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Showing posts from October, 2016

Norske artister II: Edvard Munch

Everyone knows that painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The figure on the pier, hands to its cheeks, mouth open and emitting a scream so piercing that it causes the solidity of the pier and the immateriality of the sea and sky to tremble (though curiously the promenading couple in the background appear to remain unmoved).

But I first got to know Munch as a painter through other works, such as the one above, The Girl by the Window, from 1893. This painting resides in the Art of Institute of Chicago, where I took a class of my students last week. Seeing it reminded me of being compelled by such works when I was a teenager, both for their style and their subject matter. A seemingly ordinary moment -- a young woman standing in her night dress before a window through which the moonlight streams -- is fraught with unsettling intimations of fragility and danger. Is she reading? Is she sleepwalking? Is she looking at someone down in the street? Whatever she is thinking, the painting i…

9 Things About Expo Chicago 2016

1. This is the fifth year that the giant exhibition hall at the end of Chicago's Navy Pier has hosted the Expo Chicago art fair, and according to its organizers and PR people, it was the biggest and most successful of all, in terms of participating galleries, attendance, and sales.

2. I could not tell whether the impressive, shiny, well-produced art on display was any different from what I saw on the walls last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, or the year before that. But a couple of things with lots of texture and loose execution caught my eye, nevertheless:


3. The special projects, ranged around the sides of the hall, were dedicated to more experimental works created by exhibiting artists. I liked this piece by Cody Hudson:

4. Why does anyone go to art fairs? It's about as much fun as going to Walmart. Yes, there is a lot of contemporary art in one place, but that's as much a minus as a plus. Even at the finest museums, aesthetic exhaustion sets in af…