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EXPO Chicago 2017: From the snowman to guillotine

1. Galerie Gmurzynska booth with four round booths and paintings inside of each of them

Galerie Gmurzynska display with four round booths and paintings inside of each of them

More than 130 leading art galleries from 25 countries and 58 cities recently came to Chicago to be part of EXPO Chicago – one of the biggest art fairs in Midwest America. This international exposition of contemporary & modern art took place at historic Navy Pier and lasted from September 13th to September 17th . During these five days, everyone had an opportunity to find something interesting: business people – dealers, collectors, gallerists – made business deals, while art enthusiasts had an opportunity to see artworks from all over the world and eventually met and talked to artists…

3. Maurice Mbikayi - The Unknown King, Johannesburg - Cape Town

“The Unknown King” Maurice Mbikayi, Johannesburg – Cape Town

This huge art fair with a variety of art displays throughout huge convention center at Navy Pier space shows cultural diversity of modern art.

4. Maurice Mbikayi, Johannesburg - Cape Town

Maurice Mbikayi, Johannesburg – Cape Town

Every gallery booth shows different artwork. Right beside the entrance is the Galerie Gmurzynska booth with four round booths – viewing rooms. Each booth was covered by exotic colorful curtains that were opened just enough to lure visitors to come inside to see paintings.

11. Chicago artist Jay Strommen beside his tablet (far left) at Zola Lieberman Gallery booth

Chicago artist Jay Strommen beside his tablet (far left) at Zola Lieberman Gallery booth

Another interesting place is Gallery MOMO from Johannesburg/ Cape Town with beautiful artistic photographs and sculptures of Maurice Mbikayi of people warrior-dressed in computer keyboards.

16. Francesco Clemente Love

“Love” by Francesco Clemente

A lot of art enthusiasts gathered at the booth of Zolla Lieberman Gallery where Chicago artists Jay Strommen explained to visitors his way of creating his glass-ash tablet.

6. 'Through An August', Xaviera Simmons at David Castillo Gallery booth

‘Through An August’, Xaviera Simmons  at David Castillo Gallery booth

‘This is 35 inch by a 12-inch ceramic tablet with glass-and the body of work. When I was studying at the Art Institute in 1999 and 2000 and I had decided to start pushing materials based on wood-firing accidents so that the glass and the ash from different tree species make different effects. So I started putting extra material and glass on rims and the edges and kind of tried to fast forward that accumulation that would normally take 7, 8, 9 or 10 days in the kiln to get. And then I was discovering that kiln shelves I was ruining looked pretty amazing. So, I  started to study the accidents on the kiln shelves and then tried to figure out how I could frame those accidents. So I started to build the tablature to actually create those environments on a flat surface with reason. Clays are romantics… So, I decided to push the elements. There are water, fire, earth and the air. I pushed the earth material part of it pretty far. And then, I was thinking, “Wow, what can I do with the water, the air, the light, with the fire?” So, that’s where this part of aperture and the piece started to become important.  The glass really captured and reflects the light in a really nice way… And that’s been sort of the evolution of the pieces…’ Strommen said.

8. 'Looking Into the Darkness', Paolo Ventura

‘Looking Into the Darkness’, Paolo Ventura

A little bit further, a huge inflatable vinyl Fat Albert character lying face down on the floor. That is Sanford Biggers installation ‘Laocoön’ – a sculptural installation of Fat Albert, the main comedic cartoon character from Bill Cosby’s 1970s cartoon series, ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’.


Sanford Biggers installation ‘Laocoön’ – inflatable vinyl Fat Albert character from 1970s cartoon series ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’

The name Laocoön came from Greek mythology, more precisely from the story about Trojan horse: Laocoön was a priest who tried to warn Trojans not to accept gift – gigantic horse – from Greeks saying ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’. Biggers’ installation pays homage to the Trojan Priest of the same name and to the tense relations between minorities and organizations created to protect them.

2. Gallerist Rene Schmitt is explaining the work of American artist Lorraine O’Grady2a. Lorraine O’Grady work at Rene Schmitt Gallery booth

A little further gallerist from Germany Rene Schmitt talks to visitors in his booth about work of Lorraine O’Grady, an American artist whose work is represented at EXPO Chicago 2017 by his Gallery. ‘She is an American artist who was born in 1934 in Boston and she lives now in New York. Her work is called ‘Cutting out Conyt” which comes from the project she did in 1977 ‘Cutting out New York Times”’ he says.

This is his third visit to Chicago and his goal is to meet new collectors and institutional curators who may be interested in finding new works or find Lorraine O’Grady as interesting as he does.

He said that he knew Art Expo Chicago from the 90s when Art Chicago used to be the most important art fair in the world, especially in America. ‘That was the place you have to go (to) if you want to visit an art fair or if you want to see international contemporary art. And then, somehow, New York caught up, and became more and more important. But, now we see that EXPO Chicago is really catching up and becoming again important and it became major art fair.

12. Piero Golia, Untitled (Evil exists where good man do nothing,

‘Untitled (Evil exists where good men do nothing)’ – Piero Golia’s sculpture of life-size guillotine at Gagosian’s booth

One of the strongest, darkest and the most upsetting sculpture at EXPO Chicago 2017 is ‘Untitled (Evil exists where good men do nothing)’ Piero Golia’s sculpture of life-size guillotine at Gagosian’s booth. There is a hole where the person sentenced to death needs to put their head, there is a scary and sharp blade at the top of the guillotine… The longer you look, the more disturbed you feel, because you cannot believe that similar ‘devices’ executed thousands of people in the past by beheading. Today this guillotine represents the revolutionary power of art.

~ Milica Puric ~

© Photo and article by Urban Culture Tribe

7. 'Chinese Student', Duane Hanson

“Chinese Student” by Duane Hanson

17. Tonny Tasset, 'Snowman in two parts', Kavi Gupta Gallery

Tonny Tasset, ‘Snowman in two parts’, Kavi Gupta Gallery


9. 'The Dogs Went Silence' Lavar Munroe, 2017, Jenkins Johnson Gallery

“The Dogs Went Silence” Lavar Munroe, 2017, Jenkins Johnson Gallery

14. Adam Parker Smith, Augustius, 2017, resin, fiber glass, preserved mylar, steel...

Adam Parker Smith, Augusts, 2017, resin, fiber glass, preserved mylar, steel…

Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes: Making beautiful art together


Erwin Overes and Dobrila Pintar – moment of relaxing during their exhibition of ‘Eurydice’ (2014)

Whenever creative people unite their imaginations, visions and talents, the results are amazing. That’s exactly what Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes did. They put together their minds and inspirations and created a few excellent pieces of art — statues of ‘Eurydice’ (2014), ‘Black Swan’ (2015), ‘Haru’ – kimono (2015), ‘Hana’ the geisha head (2015) and ‘Whatever…’ (2016) a transgender head with an elaborate hat made out of glass in 2016.


Stunning Eurydice’s dress is combining more than 2,000 tiny pieces of glass flowers, leaves and buds.

They presented their first joint artwork, ‘Eurydice’, in October 2014 at Studio Oh! in Chicago’s South Loop, and the audience was delighted. Their ‘Eurydice’ was mainly made from glass and wood — two seemingly incompatible materials. Erwin Overes worked with the wood and Dobrila Pintar with the glass. In her studio at Bridgeport Art Center Gallery in Chicago she made the glass items for the dress, combining more than 2,000 tiny pieces of glass flowers, leaves and buds.


Artists Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes cought that tragic, dramatic moment when Eurydice is disappearing and going back to the underground world 

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the saddest love stories from Greek mythology. Orpheus fell in love with the most beautiful of all nymphs, Eurydice, but she stepped on a snake hidden in tall grass and died. To bring her back from the dead, Orpheus went to the underworld. There, he received permission to take his love back, under one condition: On their way back, he must not look at her. Orpheus, however, couldn’t resist. In one moment he looked at his love and violated the command. Eurydice immediately went back to the world of the dead.


Artist Dobrila Pinat is explaining to curios visitors how she and Erwin Overes worked together and created this fabulous sculpture ‘Eurydice’ – at Studio Oh! 

The idea to make the sculpture came from Erwin Overes. He had a piece of wood that reminded him of a woman, so he and Dobrila Pintar thought it would be nice to make a dress for her. They started working together, and after many months they finally caught that tragic moment when Eurydice is disappearing and going back to the underground world.

“This is a very romantic but sad story where the tragedy happened just at the moment everyone expected love,” Erwin Overes said.IMG_0743

Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes presented their second joint artwork, ‘Black Swan’ in October 2015 at Studio Oh!

Their second sculpture, ‘Black Swan’, was presented at Studio Oh! the next year. The story about the ‘Black Swan’ comes from the ballet ‘Swan lake’ and is again a tragic love story. They worked for months on this new sculpture. There was much to be done, and every swan feather had to be specially made. Dorbila Pintar has tried 50 types of different glass feathers and tested numerous shades of white, gray, yellow and black just to find the most appropriate for their sculpture.


Erwin Overes beside ‘Haru’ (springtime) – kimono (left), another sculpture he and Dobrila PIntar created   

“I worked on this sculpture about six months, and it was much harder than working on ‘Eurydice’, where I just played,” said Dobrila Pintar, showing the transformation of colors on the swan glass wings from white to black that symbolizes the swan’s transformation.

Haru (10)

Another phenomenal work of art – ‘Haru’ (springtime) – kimono. Who would say these beautiful pink little roses, leaves and twigs were made from the glass and epoxy clay (twigs)?

“Look at these white and yellowish fluffs. This is the beginning of the wing, and as the legend progresses and the tragic end is more possible, the colors are transforming into dark and black.” Dobrila Pintar said she wanted to give feathers the same authenticity they have in reality. That’s why she added to every feather threads, silver glass to make them look as lifelike as possible. The end result was amazing.

Haru (7)

‘Haru’ (springtime) – kimono. You can almost smell this beautiful, fragile, glass rose and touch the raindrops on it… 

“Erwin Overes and I work well together, and unlike our previous work on Eurydice, where we worked spontaneously, this time we made a plan and precious structure,” Dobrila Pintar said.

You can see their sculptures at the studio, which is owned by Erwin Overes.

Hana (5)

And another fascinating glass art work –  ‘Hana’ (blossom) – the geisha’s head

Dobrila Pintar’s name is well known and respected in Chicago’s art circles, and her unique jewelry made of colored glass and metal is famous in all America. She received many rewards for her work, but one of the most important reward was The Artist of the Month she got in 2012. This recognition has opened the door for her to famous Art Institute of Chicago and connected her with other artists, galleries and curators.

Hana (1)

Every piece of ‘Hana’ (blossom) – the geisha’s head was made from glass

After ‘Eurydice’ and ‘Black Swan’ Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes created together amazing sculptures – ‘Haru’ (springtime) – kimono, and ‘Hana’ (blossom) the geisha’s head. All  her hair ornaments are made out of glass. The bust itself is made with an epoxy clay, the hair is made out of leather.


The last creation of Dobrila Pintar and Erwin Overes is a captivating sculpture named ‘Whatever….’ 

Their last creation, a captivating sculpture named ‘Whatever….’ is a transgender head with an elaborate hat made out of glass. With this sculpture they showed the fact that people nowadays are more fluid in their sexual identity. These breathtaking red roses and ornaments Dobrila Pintar has made are probably the most beautiful pieces of glass any artist can make.


The best part of this amazing hat are these sophisticated glass red roses

~ Milica Puric ~