Living Architecture is a large-scale, multidisciplinary exhibition, with public programming including performances, tours, workshops, and conversational dinners that highlight the influence and impact of immigrant artists on Chicago. The exhibition responds to the current political climate to highlight how Chicago was built with immigrant labor, particularly in the arts, and is continuously shaped today by exemplary immigrant artists. With over 50 contemporary artists, Living Architecture illustrates a living and evolving legacy between past and present Chicago immigrants’ work in art and design.
Featured artists include: Alberto Aguilar, Kioto Aoki, Amanda Assaley and Qais Assali, Axis Lab, Gregory Bae, Balas and Wax, Tizziana Baldenebro, Yesenia Bello, Richard Bock, Irina Botea, Yvette Brackman, Tom Burtonwood and Maryam Taghavi, Verónica Casado Hernández, Derek Chan, Chapuisat Brothers, Eugenia Cheng, Julietta Cheung, Alex Chitty, Sabba Elahi, William Estrada, Silvia Gonzalez with Joseph Josue Mora and Patricia Nguyen, Óscar I González Díaz, Daniel Haddad, Irena Haiduk, Lise Haller Baggesen, Aram Han Sifuentes, Mark Jeffery with ATOMr, Soohyun Kim, Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, Benjamin Larose, Kirsten Leenaars, Frances Lightbound, Wen Liu, Ivan LOZANO, Junxi Lu, Luftwerk, Carlos Matallana, Esperanza Mayobre, Yvette Mayorga, Jesus Mejia + Ruth, Harold Mendez, Frédéric Moffet, Julie Oh, Claes Oldenburg, Sherwin Ovid, Roni Packer, Jorge Pardo, Emilio Rojas, Moises Salazar, Carlos Salazar Lermont, Jan Tichy, Orkideh Torabi, Andrew Yang, Ji Yang, and others.
Since labor is often at the center of issues surrounding immigration, the exhibition opens on Labor Day, September 3. To embody the artistic process as a living architecture of labor, in July and August 6018North is used by the artists as a studio, and is open on the weekend to the public. On four evenings – July 16, July 30, August 13, August 27 – the public was invited to Working Studios, collaborative events where artists engage the public in their work as process-based, communal initiatives. Working Studios were on Mondays, often thought of as the first work day of the week. We thank all of the people who joined the artists, and their work can be seen in many of the works now on view.
The title Living Architecture is from a book written by architect Arthur Woltersdorf in 1930. Woltersdorf was a first generation German-American, and a President of the Chicago Chapter of American Institute of Architects. Max Eberhardt, a German immigrant lawyer who advocated for immigrant rights, hired Woltersdorf to design his home at 6018 North Kenmore Avenue. Woltersdorf often commissioned German immigrant Richard Bock to design the bas-relief sculptures that grace the façades of his buildings. Living Architecture brings new light to Richard Bock's work, prominent at Tree Studios and many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings.
Because each artist is encouraged to draw on Richard Bock’s work, the 6018North building, and/or the work of former Chicago immigrant artists, Living Architecture looks backwards and forwards to ask vital questions about how we remember immigrant creativity to envision a new future. Using historical research, contemporary art practices, performance, and social engagement, artists reveal the central and defining role of immigrants in shaping and advancing Chicago’s art and design. Living Architecture is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide initiative highlighting lesser-known narratives of ingenuity and perseverance, addressing artistic movements as well as the work of individual artists, including the role of immigrant communities in Chicago’s development and legacy.
Free public tours and events occur at historic sites around the City this fall, highlighting performances of music and dance.
On Saturday, September 22 ATOM-r presents Rhinestone Cowboy – a movement and augmented reality performance during the Autumn Equinox with five live cows on the 606 trail. This performance celebrates the Equinox and Chicago's farming roots. At 5:45 PM starting at the Ridgeway end of the trail, is a bedazzling dressage of the cows by ATOM-r. At 6 PM, the cow procession begins while ATOM-r performs a ritual, ceremonial dance for the cows. The public, using smartphones, are invited to scan the cows' rhinestone garments to reveal archival imagery of dairy cows and milking parlors from Chicago’s history. The procession continues up the trail to mark the Observatory's alignment with the sunset at 6:47 PM. With contributions from Grace Duval, Joshua Patterson, Kent Widman, Johnsen Farms, The Trust for Public Land, and Chicago Park District.
Additional fall tours will be announced in the near future. The first public tour was at Tree Studios on Saturday morning, July 28. Tree Studios was built by Arthur Woltersdorf, with relief sculptures by Richard Bock. To highlight Bock’s designs: Tom Burtonwood presented a performative maker-space, Dr. Sharon Grimes from the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum of Greenville University discussed Bock’s work, and Carlos Salazar Lermont presented a performance.
The second public tour was on Sunday, September 9. Water Music on the Beach began at 6018 North Kenmore within the Living Architecture exhibition. At 12:30 PM Balas and Wax led a procession and discussion about the materiality of migration, a force which drove people from their homes in the process of creating Lake Shore Drive in the Edgewater neighborhood. From Ardmore Avenue, the Suburban Piano Quartet led the tour to Lane Beach at Thorndale Avenue and Sheridan Road for performances by Simon Anderson, Katinka Kleijn with Jasmine Mendoza, Norman Long with Gwyneth Anderson and Sara Zalek, Steve Marquette with Aurora Nealand, James Singleton, and Paul Thibodeaux, AJ McClenon with Uhuru Moor, and Carlos Salazar Lermont. Water Music on the Beach was a collaborative project with Roman Susan Art Foundation.
Living Architecture is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
Living Architecture is funded by the Terra Foundation.
Living Architecture is co-curated by Teresa Silva and Tricia Van Eck with Nathan Abhalter Smith. A variation of Living Architecture will travel to the Chicago Cultural Center in 2020.
About Art Design Chicago
Art Design Chicago is a spirited celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of creativity and commerce. Initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this citywide partnership of more than 75 cultural organizations explores Chicago’s art and design legacy and continued impact with more than 30 exhibitions, hundreds of events, as well as the creation of several scholarly publications and a four-part documentary presented throughout 2018.
Support for Art Design Chicago is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and Presenting Partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additional funding for the initiative is provided by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation. The Chicago Community Trust, Leo Burnett, Polk Bros. Foundation, and EXPO CHICAGO are providing in-kind support. ArtDesignChicago.org #ArtDesignChicago
Images top to bottom: Still from (Re)Housing the American Dream by Kirsten Leenaars; Installation view of Documents by Julie Oh; installation view of Be the Man by Benjamin Larose; details from untitled (monkeys) installation by Roni Packer; installation view of Everywhere and Nowhere by Wen Liu; installation view of Refuseniks by Lise Haller Baggesen; installation details by Yvette Mayora at EXPO Chicago 2017; Emilo Rojas performing Memorial to an Unbuild Monument and/or A Litany of Reduction at EXPO Chicago 2017; still from (Re)Housing the American Dream by Kirsten Leenaars.
The artists provide healing services, justice consultation, and above all, sanctuary. Sanctuary unveils a prototype of Justice Hotel – supported by a Joyce Foundation ideation grant – as a think tank for embodying the ideas and actions that support social justice and self-care.
Maya Camille Broussard
Justice Hotel and Just Desserts
Thanks to a beneficent grant from the amazing Joyce Foundation, we are working with artist/architect Amanda Williams, master carpenters Bryan Saner, Norman Teague, and Troy Briggs, Justice of the Pies chef Maya-Camille Broussard and grower Sarah Mallin to develop an artist/architect designed, cooperatively built, owned, and run hotel on the South Side that addresses economic and social issues through art.
Justice Hotel and Just Desserts has grown out of artist and architect Amanda Williams’s Color(ed) Theory which raises questions about value, eminent domain, and historical neglect through structural forces such as redlining and disinvestment. Color(ed) Theory sparked conversations about very messy, difficult, layered questions surrounding architecture and its role (or lack thereof) in shaping the potential for neighborhoods and cities to thrive. This commercial art project asks how art can best shape and generate both artistic value and monetary value to increase a neighborhood’s value for its inhabitants.
Justice Hotel and Just Desserts draw upon the threat of eminent domain in the Englewood neighborhood because of the Supreme Court’s Kelo vs. City of New London decision to allow city governments to take private land if it believes doing so will generate greater tax revenues or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner. The idea for the hotel and café was sparked by a libertarian’s comical response to the Supreme Court case. However 6018North, artist Amanda Williams, Justice of the Pie chef Maya-Camille Broussard, and Pyrite Sun chef Sarah Mallin reinterpret this idea by manifesting and building a space to redesign justice in the aftermath of Chicago’s landscape being “designed” via erasure, systemic neglect, racism, redlining, and an imbalance of resources.
The building and running of the hotel as an art project is foundational. Instead of gentrifying, we aim to empower the community to become agents in the process that so often moves them out. Amanda is working with bricks, the foundational block of architecture. What does a justice brick look like? How can we, brick by brick, build an architecture for economic and social justice? Since Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome typifies the 60s generation of sharing, this phase asks: What does a cooperative look like? To answer this question, the Summer Youth Employees (who themselves are prototypes of future youth workers of the hotel) will help build Williams’s prototypes. In addition, as part of this Summer ideation, we are developing a think-tank of developers, thought leaders, economists, community organizers, fundraisers, etc. while comprising a team of worker/owners.
The project’s mission is to work with rather than for the community. We aim to fill gaps and meet needs of the community by providing skills and creating jobs for youth who in turn design, build, work in, and manage the hotel. We build on artist and architect Amanda Williams’ work with a host of student architects and 6018North’s artisan craftsman mentor/apprenticeships with students to train youth in carpentry skills and video making to document the process. We also build on our partnership with local grower Pyrite Sun to supply produce and ingredients for the café and bar. As a hotel, it will showcase and integrate the work of emerging Chicago artists and architects. Like 6018North a different artist or architect designs each room. House as art; hotel as art.
Finally, the project challenges the typology of hotel architecture. The design phase innovatively questions architectural and economic conceptions of hotels. Since we know what artist and curator run spaces can look like, we now want to develop the blueprints to construct an artist and curator run hotel as a social justice endeavor that through its spatial, material, and localized conditions empowers its workers and its community. We ask: how can architecture design and articulate the embodiment of a new set of financial parameters that express ownership, management, and maintenance as an artistic and a cooperative endeavor?
Currently On View
While 6018North is often itinerant – creating thought-provoking and compelling artwork in nontraditional spaces in Chicago and beyond – its mansion is a project in continual artistic flux. Flood damage in 2011 exposed its original structure and bones, creating unexpected and provocative pairings of historic masonry with more than a century’s worth of renovations atop. In response, 6018North’s artists often create work in relation to this existing structure and its history. Artists have made changes, such as adding walls and disco balls, or removing layers of paint and debris. The house is filled with site specific, risk-taking, cross-disciplinary experimentation, and collaborations. The current exhibition is Living Architecture is a large-scale, multidisciplinary exhibition, with public programming including performances, tours, workshops, and conversational dinners that highlight the influence and impact of immigrant artists on Chicago. In addition, several older installations remain on view:
Lise Haller Baggessen and Jason Pallas (2012) – collaborative installation pairs Baggessen’s velvet painting Silver Lining and her glammed-out installation Self Portrait as Narcissus with Pallas’ Selections of Civil Rights Images from the IEA (Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation) Collection. Encompassing the second floor hallway, floor, and walls, the artists combined two vastly different, yet both historical empowerment movements – glam disco culture and Civil Rights – to juxtapose various forms of social protest. The public is invited to scratch off the silver prints to reveal Pallas’s historical images of protests.
Chapuisat Brothers, In Wood We Trust (2017) – a tree-top installation entered by crawling through a tunnel inside 6018North. Built entirely of wood, the large invasive structure and exhibition transforms our perception of the space it occupies and the people within it. An anarchitectural intervention, it is a deceptively playful yet dramatic utopian experiment in building community through architecture and art.
Vlatka Horvat, Door to Door (2012) – site-specific work “reinstalls” the many doors of 6018North to create a physical questioning of borders and their ability to organize space, ideas, and people. The door is a powerful part of theatre of regulating access – a servant to solitude and privacy, an invitation, chance or permission for entrance, a barrier to strangers or intruders. On the other hand, a door that’s been unhinged from its frame enacts a certain abandon of the normative space and normative behavior in such a space. In the process of pushing a dilapidated mansion to be even more physically dysfunctional and yet more open, Vlatka Horvat creates a metaphor for the possibilities and/or limits of artists’ intentions to affect the social relations of those who participate within public and private space. Door to Door continues the artistic interventions created for 6018North’s Home: Public or Private? exhibition to question how to make public what is often considered private. Door to Door, 2011/2013 was created in cooperation with In Time Performance, and received Time Out’s Critic’s Pick.
Jennifer Karmin, 4000 Words 4000 Dead (2012) – 2012 words were culled from a 2008– online public poem and memorial to the 4,487 American soldiers killed in Iraq. The bathroom within the home is a metaphor to ritually cleanse the returning American soldiers.
Kathleen McCarthy, Antechamber (2015) – an installation exploring the scale and movement of humans within public spaces. Using a nearly invisible material, clear fishing line, she creates 3-dimensional drawings of architectural components intended to encourage those encountering the work to become more aware of themselves, each other, and the space around them.
Amanda Williams, Color(ed) Theory: Englewood in Edgewater (2013) – an architectural painting within the ballroom is an assemblage of colors such as Harold’s Chicken Red, Ultrasheen, Currency Exchange Yellow and Pink Oil Moisturizer used by commercial establishments to sell products to African Americans.
Lise Haller Baggessen and Jason Pallas
Chapuisat Brothers, In Wood We Trust
Vlatka Horvat, Door to Door
Jennifer Karmin, 4000 Words 4000 Dead
Kathleen McCarthy, Antechamber
Amanda Williams, Color(ed) Theory: Englewood in Edgewater