Life Cycles: Learning Studio

Thursday, Sep 7, 2023 – Feb 11, 2024

935 W Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

Opening this fall, DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition “Life Cycles” will include artworks from the museum’s permanent collection in conversation with contemporary Chicago artists who are not yet represented in the collection. With more than 50 artists, “Life Cycles” will feature paintings, sculptures, video, photography, drawings, installation and other multi-media work. Museum staff collaborated with DePaul University undergraduates to select artworks from the collection, write educational texts, and plan public programs.

The exhibition focuses on the processes and materials that structure and span life while also examining the life of art objects, and will run from September 7, 2023, through February 11, 2024.

“The DePaul Art Museum’s collection is an incredible resource of more than 4,000 objects, and this exhibition gives a glimpse at some of these works,” said Ionit Behar, associate curator. “The addition of the 10 Chicago artists not yet in the collection shows that a collection is never complete and should keep growing and changing with time. It has also been incredible to work with students on this project, all of them deeply involved with and passionate about the museum.”

Behar describes how the exhibition explores life without a linear structure, but instead “a marvelous tangle, where there is no beginning or end, where death is not the opposite of life, nor the truth or fulfillment of it.”

“Life Cycles” is curated by Behar, with contributions by David Maruzzella, collection and exhibition manager, and DePaul University students Spencer Bolding, Chiara Conner, Charlie Delgado, Zoe Hamilton, Ellie Naughton, Eli Schmitt, and Bernardo Soares.

The collaborative curatorial approach to “Life Cycles” is part of the Learning Studio initiative in partnership with Chicago artist and DePaul faculty member Jim Duignan. Together with Duignan’s Stockyard Institute, the museum is piloting a radical and groundbreaking approach to engagement, learning, and experimentation. This art education model champions intergenerational exchange and experimentation across the city through the mutual sharing of ideas and resources amongst artists, teachers, and students, with a fundamental shift and redefinition of current educational hierarchies and frameworks. 

“Working on ‘Life Cycles’ has allowed me to dive deep into the museum’s wonderful collection and get to know each piece intimately,” said Soares, a rising sophomore at DePaul and the museum’s curatorial intern. “The museum has such a broad range of works that sometimes get overlooked. I have also loved working with such an extraordinary staff, creating connections and gathering experiences that I’m sure are going to last me a lifetime.”

Public programs in conjunction with the exhibition are set to include a performance and workshop with artist Natalia Villanueva Linares, a panel with the students who co-curated and programmed the show, a zine workshop and exchange, poetry events with Latinx writers, and more.

Featured artists in the exhibition include: Gertrude Abercrombie, Selva Aparicio, Iris Bernblum, Hugo Brehme, ​Gérard Castello-Lopes, Barbara Crane, Brendan Fernandes, Theaster Gates, Leon Golub, Nancy Hild, Laurie Hogin, Elnaz Javani, Jenny Kendler, Mayumi Lake, Nathan Lerner, Laura Letinsky, Natalia Villanueva Linares, Maryan S. Maryan, Devin T. Mays, Susan Michod, Abelardo Morell, Elsa Muñoz, Laurel Nakadate, William J. O'Brien, Sabina Ott, Angel Otero, Chris Pappan, Dan Peterman, Michael Rakowitz, Seymour Rosofsky, Hollis Sigler, Bibiana Suárez, Julia Thecla, Alberto Ortega Trejo, Selina Trepp, Chris Vasell, Miwa Yanagi, Nate Young, Claire Zeisler, and more.​

Support for the exhibition and related programming is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and DePaul University's Vincentian Endowment Fund​.

DePaul Art Museum is located at 935 W. Fullerton Ave. on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus. The museum is open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free. Additional information is online or by calling 773-325-7506.