THE BLOG

Art About Us Opening This Weekend

12/10/2011 05:36 pm ET | Updated Feb 09, 2012

Linda Warren has moved to a larger, more handsome space, better for showing art, right around the corner from where she was. The gallery smells great with newly stained surfaces and the oil paintings by Emmett Kerrigan, who's hitting full speed with his new body of work.

Somewhat reminiscent of Wayne Thiebaud's glistening surfaces and urban scenes, Kerrigan's work is innovative, distinct and confident. Perhaps the coordination of this show with the gallery's opening is coincidental but Warren's long-term commitment to Kerrigan pays off here as his art and installation show off the new space as well as one can imagine.

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In a large, back gallery at Linda Warren is an adventuresome, engaging installation by the dynamic Lora Fosberg whose work is getting larger, bolder, clearer and strong. Good Chicago gallery, good Chicago artists, lasting commitment to one another. Growth and success.

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Okay, I know my art, art history and what's going on, so when I encounter a powerful exhibit by an artist I don't know who is nevertheless right in my bailiwick I'm gratified and educated, which is what happened with the new show at Rhona Hoffman.

Robert Overby was a Southern California artist who created with lots of my friends there in the early '70s, from which this body of work is drawn. At a time when the West Coast was leading a movement out of the studio and out of traditional galleries, Overby would make latex impressions of entire walls from derelict homes and add color. A mixture of accident (not much) and intent, this is historically significant work that remains vibrant. I was impressed and pleased.

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A wonderfully powerful, ostensibly playful exhibit and reflection on recent American history, opens Sunday at the Hyde Park Art Center's memorable exhibit and large-scale installation by Bibiana Suárez. Exhaustively thorough Suárez explores the Latinization of the U.S. by drawing parallels and analogies via the familiar game called "memory" in English and "memoria" is Spanish. There are elements so familiar that we overlook them -- until reminded. And there are revelations of hurtful behavior by us that immigration more difficult new Americans.

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I was in Miami when Firecat Projects monthly first Friday exhibition opened with a show of Tony Fitzpatrick's 2011 etchings. In the last few years Fitzpatrick has become a world-class, internationally exhibited artist with collages that were out of reach for many of his friends and neighbors, so he turned to a more democratic, accessible body of work.

Nickel History will be a suite of 100 etchings, of which about 40 are done, yet the entire suite has already been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago. The 3 x 3 inch scale may be loosely inspired by Fitzpatrick's childhood affinity for comic books and reveals his fascination with the other side of Chicago history. In keeping with the accessible democracy of his work, the price of the etchings does not escalate as impressions sell, which is not the norm in the art world, but this is an artist of the people who puts art and conviction ahead of the buck. No wonder the gallery went through a dozen cases of beer before the opening reception was half over.

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Thank you,
Paul Klein