What We're Reading: 3/22

Drawing by Chris Ware

SAIC's New Magazine is Out and Features Alumnus Chris Ware

A year ago, Chicago's creative and cultural hubs shut down—but the city and its people persisted. In this issue of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago magazine, SAIC spotlights how Chicago's makers are inspired more than ever by the beauty and resilience of the place they call home.

Over the last 30 years, Chicago’s Loop has experienced a renaissance, anchored by glittering theater marquees and bustling restaurants and shops. But that wasn’t always the case. When artist and writer Chris Ware (SAIC 1991–93, HON 2019) first moved to Chicago in the ’90s, he would bike through the empty Loop at night. “It felt post-apocalyptic, abandoned, filthy, segregated, and miserable yet concomitantly weirdly lawless and unaccountably occasionally inspiring,” Ware said. “I recall the predominant colors being brown and gray. Lots of trash.” – Brontë Mansfield (SAIC MA 2017)


Trove of Early Yayoi Kusama Works to Go on Public View for the First Time

When the esteemed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was a struggling creative in 1960s Manhattan, she needed a doctor but couldn’t afford one. Faced with few options, she visited physician Teruo Hirose (one of only two Japanese-speaking doctors on the island at the time), who often provided inexpensive or pro bono medical care to fellow Japanese immigrants. 

Hirose agreed to treat her, and in return, she gave him a number of artworks as a token of gratitude. The pair remained friends until Hirose’s death in November 2019 at age 93.

This May, reports Angelica Villa for ARTnews, 11 of these gifted artworks are set to hit the auction block. Combined, Bonhams expects the three paintings and eight works on paper to sell for between $8.8 million and $14 million.

Via ARTnews


New CEO of Chicago History Museum has a plan to build and diversify attendance

Chicago’s oldest museum also has one of the lowest profiles, playing second fiddle to the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.

But that could change, if Donald Lassere, newly hired president and CEO of the Chicago History Museum, has his way.

Lassere is returning to his hometown of Chicago with a plan to make the History Museum more interactive and exciting and to build and diversify museum attendance that is now “more than 80%” white in a majority-minority city.

Via Chicago Sun Times