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Posts Tagged ‘galleries’

 In the 50’s a New York postal clerk named Herbert Vogel (1922-2012) hung out with Abstract Expressionists in the Cedar Street Tavern.  He tried painting himself, but felt he wasn’t any good.  He gave up painting and became a collector.  After he married Dorothy, a librarian, they lived on her salary—in a one bedroom apartment–and spent his on contemporary art, primarily emerging conceptual and minimalist artists. They got to know the young artists and closely studied their working methods and thought processes.  In 1992 they donated their collection of 4782 pieces, by then worth millions, to the National Gallery and galleries in all fifty states.

In 2008 Megumi Sasaki documented their obsession in “Herb and Dorothy”.   Did someone say “obsession”?  Maybe it wasn’t an obsession or an addiction.  Maybe it was love.  Meditation?  Wisdom?  Greed? Quest for fame?   Watch the movie, highly recommended.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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Doing the galleries on a Wednesday morning is like walking on the beach when it’s raining.  You have the place to yourself. Ahh.  Just you and the great non-verbal mysterious IT.  You don’t have to explain anything to anybody, you don’t have to listen to anyone explaining anything to you, you don’t have to be smart and you don’t have to listen to anybody being smart. Or artsy, or sensitive, or cool, or post-modern, or sincere, or authentic, or outsider-ish,  or judgmental, on non-judgmental, or edgy, or evolved, or enlightened… nothing.   The West Loop galleries are good for that. They’re spread out.  You step into one gallery and then maybe the one next door, but after that you hike.  To get to your next gallery, you step over cracked sidewalks, circle around construction sites, take a detour to find the Metra underpass and all this gives you time to calm your mind.  By the time you get to your fifth gallery, you’re blissful.  The cracks in the cement look profound, the peeling paint resonates with secrets, and the graffiti melts your heart  when in another context you might only have thought “sociopath.”

I started at the Carrie Secrist Gallery on Washington at Green Street. I don’t know how much time I spent with Carolyn Ottmer’s “Splice” series, but I know that my sense of time had already gone out the window with Megan Greene’s Audobon collages in the entrance gallery. Then, in the “Splice” space,  I was looking at huge models of plants cast in stainless steel suspended from the ceiling.  Only later, consulting the web, did I read that these were “studies of plants that thrive in urban environments, such as those that are seen breaking through cracks in city sidewalks …” At the Secrist Gallery I was also drawn into the vortex of Angelo Mosco’s photographs, but for this post I will limit myself to showing Carolyn Ottmer’s work.  This work will be up til October 16.  Go see.

When I do the galleries, I don’t read the literature about the artists and their work.  I turn off the verbal faculty and become visual and experiential.  Then a funny thing happens.  My brain starts processing the art in the galleries and the urban compositions outside  with the same neurons.  It’s a trip.

As Alan Watts used to say, “This is IT.”

(Chicago galleries tend to change shows mid month.  Parking in the West Loop, or any lively part of the city for that matter, is iffy.  I took the Metra to Ogylvie and then the #20 bus West on Madison.  Got off at Halsted and walked .)

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