Take your pick of performances and fairs taking place this week because there is no scarcity in that realm.
When EXPO Chicago started in 2012, the popular opinion was that President and Director Tony Karman had five years to make this fair great. If he couldn’t, it was likely dead in the water. This weekend marked year three of the midwest fair, and exhibitors and attendees remarked on the palpable momentum. 19 Chicago galleries participated, the highest number yet, and EXPO continued to draw galleries from around the world, including repeat exhibitors like New York’s CRG Gallery who has been on board all three years, and Diana Lowenstein Gallery of Miami, who has been exhibiting at Chicago fairs every year since the 90s.
The GIF shows just keep coming. Along with “Wallpapers” and “GIF Free For All”, we now can thank “The Limited Collection” for 33 new GIFS. Organized by the London/Berlin-based La Scatola Gallery, curators Rozsa Zita Farkas and Valentina Fois are rolling out one GIF a day, through the end of the month, on tumblr. The “limited” refers to the fact that come October, the GIFs will be taken down and archived in a limited edition version to be sold by the gallery. As Tom Moody (a participating artist) points out on his blog, “The GIFs will continue to circulate on the internet and elsewhere, depending on whim and circumstance, thus avoiding the public relations gaffe of ‘taking the GIF offline so the collector can have it locally’ (which one institution attempted a while back).” Good. It doesn’t answer the question of whether collector audiences have a sterilizing effect on the medium, though; Paddy Johnson suspects that art fair trends are seeping into the GIF world already.
Anyway, “The Limited Collection” has been running since the end of August, so naturally, this provides us with the basis for another awards ceremony!
This time, highlights are selected for upholding the special weirdness that’s native to the art form. Above, you’ll see Viktor Timofeev’s “Synergeticka”, virtual reality gloves with little hands that come out of the fingertips. As you can see, they seem to be designed for the sole purpose of tickling an orange. I personally find this horrifying.
And then there’s Lawrence Lek’s “Shiva’s Folly”, presumably named for the Hindu god of great benevolence and destruction. I am no expert on Hinduism, so I defer to the wiki description: “At the highest level Shiva is limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless”. I prefer to think of it as the moment in Ghostbusters when Gozer demands: “Choose the form of The Destructor!”
Tumblr star and recent SAIC grad Nick Kegeyan culls much of his inspiration from the GIFs of Geocities days. This makes me think that this dinosaur, titled “calargy”, takes a leaf from the “SpinningDancer“, the left brain-right brain optical illusion created in 2003 by Nobuyuki Kayahura at the Procreo Flash Design Laboratory. But based on Kegeyan’s own explanation of a similar pivoting chicken, this could have just as much to do with dinosaurs in Calgary, or frames. Either way, brains are fighting each other right now.
Golden deer sculptures, a trope of the art fair, has finally migrated to the animated GIF world. And I have the same head scratching response to Jonathan Monaghan‘s GIF of couch giving birth to a doe, as I do any of those sculptures. What is this saying about wealth? What did this couch have sex with to become pregnant? (Okay, that question is art work specific.) And why do people find deers so compelling?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I suspect there are few collectors and artists out there who do. Someone poll these people and figure this trend out.
CHICAGO —EXPO Chicago week is upon us. Let’s assume you’ll spend at least some small amount of time at the piers for the fair. But let’s also assume you’ll get sick of it. When that happens, check out some of the local exhibitions on our list of recommended shows. Or take the “Art After Hours” program on Friday night shuttle bus tour. It’s free and everyone likes free!