THE BLOG
02/24/2012 11:10 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2012

Chicago Art Is Getting Decentralized

I've gone to meetings about a new Cultural Plan for Chicago and have heard the citizens insightfully want art & culture in their communities. I applaud their wisdom. The beauty of Chicago's segregated communities is that the neighborhoods have their own cultural heritage and identity and we are all benefited by seeking it, sharing it, and not homogenizing it. Matt Tuteur honors the dignity of the people of the 46th Ward in his photographs and presents those images in the Ward in a one-day show Saturday, from 4 pm.

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Jason Brammer is one of the stars of my Klein Artist Works program. He's got massive talent, a disarmingly unique vision, and I can't tell where he'd be without me, but I'm proud to be associated with him. Brammer lives in Wicker Park and is showing in Bucktown at Firecat Projects. He's subtly segued from his previous time machines to a reflective, yet futuristic, look at global cartography and the human soul. Trend following is ridiculous and Brammer steadfastly carves his own successful path. He is an artist of the people and it is appropriate that his art is in a gallery where the people go.

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Part of bringing art to the people is to present it beyond the usual locations. It is possible to meld local interests with a global perspective as seen in Catherine Forster's works at the Peggy Notebeart Nature Museum where she examines the human instinct to mess with nature; improve it, stamp it, record it, document it and alter it.

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There's still strong art to be found where we're accustomed to seeing it -- in gallery districts and museums more or less in the city center. Joseph Seigenthaler, at Carl Hammer, is a powerful, focused sculptor now rendering (political) icons of culture and commenting on his and their world view like Ralph Nader, David Rockefeller, Shel Silverstein and Ron Paul, or maybe their hunting trophies.

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Synergies abound in the paired exhibits of Dana DeAno and Camille Iemmolo at Packer Schopf where DeAno's elegies on the 'positive' possibilities of detritus complement Iemmolo's search into the near-tragedies she's endured, like being thrown from a horse a year ago, breaking seven vertebrae and emerging on the bright side of life with her humor intact.

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Bill Conger's formal paintings at Roy Boyd suggest complex cityscapes with highways, byways, waterways and a lush and crowded panoply of color, but are more akin to color poems and the pleasure of painting.

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Okay. So wherever you are, wherever you're going, go see some art. It's out there.

Warmly,
Paul Klein