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Chicago Art

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Natural Selection opening with Megan Williamson

This past Friday I got to see my dear friend and talented artist Megan Williamson. We're showing her exhibit Natural Selection, fifteen recent works,  through June 30th. She and her son Gavin drove in from Chicago for the opening to talk about a variety of landscapes, still lifes and floral paintings. (There were also two drawings done in her signature sumi ink on Claycoat paper and an abstract oil of a storm, aptly titled Storm). 

I first met Megan through a friend of a friend and was immediately taken with her aesthetic. I showed her work back in 2009 and it's a pleasure to champion her work which belongs in over 100 private and public collections throughout the world. She's been featured on Design*Sponge and has limited editions on Artfully Walls.  Her work is beautiful and immersive. 

Megan Williamson talks about her latest landscapes with Executive Director of Riverside Art Center, Will Hathaway.

Megan Williamson talks about her latest landscapes with Executive Director of Riverside Art Center, Will Hathaway.

We had enthusiastic crowds throughout the evening and lots of activity on the street – another successful First Fridays Ypsilanti!

We urge you to stop in and see this exhibit. Megan is truly a master of color, line and form and this is a show not to be missed. This is our last exhibit of the spring season and we'll highlight previous artists for upcoming FFY nights (with an art sale on July 10th and August 7th). Thanks to everyone that has been a patron the first four months of our exhibition history. It's been a blast!

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Overview: Magritte at The Art Institute of Chicago

Unexpectedly, I also got to see Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 at the Art Institute over the weekend. The exhibit begins with René Magritte's time in Brussels, weaving you through a maze configuration of galleries as you're introduced to his playful surrealist dreamscapes (and sometimes nightmarish) of figures, forms and design-heavy canvases. His handling of oil paint is at once seamless, which iterates his exceptional acumen for working in trompe l'oeil, while maintaining his stylized hand through minimalist shapes.

Working alongside surrealist contemporaries such as Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, his metaphorical works force viewers to question the reality of multiple planes and how we process what we're seeing within a work.

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance

The Philosopher's Lamp

The Philosopher's Lamp

Included during this era is perhaps his most recognizable work The Treachery of Images with its infamous moniker Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe), calling to attention the representation of objects and how the image of the pipe is not truly a pipe but simply a rendering of one. 

My favorite part of the show was the center hallway, a long gallery of parallel walls. Viewers could absorb the imagery of singular works such as Clairvoyance, The Portrait and The Philosopher's Lamp. While his imagery is not always explicitly violent, there are a few bloodied images of animals, certainly a nod to the German occupation of Belgium during WWII.

The exhibit of over 100 pieces closes with two familiar works (part of the permanent collection at the Art Institute) including Time Transfixed and On the Threshold of Liberty. 

Time Transfixed

Time Transfixed

On the Threshold of Liberty

On the Threshold of Liberty

The show is only open for one more week (through October 13th) but if you're in Chicago, I recommend seeing this exhibit. Tickets are available here

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Overview: David Bowie Is at MCA Chicago

Nick and I finally got to see the long-awaited exhibit, David Bowie Is, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago over the weekend. With it's varied objects, GPS headphone accompaniment (the music and sound bites changed seamlessly as you walked through galleries), and fully engaging environment of spectacle, color and oddity, I highly recommend this show. (Photography was no allowed). 

The chronological exhibit sweeps you through his early years in London, changing his name from "Davy Jones" (as it was already popularized by the member of The Monkees), to David Bowie (and later Ziggy Stardust and back to Bowie).

Trying to steer away from the existing social landscape, ("I didn't want to be a trend, I wanted to be the instigator of new ideas.") his collaborations resulted in fashion and beauty which would eclipse any standards of male attractiveness during that time. Influenced by rock, pop, jazz, punk, he created a culture through tangibles like his costumes and make up as well as intangibles, his androgynous sexuality which teen girls gravitated toward with no reservation during an era which glorified hyper masculine music figures. In one video the interviewer talks about how Stardust can afford a make up artist to paint silver on his nails while hoards of young girls are shown clamoring for the doors to the theater.

Costume by Kansai Yamamoto

Costume by Kansai Yamamoto

His journey into the pop/glam rock/psychedelic world of 1960s music is punctuated by numerous setbacks, reconfigurations and contemplation. At the height of his pseudo-identity Ziggy Stardust's success in 1973, he announced that the show would not only be the last of the tour, but the last of the band's existence. (In 1977 he made the statement "I've rocked my roll" when considering retirement). Mounted stage costumes, drawings, musings and writings, lyrics and music memorabilia are coupled with video, studio footage and interviews leaving you with a tidbit of each of Bowie's countless identities. 

Costume by  Kansai Yamamoto

Costume by Kansai Yamamoto

A few of the exhibition highlights include:

  • A view into "space" as you watch Major Tom floating to Space Oddity
  • The numerous costumes by fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto
  • A small mug shot (when Bowie was arrested for possession of marijuana) is in one of the early galleries with costumes behind glass. 
  • A few oil paintings including a self-portrait from his time in Berlin. This gallery also boasts an exceptionally seamless video installation to painted motif in the room.

Bowie's presence in pop culture also crossed into experimental films in the 1960s and later mainstream movies such as Jim Henson's film, Labyrinth and The Prestige playing Nikola Tesla. For me, the paramount of the show is the last gallery, a pumping and pulsating mix of music matched by floor-to-ceiling screenshots, some with costumes silhouetted in light and film footage. Images pan back and forth from screen to screen interchanging with room-size projections. It was a club I didn't want to leave and a refreshing contrast to the hushed movement from room to room previously.

The Prestige

The Prestige

Labyrinth

Labyrinth

Basquiat

Basquiat

The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth

A few quick tips:

  • Be deliberate in your direction as you wander through the rooms. There are small lines to see many of the objects and if you stand between areas, the sound will not match what you're viewing. 
  • I recommend reserving two hours to fully engage in the spectacle of the show and longer if you want to watch the entire loop of his movie clips.
  • Purchase tickets in advance as they have been selling out daily.

David Bowie Is runs through January 4, 2015. Tickets are available here


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Art Happenings In Chicago this Weekend: Oct 3 - 5

We got our tickets to see David Bowie Is at MCA a while back and we're excited it's finally upon us this weekend. After talking to our friend Chris, it turns out there's a ton of art events going on. 

The Great Chicago Fire Festival is being put on by Redmoon Theater with a ton of support from the City. We expect to see a lot of impromptu performance, installation and art pieces all over the city and particularly the waterfront, right where our hotel is. I can't wait to see the spectacles. 

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I'm so bummed that our tickets for Bowie are during this time but there's also the Shockingly Modern Home Tour going this Saturday. We're huge fans of architecture and I especially love to see how people dwell in these types of spaces. 

There's also the West Town Art Walk, a series of venues, galleries and spaces hosting openings along Chicago Avenue. It will be a walk down memory lane for us and I hope we can make it. Check out the long list of participants here.

And here are a few other art walks this weekend: 

Little Village, Oct. 3 -5

Ravenswood, Oct 4 - 5

Various home salons throughout Chicago take place each Saturday in October in Re-mapping the Salon.

There's no photography allowed in the Bowie show but I'm excited to do a full review when we get back next week. Maybe we'll see you around this weekend! Go out, see art. xx

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Art Publicity for American Painter, Megan Williamson

During my time at Madron Gallery I dealt works mostly by deceased artists. (My specialty was impressionism and social realism, from 1890-1950 and some modern, post-war). But every so often, I had the privilege of working with a local artist and among my favorite people to work with is Megan Williamson. To describe her as an artist is too easy. She's an advocate, activist, patron, friend and so much more. 

In 2009 she exhibited her show, bed of earth, blanket of blue air at the gallery. We hung the show by neighborhood and she wrote snippets about her experience painting plein aire at each location directly on the walls. We were constantly exchanging ideas via email, engaging conversations (where we discovered her roommate in NYC was my professor and mentor at college) and we always had a blast.

Megan is just about to embark on her twentieth solo show at Cliff Dwellers in Chicago. And I'm proud and happy to be working with her again.  I'll be handling Megan's press releases, marketing, artist branding and social networking. 

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New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

I adore much of Megan's work because I can see her sensibility and spontaneity in each precious canvas but they also remind me of the nooks that we used to walk by in our old 'hood. Now, Megan is moving on to still lifes and figurative works that employ her Fauve, expressionist brushstrokes into spatial studies of modern allegory. 

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We just launched her Facebook page but won't you please take a moment to Like her and follow the incredible work she does? 

For information on publicizing, branding and marketing your art work, please contact us here

Artist press release with logo brand and inventory list for exhibition

Artist press release with logo brand and inventory list for exhibition


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