Expo Chicago, money and art

This video from the USA is called EXPO Chicago Preview.

By Jeff Lusanne in the USA:

Expo Chicago: Money and art mingle, with little benefit to art

27 September 2012

After a six-year hiatus, Chicago was once again host in 2012 to an international art fair, Expo Chicago. The event was held September 20-23 in the massive Festival Hall at Navy Pier, a tourist destination near the city’s center. One hundred galleries exhibited work in the fair, presenting enough material to easily fill up a day of viewing. Such a presentation offered a unique opportunity to survey the world of contemporary art—and, specifically, its problems and possibilities.

Painting and photography were most widely represented at Expo Chicago, followed by sculpture, drawing and new media.

Two traits quickly made themselves felt. First of all, there is an exciting, seemingly boundless availability of media and formats for artists to work in, including relatively new technologies such as 3D printing (the making of solid objects by adding layers of material), projection and bold methods of material fabrication. In itself, however, this variety of media does not automatically lead to artistically significant or emotionally engaging content.

Secondly, the fair was awash in money, and the brazen commodification of art and the consequences of that process are readily apparent. A substantial amount of artwork is almost insignificant in either its mediocrity or inaccessibility, or both. Some works seem immediately destined for life as decoration in homes or offices, and only the dizzying price tags separate such efforts from the kitsch one finds in a shopping mall gallery.

Thankfully, amid the flurry of commerce and triviality, there is still thoughtful, compelling and fascinating work to be found—although relative to current social and political developments, it seems a pale reflection of life as it is for millions across the world. That said, these are some of the works and artists that stood out.

Works of note

David Opdyke, Monumental Failures, tank, carved and milled urethane, styrene

Monumental Failures is a witty, attractive series of small sculptures by the prolific artist David Opdyke, presented by the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Each of the 24 pieces features a model-like, finely detailed, grey subject set on a textured tombstone. The Capitol dome, instruments of war old and new, a house, a pipeline, a parking lot and a symbolic eagle are shown to have met their deaths, suggesting each is a relic of history, even as it persists in the present day.

Also on display were a few of the fascinating photographs of industrial processes, nature and economic life by Edward Burtynsky. His decades-long body of work features photographs from around the world offering grand views of monumental subjects—from massive mines in North America to seemingly endless factory floors in China. Those are accompanied by portraits of harrowing working conditions (shipbreaking in Bangladesh) and disturbing environmental effects (mine tailings).

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