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City of Big Navels

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In response to Jeff Huebner's article about Kimler's complaint of the Chicago art world [June 26], I have a suggestion.

Chicago's art heritage exists, yet is being completely ignored due to the shortsighted preoccupation with the invention of a new talent or movement. Chicago's so-called art authorities and all their "little goats on ropes" have missed the mark. A movement or talent cannot be invented, but must be discovered. A movement or talent develops over years, unnoticed, naturally, apart from motive. Visual artists are not ballerinas or sports figures whose prime, due to physical fitness, often starts and ends in their 20s. Rather, artists enter their prime with a mature understanding of intent beginning at 40, 50, 60 years of age. The new trendy art and Chicago's mature existing art are like gossip versus philosophy. Though "bandwagon" trends do affect lives momentarily, they do not shape true historical reference, and to focus on them lacks intelligence.

All types of art aid in the psychological interpretation of a society. Chicago's selections and omissions of art have manufactured a cultural foundation that is not unlike other areas of our culture. Chicago's presentation of art has joined the ranks of hyped advertising and offers the same degree of knowledge as a new television sitcom and the staying power of sod. When the elite dismiss the thousands of artists living and working in Chicago, it is a direct comment on just how silly a city can be. Chicago, what is it that you are afraid of? Why not build a unique cultural foundation that is full of intrigue, instead of giving us the same old formula that just does not shock us anymore? Take the opportunity that a turn of a century allows--change. Hopefully the MCA, the Terra, and the Art Institute of Chicago will set out to introduce the public to what the city of Chicago already has: a multitude of artists 30, 40, 50 years of age making significant work while not conforming to an agenda.

So, critics, curators, and collectors, instead of joining in on the fabrication of talent, get out in the city and take a good look. Have a search to uncover a unique city/regional art and tell us about it. Or continue to wallow in what you have created, a narrow-minded art world with the chance to go down in history as "the city that never found itself."

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