Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Treasures of the Courtyard

Our courtyard has become more of a sculpture dump than a sculpture garden.
Low-fire terracotta figures are being put out in the weather.
Several have already begun to crumble and disintegrate.
It's a  shame.

Most of the pieces should just be thrown in the dumpster.
Except for this charming portrait of Dana by Jim Hajicek.
It's kind of remarkable, actually --- to  get such  likeness in such a small piece.
And to capture the model's poetic spirit.
I hope someone sees this picture and offers to buy (and save) it.

Leeming for Judge: Maybe next time

Regretfully -- Tim finished dead last in this election -- despite the wonderful banners that Mary Qian made for him.

Even the aging Playboy stripper got more votes.

But all is not lost !

There are still plenty of ripe dumpsters and forlorn alleys waiting to be painted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

budget 2018

It looks like we're getting  about $60,000 annually in interest from the air-rights windfall - which is how much  the income exceeds the expenses.

We budget for 250 members.  There's about $200,000 in both the operating and the building accounts.

That's good news.

Except that we're not a business.  We do not need to increase the wealth of shareholders.

That $60,000 should be used to expand our activity as an art educational organization.

It's my dream that the P-and-C sponsor  annual invitational  non-member exhibitions of mimetic visual art - alternating between portraits,  landscapes,  still-life, full figure,  animalier, etc.  All such genres are categorically excluded from  museums of contemporary art.  If we don't stand up for them, who will?

We may now be the only mimetic arts organization in the country who can afford to do this.

What's  stopping us ?

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

2018 - Gold Medal Show


George Clark

Here's my pick for the  Gold Medal.
Tor thinks it's too cheesy,
but apparently that's what I like.

And it feels airy, breezy, and full of hope
for a day well spent on planet earth.

Stuart Fullerton

I'd give  medal to this one, too.

Kind of ominous, aggressive, annoying.

And strange.

A fine example of Chicago  painting.

Soko Okada

I am SO TIRED of portraits that idealize their subjects.

So this uncomfortable woman pleases me.

She is not a happy camper.

Mark Huddle

Is it a depressing cityscape?

Is it an edgy geo-form abstract painting ?

I like it.

Lilly Y. Lee

Former member Pamela Johnson has made a career
out of portraying sweet junk food.

This dramatic piece is a fine example of that genre,
The donuts appear to be having
a personal relationship.

Ali Hasmut

A highly personal view of our glass and steel canyons

Stacey Street

A lively celebration of urban energy

Stephanie Weidner

I've written about this painting before.

At this viewing -- it seemed like a time trip back to a hotel gift shop in the 1950's.

Rich Morrow
I've devoted a separate post to this masterpiece .

It won this year's Gold Medal,
though its artistry is more conceptual than formal.

It certainly celebrates the Palette and Chisel.

But it also undermines what makes it special.

Andrew Conklin

Cathy Berry

Charlotte Arnold

Christine Body

Clayton Beck III

Dan Kolleng

Dayle Sazonoff

Errol Jacobson


Helen Oh

Henrique Cerne-Lima

Lenin DelSol


M. Abbott Trboyevic


Michael Margherone

Misha Livshitz

Paul Bond

This might be the first time I've seen the work of this highly skilled airbrush illustrator in our shows.


Phyllis Brodny



Steve Puttrich


Val Yachik

Sex and death - what more can we  ask for?

Wei Hsueh

William Schneider

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Rich Morrow: Ascension to the Fourth Floor Studio


This amazing cardboard construction is Rich Morrow's entry in our annual Gold Medal Show.

Sculptures never win the gold medal --  and conceptual art never should --- but this is certainly the most memorable piece I've seen here over the past thirty years - as well as the most effusive expression of love our retrograde art organization has ever received.

And yes... I love it too.

Larado Taft's "Fountain of Time" emerges from the roof (the very first club members met in Taft's studio), and above that the blessed spirits of the deceased ascend to an eternity of bickering over the music and lighting in the celestial fourth floor studio.

Apparently these figures were lifted from illustrations in old editions of "The Cowbell", the club's occasional newsletter back in the day.

Rembrandt was never a member -- but wouldn't he be teaching special workshops here if he could ?


A view up into the third floor studio -- where members from a hundred years ago can still be seen hard at work.

It's rather sad to compare Michelangelo's original drawing ( shown above at the left of the door) with the hapless variation that now hangs on our building. But it's also comforting. It seems to proclaim the mission of our institution:  it's good to strive, and it's O.K. to fail.

Something will always be causing anxiety for the staff in the basement office.

I'll have to ask Rich about that strange creature who's climbing down the gutter pipe.
(postscript: according to Rich, it's Frida Kahlo's spider monkey)