Making a Scene

“We’re cultural entrepreneurs,” says Victoria Burns, a Glencoe art adviser whose Palm Treo is filled with names like Peter Sellars and Lawrence Weschler. Burns is using that device to help breathe new life into Art Chicago, the important local showcase that nearly expired last year. She and her partner, Lynne Sowder, an Atlanta-based art adviser, have assembled a roster of high minds for a companion conference called Symposium C6 (April 26th to 28th at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion); the goal is to discuss how to “get art into the hands of real people,” says Burns, 44, who sits on the board of the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute and has consulted for the MacArthur Foundation. “All creative endeavors have the power to change people’s lives and to shape the world.”

ON GLOBALISM AND HER OWN COLLECTION: Zhang Huan's striking photograph (1), which captures a 1997 Beijing performance piece, hangs in her dining room. “I first saw this in a New York gallery-one of the first to foray into Chinese art-in the mid-1990s. The image was beautiful and haunting at the same time.”

NIGHT TABLE READING:
Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu: “I’m not a religious person, but it doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual”; Drinking, Smoking & Screwing: Great Writers on Good Times, edited by Sara Nickles: “That’s a fun one”; Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee: “Lynne [Sowder] said it’s got to be at the top of my reading list. She’s a voracious reader. A lot of the conference is the brainchild of her voracious reading.”

CURRENT OBSESSION:
Parmigiano-Reggiano. “My family says I’d put it on breakfast cereal if I could.”

antique French champagne glassesENTERTAINING ESSENTIALS:
A bottle of Pascal Doquet Premier Cru, made with organically farmed pinot noir grapes, and her grandmother’s antique French Champagne glasses (4). “They were gathering dust in the basement of my mother’s house.”

heirloom repousse silver martini shakerNOT COLLECTING DUST IN HER COZY ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE IN GLENCOE: A family heirloom repoussé silver martini shaker (2). “I make Dreamsicle martinis-vanilla vodka and fresh orange juice-shaken, not stirred."  

a camera-less photograph by artist Adam FussTHE HIGH ART OF THE BABY PORTRAIT: “It’s a photo-gram-a cameraless photograph by British artist Adam Fuss (3). I had curated a show with his work in it while I was pregnant, and he asked if he could do my baby.”

Victoria Burn's cockapoo, OliverINSPIRATIONAL SPOTS: “Walking my dog [Oliver, a cockapoo] (5) along Glencoe Beach. I really feed off of being outside. But I’m not usually drawn to art that depicts beautiful scenery. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing it in person.”

CLOSE-TO-HOME CULTURE SHOT: Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe. “We can roll out of our house and be there in four minutes flat. We have the worst restaurants and the best theatre.”

ARTIST TO WATCH:
San Francisco–based painter Pamela Wilson-Ryckman, whose work depicts tragedies both natural and manmade. “She makes images that are terrible and beautiful at the same time. If something is too beautiful, I get bored with it. If it has a dark side, it resonates.”

vintage handbags belonging to Victoria Burns, Glencoe artistSIGNATURE ACCESSORY:
“I have some exquisite vintage purses (6), and I plan to carry one of them during each night of the event.

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