After a long absence, the popular TOP TEN is back on Art or Idiocy? This latest edition is brought to you by Carl Baratta. Baratta’s fantastical works are currently on view in his solo show, Hurt to Death, at the Contemporary Workshop (542 W Grant Plc, Chicago) through June 23. Baratta has exhibited as far as far off Japan and recently delivered a visiting artist lecture at UCLA. Locally he has shown with Western Exhibitions, and was featured in lasts summer’s hit show Drawn to Drawing at the Betty Rymer Gallery. Probably the best way to introduce Mr. Baratta is through a story he recently shared:
“Hey dude, did I tell you I found an article someone wrote about me online? It is about I show from last year. Anyway, check out the first sentence: ‘Carl Baratta wants to be a pirate.’ Isn’t that awesome?”Without further adieu...
Top 10 for Erik:
10. Cut Rite Liquor Cocktail Lounge (AKA Cut Throat Liquors AKA The Cocktail Lounge)
The rumor is that it’s a place of evil. Supposedly someone got beheaded at the bar one night back in the 80’s. In truth it’s a fantastic old man bar that’s got great polish beers and is run by the owner’s 10 hot daughters. It’s a great place to go if you’re into chicks with Eastern European mullets and crazy eyed old coots that can fuckin’ drink! It’s the only place I know where you can borrow any of the patrons hunting knives for a minute.
9. Chinese Scholar Stones
This one looks like a plume of smoke. But if you look closer at the beautiful surface and texture of these types of rocks you can see placid lakes, feral animals, laughing faces, cool rivers, rolling hills, foreboding mountains and fighting armies.
8. Baltan (the buggy man on the left)
“Not today!’ grunts Ultra Man. Poor guy, never could blow the world up like he wanted to. You got to love him for trying so hard.
7. Mark Manders
In 2003, The Renaissance Society and The Art Institute of Chicago decided to curate two different sculpture shows by Mark Manders. The Renaissance’s show was much better since you could see all of the sculptures in one room. This helped the viewer look at all the work simultaneously making it possible for the viewer to construct meaning between sculptures. In other words, the viewer was given the freedom to reassemble each part of each piece to construct his or her own meaning of what all those weird piles and assemblages of stuff could mean.
It’s a sweet summery Mexican beverage, made out of rice with cinnamon and sugar. Irazu makes a good one. La Pasadita (the sit down one) on Ashland just south of Division makes a mean one too FYI.
5. Nigel Cooke
An English artist, painter. I DO like how he grabs imagery from all over the place. And yes, I am a HUGE fan of scattered decapitated heads (or are their bodies buried beneath the ground?) but what I REALLY love about his work is this sense of foreboding and doom. Some of his pieces have vibrantly colored lightning bolts that violently slash the picture plane. They formally tear his jet-black skies and abandoned walls a new asshole.
Learn more about Nigel Cooke in this article
4. Queen’s Queen II
Queen’s darkest album.
3. Mariko Mori
Her large photos and installations imbue the vacant eyed stares of Manga girls and the genre’s meaningless violence with a sense of political awareness and spirituality. Plus! The rumor is her rich family is funding her to build a person sized hover leaf (a mechanical leaf that can hover above the ground that a person can ride).
2. David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs
And in the death,
As the last few corpses lay rotting on the slimy thoroughfare
The shutters lifted in inches in Temperance Building
High on Poacher's Hill
And red mutant eyes gaze down on Hunger City
No more big wheels
Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats
And ten thousand people-oids split into small tribes
Coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers
Like packs of dogs assaulting the glass fronts of Love-Me Avenue
Ripping and rewrapping mink and shiny silver fox, now legwarmers
Family badge of sapphire and cracked emerald
Any day now
The Year of the Diamond Dogs
This ain’t Rock & Roll! This is genocide!
1. T-Rex’s Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow
Who cares if the title is super similar to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars? It’s by far the coolest Glam Album of all time: Trashy, slinky, sexy fucking rock. Marc’s Laser Eyes burn the panties off my inner 70’s English teen girl.
CARL BARATTA Hurt to Death and the other solo show also going on, which is a little confusing that there are two solo shows, but that’s the way it is, LAURA MACKIN April of ‘92 and Other Months
Thru June 23
Contemporary Art Workshop
542 W Grant Place
773 - 472 - 4505
M - F 12:30 - 5:30
Sat 12 NOON - 5
Visit Carl Baratta dot com be sure to go to the “friends” section.