Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial: Chicago Statements
For the inaugural Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial, Chicago Statements will include a diverse selection of artists from the Chicago area who represent the exceptional work being produced in and around the city. This year’s Biennial is inspired by EAM’s mission to underscore the relevance of visual art in our society. To that end, the exhibition will include artists whose work addresses current events, social and political subject matter and everyday realities. While the list of artists is still in development, participants include Lise Haller Baggeson, Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes, Matthew Hoffman, Jesse Howard, Jenny Kendler, Kirsten Leenaars, Faheem Majeed, Billy McGuinness, Christopher Meerdo, Cheryl Pope, John Preus, Alison Ruttan and Aram Han Sifuentes. Topics explored by these artists include feminism and motherhood, new technologies, community building, race and power, gun violence, gentrification, poverty, war, environmentalism and immigration, among others.
Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial: Chicago Statements will fill the majority of the Museum’s building and will fittingly present Lise Haller Baggesen’s interactive installation Mothernism (a play on motherhood and modernism) in one wing of the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House. Including a tent, silk banners, an audio component and a disco ball, Mothernism encourages conversations about identity, inclusiveness and art-making. Another participatory work includes Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes’ Copy Shop, an installation highlighting 3D scanning and printing and its transformative effect on object design and production. Jesse Howard’s new charcoal and watercolor portraits of African Americans and Kirsten Leenaars’ recent video #thisistomorrow respond to the current climate of violence, disenfranchisement and abuse of power and serve as a call to action to imagine a better future.
The Biennial will extend beyond the Museum’s walls to the building’s exterior, which will offer two different versions of Matthew Hoffman’s gracious “you are beautiful” signs, and into vacant storefronts in downtown Elmhurst, one of which will screen Cheryl Pope’s poignant video One of Many, One, focusing on youth violence in Chicago. A lively roster of weekly public programs will include artist talks, performances, concerts, exhibition tours, a book discussion and unique workshops led by many of the Biennial artists, including Aram Han Sifuentes’ U.S. Citizenship Test Project, aimed at non-citizen immigrants to provide information about the process of gaining American citizenship and to sew samplers. Partnerships with schools and local institutions are also in the works. Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial: Chicago Statements is curated by EAM Chief Curator & Director of Public Programs Staci Boris.