|"Balloon Dog (Blue)" Jeff Koons (Broad Museum, Los Angeles)|
If you put a gun to my head and demanded that I name three living Chicago artists I’d be a dead man. Oh, I’d reel off Tony Fitzpatrick and Hebru Brantley easily enough. Then “boom!” because I couldn’t think of a third to save my life.
Which I’d be too embarrassed to admit if I didn’t suspect that this is two contemporary artists more than most readers could manage.
Chicago is not really an art town. Yes, Expo Chicago, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, kicks off Wednesday at Navy Pier. And yes, we have wonderful public art, highlighted last month with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the Picasso sculpture. A Miro and a Calder, that Oldenburg bat column and Dubuffet’s “Snoopy in a Blender,” which really isn’t its name, but neither is “The Bean” the real name of Anish Kapoor’s mirrored legume.
Except for the Bean, which I love, I used to think dimly of Chicago’s public art, particularly the Picasso. But I try to actually listen to the people I talk with, and Michael Darling, the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, convinced me that this stuff is actually important.
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