A delicate sculpture by Michael Aram
Armenian Rhapsody

I’m a little atwitter about the upcoming opportunity to meet the artist Michael Aram at his Chicago appearance at Tabula Tua this coming Thursday, October 21, from 6–9 p.m. I’ve long been a fan of his work, am proud to have a few of his hand-hammered silver serving pieces, and I have it on good authority that he’s the nicest guy on the planet. He will be in town in support of the Armenian nonprofit charity Save the ArQ, dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter in the Old City (although American-born, Aram grew up in a proudly Armenian family and considers the food, culture, and religion to be a big influence on his life and work). He has created this original bronze sculpture, Perpetual Perseverance, to honor the survivors and victims of the Armenian Genocide, and it is being auctioned (as we speak) on eBay, with the final sale set to happen on the night of the event. Starting bid is $7,500, but if that’s a little rich for your blood you can also buy Aram items at the store, and he’ll engrave them, with 10 percent of purchase prices going to the nonprofit. Should be a swanky party, with NAHA-ians providing Mediterranean food and drinks. Domestica readers are invited to attend this free event, but be sure to RSVP to 773-525-0816 or rsvp@tabulatua.com first.

The new wide-open space at Pegboard Modern

Pegboard Shuffles

The vintage modern furniture dealer Pegboard Modern’s showroom has increased from 3,500 to more than 5,700 square feet, quite an achievement for a business that began as a means to justify owners David and Amy Carter’s personal collecting habits (no, not that Amy Carter). And they’ve only moved a few notches down the street, from 4235 to 4259 South Western Boulevard. “It’s McKinley Park,” David told me, “but nobody knows where that is so we say West Bridgeport.” It’s worth the trek over to the industrial area, and on Saturday, Oct. 16 they’ll be showing off new furniture and artwork with some special one-day-only pricing at an open house from 11–4 p.m. In addition to retail and a bustling online business, the Carters rent out their pieces to furnish art fair and trade-show booths, which I think is a brilliant idea–if you’re showing mid-century paintings and sculpture you’re not going to want to be sitting on some crappy folding chair, now, are you?

A photo-box collage by Hugh Spector

Weird Science

Ravenswood’s Painted Light, a small storefront shop that specializes in photo restoration, framing, and gifts, located on a leafy strip of West Balmoral Avenue (1742, to be exact–perhaps you’ve window-shopped while waiting for a five-egger omelette and an outdoor table at Pauline’s, a couple of doors west?), has undergone a 20-year-anniversary redo and will be celebrating this Friday, Oct. 15 from 6–9 p.m. with a punch party and two-person show of Hugh Spector’s photo-box collages and Jessica Holvay’s photos. Here’s Spector’s Weird Science, which I am weirdly attracted to. He’ll also do commissioned portrait boxes, if you’re not much of a scrapbooker and want to commemorate some special someone.

A black and white photo by Steve Becker

It Ain’t Over Till . . .

If you were strolling the streets of Andersonville for the Arts Walk last week (as droves of you did, and the weather was fiiiine), you must have seen this cheeky trio of ceramic sculptures front-and-center in the windows of necessary exTRAVagance (that’s their rather unorthodox spelling, not mine–co-owner Travis Gorline puts the “TRAV” in extravagant!). They are literally stopping traffic, and have put a smile on my face a few times now, so I wanted to get the 411. Turns out that they are by Travis’s business partner Kelli Damron, who is a nationally recognized ceramic artist, and these ladies are real world travelers. Titled Three Muses, they were once exhibited in a group show in Croatia, and are priced at $6,000 for the set of three, including the bases but not the chimes they’re displaying (“If you’re going to be in the store you gotta work,” says Kelli, “So we have to put them to work.”) Didn’t Cher’s sculptress-sorceress character in Witches of Eastwick specialize in similar Venus of Willendorf creations? Or did I dream that up? Open since last spring, the shop displays and sells handmade furniture, table items, textiles, and artwork, as well as the occasional estate finds, and Kelli says it has been going well. “I have lived in a lot of places,” she says, “but never felt this kind of support and community for local businesses before. It’s wonderful and amazing, and we’re really looking forward to the holiday shopping season.”

Patrons at the Art Book Swap, hosted by the Chicago Art Institute

Car Crash at Georg Jensen

High-style Danish silversmith Georg Jensen first introduced Verner Panton’s Masterpiece tray (commonly called the Car Crash tray, for its resemblance to a crumpled metal sheet) in 1988, in a sterling silver 18-by-20-inch version that the stores still sell for, gulp, $14,800. For those who love the classic design but not the price tag, the company has just come out with a pretty darn similar stainless steel version for $575 (I won’t tell). Panton’s other iconic contributions to design include those sinuous plastic S chairs and the dangling, tinkling ceiling lights made with circular pieces of shell.

Patrons at the Art Book Swap, hosted by the Chicago Art Institute

Pop Goes the Gallery

There are only a couple more days left to take advantage of deals on original art and photography at the David Leonardis Gallery, closing after more than 20 years at 1346 North Paulina Street. I have a lot of fun memories of openings, performances, and chatty late nights at David’s gallery, so it was bittersweet to hear of his closing up shop, but he’s decided to concentrate on his Chit Chat television show, which focuses on the local art scene, and private dealing. The sale is going on from noon till nine today, and Friday and Saturday from 6–10 p.m. Expect great deals (75 percent off retail) on artists such as Howard Finster, Chris Peldo, Marc Hauser, and Ronnie Cutrone.