uffer April 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Of course Chicago does not have the same art world cachet as London, LA, or NYC. There just isn’t enough interest in contemporary art to allow every big city in every (rich) country to have equivalent artistic prowess – even on a per capita basis.

I am not at all sure that Berlin belongs on this list and, in many ways, LA shows don’t have the same significance for artists’ careers as those in NY.

It seems entirely possible that North America and Europe have only a single art “mecca” each. The only possible rivals to these will probably come from Asia in due time.

None of this means that Chicago, San Francisco, Zurich or Madrid should simply give up on art and artists – each can surely be home to plenty of good shows and good artists.

Chicago should definitely maintain at least one art fair or similar, as SAIC and the fourth largest city-GDP in the world surely warrant it, but competing with NYC is a fool’s errand.

mtwn April 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm

If Chicago wanted to be more like NY or Berlin why would they emulate New Orleans?!  Aligning the disaster of Katrina with the “disaster” of being in the mid-west is the exact kind of thinking that is holding the city back. We don’t need a benefit, we need a group of people who want to start something great, and are uninterested in the “Art City of America Gold Medal”.  Those people are here, they are stifled by potential cash cow ideas like this “Biennial”.  As and artist, thinking about what you are making through a geographical filter (i.e “I am making Chicago Art, and I am a Chicago Artist”) is a severe handicap.  “Chicago Works” at the MCA is a program that is perpetuating this handicap.  

Corinna Kirsch April 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I like the MCA’s 12×12 program, but it’s just one exhibition space for young artists in one museum. Now, if those exhibitions went on tour, giving those young and talented Chicago artists exposure, I’d be overjoyed. 

Now, I’ve got to gripe: a biennial isn’t a benefit, and it wasn’t seen that way in New Orleans. Hosting a biennial s a way to give artists in Chicago exposure by bringing in art people from other cities. And that does so much more than 12×12 (or “Chicago Works”). 

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