The annual headline-grabbing, international fine art convention at Navy Pier that Chicago used to call Art Expo back in the day has morphed into a three-headed beast called Artropolis, and it’s kicking off tonight and continuing through Monday afternoon at the Merchandise Mart. Organizers have condensed things a bit this year, putting Art Chicago (established galleries, some chipping toward the blue) and NEXT (edgier upstart dealers) together on the 12th floor, and the International Antiques Fair (cutting edge, not so much, but surprisingly cheeky and definitely not stodgy) on eight. (Pictured is Ilona Zaremba’s oil/collage/surf-board-resin Cheers, featured in the Museum Works Galleries booth.) This is Chrismukkah for lovers of arts and objects, and it brings a buzzy energy to our art community every year. Even if they aren’t participating in Artropolis, local gallerists always pull out the stops and bring their A games. Roy Boyd, for example, is extending hours and having receptions on Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m., and Ann Nathan is keeping it going until nine.
1. Just in time for Mother’s Day shopping, the crafty Spring Show is popping up at Ravenswood’s Architectural Artifacts this Sunday, May 1, from 10–5:00. More than 50 exhibitors will be offering ceramics, handmade papers and textiles, and paintings and jewelry. Angel Food Bakery will be selling additional craft services, there’s a silent auction of donated artisanal items, and there is no admission fee.
2. Owner Stuart Grannen has racked up almost 10,000 frequent-foraging miles in the last couple of months on buying trips to domestic destinations like Southern Florida, NYC, and Hyannis Port. The new acquisitions have been unpacked and priced, swelling the salvage shop with garden accessories, mid-century industrial light fixtures, and a miscellany of what he calls “funky whacked-out items.” I’d put the Pixar-perfect jumbo lamp Stu’s posing with in the latter category. This is just the sort of imaginative inventory that makes visits to AA so illuminating.
3. All merchandise (including new finds) will be marked down 25 to 75 percent starting this Saturday, April 30, for the store’s annual spring sale.
Mama Nature owes us some pretty amazing May flowers after all these April showers, so don’t you want to have some nice outdoor furniture to park it on and enjoy the view? The sprawling Gethsemane Garden Center, which should probably have its own zip code, is having an outdoor furniture open house this weekend, 9–6 Saturday and Sunday, to introduce new furniture lines and demo some new grills and products. The Heaven woven-steel armchair pictured is from the Italian company Emu, known for its modern stackable and foldable options. Reps from Emu and other new-to-Gethsemane lines including Ratana, Kingsley-Bate, and New River will be on hand to offer advice, answer questions, and extend a 10 percent discount on all in-stock or ordered furniture.
Last week, Jayson Home & Garden launched its premiere line of in-house designed furniture, the Jayson Home Collection. Worldly store buyers Caroline Scheeler and Devin Kirk came up with 14 upholstered pieces inspired by sofas and chairs they’ve glimpsed and gathered on their travels, and the vintage finds they select for Jayson’s flea markets. The collection stays true to the store’s classic style, which is understandable—these guys are pros and they know what they like. But you can put your spin on things by choosing from custom finishes and fabrics (or provide your own). Chairs start at about $1,200, and models have such über-Waspy monikers as Balmoral, Bellington, Kennedy, and Sloane. The handsome sofa here goes by Graydon, and he retails (in the antique-white linen material pictured) for $3,295.
There’s an interesting new gallery-boutique in Humboldt Park that’s making a name for itself with its inventory of oddities, outré art and objects, and performance line-up. I’m winking at you, Nudge. Neeka Allsup, an Austin, Texas transplant and recent Art Institute graduate, opened in December to showcase the work of local artists, and she also stocks the front of the shop with cast bronze items, handmade plush toys, jewelry, and small paintings and drawings. Tomorrow night Nudge, located at 1000 North California Avenue, is having an opening for a group show of gallery artists. There will be live music, drinks, and snacks, from 7 p.m. until midnight.
If you’ve been hungering for some kitchen renovations but need a pinch of real-world inspiration to bring things to a boil, this Saturday’s Oak Park and River Forest Kitchen Walk might be just your bill of fare. The self-guided walking tour is in its 26th year, and provides the opportunity to poke around ten recently redone kitchens in private homes that have been selected by a jury of designers and architects. (Here’s last year’s Best in Show winner, cooked up by Jean Stoffer.) This year, Flavour Cooking School and Marion Street Cheese Market will be serving snacks at two of the homes, and you can gaze and graze from 10–4, rain or shine. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 on the day of the walk, and proceeds benefit the Parenthesis Family Center. Marinate over what you’ve seen at a reggae-themed after-party at Oak Park’s upscale home-furnishing resale shop Divine Consign, 4–6 p.m.