While I may not fit the clinical description of a problem drinker . . . hang on, I feel bad not researching that.
OK—just took an online quiz. I’ll start over:
Because I fit the clinical description of a problem drinker, the fact that I’d been standing in Public Works Gallery for a full 20 minutes without a drink in my hand was worth noting. I was there for the opening of a new exhibition by Sonnenzimmer, the Chicago-based studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi, and the mood in the room was palpably light. All openings have a celebratory air but there was something about this one that made it feel different. There was a noticeable lack of international signs for contemplative thought: furrowed brows, arms folded across chest with index finger pressed to chin. Instead, the room felt bright and bubbly, and after a few sober minutes, it suddenly dawned on me why: Sonnenzimmer’s work is easy.
That’s not an insult. I don’t mean easy to conceptualize or easy to produce, but it’s easy to be around. And if the idea behind making art is to eventually sell it, then that easiness becomes a real asset. Because at the end of the day, who wants to live with a piece of art that makes you feel like shit? Yes, there are highbrow arguments to be made here in defense of painful themes, and were today a different day, I might be tempted to make them myself. But because the world has given us enough darkness recently, let’s celebrate art that unabashedly embraces the light.