THE BLOG

Good Weekend for Good Art

10/21/2011 04:57 pm ET | Updated Dec 21, 2011

Here it comes again, the MDW Fair; arguably the best, or at least the best feeling art fair on the south side of Chicago. Anchored at Geolofts, this is the second incarnation of the fair that debuted last spring a week before the mess that was ArtChicago.

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Think about Occupy Wall Street. Think about OWS demonstrating in front of the 'rather' elite Frick, New Museum and MoMA. Think about the irrelevant, irreverent, insane hyperbolic prices paid for art at auction and the crusty, snooty art fairs. Now think about what art means to you, what you get out of it, what you want it to be and why and how you got involved with art in the first place. Now you understand why I like the MDW Fair.

With the preponderance of exhibitors "alternative" gallery spaces, that make a priority of culture over commerce, the MDW fair sets a high bar about what an ART Fair should be -- an art experience where the exhibitors present art they believe in to an audience that wants to be welcomed, inspired, challenged and cajoled. While art at MDW is for sale, it is not first and foremost about money -- or prostituting oneself for it.

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Instead, this show which opens tonight and continues on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, is about experiencing art, getting exposed and educated, with an emphasis on one-person presentations. I love it. (And I'll be participating with Klein Artist Works, to further expose my artist empowering course. We'll be in the Publication section and when I'm there I'll be interested in speaking with you.)

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There's something about the formal, yet casual, focus of Bernard Williams' work, opening tonight at McCormick, that makes me smile and leaves me warm. It's no longer easy to grow the various disciplines that artists pursue, which in Williams' case is sculpture. Yet through the use of unlikely materials, manipulated and joined in unusual ways the ironical results succeed beautifully. I wonder how many pieces of his I can own.

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Across the hall at Carrie Secrist, David Lefkowitz is showing new 'green' work, whose raw materials come from the low end of big box stores (like left over cardboard boxes and rejected paint), on which high concepts are rendered, drawing attention to the dichotomy of materials and our society.

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Rodney Graham is an iconoclast, a free spirit -- a loose cannon, a brilliant artist and idiosyncratic. At Donald Young (two locations) he melds contemporary technology with nostalgic imagery, casting himself in his art as he ponders the seemingly insignificant events and situations he regularly encounters in his kinder and gentler Vancouver. Musician/photographer/artist; looking at his work is like watching a fountain joyously bubble over.

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