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Chicago Cultural Center announces Spring 2012 Exhibitions

Chicago Cultural Center announces Spring 2012 Exhibitions

The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, opens three stunning exhibitions in its Michigan Avenue Galleries this spring, in addition to the continuation of the blockbuster exhibition Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection. The public is invited to a free opening reception on Friday, April 13, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the Michigan Avenue Galleries.

Eric Holubow: In Decay—Stitching America’s Ruins March 31 – July 8, 2012 Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue Galleries Artist Talk with Eric Holubow: Thursday, May 24, 5:30 p.m.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Photographer Eric Holubow’s subjects are architectural interiors of places man has forgotten, but time has not. His work tells stories of times past that play out in the viewer’s mind. Whether in the engine room at the former industrial behemoth Bethlehem Steel or the impressive view from the stage of the Uptown Theater, all of these cultural cornerstones now stand silent. Whether grand or commonplace, Holubow’s images share an inherent beauty that few recognize in a building’s final days. Holubow has chosen to capture these fleeting moments and reveal them to us, perhaps to act as a reminder of our own mortality. His highly detailed, ultra-wide-angle photographs are startling in their magnitude and explicitness.

Matthew Woodward: View From the Birth Day April 7 – July 15, 2012 Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue Galleries Artist Talk with Matthew Woodward: Thursday, May 3, 5:30 p.m.


Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

The White City of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition represented one of the crowning achievements of the American Beaux-Arts movement, bringing the glory of Renaissance Europe and classical antiquity to the shores of Lake Michigan, which influenced the architecture of the City Beautiful movement for decades to follow. Incorporating ironwork and moldings into his pieces, Matthew Woodward hearkens back to this American Renaissance of architecture, demonstrating how this era has been re-appropriated and re-contextualized in the ever-changing interconnected landscapes of the American city and identity. Through this legacy, he focuses on the function of classical ideals as they move through the time and space of our everyday life.

Shawne Major: On a Darkling Plain

April 7 – July 15, 2012

Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue Galleries Artist Talk with Shawne Major: Saturday, April 14, 2 p.m.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Shawne Major’s mixed-media works expose how our perception of reality is colored by dreams, memory, superstition, religion, bias, prejudice and fear. They refer to the overlay of belief systems created by the individual to piece together their own personal paradigm. Through a combination of kitsch, ersatz and craft materials, junk and personal objects, he creates accumulated forms that serve as metaphors for the build-up, organization and assimilation of information. The personal objects are evidences of pain, happiness, loss, guilt, shame—all the material detritus of the everyday human experience.

Circle of Friends: Autism and the Social Life March 23 – May 16, 2012 Chicago Cultural Center, Project Onward Studio Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

In observance of Autism Awareness Month, Project Onward presents an exhibition of paintings and drawings by autistic artists whose work addresses the complexities of interpersonal relationships. While Autism Spectrum Disorder can cause social anxiety and isolation, even from family members, visual art provides a unique platform for artists with autism to openly explore issues of the heart.

Project Onward artists Stephon Doby and Louis DeMarco both use the creative process to invent alternate versions of themselves and the world around them. With his series of “Peaches” drawings, David Holt employs the lyrics of sentimental pop songs to express his romantic longings.  Adam Hines remembers everyone he’s ever met and considers each of them a friend, as evidenced by drawings crowded with people he has encountered. Circle of Friends captures the anxiety, disappointment, and hopefulness that the social life represents, not only for those on the autism spectrum, but for everyone longing to connect.

Project Onward is a program that supports the creative growth of visual artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, Project Onward is partially funded by the Dr. Scholl Foundation and the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.

Related Event: Project Onward “Circle of Friends” Portrait Slam!

Saturday, April 14, 2012, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Chicago Cultural Center, 1st Floor Garland Room Project Onward hosts a special “Circle of Friends” Portrait Slam, offering a day-long opportunity for the general public to sit for a portrait with Project Onward artists. Many of the artists participating are also featured in the Circle of Friends exhibition. Portrait sittings take about half an hour, and are a great way to obtain original and affordable art. They also provide a unique opportunity to get to know an artist and to support the amazing work they do. Prices start at $20 for a single portrait. Space is limited; for reservations call (312) 744-8032 or email [email protected].


Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection Through July 8, 2012 Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery & 4th Floor Exhibit Hall Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection showcases Richard Harris’s collection of fine art, artifacts, massive installations and decorative objects, including creations by many of the greatest artists of our time, which explore the iconography of death across a variety of artistic, cultural and spiritual practices from 2000 B.C.E. to the present day.

The two major components of Morbid Curiosity are the “War Room,” highlighting the atrocities of war in notable works from the 17th century to present day in the 4th floor Exhibit Hall; and the “Kunstkammer of Death,” a modern-day “cabinet of curiosities” housed in the Sidney R. Yates Gallery, featuring a wide-ranging survey of mortality across cultures and spiritual traditions.

The centerpiece of the “War Room” is Mr. Harris’s rare collection of five great war series, featuring prints by Jacques Callot, Francisco Goya, Otto Dix, the Chapman Brothers and Sandow Birk, which he has acquired over the past 30 years. This exhibition marks the first time that all five series will be exhibited together in their entirety. Additional highlights include works by notable artists including Rembrandt, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Bellmar, Odilon Redon, Pavel Tchelitchew, James Ensor, Jasper Johns and Robert Mapplethorpe. This exhibition contains explicit imagery that may be disturbing to younger or sensitive viewers.

Write Now: Artists and Letterforms

Through April 29, 2012

Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms

For as long as there have been alphabets artists have explored the letterform, employing the fundamental element of written communication in many ways other than the setting of text. This exhibition presents recent works using letters and text in painting, printmaking, sculpture and video.  Included in this exhibition is a Fluxus project with international submissions of mail art and concrete poetry. The exhibition features more than 60 exhibitors—predominantly but not exclusively Chicago-based—including Jo Hormuth, Rick Valicenti, Ken Fandell, Jason Lazarus, Mario Gonzalez, Jr., Michael Thompson, Buzz Spector, Jason Pickleman, Joel Ross, Mike Genovese and more.

Forever 27: Music Superstars Gone to an Early Grave Through March 21, 2012 Chicago Cultural Center, Project Onward Studio

Inspired by the major exhibition, Morbid Curiosity, on display at the Cultural Center, Project Onward presents a collection of paintings and drawings that commemorate the lives—and deaths—of performers who went out in a blaze of glory at the age of 27.  Beginning with blues legend Robert Johnson, the “27 Club” went on to include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and, most recently, Amy Winehouse. 

Chicago Cultural Center

Originally built in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library, the Chicago Cultural Center was established in 1991 as the nation’s first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Drawn by its beauty and abundant free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. This stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events.

The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington Street, Chicago. Viewing hours for exhibitions are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Center is closed on holidays. Admission to the Chicago Cultural Center and its exhibitions is free. Visit or call 312.744.6630 for a complete schedule of events.

Public programs, exhibitions, and related educational programming presented at the Chicago Cultural Center by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Transportation support is provided by United Airlines, The Official Airline of the Chicago Cultural Center. Lawry’s The Prime Rib is the restaurant sponsor of Chicago Cultural Center exhibitions. Chicago Cultural Center concert pianos are generously provided by Steinway of Chicago.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to promoting and supporting Chicago’s arts and culture sector. This includes, but is not limited to: fostering the development of Chicago’s nonprofit arts sector, independent working artists, and for-profit arts businesses; presenting high-quality, free or low-fee cultural programs accessible to residents and visitors; and marketing the City’s cultural assets to local, regional, and global audiences. DCASE produces nearly 2,000 public programs, events and support services annually, generating millions in economic benefits for the City of Chicago.