The Girl Gore Aesthetics of White Lace, Ghosted Bodies, and Animal Menageries at Expo Chicago / Hyperallergic

Laurel Nakadate, detail of “Interior, II,” (2012), ink, lipstick on wallpaper, at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

Laurel Nakadate, detail of “Interior, II,” (2012), ink, lipstick on wallpaper, at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

CHICAGO — I didn’t want to go to the art fair. I never do. A lot of stuff at art fairs is the same-ish, as artist William Powhida recently mused, and galleries are trying their best to sell the most. Yet the art fairs keep coming, and as the market has proven Chicago is no exception. This year I went and discovered an aesthetic throughline — the girl gore aesthetic — and that strung me along from one sculpture to the next. I want to tell you about it. But first I want to tell you about Expo Chicago, which is now in its second year.

This fair marks a triumphant comeback and response to the Midwestern loss of Art Chicago that got the city talking again. As I wrote last year, Expo marked the beginning of Chicago’s new art identity in the post-Mayor Daley era. Now in its sophomoric year, Expo Chicago director Tony Karman boasted that the fair was making more sales, which is a good thing we assume. It would be great to see an international art fair sustain itself in Chicago. This year I went to Expo Chicago not looking for what was showing at “big name” galleries like David Zwirner, Rhona Hoffmann and Marianne Boesky, but rather the adolescent dreaming of what could be — much like Karman and the fair itself.

I discovered the girl gore aesthetic, which commingles Kiki Smith muscle memories, Yayoi Kusama bodily expenditures, and Banksy street art barf sprinkled with human teeth, white lace, lip stick, pink flowers, and the emotional labor of repetition and revision. This aesthetic occupies space between the white walls of the art world, and bypasses any reference to the internet-only teen-girl tumblr aesthetic. This work is raw and best experienced IRL. Here is a curated collection of an aesthetic that you may have passed by, or seen and passed through — a distant memory of a former ghost, you.

Read the full story and see the images on hyperallergic: