Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Art Chicago

Art Chicago happened this past weekend. Never having been to this particular show before, I decided to attend. I also had a couple of other stops I wanted to make near downtown, so this worked out well.

Art Chicago is a show attended by art galleries from around the world. Held on a whole floor of the Merchandise Mart downtown, there were almost 150 galleries represented along with several non profits. I mainly was looking for photography, but I stopped for anything that caught my eye. It still took almost 2 hours to see the whole floor.

Most of the photography I saw was by photographers I knew. Those considered the masters, and probably a safe bet that they would sell. They included Edward Weston, Paul Caponigro, Sebastio Selgado, and Henry Cartier-Besson. There were a few modern photographers also, but they were a small percentage of the show. Prices, when they were shown, ranged from $5,000 to $22,000. I would have like to bought a print by Caponigro and another by Julius Shulman, but they were out of my price range.

There was plenty of other art work also. Paintings, sculptures, and prints of all kinds. Since I'm not really a big fan of contemporary art, very little of it caught my eye. There were a few pieces I would have liked, but once again they were out of my price range. They were also big. It was common to see paintings with dimensions of 5 to ten feet on a side. I guess if you could afford the art, you could afford someplace to hang it.

It was instructional to walk around and see what is considered sellable art by the art world. I got a few ideas for different display techniques, and I saw a few I would never have considered. One of those was a display of the Sony OLed TV's with a short video loop running. Nothing too obvious, you had to pay attention to see the work. As far as I know, those tv's ran in the 6 digit prices range for an 11 inch model, and it looked like the gallery was trying to sell 6 of them as a single installation. No prices and I didn't ask.

There was also an antique show running in the building, which I stopped at for a few moments, and a show of upcoming artists. I spent more time at the upcoming artists show. A lot of the local schools in Chicago showcased their arts program, plus there had to be another 50 galleries showing artists. A lot of good work, but some of it was too far out for me. I figure if I have to read the placard to understand what the artists intent is, I'm not interested.

A further hour of so of walking in downtown, making the other stops I had gone for, and I headed home. A interesting day, and I plan on going back again next year.

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