Terra Foundation sets yearlong ‘Art Design Chicago’ initiative

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Kenneth Josephson, “Chicago,1972,” gelatin silverprint. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. |
©1972 Kenneth Josephson. Photo: Nathan Keay ©MCAChicago

The Terra Foundation for American Art along with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation announced earlier this week the 2018 “Art Design Chicago” citywide initiative, featuring a partnership with more than 40 cultural organizations presenting hundreds of public programs showcasing art and design.

According to the official announcement, Art Design Chicago was developed … “to celebrate Chicago’s artists, designers, and creative producers. Focusing in particular on the period between the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and the turn of the 21st century, the initiative reveals little-known narratives of ingenuity and perseverance and provides new insights on Chicago’s enduring influence on fine and decorative arts, graphic and commercial design, product development, and film. … Together, these activities shine a light on Chicago’s art and design legacy, and its continued impact on contemporary practice.”

“This city has long had a pioneering spirit, championing the avant-garde, and shaping modern art and design. Chicago continues to be uniquely positioned to translate artistic vision into the consumer goods that we live with everyday,” said Elizabeth Glassman, president and CEO of the Terra Foundation, in a prepared statement. “We could not think of a better moment to launch this initiative, when reconnecting with who and what comprises the American story is so

essential and immediate.”

Some of the topics explored in Art Design Chicago will include:

— The role of immigrant communities, frequently overlooked in historical discussions of influence, in Chicago’s creative development

— How Chicagoans’ social and political activism served as a driving force in breakthroughs in art and design

— Chicago’s unique position as both an artistic and manufacturing center, which spurred the elevation of commercial design to an art form

— The innumerable ways in which Chicago has shaped art and design movements throughout the U.S. and the world, and continues to impact contemporary innovation

Some of the exhibits featured as part of the initiative will include:

— “Modern by Design: Chicago Streamlines America:” an exhibition that shares Chicago’s significant contributions to modern American design from the 1930s to the early 1950s (Chicago History Museum; opening October 2018)

— “Arte Diseno Xicago: Mexican Inspiration from the World’s Columbian Exposition to the Civil Rights Era”: an exhibition that surveys the early involvement and influence of and by Mexican travelers and immigrants to art and design in the industrial Midwest city. (National Museum of Mexican Art, opening March 2018)

— “Hairy Who?”: the largest exhibition solely dedicated to the influential group of artists known as the Hairy Who, emphasizing Chicago’s contributions to American art history. (Art Institute, opening September 2018).

— “Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow”: an exhibition highlighting the history and influence of outsider art in Chicago, and the reasons the city embraced this work and its practitioners. (Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, opening June 2018)

For more information, visit artdesignchicago.org

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