Impressions of Artropolis Chicago

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It’s been nearly a week since Artropolis Chicago came to a close- that intimidating, overwhelming, thrilling, intriguing, and ultimately rewarding, art fair of 780 exhibitors and 16,000 artworks from close to 20 countries on three floors of the Merchandise Mart, but I’m still awestruck by the wonderful windows to creativity and artistic experimentation that the event provided to Chicagoans.   I spent three hours at Artropolis during the Preview Parties on Thursday, April 24, and another three hours on the Saturday afternoon immediately following, but I barely scratched the surface of what was on view.  Which was alright, since as Chicago Tribune art critic Alan Artner said in his preview to the festival, “(t)he impulse is to take in everything but that is immersion akin to a ducking stool.”  Since I didn’t want my experience of art to be similar to that of being strapped into a medieval torture device, I decided to wander, linger, rest, wander again, stop and reflect, and when I had had enough for the day, leave.  I thought that was a good way to take in the pleasures of Artropolis.  I did make a couple of choices beforehand:  I skipped two of the festival’s shows, the International Antiques Fair and the Intuit Show of Folk and Outside Art, since Biedermeier chairs and Art Brut weren’t really my thing, respectively; and I decided to limit my wanderings around The Artist Project, the independent artists’ show, to my friend Sarah Stec’s booth and a couple of aisles over (actually, many of the artists who exhibited here also show at the Old Town Art Fair and other fairs around the city, so there would always be an opportunity to catch them at some place sometime soon).  So I concentrated my time and attention on the works on display at Art Chicago, the main Artropolis show, and NEXT, which was the curated show of cutting-edge, next generation art.  I still didn’t get  to see many, many wonderful artists and pieces, but here’s some of the works that I thought were very memorable- either because they were provocative, challenging, infuriating, inspired, or personally affecting, or all of these, which for me, good art should always be: Read the rest of this entry »

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