Friday, September 14, 2007

Opened out

Last weekend marked the return of the art season, both in Chicago, and nationally maybe internationally too, I don’t know how they run things in Cologne. Perhaps it was a slight cold, or being exhausted from getting settled in a new home, but the whole business of going to the openings was taxing and a bit grating. It seemed crazier than last year’s season opener. More of a throng outside the 118 and 119 Peoria buildings, even with the rain, and there was a taxicab driving down Lake Street with its back door open. All we needed was a bra swaying from a lamppost as the harsh hangover light of the next morning peeked out from behind the clouds.

Grolsch was served at galleries in the West Loop at this past Friday's art season opening festivities.

People always make that statement along the lines of, “There is more stuff going on this weekend than one could possibly see, and that is good. It means the scene is growing here and blah, blah, blah.” But I don’t care. Most of the stuff isn’t worth going to. The fact that there is a lot of art stuff going on this weekend only means is that there is a lot of art stuff going on this weekend. If you aren’t seeing it, aren’t sojourning down to Pilsen or wherever, what does it matter? I know there is shitty art every city, but what does it mean when you see bars and coffee shops listed along with actual galleries and alternative spaces in the local rags? It doesn’t mean there is a healthy art scene.

Maybe I am getting older or bitter-er, or just falling out of love. Well, I never loved going round to openings. But it was just a trifle this time around. There were literally 2 billion, 1 million, 300 thousand and 2 freshman art students out. All cramming themselves into the West Loop spaces, all drinking the free Grolsch that flowed as if from some beer goddess’ supple tit. (Actually Grolsch is a great beer, and the classic jug with spring loaded stopper was brilliant). Running into people you’ve seen in a while is nice, and not so nice, as the case may be. But I just wanted to get out of there. It made me anxious and irritable. Maybe I should stop going to the big neighborhood openings like that. But then how would people know I am part of the scene? Shallow, but a thought I had nonetheless. Oh well. At lest I didn’t take pictures this time around. Because really, what is the point of taking pictures of a bunch of people at an opening over and over? The art changes, which is obscured by the people, who are always the same, but dressed slightly different.

I was disinclined, therefore, to like anything I saw. But is this environment in anyway suitable to judge what is on view? Of course not. If you are annoyed, as would probably be the case for more than just I, than what chance are you going to give to the art? Openings are necessary, and the huge turn out is indeed a good sign, despite of what I said above. But there is an essential difference between going to openings and going to galleries to look at art. On Friday nights people go to be seen, on Saturdays they go to see the art.

So hopefully this Saturday I will be able to get around and actually see some things. And if I do, I’ll let you know.

This whole editorial is quite the opposite of last year’s head on tackling of the season Art or Idiocy? did. Existential crisis? Change of priorities? Who knows. Perhaps just a momentary lack of enthusiasm. But at any rate...

God speed and good sleep, dear Chicago!


Mark Staff Brandl said...

Me too. I'm feeling similar but in another city far away. Maybe a wake up call later ---

Anonymous said...

Problem with artists today is that they reject their inner buddha.
& they satanize it, so if "it" appears they`ll get scared & cynic, then it hides & leave them blind & alone.
Too many clones as well.

Made trade the alcohol with lonely walks in nature will help to disperse the lazyness & lead us towards glory.