New Elmhurst Art Museum exhibit highlights work of near-forgotten school of artists

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Art Museum will feature two new exhibits — “What Came After: Figurative Painting in Chicago, 1978-1998” and “McCormick House — Past, Present and Future” — that explore specific eras in Chicago’s art history beginning Sept. 14.

“One of our missions is to support and exhibit Midwestern artists or artists from the Midwest,” said John McKinnon, executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum. “We are a regional art museum, so we’re often trying to find things that speak to local stories and show that work that in an interesting way.”

Curated by artist Phyllis Bramson, “What Came After” is a collection of 30 pieces by 15 artists which highlights the work of a near-forgotten school of artists— what Bramson calls “third-generation Imagists, Post-Imagists and the Chicago School.”

“What I started to get annoyed about is nobody ever mentions this group from 1978 to 1998,” Bramson said. “I thought to myself, ‘Well stop complaining about this and try to organize a show that says, “Hey, wait a minute; there is this group of artists that people know about— I mean most of the artists are successful. It’s not like I’m rescuing unknown artists, but nobody seems to know about them, mention them, or see them in the museums— and they’re just sitting there without any notice.”

She added that the exhibition is dedicated to James Yood, a late art critic and friend of Bramson’s, who was a part of the early curating process for the exhibition.

“McCormick House,” curated by interior architect Robert Kleinschmidt, will reimagine a portion of the Elmhurst Art Museum in its original form—a home.

“The original family was Robert McCormick Jr. and his wife, Isabella Gardner, who was the president of the Poetry Society,” Kleinschmidt said. “So I looked at the pictures of their house, and they had Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, so the museum had two of those and we had new cushions made. The furniture, it’s just— I’m emulating the rooms through the photographs that I looked at.”

Kleinschmidt said that his goal in recreating the original Mies van der Rohe McCormick House was to show that the home could be “big, warm, friendly and inviting.”

The McCormick House exhibit will be held in tandem with the Chicago Architecture Biennial and “What Came Next” will explore a forgotten piece of Chicago art history. But despite the Chicago-focused nature of the exhibits, McKinnon said he believes the two shows will be an excellent fit for the museum.

“Chicago is the big city next door, and it is a place where a lot of museums and galleries— all these are sorts of cultural scenes, kind of ‘centers,’” McKinnon said. “It’s often Chicago centric, but [the Elmhurst Art Museum] is often where you find a lot of these people from all over the suburbs—whether it’s north south, west—they’ll kind of gather and meet or they’ll exchange different ideas or they’ll exhibit at the same gallery.”

If you go: “What Came After: Figurative Painting in Chicago, 1978-1998” and “McCormick House — Past, Present and Future”

When: Sept. 14 – Jan. 12

Where: Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 S Cottage Hill Ave/

Cost: $15 adults, $12 seniors, Free with school ID and under 18

Published by Suburban Life Sept. 12, 2019

leave a comment if you feel so inclined!

%d bloggers like this: