Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Second Annual Artful Tread - Mass. Ave. Arts District - May 7, 2003 - 3 1/2 stars

May 2-3. This fun public display of artfully rethought old tired mixes local commerce with art more successfully than the 500 Festival’s cars to celebrate the 500 Festival. The creative diversity was evidently greater. Participating Mass. Ave. businesses displayed their tire art either in their shop windows or on sidewalks. Just as Chicago’s “Cows on parade” in 1999 brought life-size cow sculptures to the Loop, these real and thus life-sized tires engage the whole community directly with art through a little humor and wit. Urban Bloom’s suspended hangman treatment of a tire within a tire and old sign letters spelling out “ART” along the bottom perimeter was a great assemblage piece in and of itself. The flower planter outside of Jungclaus Campbell with a tire serving as a base was sweet and delightful. Jenny Elkin’s tire at her gallery was transformed into a cartoonish fish by having been painted orange, given fins and one big boggle eye. More obvious and equally silly was the minimalist approach to the project taken by 4 Star Gallery. Propped up in their front windows sat “Really Old Tire,” which was simply a really old tire cracked, worn and unadorned. Yat’s doused their peach-painted tire in glitter (it looked like a Homer Simpson-worthy fantasy iced donut) and Scholar’s Inn turned theirs into a huge Disneyland martini topped off with a cherry. Two days just isn’t enough time for the city to enjoy this. Perhaps next year the 500 Festival will exploit and put their funds toward enhancing this successful grass-roots art endeavor. There was no red tape on these tires. – Mary Lee Pappas

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