Clipped From Chicago Tribune
Full of hot air ELMHURST ART MUSEUM PHOTOS Momoyo Torimitsu's "Somehow, I Don't Feel Comfortable," a pair of 16-foot 16-foot 16-foot inflatable bunnies. Lewis de Soto's "Paranirvana" will be featured in "Blow Up" at the Elm- Elm- fcFj hurst Art Museum. Inflatable art exhibit pops into Elmhurst Art Museum By Bruce Ingram Pioneer Press Some sculptures are made out of stone, some are made out of metal or wood, and some you take out of a box and inflate with an air compressor. That last kind is what will be on display in "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art," beginning Sept. 10 at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Museum. A traveling show that's been making its way around the country for the last year and a half, "Blow Up" originated with a highly successful run in the Bedford Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, Calif. Actually, according to Bedford Gallery curator Carrie Lederer, who put together the show, the concept goes back much further than that, to her fascination with the hot air balloon in "The Wizard Wizard of Oz," when she was a little girl. "I was captivated, even then, when I saw the magical things that could happen when you fill a balloon with hot air," Lederer recalled. Then, much later, sometime sometime around 2001, that impression impression was reinforced when she bumped into the giant pink bunnies bunnies of Japanese artist Momoyo Torimitsu in a gallery in Florida "They had them crammed into a small space and we all sort of fell back on our heels at the sight of these very large, very cute bunnies that were somehow very ominous 'Blow-Up: 'Blow-Up: 'Blow-Up: Inflatable Contemporary Arf When: Sept. 10-Nov. 10-Nov. 10-Nov. 27 Where: Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst. Admission: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors. Students and children under 18 are free. Contact: 630-834-0202; 630-834-0202; 630-834-0202; 630-834-0202; 630-834-0202; www.elmhurstartmuseum.org as well," Lederer said. "As soon as I saw them, I knew there was a whole show in this idea of inflatable inflatable sculpture." Lederer let the idea gestate significantly longer than usual as she pondered the number of artists and the type of works she would like to curate for the show. All she knew for certain was that she wanted to anchor the exhibit with a recreation of Andy Warhol's Warhol's 1966 "Silver Clouds" - a room full of vinyl clouds mixed with helium and oxygen in a way that made them hover in midair. ("Silver Clouds" will not be part of the Elmhurst Museum exhibit) Lederer also knew she wanted most of the pieces in the show to be large and overwhelming, in the sense that she felt overwhelmed by Torimitsu's 16-foot-tall 16-foot-tall 16-foot-tall 16-foot-tall 16-foot-tall bunny rabbits. She even convinced Torimitsu, Torimitsu, whose original piece had fallen into disrepair, to recreate it for "Blow Up." "Size has impact," Lederer said. "We all have a longtime relationship relationship with inflatables, from bounce houses to swimming pools, to the balloons at a child's birthday party. They're a prosaic part of our daily lives, but an artist can create a different land of perspective, perspective, very creative, powerful and often humorous and very engaging engaging for the public." Lederer set out to ensure that there would be a variety of works in the show, ranging from the abstract (Chicago artist Claire Ashley's billowy, hand-sewn, hand-sewn, hand-sewn, hand-painted hand-painted hand-painted pieces) to the narrative narrative (Patrick FKbotte's towering "Inflatable Superheroes" and Guy Overfelt's "('Smoky and the Bandit') Bandit') Trans-Am"). Trans-Am"). Trans-Am"). And to make sure that there was plenty of substance to the pieces, should the attendees be inclined to dig for it Yet, she also wanted the pieces to be bright and colorful, with readily accessible concepts, so viewers could walk away satisfied satisfied by surface impressions. You could look at Billie Grace Lynn's larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized larger-than-life-sized "White Elephant," for example, and be wowed by the huge, yet very light white elephant dominating dominating the room. Or you could go a little deeper into appreciating the spiritual significance of white elephants in Asian culture such as the dream of a white elephant holding a lotus blossom that visited visited the mother of the Buddha before he was conceived. In short, Lederer covered all her bases and was rewarded by one of the Bedford Gallery's most popular shows, which has played remarkably well, she said, wherever wherever it has traveled. "The press was good and at- at- Billy Grace Lynn's "White Elephant." Elephant." tendance was good and the audience audience was very diverse," Lederer said. "Grandparents came with grandldds and a lot of k-through-12 k-through-12 k-through-12 k-through-12 k-through-12 classes came and a large number of college classes as well. We also noticed that our regular patrons were coming through to tour the gallery and then coming back again with friends." "A lot of selfies were taken," Lederer added with a laugh. "A lot of posting and Instagram and Facebook fun was had with this exhibition."