Review: Art in Hall of Fame makes you rethink chess
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2012 - "Out of the Box: Artists Play Chess" is a terrific inaugural art exhibit for the World Chess Hall of Fame, which opened last year across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in the Central West End.
Curated by Bradley Bailey, Saint Louis University art historian and expert on all things chess, the show features seven stellar artists and artworks that engage the game from a variety of angles. Don't miss Yoko Ono's all white chess set, Tom Friedman's absurdist take on the game (one of his chess pieces is a booger; detail at right), or the sweeping proportions of Guido van der Werve's Number Twelve: Variations on a Theme, (the king's gambit accepted, the number of stars in the sky, and why a piano can't be tuned, or waiting for an earthquake) of 2009 (a segment of that work was recently on view at the St. Louis Art Museum).
Liliya Lifa¡nova's Anatomy is Destiny is a human-scaled chessboard with costumes; these will be worn by performers acting out a live chess match at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis on Feb. 15. Out of the Box is a fine exhibition that doesn't require grandmaster status to appreciate.
Ivy Cooper is the Beacon visual arts reviewer and a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.