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Don't Miss Ari Marcopoulos' Solo Exhibition At Kavi Gupta Gallery

By Julia Weeman in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 7, 2012 8:00PM

Artist Ari Marcopoulos has been an active documentarian and participant in American pop culture for 30 years. He has never shown work in Chicago until now—his solo exhibition, Midway, is at Kavi Gupta Gallery through May 5.

Originally from Amsterdam, in 1979 he moved to New York, where he began work as a printer for Andy Warhol. He began to photograph artists and social figures of the 1980’s New York scene. Marcopoulos acts as a respectful observer, neither objectifying nor romanticizing his subjects, but instead documenting youth culture in a candid, anthropological manner.

Much of Marcopoulos’ recent work documents his own teenage sons’ daily activities and their interactions with pop culture. He also explores Joseph Beuys' mythic narratives. Our favorite part of the show was the interaction between a photograph of a coyote entitled “1.1101” and a video of his son, entitled “Anything”. The 59-second video documents his son playing video games. The sound of the game is disruptively loud and Marcopoulos’ son is so involved in the game that he is completely unaware of the camera.

The TV is positioned so that it illuminates the photograph of the coyote, which is acutely aware of the photographer, but seems content with coexisting at a peaceful distance. The photograph references Beuys' 1974 performance “I like America and America likes me” where Beuys coexisted in a space with a wild coyote for 3 days. Beuys later explained: “I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.”

In the dark gallery space, the image of the coyote is only visible when illuminated by the TV screen, where the 59-second video loops. We were moved by the juxtaposition of the son who is virtually immersed and the coyote who is hyper-aware of the camera.

The show includes two other videos and several large pigment prints. We highly recommend you take advantage of the chance to see Marcopoulos’ work while you have the opportunity - Midway runs through May 5. Kavi Gupta is located in the West Loop at 835 W. Washington Blvd and is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, visit