For all you red / brown / purple line riders, north side residents, DePaul academics and others who have been observing the drawn-out building process of the new home of the DePaul Art Museum, their opening day is nearly (finally) here! It’s been interesting watching the building process from the outside (mostly from the train on my daily commute), and I’m anxious to explore the inside of the museum, and their outstanding Chicago-themed opening exhibition, Re: Chicago.
The brand new $7.8 million museum building is located right beside the Fullerton “L” stop at 935 W. Fullerton, just steps from the CTA station, in a much more prominent location from its previous home a few blocks away on N. Kenmore. The handsome building, boasting 15,200 square feet and three-stories of space for class use, programs, events and exhibitions, is over twice the space of the previous museum building.
Photo courtesy of DePaul University
“For our students and our community, direct access to the arts is an essential component of education,” said Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul. “Our new facilities for theatre and music will offer audiences an opportunity to see tomorrow’s performers in the making, and the new museum will let visitors, art and artists interact in novel ways. Art encourages the exploration of ideas in visual form and encourages new ways of thinking. That’s what a university is all about.”
Photo courtesy of DePaul University
Re: Chicago, the inaugural exhibition in the new facility examines the careers and artistic reputations of Chicago artists, spanning a timeline of over a century. Exhibited work was chosen by asking leading figures in Chicago’s art world (critics, scholars, collectors) to name a famous artist - or one they felt should be famous. Museum visitors will be able to put their two cents in too. Next to the artwork will be a short explanation by the nominators explaining why they made their choices. Visitors are then encouraged to give their input in repose to the work and its being chosen, on computers that will be available for use in the galleries.
“We wanted to explore how reputations are made, and also to give attention to how art is seen and talked about,” said Museum Director Louise Lincoln, who also serves as curator of the show. “People understand art in a lot of different ways. If you’re a collector, you see it differently from how a scholar would see it. It’s all about the interaction between the viewer and the work. This seems obvious, but it is rarely addressed in exhibitions.”
“The exhibition certainly has some surprises,” Lincoln said. “But the list of who’s included is complex, and I like that. Some choices were really unexpected – like Margaret Ianelli, a wonderful graphic designer from the early 20th century, who was not only a female in a man’s world, but was also mentally ill. I’m thrilled she’s in the show. Another unconventional choice was Nick Cave, whose ‘sound suits’ alter the body in radical ways.”
Stop by the new museum building when it opens to the public on Saturday, September 17 and enjoy a grand opening open house from 2-5pm, with a panel discussion featuring the catalog authors and conversations with artists in the galleries. Stay tuned throughout the duration of the show, through February 2012, for news on additional events, programs, tours and a film festival.
DePaul University Art Museum
935 W. Fullerton, Chicago (60614) | Free and open to the public
Ralph Arnold (American, 1928-2006), Who You/Yeah Baby, c. 1968, Oil and collage on canvas
Suellen Rocca (American, born 1943), Dream Girl, c. 1968, Oil on canvas
Tony Fitzpatrick, The Winter Tiger, 2010, Archival pigment print