Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lumpen gives good art.

Edmar and crew continue to amaze with their unflagging desire to demonstrate the abundance importance and pleasure of a-r-t; particularly that of the underground, the outsiders, the bottom liners and above all else the New Chicagoans.  Yesterday's Opening at Iron Studios was a spectacular display of art, artists, music and noise. A show claiming to be the best Chicago group show of the year practically dares you to present yourself.  Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that in pure aesthetic value this show is a couple of ribbons short of "best of year" but in overall worthiness, Yes, yes I say yes this is the best of the year.
The New Chicagoans featured thirty local artist in a fairly large space - a loft-ized industrial warehouse in Bridgeport. Most artists are represented by one piece although often that piece is quite grand in scale.  Not much tiny here, in fact anything smaller in scale is reproduced in large numbers to make a bigger whole.  I don't know if that is intentional but it works.  I do know that some artists were told (and told how) to scale back their art to make room for others. I saw one example of this with Duk Ju Kim's piece.  She expected to have two pieces showing and some who saw the two insist that they must be seen together.  I haven't seen the other piece but I immediatly found Kim's work magnetic.  It is centered on the far wall as you walk in and stands roughly 8' high.  A striking facial abstraction that dominates the pieces around it and left viewers staring for several minutes and congregating in its presence.  The appearance of Duk Ju Kim, a mid-career artist, is a smart move on the curator's part.  Her piece along with Al Pocius and John Salhus (all of whom produced oil paintings in a sea of drawings, models, installations, dvd's and 3-D slide shows) give a sense of maturity to the overall show that is otherwise lacking.  It is the balance of this mature work to the youthful energy of the art and the surroundings that makes the show a success.
I got a kick in the pants from last night's musical act, Wizzards.  Wizzards is a new duo featuring Lightning Bolt bassist Brian Gibson.  The ideas and sounds conjured by Lightning Bolt and the noise cult it leads can be found in Wizzards.  They were surrounded by christmas lights in plastic tubing and wore long shiney masks and other costuming so that they resembled a cross between Attic Ted and Ace Frehely.
Tonight Bobby Conn and others rock your balls off, also at Iron Studios - a feature of Lumpen's Select Media Festival and a Benefit for Hurricane Katrina victim and drum buddy inventor Quintron.
Next week, the Secret Halloween Party with churchbus.

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