A Keith Haring display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Sharing Haring

I was really into the late-1980s art scene in Chicago, working in galleries and gadding about, so checking out the MCA’s current show, This Will Have Been: Art and Politics in the 1980s, was high on my to-do list. It didn’t disappoint, and walking around looking at vintage works by Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Koons felt like catching up with some old friends I used to party with. I literally cannot go to the MCA without running through the gift shop, and yello, have they embraced the spirit of the bitch’n 1980s as well. You can pick up neon boom box iPhone docking stations, a spray-paint graffiti cocktail shaker, Pac-Man oven mitts, and a rad wall mirror in the shape of a skateboard. Totally amped to see this display of Keith Haring products, such as computer sleeves, chairs and rockers, dominoes, magnets, and a 32,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that weighs 42 lbs. and comes with its own hand truck. (I’m tempted to shell out the $300 for that so I can stock up on Tab and Cool Ranch Doritos and have Rachel, Phoebe, and Chandler over for game night.) Haring was the ebullient art-world imp of the ‘80s who died of AIDS in 1990, and the fact that he’s not around to witness the iconic status he’s achieved and the continuing popularity of his bold crawling babies barfs me out, big-time.

Outside the Chicago Center for Green Technology

The Learning of the Green

Saint Patrick’s Day is this Saturday, and if you’re like me and would rather poke yourself in the eye with a shillelagh than tuck into a bowl of beige, belchy food and fight the shamrock-studded crowds to look at a green river, I’ve got an alternative for you. (Sorry if that sounds a little too “get off my lawn, you leprechauns,” Eire-philes, but after a vomitous incident involving green beer and a crowded subway car, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) So here’s what Irish you would do instead: attend the free seminar on green renovations that the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects is conducting at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, a very cool eco-resource center in the East Garfield Park hood (445 N. Sacramento Boulevard). From one till three, environmentally attuned architects will be riffing on the myriad of issues involved in doing a home renovation the green way (permits and zoning, government paybacks for certain items, budgets, etc.), and then you’ll have an opportunity to have a 15-minute one-on-one consultation.

A folding screen from Sawbridge Studios

The Saving of the Green

The spring floor-sample sale starts tomorrow at Winnetka’s Sawbridge Studios (897 Green Bay Road), and since they recently expanded, there’s more floor to sample than ever. I tend to think of wooden furniture when I think of this place, because that’s how they made a name for themselves, but they also carry the tabletop and wall items of other American craftsmen working in glass, metal, fabric, and other materials. Items are sold as-is at discounts of 30 to 65 percent, and you can preview the inventory online. I’m digging the wabi-sabi spirit of this hinged floor screen pieced together from sections of an old tin ceiling. It’s marked down to $775, from $2,200.

An elegant headboard from Jayson Home's Petite Flea event

Flea Bargaining

Carson McCullers meets Marjorie Merriweather Post this weekend at Jayson Home’s latest Petite Flea event, which is emphasizing antique and vintage finds buyers picked up in the American South and in Palm Beach. I do declare you’ll find 1950s oak chifforobes, hand-carved headboards, shiny colorful lacquered dressers, bar carts, metallic gold clutch purses, an old Air Force drum, and primo mid-century chairs from the likes of Paul McCobb and Mies van der Rohe. The sale runs Friday through Sunday, March 16–18, and Jayson’s spring upholstery sale (20 percent off all new pieces, including custom) is also currently throwing down, through April 1. No fooling.

A club chair from Carson's Goodwill Sale

Carson’s Daily

Doing some spring closet cleaning and on the fence about whether to toss out those gently worn skinny jeans or that faux-fur vest Nicole Richie convinced you to buy? Carson Pirie Scott might convince you with its Goodwill Sale, especially if you’re looking to acquire some new furniture, kitchenware, or whatevs. Here’s how it works: Bring your donations of clothing, bedding, or towels to Carson’s, and for every item you have you’ll get a coupon for a 10-to-20-percent discount on anything in the store, including those cosmetics and fragrances which never seem to be included in the typical department-store offers. Sale-price items too, through March 22, and you can use your coupons online.

Karl Sorensen, owner of P.O.S.H.

P.O.S.H. Spice

The tableware and gift shop P.O.S.H. is serving up a steaming helping of savings starting Friday with its Dish Ran Away With the Spoon sale, when owner Karl Sorensen (pictured) hauls goods out of storage and from the basement, marks them crazy down, and watches them run out the door. It’s a popular annual event, and a good opportunity to pick up vintage hotel china and silver pieces, soaps and candies, cards, and toys. The sale continues through March. Sorensen was recently profiled in How To Spend It: Financial Times; read all about his interesting backstory here.