West of Visibility- (On Chicago gallery criticism)

The current role of “Gallerina”, artist, and critic in Chicago is frustrated and constipated. There is little invisibility of hostility in this art venue of Chicago. The artists continue to create and it gets handed to the “Gallerina” and the critic is unwelcome for business, because it’s just bad for business. In a struggling economy no one wants more bad news. Yet bad news is the latest gossip worth writing and reading about. We all are not so secretly paranoid about what we are consuming.

Opinions should be free. Critics should be critical, but the quality of interpretation should be directed. If an object is meant to sing its heart out for the viewer the viewer should be open and willing to do some investigating. Things are never as they appear to be. The gallery walls are meant to be unobtrusive. We want them to lose sight of scale and imagine the piece in the ideal space. But as unblemished as the walls become it will never be a neutral space. No space is neutral. Traditionally the artist makes work in a private space. Bringing the work into the public at a price feels like prostituting the makers children. They want to hold their integrity as they hold their pose on the icy stage as they sell their soul to the viewer. The gallery stage is cold and the artist is always left vulnerable and bare.

I understand the desire to want to be greeted without hostility by objects. The handler is there to hold the hand of the buyer to reassure them of their investment. If there is foul play stirred by a critic they are having second thoughts. Explain to them what they missed at opening night. Not everyone makes it on time. Everything seems to be Fifteen minutes away, but it tends to end up just another block further. An explanation for creation as we stand there so patiently for those seven seconds is so desperate. We crave the reassurance that the artist isn’t hiding an ambivalent agenda. No body wants to be taken advantage of. We want to be sure of how many calories are in each art piece. We want the cage-free, pesticide free, and hormone free organic work stamped on it before we sign on the bottom line.

The gallery system is old buildings with flat white walls. Chicago is a new building with old pipes. It is quite clear that when it rains Chicago doesn’t lift its skirt and wave in a free ride. Chicago opens up and swallows its habitants. The format of constructive critique relies on the potential for improvement. How can we represent art if it’s passing through corroded pipes? We all have witnessed what happens when pipes kink this city starts to sink. The runoff and sewage passes through the same pipe into our summer water. Don’t look up the plumber, or the insurance company find the social worker and engineers.

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