POSTED BY Katie R., ON May 15, 2013, Comments Off
They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration, 1910–1950 showcases art that speaks to artists’ journeys to Chicago in the first half of the 20th century. Whether it was Mexican immigrants coming north for better work opportunities or African American migrants moving from the rural South toward more industrialized cities or Europeans crossing the ocean to escape persecution, every newcomer to the city had their own story of how they arrived.
But the fact of the matter is that all of us have migration stories, tales of how we ended up in Chicago instead of San Antonio or Stockholm. To showcase that diversity of experience, the museum has created a Tumblr where you can share your story. You can write text or upload videos or images in which you describe you or your family’s path to Chicago. We currently have examples from places as diverse as Peru, Russia, and Iowa. The Tumblr also includes some of the (adorable) drawings created by children in our Ryan Education Center over the last few weeks.
Image Credit: The Ochieng Family
POSTED BY Guest Blogger, ON March 12, 2013, Comments Off
The recently opened Picasso and Chicago will celebrate the long history of the artist’s relationship with the city. But 100 years ago this month, when the art of Picasso and his contemporaries was displayed at the museum for the very first time, it was met with shock, controversy, outrage. . . and record-breaking crowds. In 1913, the Art Institute hosted the International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known today as the Armory Show. That revolutionary exhibit introduced the Chicago public to some of the most radical art of the day.
The Armory Show had such a huge impact on modern art in America that critics and art historians have continued to write about it for the last 100 years. To offer something new, we wanted to create an in-depth and interactive resource about how the exhibit came to be, what the public thought about it, and even what it looked like. This month we’ve launched a special online exhibition all about the Armory Show in Chicago and its legacy.
Just as the organizers of the Armory Show wanted to embrace the “new spirit” of the times, the online exhibition marks this important anniversary in a way that celebrates 1913 but belongs to 2013. A permanent part of the museum’s website, the Armory Show online exhibit will be a lasting tribute to the show that established the Art Institute as a venue for modern art and that changed the course of art collecting in Chicago. This project called for a museum-wide team, involving many different departments. Old newspapers were scoured, personal letters were brought to light again, and the original exhibition pamphlets were tracked down and digitized. Now you can tour the 1913 show on your phone or tablet while walking through the very same galleries today. Or read about the fate of “Henry Hairmatress” at home in your pajamas.
Possibly the most exciting part of the website is the gallery explorer. Looking at photographs of the exhibition found in our Archives, we went through each image trying to identify as many works of art as we could. High-res scans of the photos let us zoom in incredibly close, and we were able to recognize previously unidentified works. Now on the website, you can take a virtual tour of the Armory Show, wander through the museum galleries as they looked 100 years ago, and find out where many of the artworks can be found today. Try and spot the works that now belong to Art Institute’s permanent collection—many of which are currently on view in a special presentation in the third floor of the Modern Wing.
Visitors to the website will quickly learn that the Art Institute’s audience was not shy about voicing their opinions back in 1913, and we hope you’ll share your thoughts, too.
—Allison Perelman, Research Associate in Medieval through Modern European Painting and Sculpture
POSTED BY Katie R., ON May 27, 2011, Comments Off
While the whole city of Chicago mourns the Bulls’ loss last night to the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, I have to admit I’m particularly disappointed. Because over the last few weeks, we’ve worked with Chicago Scenic Studios and the Bulls to create jerseys for the lions in the event that the home team made it to the NBA finals. This would have made it the third time in a year that we’ve dressed up the lions that flank the Art Institute’s entrance on Michigan Avenue in celebration of the city’s sports teams.
In preparation for fabricating the jerseys, Chicago Scenic made two visits to the lions with a seamstress and a pattern maker to determine measurements and “fit” the lions. While the seamstress told me that the lions weren’t the most difficult animals she’s worked with (that would be a dinosaur), fitting them for their jerseys was a complicated process. Though the lions look identical, they have different stances, expressions, and measurements. The images above are from their second fitting with muslin jerseys.
The good news is that in the event the Bulls make it all the way next year, we’re prepared!
POSTED BY Katie R., ON May 24, 2011, Comments Off
This morning, Kay Rosen’s GO DO GOOD was unveiled at the corner of State and Washington Streets. The message—go do good—will permeate the loop this summer and calls on Chicagoans to engage in good deeds and works. In addition to the six-story sign, you’ll also see the message pop up in a variety of places, including street banners, the el platform at State and Lake, and on buttons worn by Art Institute security officers!
As you might remember, Rosen is known for text-based works that explore how we decode and structure language. Similar to the Art Institute’s Hug Hugh Ugh, GO DO GOOD uses just three letters, but cleverly creates a series of words that unfold to the reader over time. Check out more of Rosen’s visual wordplay in Gallery 293C at the Art Institute. Then, in the spirit of the work, do something nice!
Image courtesy of United Way of Metro Chicago
As we’ve mentioned before, many people know the newly reinstalled America Windows by Marc Chagall from their famous cameo in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, directed by John Hughes. The windows are actually just one of dozens of works featured in those iconic scenes of Ferris, Sloane, and Cameron moving around the museum. As a museum employee, it’s interesting to see what has changed—and what hasn’t—since 1986 (when the movie was released). I was most surprised to discover that if you were to visit the museum today, you would see Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte in exactly the same place that Cameron was first mesmerized by it more than two decades ago.
For more insight on this “self-indulgent” scene (Hughes’ words, not ours!), click here to see the clip voiced over by the late director himself. Hughes very poignantly discusses why he chose the Art Institute, how the paintings were relevant to the characters, and how the process of creating the Seurat was similar to the process of making a movie.