-Miami enlivens the city temporarily, but they still need to do considerable work and can’t seem to secure decent critical coverage for any length of time; sound familiar?) Michael Workman and his crew are doing an admirable job with these Bridge Fairs, they deserve high praise and support. And Workman survived the Art War. Nah-nah-na-nah-nah. I would like to see Bridge AND Version at the Basel Art Fair!

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Three of the Sharkpack: Wesley, the Shark center; Mark, the EuroShark left; and David, Shark Ed(itor) right. Photo courtesy Hampton and Rusty.

Late that night, the whole Shark Squad went to the Art Chicago Opening, where we met MCA Curator Lynne Warren and many other folks. (It was great to talk to Lynne again after so many years. She is so positive and independent as a thinker. She took one of my Viewers for the MCA's muliple collection. Now I just need to get her to let me make an installation of Panels or Covers for the MCA in which I "honor and/or abuse" Chicago!) I was chatting away with so many, that I got to the Artist Project Opening, which overlapped the Art Chicago one, 10 minutes late. An explosion of talking to and showing work to visitors, collectors, old friends, art space directors, critics and so on began. It did not end for even one minute until after the whole week was finished on Monday afternoon. I had written to tons of people, either ones I had not seen for years, or ones who had contacted me at different times and expressed interest in seeing some work, or simply people who appeal to me. The largest percent came a-visiting. From old friends like ex-best-installation-artist-ever, and now beekeeper, Michael Paha, to Agriculture-and-Culture Wormfarm director Donna Neuwirth, from Milwaukee/Mexico artist Raoul Deal to art theorist extraordinaire James Elkins, from critic Susan Snodgrass to critic, teacher and my ex-editor Michael Bonesteel, from Collectors (wishing to remain anonymous) to Curators (wishing to remain unnamed here), from The Shark to Tony Fitzpatrick, ... including Rock and Roll Stars Chloe Orwell and Brad Elvis (The Handcuffs) , The Sun-Times and Art in America’s Kevin Nance, ...

Who else did I meet? Tons o’ folks. Here’s an orgy of self-indulgent name-dropping. Tonya Pyatt and Bob O’Connell of Architrouve , (GREAT catalogue essay for Tony F, by the way, Lynne Warren), (Bob and Tonya struck me as singularly dedicated to art, get to their place); Adam Baumgold of his own NYC gallery, Bob Horn and Craig Anderson of the resurfaced NAB Gallery ; my old pal and ex-roomie Bill Siegel who co-directed the Oscar nominated documentary on the Weather Underground ; ex-college-roommates, lawyer Bob Carrillo, art historian and framer Marcos Rivera and astute social critic and concrete finisher Jeff Piediscalzi; CarolAnn Brown of the Michigan City Indiana Lubeznick Center for the Arts ; James Boeckman, sometime Sharkforum contributor and painter; Dawoud Bey, a great photographer with an upcoming new book titled Class Pictures (this artist’s works are brilliant, get his book); old pals who have a small collection of my art, David and Teri Ozawa; ex-co-worker at a record store David Ash; designer and comic artist Gabriel Chu Usadel, to whom I taught superhero drawing when he was a kid, and his parents Morgen and Chu Usadel (Morgen was a boss of mine at a record store back in the vinyl days, the man from whom I learned the most about music ever); Kevin Freitas of Abel Joseph Gallery and Art as Authority ; my ex-“sometimes”-boss at the Field Museum and the MCA, Geoff Grove; various Chicago artists such as Olga Stefan of the CAC ; (thanks to all who came up to encourage me on my theoretical articles for Sharkforum and Bad At Sports — does anybody read me at Art in America?) some people from the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative Julie Rodrigues Widholm, an Assistant Curator at the MCA; artist Ricardo Manuel Diaz a Cuban-Chicagoan (props to another ex-pat who married in to a strange culture); my ex- grad school advisor Harold Gregor , one of the few professors who taught art history and is also a remarkable and well-known painter; two accomplished painters, Vicki Briggs and Molly Briggs, who are also the widow daughter of the most amazing art professor I have ever met, the deceased and completely missed C.W. Briggs; ex-school-mate, medical doctor, guitar builder and collector of my art, Dr. Dan Brown (sometimes known as “Dr. Dan Bro7wn,” the seven being “silent”) ... (no he didn’t do the da Vinci thing); who hung out with me all night and wound up at Sharkstock 2 too; Erik McKissack, from Nashville to Chicago; Dayton Castleman , a sculptor and fellow CIVA member; James Renier , a fellow artist-usually-living-abroad and great discussion cohort; William Butler , the director the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria (and also a talented artist intrigued with comics), a location where I will be showing in the future and which was founded co-founded by Butler and the remarkable Preston Jackson my old pal and some-time collaborator, the author and previous comic book author (Dr. Strange, the first computer comic and more), Peter B. Gillis, who blogged about our meeting here ; ...

And as God knows, many many more, who I will abuse myself for not mentioning here as soon as I post this piece.

Each morning I squeezed something in before the booth hours began. One morning I was treated to a visit to the Lisa Boyle Gallery , which is featuring new sculpture by Jon Rajkovich. The works are charmingly capricious while also being formally pleasing, uniting excellent craftsmanship with aspects of purposeful incompletion. Lisa has a fine gallery and should be supported and reviewed regularly (take note Chicago critics), as should all the exciting new venues in the city. Boyle also was generous enough to take me into the adjacent gallery, Scott Speh’s Western Exhibitions, . He was exhibiting Dutes Miller and Stan Schellabarger, as well as Vincent Como. The book-works in particular were exceptional. According to Lisa, and what I have found on the web, Speh has an excellent record of exhibiting local artists. Another gallerist to applaud. I hereby request Bad At Sports to be nicer to him.

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Rajkovich piece at Lisa Boyle’s

I got several exciting visits even after the show was really closed and I was rushing, with the help of Bill Dolan, to get my booth down so that I could sprint off to jump into the Handcuff’s Chloe’s car to catch my Switzerland-bound plane. These included Edith Altman. She is a excellent artist who, it should be noted in the history books, is the first real installation artist in Chicago and one of the first Conceptual artists in the city (together with Phil Berkman and Buzz Spector). (Also let it be noted that I began my art career as a Conceptual Artist in Chicago, thus was a late member of this small coterie or even in wave number two, thus the Neo-Con artists who often now claim to be “the first wave” are actually number 3.) Altman has a absorbing book about her work made in conjunction with a series of shows in Germany. It is titled Retrospective, is published by the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg, Germany, is in both English and German and I hope to write more about it in the future. Check it out. She needs to be rediscovered “at home” in a more resolute manner.

New Insight had some fine works of art, but was rather classist, as Amanda Browder and her Team called the symposium (not New Insights) at Bad At Sports. New Insight featured MFA students from primarily private or similarly expensive art schools. Furthermore, no matter what the pre-publicity maintains, it was undeniably commercial — which I do not always find deplorable; (why do those who live on selling themselves for grant money always condemn those who sell objects? If anything the former is more hypocritical than the later). Nevertheless, New Insight’s mere presence in the art fair furthers the ageist, get-them-whores-ever-younger attitudes of the current artworld power pimps. Like the shop windows in Amsterdam, young meat is offered for the snapping-up. That’s commercial in the worst sense, whether you directly take money or not. Not bad art though. I rather enjoyed most of it.

Notably, I also finally got to meet the Bad At Sports radio podcast people in the flesh: Richard Holland, Duncan MacKenzie, Amanda Browder, Christopher Hudgens, Kathryn Born. And Amanda’s mom Dolly, who is cute and friendly. So, leave her alone yous guys! The BAStards were as charming and entertaining as I suspected. I wish I had Richard’s voice (but not his job), Amanda’s laugh, and Duncan’s wit (but not his hair — just kidding, he looked great). I look forward to working with them in the future as their Central European Bureau. They have opened up a whole new area of art reporting in Chicago with a style all their own.

(A little promotion in an aside: Amanda still has a show up at Gallery 400 till June 2nd. And Duncan has work up in the show The Adventurous Type at the Hyde Park Art Center until May 13th.

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Duncan MacKenzie installation

Thanks to BASer Mike Benedetto , of the famous movie mini-reviews, for the reminder.)



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An out-of-focus photo of me in my booth

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The John Lennon and Superman painting by me in my booth

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Some of my Covers works

The interaction among the Artist Project artists was exemplarily congenial and supportive. We watched each other’s booths when needed, discussed art as much as the constant stream of viewers, chatting and selling allowed, and looked closely at one another’s art. I was pleased to be near several artists who are or became close friends and whose art I value.

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A painting by Marianna Levant

One of my favorites was the amazing, young painter Marianna Levant who bears watching; the sophisticated and powerful photographer Sandro Miller was next door to me, soliciting oohs, aahs and more surprised exclamations;

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Sandro miller in front of both Dolan’s booth (left) and his own (right)

William Dolan , a frequent on-line discussion partner who paints evocative, realistic images of Chicago buildings that encapsulate my perception of them (as well as having created a Grammy-nominated CD cover which I love for The Road to Bliss by the Cathy Richardson Band);

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Bill Dolan in his booth

sculptor Mike Bauer whose works I have admired since I was an undergrad; Paul Nudd , who creatively mixes comics and fine art in a fashion completely unique to him and different from my own; Jeff Zimmermann ,

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Zimmermann’s mural at the entrance to the show

the painter of the vast, inspiring mural outside the Apparel Center at the entrance to the Artist Project, was a major discovery, ... he is a friendly personal, very Chicago in the best ways, and a great painter with striking paintings including a small one of a much-used softball which I covet — we discussed showing some of our room-encompassing painting-installations together and I hope it comes to pass;

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Jeff Zimmermann in his booth

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Zimmermann’s great softball painting

Rusty Scruby came all the way from Texas, due to his interaction with the Chicago artscene via internet,... he used a combination of his cut-and-altered photographs to transform his booth into an impressive installation; Michael Pajon’s small prints are jewels, reflecting regional imagery but worthy of international interest; Elizabeth Buchanan was in the booth next to mine, but we were so busy we hardly talked... her symmetrically mirrored photos are straight-forward in their technique (no silly photoshopping), yet strange and alluring; Jackie Kazarian not only creates expressionistic, yet postmodern, paintings and “wallpaper” works (which would make a beautiful huge installation), but took the time to videotape all of us other Artist Project artists;

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Kazarian video-taping Levant

I wanted to discuss far more in depth with painter Ted Stanuga but we kept getting pulled back to our booths for viewers and buyers (a good thing!), check out his haptically anti-Calvinist works sometime; likewise, I only got to speak to photographer and painter Miguel Cortez , one of the founders of Polvo, for mere minutes, but enjoyed his crisp, linear painting;

...and there were many more, many of whom should become active Sharkpack members.

While about 80 percent of this “indy”-show-within-a-show was first-rate, I feel the Artist Project needs to increase quality somewhat, yet without falling into Consensus hands. A challenging endeavor. How? ... Allow for some groups of artists perhaps? Include a variety of “indy” artists, including such stars as Wesley Kimler or Tony Fitzpatrick too? Include the Artist Project subsection on the main floor? I’m not certain what I mean, but will try to delve into the issue in a future article. I DO, nevertheless, suggest including something of this sort in every future Art Chicago, and extending it to the Armory and , through Volta perhaps, to Basel and elsewhere. Great idea Mart People! And wonderfully organized --- thanks again to Kathleen Hogan and Chris Kennedy and crew.

I sold amazingly well. I had come primarily for the Shark and Bad At Sports interaction, but was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events, to say the least. This agreeable experience makes me desire an extensive show of my art in Chicago, including a Panels installation and paintings on canvas, both of which I was unable to bring this time.

The big “news” item was, of course, the Mart’s purchase of both The Armory Show And Volta. Everyone was buzzing with conjecture. As I mentioned on the BAS radio podcast, I am a regular attendee (and sometimes exhibited artist at) of the King of the Commercial Art Fairs, Basel (in Basel) and many other European art fairs. After seeing how completely organized the Mart was in Chicago and what their impetus and openness to dialogue did for Chicago, I laud this takeover. About 6 months ago, all over the artworld there was talk that Art Chicago under the Mart, and with it’s creative additions like the Artist Project, Bridge, Sharkstock, etc., could perhaps rival Frieze or Berlin. Well, with it’s success and the purchase of the Armory Show and Volta, they have leap-frogged ahead and will be in a position to challenge Bale-Basel / Basel-Miami,. Many European gallerists mentioned to me that they would rather go to Chicago than Miami, but hadn’t trusted it in recent years. If the Mart stay creative and open to improvements, as they suggested in such actions as interviewing each of us individual after the fair and by courting both the academic consensus artworld and supporting the far more creative Chicago artworld outside it (such as the Sharks), they can serve as a springboard for a whole new era in the Chicago artscene. An international and self-reliant one at last? The Sensation show, Damien Hirsch and Frieze did this for London, the Berlin show still needs work but is doing so for that city. Chicago can easily become as renowned as LA or London or Berlin. NYC will stay king, but the position of Archduke is still open to contention.

Chicago is on its way. I greatly disagree with New York writer Brian Sholis’s perceptions of Art Chicago posted on the Artforum website. If may be so bold as to read between the lines, I find him justly afraid of a potentially powerful Chicago, both Fair and City. After all, look at what the Frieze Art Fair just did for London (a “hostile take-over” as Jerry Salz called it). Sholis also attended, in short, all the wrong functions, seeing only the still “official” (and academically lethargic) Chicago Consensus Artworld. I missed many of the teas and brunches he frequented due to principally being in my Artist Project booth, true, but perhaps that was for the best. I AM sorry I missed most of Version. Next year guys and gals! It is a great idea and a fine bunch of people. It sounded like so much FUN on the BAS podcast!

Sharkstock 2 was marvelous. It appears to have had some 1500 + party attendees (I was up on the scaffolding counting for a while for fun.) Wesley cleaned and organized for days beforehand, lit some of his simply masterful huge paintings as well as exhibited sculptures by David Roth, small paintings by Drew Beatty, an installation by Ursula Sokolowska and two large paintings on paper by me.

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Portrait and a Character: The Shark, a painting of Kimler by me which was shown at the Sharkpit

The crowd laughed and talked and danced. I saw people ranging from the ages of 68 to 17. From famous to unknown. All having a great time. I had forgotten how cheerfully relaxed and unconstrained artworld people in Chicago (and most of the US) can be. It was a great antidote to Switzerland, especially the Eastern part, where the artists tend to resemble yuppie businesspeople and stand in small groups, smoking broodily instead of talking and seldom introducing one another or themselves. In the Sharkpit, I met hordes of interesting artists, musicians, media, curators and others. It was fun and therapeutically liberating. Truly a delight.

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The Handcuffs

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Me in the process of either rocking or pontificating

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Mucca Pazza underway through the crowd

The musicians were great, including of course the marvelous Nick Tremulis ; the super rockin’ The Issues ; Mucca Pazza, a performance, music and visual delight ; and Stephanie Browning, she of the killer voice I mentioned above . I was personally thrilled that some old friends of mine, also mentioned above, The Handcuffs (Brad Elvis, Chloe Orwell and band) dropped in after their gig at Abbey’s. The played a short impromptu set after I begged them, which felt like a private concert for me with a small group of a couple of thousand friends. Chloe is a fabulous Rock singer and Brad is one of the most respected Rock drummers in the business, often being name-dropped by luminaries like Clem Burke of Blondie, Little Steven of Garage Rock Radio fame and the Sopranos, and others. I first saw Brad play when we were both about 17 years old and I have been a fan ever since. (Additionally, his mother bought the first oil painting I ever sold when I was also a teenager, a two-story high oil on panel of a woman, if I recall correctly.) Wesley was the perfect host, cruising slowly but surely through his gargantuan space greeting, chatting, discussing, a smile on his face the whole time (no kidding — his enemies might not believe it but he smiles a lot).

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The Shark hosting and happy

One short story here — concerning the fire near the Sharkpit. After we cleaned up a bit and both Wesley and I went to sleep at 6 am, I woke up shortly at 7 am when an unnamed person who was passed out on the couch woke up and left. There was no power, probably due to the fire, and I couldn’t find any light to go piss, so I went back to sleep. Then, an hour later I got up to get ready to go to my booth at The Artist Project. I look outside, and to my surprise it has changed from cold to summertime, AND the street is filled with cops and the fire dept. One fireman asks me if he can piss in our bathroom. After he’s finished, as I’m getting ready to go over a few streets so I can catch the cab I called (Wesley’s street was blocked off) he told me a bit of what happened. He said, and I quote, that some jerk (”joik” in Chicagoese, I love that accent) had bombed the place but they caught his ass on a surveillance camera and they had him. AND — the fire fighter was amazed I didn’t hear the explosion. If you were at Sharkstock, you wouldn’t be amazed. Anyway, I walked back in and shouted up to Wesley in his loft that I was leaving and that the house across the street was on fire. He shouted back groggily, “Lock the door.”

Living at Welsey’s dark, cavernous studio was remarkable. Something like existing in a Caravaggio or Velazquez painting, with spot-lit immense canvases and 6 friendly parrots. “Hey, I can’t find the coffee machine. “ — “It’s over next to the Las Meninas infanta!” The paintings are marvelous, especially in their surface facture and startlingly successful combination of representation and abstraction, color fields and intense paint handling. I intend to discuss them in a future article thoroughly at some point. Particularly as I feel Kimler has made some charged and significant discoveries for (post-) postmodern art and painting. These works have animated me like few other works I have seen for some time, re-invigorated me to continue on my own painting explorations concerning similar questions. This trip would have been a success simply due to seeing those works live, but fortunately my experience was even broader.

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Kimler drawing

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A Kimler painting at 108 inches x 216 inches.

I was overjoyed to be a small part of this whole Artropolis event and I will now be regularly bloodying the waters of the Sharky Chicago artworld as your man-abroad. You can’t get rid of me again (unless you recreate that dim-witted, scheming, academic Neo-Con take-over of the late 80s again).

Chicago IS on its way. With a scene that is no longer dominated by pre-chewed illustrations of the freeze-dried pablum force-fed by the Consensoriat. Keep on pushing. This new energy is due to people like Wesley Kimler, Tony Fitzpatrick, all the other Sharks like David Roth, the Bad At Sports people, Iconoduell, Paul Klein, Michael Workman, Chris Kennedy and his crew and many more. I thank them all.

(In yet another aside, I was pleased to be part of such a successful and well-organized event by Mr Kennedy for personal reasons. His father Robert F. Kennedy was the first politician in whose campaign I actively worked, at the tender young age of 9 together with my father Earl Brandl, who had campaigned for Jack Kennedy and others. Additionally, largely in imitation of JFK’s name, as well as FDR’s, I received my name, with my mother’s “maiden” family name as a middle name.)

What’s next for Chicago? MY advice at this point — go get more, much more, critical coverage. Get curators to show local work in equal amounts and as equally important as international work. Encourage the great curators like Lynne Warren. Court these new collectors (such as those who bought my work) and get them buying more Chicago art. Artists must visit one another, discuss, argue, join together and show. Everyone must support local galleries, like Lisa Boyle. Buy from them. Get reviewers to review them. Talk it up. Boosterism. Don’t stop positive criticism, but tell the world that you have arrived and they have to take notice. Break the back of the Consensoriat Clique by rolling over them. Get outside curators to visit the Real Art Scene, not the insipid consensus facsimile of one. You’ve got a scene. One to rival London and Los Angeles and Berlin. Hype it. Let it be known. Utilize the momentum the Mart has given you and the quality your artists have and the energy your galleries have to build the other elements (like the weak critical and curatorial possibilities). Stop trying to “find” Chicago art. It is THERE. This outside visitor saw it.

Remember, you don’t “find” yourself, you build yourself.

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Me doing business in the booth

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O’Hare, the sign to go home

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My plane, see you soon again

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