Saturday, April 28, 2007

Art Space News: Bridge Art Fair- Chicago 2007

(Michel Dubois, Juliet, 2007, C-print numbered on 3, 47.2 x 51.1 in- Galerie Paule Friedland& Alexandre Rivault)

Anyone who counted Chicago out as one of the mega-centers of the art world was sadly mistaken this weekend. The Bridge Art Fair, Art Chicago, The Artist Project and several other venues hammered skeptics with a visual blitzkrieg that has not been seen in Chicago for some time. I was in attendance on the 26th and 27th- representing and observed the visual onslaught with my own eyes!

I ventured to Chicago in order to attend the preview party for the Bridge Art Fair. However, my eyes strayed toward several events that were happening during my trip. Artropolis, as a whole, impressed me greatly. I will be posting several entries about my visit to Chicago in the coming days.
(Daniel Edwards, Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, 2006, Resin Cast, Life Size- Capla KestingFine Art)

After quickly viewing The Artist Project I made my way to the Bridge Art Fair preview. I was one of the first members of the media to arrive at the preview (I actually forgot to pick up my press kit until later- sorry guys, I cheated). I was greeted by Daniel Edwards 'Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston' (image above) as I turned a corner to enter the exhibit.
This sculpture caused a great deal of controversy when Edwards revealed it to the public. However, it did not seem to have the same impact during the Bridge preview.
The majority of the people who stopped to observe the sculpture only seemed to be interested in taking "Hey, I'm standing next to naked Spears" type photos. I believe the message of the piece has been lost to the media and controversy surrounding it- which is unfortunate for Mr. Edwards. Onlookers viewed other works more seriously even though the piece appeared to be the figurehead of the Bridge Art Fair.

There was a great deal of work to observe in the 65 booths- a maze of art and anticipation. I don't think anyone will disagree that Chicago was the heart of the art world that night- the thumping was loud! Distorted voices and scratching vibes completed the atmosphere as the DJ gave life to an already lively event.
The gallery representatives were friendly and eager to discuss their collections- a constant flow of energy! Thump, thump... Thump, thump. I was impressed by practically all of the exhibited work. However, two booths stuck out: Contessa Gallery and Marx-Saunders Gallery, LTD.
(Roy Lichtenstein, Reverie, 1965, Screenprint in colors, 30 x 24 in)

Booth 60 was my favorite- hands down! What can I say- I have a love for art history. The booth was occupied by the Contessa Gallery. This gallery presented works by Roy Lichtenstein (image above), Horst P. Horst (image below), Pablo Picasso and many other modern masters.

(Horst P. Horst, Mainbocher Corset, 1939, Silver gelatin photograph, 9.5 x 7.5 in)

I was amazed to observe the first work of art by Pablo Picasso to feature the Minotaur. Steven Hartman, owner and founder of The Contessa Gallery in Cleveland, allowed me to take a picture of the piece as we discussed the influence it had on Picasso's later works.
Mr. Hartman has excellent communication skills and a strong knowledge of art history. My chat with him was one of the many highlights of my trip. I could have stayed at the Contessa booth all night, but I had other venues to observe. (
(Hank Adams, sHAMy, 2006, Glass and copper, 27 1⁄2 x 22 x 15 in)

Booth 50 was occupied by Marx-Saunders Gallery, LTD. This gallery only featured the work of two artists. However, they both made a huge impact with onlookers. Three glass and copper sculptures by Hank Adams (image above) peered back at observers- while Jen Blazina's School Desk Installation (image below) invited observers back to class.

(Jen Blazina, School Desk Installation: Recollection, 2006, Cast glass, photo transfer, and metal)

Blazina's installation was very impressive in that it conveyed a dark... almost foreboding mood. It really captured an old classroom feel- a time when everyone was just a face and the classroom seemed more like some surreal hell than a place of learning. I was later informed that Blazina's installation was a show-stopper during the weekend hours of the exhibit.
The installation was a very interactive experience even though it was very somber in its approach. Observers were allowed to step into the 'classroom'. Faces from an old year book were hauntingly projected upon a chalk board and upon the desks. There was no sign of life and no real reflection of the lives who once 'inhabited' the classroom. It actually reminded me of stepping into something from Silent Hill.

An interesting aspect of this gallery is the fact that it has a focus on artist who use glass as a medium. The gallery was founded by Bonnie Marx in 1990- Ken Saunders joined the gallery in 1995. The focus of the gallery’s efforts is to broaden the exposure of contemporary artist who use glass to create exceptional works of art. I was really impressed. (
Both of these galleries made an impact on me. However, I will be posting more soon...
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin


Redreamer said...

Horst P. Horst ....... now THAT i would certainly have loved to see.......

thanks... want to hear MORE!

Balhatain said...

It was GREAT! I observed so much that I'm still taking it all in. HA!

During the trip I observed works by Chuck Close, Max Beckmann, Jean Dubuffet... and MANY more.

The mix of old and new was awesome to behold! I'll be posting more soon. :P