The Arts Club at 100
The Arts Club of Chicago is marking its centennial with a three-part exhibition September 20-December 17, which includes projects by Chicago-based, internationally-recognized artist collectives Sonnenzimmer and Luftwerk, as well as a reinstallation of the Club’s permanent collection. Programming is part of The Arts Club’s yearlong celebration, The Arts Club of Chicago at 100. A public exhibition opening takes place Sept 20, 6-7:30pm. artsclubchicago.org
A series of events as well as specially created videos, invite the public to be a part of this significant anniversary and to follow the Club's remarkable timeline, highlights of which are summarized below.
The Arts Club was founded following the controversial exhibition of modern art known as The Armory Show, and the club's first headquarters was located on the fifth floor of the iconic Fine Arts Building on South Michigan Ave. They then moved to the Wrigley Building, where the Arts Club began to mount increasingly ambitious exhibitions of international artists. Marcel Duchamp famously organized an exhibition of Brancusi sculpture in 1927.
In 1942, club president Rue Shaw commissioned Red Petals from Alexander Calder and then, after a rough period that leads to a temporary closure, convinced Mies van der Rohe to design new rooms to house the Club. The Mies space at 109 E. Ontario St. opened in 1951 with a landmark lecture by Jean Dubuffet entitled Anti-Cultural Positions, and hosted artists including Marc Chagall and Louise Nevelson.
In the late nineties, establishing a permanent home at 201 E. Ontario St. designed by John Vinci, The Arts Club begins to focus on world class exhibitions while continuing to cultivate a society of arts professionals, collectors, artists, and critics. Under Executive Director Kathy Cottong, the exhibition program included such highlights as Marcel Broodthaers, John Baldessari, Alighieri e Boetti, Yayoi Kusama, Paul Thek, Lawrence Weiner, and Maya Lin. Important additions to the permanent collection include paintings by Peter Doig, Alex Katz, and Sigmar Polke.
Today The Arts Club returns to its history and foundations, rededicating itself to its mission to inspire conversations around the arts. With expanded public programs, experimental performances, and garden installations by Chicago artists, the Club looks to support lively discussion while maintaining the ambiance for which it is celebrated. At the same time, it commissions new projects by such artists as Simon Starling and Josiah McElheny that bring attention to the specific modernist legacy of the Club.
This interdisciplinary history will be celebrated on October 22, 2016, when the new music ensemble eighth blackbird performs a commission by Oscar-nominated composer David Lang in an environment conceived by visual artist Mark Dion.
All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Events will be added throughout the rest of 2016.