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.
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.
For the third public event on Saturday, September 22 ATOM-r presented Rhinestone Cowboy – a movement and augmented reality performance during the Autumn Equinox with five live cows on the 606 trail. This performance celebrated the Equinox and Chicago's farming roots. With contributions from Grace Duval, Kaitlyn Johnsen, Linda Johnsen, Tara Johnsen, Bridget Lyons, Joshua Patterson, Emma Stewart, Emily Thompson, Katherine Thompson, Kent Widman, Daneire Farms, The Trust for Public Land, and Chicago Park District.
For the fourth public event on Friday, October 19 William Estrada and his Mobile Street Art Cart visited the Jeffery Manor Branch Library to create collaborative art making to engage people directly to be responsive to issues and ideas surrounding democracy, choice, and voice, using silkscreen printing.
The fifth public event on Sunday, October 28 in Oak Park was a walking tour exploring the work of Richard Bock with Frank Lloyd Wright, featuring a discussion with Dr. Sharon Grimes from the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum of Greenville University, and performances by Emilio Rojas and Kioto Aoki.
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
Chicago Gallery News “Art Design Chicago's Busy October,” October 5, 2018
Chicago Tribune “Not the same old immigrant story as hard questions are asked at 6018North gallery,” September 20, 2018 by Lori Waxman
Sixty Inches from Center “September Art Picks,” September 2, 2018
WBEZ “Art & Design Chicago’s Living Architecture,” August 31, 2018 on Worldview with Shahzmeen Hussain
Chicago Tribune “10 visual art shows to look forward to this fall,” August 30, 2018 by Lori Waxman
Newcity “Immigrant Artists: Living Architecture Breathes New Life into the Histories of Chicago,” August 30, 2018 by Manisha Ar
Newcity “Design Top 5: September 2018,” August 28, 2018 by Vasia Rigou
Bad At Sports “TOP V. WEEKEND PICKS (7/12-7/18),” July 12, 2018