The Glories of the Chicago Art Book Fair

On Thursday and Friday I went to the first Chicago Art Book Fair,  which is “dedicated to showcasing emerging directions and diverse legacies within small press arts publishing. The fair features an international group of over 100 arts publishers, small presses, book artists, comics artists, zinemakers and printmakers”.

It was a great atmosphere— a classic zine conference twinged with real art prints splayed across two beautiful rooms (The Tank and Stagg Court) in the Chicago Athletic Association.

Tara Booth Prints: A Weak Horse and Peekin. Fun style.

Lainey Waugh: 3 prints with cutouts; here’s one:

Mary Tremonte of Just Seeds Collective:  I See You and  We Are Born in Flames are exquisite:

Fuck Work by Josh MacPhee, also of Just Seeds Collective is a pretty simple work:

A number of items from Press Press and the chapbook, Jamiyla Lowe: A Whole New WorldPull Groan by Keith Herzik, and WORK/PLAY: The CIA, The War on Drugs, and MK Ultra.

Vice Versa Press: sublime dollar noose poster and “Don’t Text Him” coasters.

One of my new favorite posters is from Other Forms . I’ve long been fascinated by the role of variation in capitalism, but I didn’t know that there was an early typographic corollary.

I really like the style of Colpa and his “He’s on Fire” poster (presumably honoring NBA Jam):

Congress: yellow print, which seems to be part of the Language Barrier family.

And lastly, the Chicago Art Book Fair poster by Clay Hickson:


Field Trip!

One of the great joys of parenting is chaperoning field trips. I have never passed one up that has been offered to me. Sometimes the opportunities are hidden, tbh— parents and teachers collude to fill the slots before publishing them widely 🙂

So the key is to watch those calendars, religiously read the slips that come home, and be ready to pounce. Also, since I live in the city, near places where field trips happen, sometimes I can be there in unofficial ways. This gets more important the older the kids get.

Today I had just such a time. I met up with CXO and his 12th grade literature class at the Art Institute of Chicago. I got to be with my baby:

CXO and DXO at the Art Institute, con art.

And I got to see the brilliant show, “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

All hail art and field trips.

Day at the Smithsonian: Direct Carving and Experience America

Today I saw a couple great shows at the Smithsonian American Art Museum— Direct Carving and Experience America.

I often blanch at the heaviness of modern public sculpture. I stand in front of a piece and wonder what I’m supposed to feel. Direct Carving leaves me with no questions— you can see everything laid out before you.

Here’s a snip on Experience America:

The 1930s was a heady time for artists in America. Through President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, the federal government paid them to paint and sculpt and urged them to look to the nation’s land and people for subjects. For the next decade —until World War II brought support to a halt—the country’s artists captured the beauty of the landscape, the industry of America’s working people, and a sense of community shared in towns large and small despite the Great Depression.

Many of the paintings in Experience America were created in 1934 for a pilot program designed to put artists to work; others were produced under the auspices of the WPA, which followed. The thousands of paintings, sculptures, and murals placed in schools, post offices, and other public buildings stand as a testimony to the resilience of Americans during one of the most difficult periods of our history.

Great stuff.

Bonus: Outwin 2016.