Art Design Chicago's Busy October


At EXPO CHICAGO last weekend, I realized that it was a year ago that we started first hearing about Art Design Chicago's many plans for 2018. What began as a clever, interactive marketing campaign spearheaded by the smart-pants creatives at Leo Burnett, has grown into a smart and engaging lineup of collaborative public programming that has lasted all year long.

Now that we find ourselves in October already,  and we long-ago solved those marketing teases we first saw at EXPO in 2017, we can't overlook all there is still to do, thanks to ADC. This month alone there is a full slate to experience, as six new exhibitions open at cultural institutions across the city and beyond, exploring topics such as product design, mid-century art deco, Chicago bicycle culture, and much more.

Some upcoming exhibition and event highlights are listed below. Go check these amazing shows out soon. As indicated by the Smart Museum's current Art Design Chicago exhibition title, the time is now! 


October 13: Diasporal Rhythms Home Tour

Take a peek inside the homes of collectors of artworks by members of the African Diaspora. Chicago-based artists include Juarez Hawkins, Marva Lee Pitchford Jolly, Faheem Majeed, Joyce Owens, Felicia Grant Preston, and more. 


October 17: Music at the 1893 World's Fair

What role did music play at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893? Stop by the Newberry Library (it just completed a major renovation!) for a special musical performance featuring original compositions written for and performed at the Fair in the late 19th century, then stroll through the accompanying exhibition Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World's Fair.


Block Cinema Film Series

The Block Museum of Art offers a film series showcasing the artistry of the Chicago design firm Goldsholl & Associates, including screenings of mid-century film experiments and advertising campaigns, á la Mad Men. 

In the 1950s, Chicago-based design firm Goldsholl Design Associates made a name for itself with innovative "designs-in-film." Headed by Morton and Millie Goldsholl, the studio produced television spots, films, trademarks, corporate identities, and print advertisements for international corporations like Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, and 7-Up. Although they were compared to some of the most celebrated design firms of the day, the Goldsholls and their designers are relatively unknown today. Opening in September 2018, the Block Museum’s exhibition Up is Down: Mid-Century Experimentation in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio reexamines the innovative work of Goldsholl and Associates and its national impact.


AfriCOBRA 50

At Kavi Gupta Gallery, through November 24 at the gallery's 219 N Elizabeth St. location.

AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) is the influential black artist collective that defined the visual aesthetic of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its founding in Chicago, this exhibition presents works by the five original members—Gerald Williams, Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Jeff Donaldson, and Barbara Jones-Hogu—as well as a select group of their peers.


Break A Rule: Ed Paschke’s Art and Teaching

Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, now through December 9.

Ed Paschke is celebrated as one of the leading Chicago Imagists, a group of artists who emerged in the late 1960s with an expressive style of figurative painting rooted in Surrealism, outsider art, and popular culture. Less is known of his almost 30 years teaching art and artists at Northwestern University. This show celebrates his legacy as an educator with artworks by Paschke alongside his teaching material from the Northwestern University Archives and generous loans from Marc and Sharon Paschke.  


Yasuhiro Ishimoto: SomedaY Chicago

At DePaul Art Museum, now through December 16

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, Chicago examines the work of American-born photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921–2012) through the lens of Chicago, where Ishimoto lived for nearly a decade and where he would continue to return throughout his life. Celebrated by many as one of the most influential photographers of Japan in the 20th century, Ishimoto also maintained deep ties to his adopted home city where he arrived in 1945 after having been interned during World War II. It was in Chicago that he first developed his uniquely modernist vision—both at the historic Institute of Design (ID) in dialogue with László Moholy-Nagy, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and other teachers there; and in the city’s streets, where he captured changes reflective of broader societal shifts happening across the United States.


Hairy Who? 1966–1969

Art Institute of Chicago, now through January 6

The Art Institute of Chicago presents the first major exhibition dedicated solely to the groundbreaking Hairy Who. This self-named, self-organized group of six artists—Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum—all came of age in Chicago, graduated from the School of the Art Institute, and began exhibiting at the Hyde Park Art Center in the late 1960s. Presented on the 50th anniversary of their final Chicago show, The Art Institute’s major survey exhibition and publication feature key works as well as archival ephemera contextualizing the group’s creative process, working methods, and the social and political milieu in which they made their art.


The Figure and the Chicago Imagists: Selections from the Elmhurst College Art Collection

Elmhurst Art Museum, now through January 13, 2019

Over and over the Chicago Imagists cast the figure in numerous roles, distorting it and layering it with metaphor and personal meaning. Outrageous, irreverent, and humorous and inspired by popular culture, these works reflect highly original expressions of the human form.

This exhibition features the Elmhurst College Art Collection, focused on artists working in Chicago between about 1950 and the present. The exhibition is curated by Suellen Rocca, one of the original members of the prominent Imagist group known as the Hairy Who and Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Elmhurst College.


The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980

Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, now through December 30

During the 1960s and 1970s, Chicago was shaped by art and ideas produced and circulated on the South Side. Yet the history of the period's creative and social ferment has often remained segregated by the city’s social, political, and geographic divides.

The Time Is Now! takes a nuanced look at the cultural history of Chicago’s South Side during this momentous era of change and conflict, with a focus on artists of the Black Arts Movement. Through nearly 100 objects, the show upends dominant narratives of the period and unearths rich stories by examining watershed cultural moments from the Hairy Who to the Wall of Respect, from the Civil Rights movement to the AfriCOBRA, from vivid protest posters to visionary outsider art, and from the Free University movement to the radical jazz of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.


Living Architecture

Thru December 23, 2018 at 6018North

Chicago has long served as a hub where creative people of different cultures, customs, and perspectives collide and converge. Living Architecture is a timely, large-scale multidisciplinary exhibition that showcases the work of over 50 Chicago contemporary immigrant artists. Located at 6018North, a historical home in the Edgewater community built and designed by immigrants, the exhibition draws from Chicago’s rich heritage of immigrant artists’ work to highlight the continuous influence of immigrants in shaping visual culture locally and nationally.


Between the Buildings: Art from Chicago, 1930s–1980s

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, thru March 23, 2019

Coined by art writers and critics in the mid- to late-twentieth century, the so-called Chicago School consisted of two groups of artists—the Monster Roster and the Imagists. These artists diverged from the broader mid-century trend toward abstraction and were largely ignored or dismissed by critics in New York, who were defining the canon of modernism. However, what happens when the categorization and labeling of a group of artists is unwanted or contested? This exhibition considers the problematic nature of art historical categories and explores what other stories are missed by perpetuating a single narrative. Between the Buildings also reflects Krannert Art Museum’s strong collection of works by Chicago-based artists developed by former director Stephen Prokopoff (1983–1991).


View the complete event and exhibition information at