Max Guy: But tell me, is it a civilized country?

Opening: Saturday, Dec 3, 2022 4 – 7 pm
Saturday, Dec 3, 2022 – Feb 5, 2023

University of Chicago
5811 S. Ellis Ave.
Cobb Hall, 4th fl.
Chicago, IL, 60637

For his first museum solo exhibition, Chicago-based artist Max Guy debuts a colorful, multifaceted theatrical installation centered on the story of The Wizard of Oz—and its Motown-produced retelling in The Wiz, featuring an all-star Black cast. Dorothy’s journey through a fraught, alien land offers an allegory in negotiating otherness, even as the narrative’s multiple iterations constitute a lens through which to consider the racial politics of storytelling and world-building. Populated by props, costumes, a new film, and other objects, the installation brings together multiple threads in Guy’s practice, which spans a wide range of mediums, performance, set design, and more. At the same time, the exhibition advances a recurring theme in his work: exploring and sustaining the position of an outsider within different spaces and social contexts, inspired by the artist’s lived experiences and refracted here through the prism of “America’s greatest homegrown fairytale.”

Max Guy lives in Chicago. Guy works with paper, video, performance, assemblage and installation. He uses fast, ergonomic ways to make poetry of the world, filtering it through personal effects. Guy received his BFA in 2011 from Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA in 2016 from Northwestern University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Krannert Museum of Art (Urbana-Champaign); MCA Chicago, Prairie Gallery, Produce Model, and Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago); Malmö Museum of Art (Malmo, Sweden); CAVE (Detroit); and Galeria Federico Vavassori (Milan, Italy).

Curated by Michael Harrison.

Friends of Max Guy Patron Circle:

Chairs, Raven Thomas Abdul-Aleem and Zaid Abdul-Aleem; Gary Metzner and Scott Johnson; Sundeep Mullangi and Trissa Babrowski, Richard Wright and Valerie Carberry; Dirk Denison and David Salkin; and an anonymous donor.

Major annual support for the Renaissance Society is provided by 247 and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Additional support is provided by The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince and The Provost’s Discretionary Fund at the University of Chicago. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

All Renaissance Society publications are made possible by The Mansueto Foundation Publications Program.

The Study at University of Chicago is the Renaissance Society’s Exclusive Hotel Sponsor.