This is one of those weekends where there are more exhibitions opening than you could possibly squeeze in. I managed to preview several, including the rambunctious SOFA show at Navy Pier, which I'll discuss first before moving on to the galleries.
SOFA (which stands for Sculptural Objects Functional Art) has been around quite a while. It is largely a glass show, which doesn't particularly turn me on. I find the stuff soulless. But even so I found glass work that I liked. It's a good show, fabulously organized and beautifully laid out. It is much less pretentious than the art fairs I prefer, which means I can enjoy the energy and the things that resonate - which are numerous.
Though most exhibits at SOFA are from the U.S., there's a broad array of aesthetics, nationalities and cultures presented. I found a lot of things that were new to me and enjoyed most of them more than the art or crafts that were more familiar.
Perhaps you can tell that there is a lot of diversity - except it's still mostly glass.
As you can see from the photos - which includes next to no glass - that there's plenty to see if this much is not glass and glass is in the vast majority of what's on view.
New this year is The Intuit Show being melded into SOFA's space. This looks to be a handsome boost for Intuit which focuses on folk art, naive and outsider art. This was my favorite part of what's on view there.
To sum up SOFA / Intuit experience I'd say the event is more worth attending than ever before, if only because there's clearly plenty to enjoy at the SOFA part and the addition of Intuit adds an entirely different, yet tangentially related component to the show. I'm glad I went.
Let's move on to the galleries that are opening exhibitions tonight. Typically most openings I write about are in the West Loop. This time there are a couple there, but most are in River North, so we'll start at the Cultural Center where Jeff Zimmerman has been painting his brilliant murals right on the wall. Now that they are done, there's a reception.
In River North, many of the shows are playing off SOFA or the Humanities Festival.
Also on view are quite a few panoramic images of bodybuilders, both male and female, that provide a voyeuristic view, but it is obvious that Dylan Vitone is trusted by those he's documenting.
There's something about David Lozano's paintings at Zolla/Lieberman that appeals to me. There's a funky, elegant, idiosyncratic eye guiding the creation of this work and I like the compositions. And accompanying his work are pieces by Richard Notkin and gallery artists.
Nicholas Sistler's work around the corner at Printworks /a> is fabulous - even if the show doesn't open tonight. Delicate, small, hand-drawn work is combined with images extracted from Kinsey to create personal, luminous, labor-intensive beauty. If you buy with your ears, a boxed set has already been acquired by the Art Institute and is being considered by The Getty.
Back to those who are opening tonight - Russell Bowman is opening a group exhibit of favored Chicago arts. Some curious juxtapositions and some great art.
Elizabeth Ernst is rather wonderful in an exhibit titled Smoke & Mirrors at Catherine Edelman, which addresses circus people, their psychological issues and difference between their true persona and their public face. Sculptures and painted-on photos are insightful, provocative and rich.
Upstairs at Perimeter Gallery are the calm, Japanese-centric sewn baskets and bowls in wood by Dona Look. Downstairs is a small group show called Nude in Chicago that includes two artist whose work I greatly respect: Chris Antemann and Dana Major Kanovitz.
All right - time to head over to the West Loop where EbersMoore has huge art in a small space. The relationship is powerful, and mandates that you walk around, climb on and inspect Michael Rea's wonderful, obsessive work.
My last stop was saved for one of my favorite venues - hey, it used to be mine - Douglas Dawson, where I came upon the seductive, Japanese sensitive, indigo work of Rowland Ricketts who even grows his own indigo right here in Illinois.
I saw a lot of good art and there's quite a bit that I missed. This is a great weekend for indulging the visual.
Enjoy & thank you!