Art Conversation As It Should BeOctober 14th, 2010
One of the reasons I created Fear NO ART Chicago is because I wanted to take the attitude out of discovering the arts. I wanted to make it more open to people to ask questions, to find out more, to experience this often elusive community. No where is this done better, on a small and intimate scale, than at J.C. Steinbrunner’s Salon Series.
Thanks to Bluebird owner Tom MacDonald, JC invites an artist to hang their work in Bluebird’s back room. Bluebird arranges for a wonderful menu with luscious wine pairings and, on two Sundays during the month-long exhibit, JC invites people to dine in Bluebird’s back room, enjoying food, wine and art, all for only $40. This, in and of itself, is great and entertaining. However, what makes this really intriguing to me is the dialogue that JC starts before and during dinner.
Standing up to address the crowd after explaining the artist’s work and intentions he asks, “So what do you think about the work?” Having a bit of cava already in them, people start responding, and asking questions. Sometimes dialogues circulate at each table and sometimes it is one big 40 person conversation.
People may hop from table to table to get to know people on the other side of the room, and the room loosens up. “How many of these did you make before you got one you really wanted?” someone might ask of the artist. “It seems like there are a lot of sexual undertones going on here, “ someone else might note. The wine continues to flow and the questions people were afraid to ask in the beginning start pouring out. The end result is that by the end of the night you get something that is really rare: people talking about art with no inhibitions and no affectations; pure conversation of interest and passion rather than affect and pose.
Elysabeth Alfano is the Creator, Executive Producer and Host of Fear No ART Chicago, the only arts TV show for the city, on WTTW. Fear No ART Chicago airs Monday, October 18 @ 10:30 pm, Sunday, October 24 @ 5:30 pm and Sunday, October 31 @ 12:30 pm.