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New Year’s (Art) Resolutions for 2012
by Abraham Ritchie

Have video works playing and powered on

Honestly, I can’t think of anything more disrespectful to an artist than not playing their video work that is on exhibition.  It’s like forgetting to hang a painting entirely, only worse because a blank video screen indicates a presence, and an experience, that is denied.  I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this mistake either, I’ve done my time as a gallery attendant for many years and the first thing you (should) do is start playing a video piece, before unlocking the doors.  And watch it, make sure it’s playing all the way through and looping (if applicable).  So, let’s say no video works left behind in 2012.

Stop raiding Andy Warhol’s aesthetic refrigerator

What Andy Warhol did made his work great. What you will do (or don’t do) may make your work great.  Even Shepard Fairey understands this.


Give up bad graffiti (as seen above)

If you are tagging K-FED you need to rethink that.  Likewise, if you’re plastering tiny pictures of switchblades accompanied by WEED WOLF you’re only reinforcing the stereotype. Give it up guys, you’re making everyone look bad, and more than that, you’re actively reversing the progress of the art form. There was a lot of good street art this year, (see my article next week) but there was just as much crap. 

Be open during publicly posted gallery hours

This is self-explanatory. I don’t care if it is Art Basel weekend, not all of us are in Miami. If you’re a top West Loop gallery there’s absolutely no excuse for not being open during (all) of your posted public hours.


No more bad or dull public art (as seen above)

For a city with a great permanent collection of public art, Chicago got hit with a slew of bad or dull public art this year.  With so many artists thirsty for commissions and opportunities to exhibit, it’s a shame that prime spots were given over to schlock.  Next year let’s give the talented artists a chance. 

Good images of exhibitions, with relevant information, promptly put onto the web

If all the galleries in Chicago could get images and information on the web as quickly as Scott Speh at Western Exhibitions does (to name just one gallerist who is doing it right) I would not be making this a resolution.  Again I am surprised at the top galleries and museums in Chicago that do not have comprehensive images of exhibitions or that do not have titles with images, let alone medium, year, or dimensions.  It only hurts you.

Have at least one good major art fair

The new year will bring Chicago the promising newcomer expo Chicago at Navy Pier and the re-branded Next Art Chicago.  It will be a quiet competition, but it seems that, as in Highlander, there can be only one.

No more loose group shows

I like group shows.  I like the summers that usually carry them. I actually look forward to them, I like things being set in conversation with other things and I like ambitious ideas.  But when a group show is tremendously broad, or bites off more than it can chew, or has other motives (perhaps) then it’s a problem.  I liked what Terry R. Myers did with his group show at Rhona Hoffman over the summer.  It looked at the relationship between ground and figure—a clear and concise point with art that backed it up and engaged it.


Abraham Ritchie, Editor ArtSlant Chicago

(Top image: via wikipedia user 1dragon22)

Posted by Abraham Ritchie on 12/19/11

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