Pocket art: famous works of art have been reduced in size in Chicago - ForumDaily
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Pocket art: famous works of art have been reduced in size in Chicago

An exhibition of tiny works of art is taking place in Chicago. CNN tells where and what you can admire.

Creation of wooden mannequin. Hommage to Michelangelo - Creation of Adam at the Sistine Chapel

Photo: iStock.com/:Kerrick

The exhibitions, scattered across sprawling convention centers, are often on a grand scale, with huge floor plans, major works of art selling for millions, dramatic installations and sometimes grand shows. Read in our material, how a school in Florida considered the statue of David pornography, and what came of it.

What where When

But there's an exhibition in Chicago Bareli Fair reduces art to miniature proportions. Participants create tiny paintings, sculptures and other works that will be displayed at 1:12 scale in dollhouse-sized boxes.

Barely Fair has been running for four years now. Previously, it featured mini bean by Anish Kapoor and other miniature works by such authors as Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono and Rebecca Morris.

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The exhibition is held during Expo week, the annual international trade fair in Chicago. It opened its doors to everyone on April 12 at the Color Club.

Where: Barely Fair is held at the Color Club, located in the Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago at 4146 N Elston Ave.

When: April 16 - 19, 13:00 - 18:00.

April 20 - 21, 11:00 - 18:00.

Price: $ 10.

Small but remote

The idea for Barely Fair initially began as a joke, but organizers quickly realized its potential as a legitimate calendar event in the art world.

After success in 2019, Barely Fair has suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in 2022, the founders, who include artists Josh Diehle and Tony Lewis, and curator Kate Sierzputowski, decided to reopen.

Barely Fair may showcase miniature art, but is otherwise a full-scale event. This year it brings together 36 galleries, which often represent several artists. The artists and their galleries are responsible for the creation of all small works. But the Barely Fair team helps with installation if necessary.

In 2023, Pickleman Gallery presented a miniature version of Anish Kapoor's mini bean Chicago landmark. That same year, the New York gallery Selenas Mountain presented canvases and woven works by Juan Arango Palacios.

Ellie Rhines, founder of New York gallery 56 Henry, has exhibited at Barely Fair for the past two years and this year with the work of Los Angeles artist Dade Puppypaws. Rhines believes that small spaces attract more attention than the hustle and bustle of large stands.
In 2024, Chicago's Patron Gallery exhibits Alice Tippit's booth in front of a regular-sized solo exhibition. The artist will present it this fall.

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In this exhibit, Patient Info, a Chicago art space converted from a dermatology office, mimics its unique furnishings, including tile floors and a miniature examination chair. Patient Info showcases the work of Ingrid Olson and Jonas Müller-Alheim.

Space for interpretation

Organizers say many people have the misconception that people won't look closely enough at the miniature creations. But in fact, by minimizing the scale, you create an environment that you have to look at more closely.

For new galleries and artists, Barely Fair is an affordable way to get involved in Chicago Art Week. It attracts curators and collectors from all over the world.

Artists and gallery owners approached the design of their stand in different ways. Some spaces are done in a more traditional style with floor sculptures and wall paintings.

Others have turned their booths into lively rooms. The artists added wood paneling, rugs and furniture to complement the pieces.

Artist Amanda Ross-Ho shows a monumental T-shirt made in 1998 that stands over 2 meters tall in its tiny, playful version.

Ross-Ho, a Chicago native based in Los Angeles, exhibits at Portland's ILY2 Gallery. This year she's using her booth at the fair to look back at one of her groundbreaking pieces. In 1998, Ross-Ho began playing with plus size in her art. She created a T-shirt over 2 meters high with the words “Leave Me Alone” in bold letters.

This is a reference to the declarative slogans of fashion designer Katherine Hamnett's T-shirts. Ross-Ho has created T-shirts in various versions and sizes over the years. Now her smallest version, Leave Me Alone (XXXXXS), 2024, measuring just a few centimeters, will return home to Chicago, where she first conceived the work.

To mark the occasion, Ross-Ho is selling eight standard "Leave Me Alone" T-shirts at Barely Fair.

But sales are not the main goal, she emphasized. Prices for artwork at Barely Fair typically range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Some works are not intended for sale at all.

However, this does not mean that collectors are not interested in the works on display. Last year, Belgian gallerist Tatiana Pieterse sold out her stand. It featured domestic fish sarcophagi (containing real fish bones). They were printed on a 3D printer by Charles Degeyter.

“The challenge is to draw the viewer into the artist’s world on such a small scale, and last year it worked,” Peters said.

“Now I’m curious to see if it will work again this year,” the artist concluded.

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