Daily Archives: September 17, 2013

Josiah McElheny, Two Clubs at The Arts Club of Chicago

Josiah McElheny
Two Clubs at The Arts Club of Chicago

17 September – 14 December 2013

The Arts Club of Chicago is pleased to announce Josiah McElheny: Two Clubs at The Arts Club of Chicago (17 September – 14 December 2013). A sculptor and filmmaker known for his interrogation of glass as a material and paradigm in art, McElheny has conceived this exhibition in collaboration with Chicago architect John Vinci, who designed The Arts Club’s current building. Engaging with the history and mission of The Arts Club itself, the two-part installation will bring together McElheny’s film The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture(2012) and a new site-specific installation titled The Club for Modern Fashions (2013), a constructed glass pavilion into which performers and guests are invited during the lunch hour, Tuesdays through Fridays, dressed in vintage attire from the 1920s to the 1970s—decades that signify the height of a modernist imperative across the cultures of fashion, design, and architecture. A public gallery talk with art historian Christine Mehring and Josiah McElheny will take place on Saturday 21 September at 1:00 pm.

The Light Club of Vizcaya, realized as a commission by the Contemporary Arts Project at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, continues McElheny’s exploration into alternative histories of modernism and the possibilities (and failures) of utopian thought. Filmed on location at Vizcaya, Chicago machinery magnate James Deering’s infamous Miami estate, the film reimagines a little known text by early 20th century German author Paul Scheerbart The Light Club of Batavia: A Ladies’ Novelette (1912).  This strange, visionary satire describes a dinner at which a wealthy heiress and an architect decide to create a secret club for ‘bathing’ in electric light at the bottom of a mineshaft. McElheny’s version, with voiceover by Zoe Leonard, subtly combines Scheerbart’s fiction with the real history of Vizcaya, recounting a tale in which the narrator searches for a lost light club where members indulged in the benefits of colored light beneath the gardens of the grand estate.

McElheny’s The Club for Modern Fashions —a transparent room constructed in glass and furnished in mid-twentieth-century style—echoes The Arts Club’s history, as well as that of its modernist form. Like Vizcaya and its fictionalized “Light Club,” The Arts Club was founded in 1916 to provide a space for the appreciation of the new. Former Arts Club President Rue Winterbotham Shaw retained the services of legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to design the Club’s rooms at 109 East Ontario Street, and Mies delivered an elegant yet advanced interior in 1951. The spirit of that space, demolished in the 1990s, has been retained by Mies’s student John Vinci in the Arts Club’s current building, which preserves Mies’ “floating” staircase at its heart. Nodding both to The Arts Club’s history and to Mies’s historic pavilion architecture, McElheny’s temporary glass room will become both a home and a frame for a renewed display of modernist style.

Winner of the 2006 MacArthur prize, McElheny has had solo exhibitions at The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Whitechapel Gallery, London; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. He has been the subject and author of numerous publications, including Bill Horrigan, ed. Josiah McElheny: Towards a Light Club (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2013); Helen Molesworth, ed. Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite(Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2012); Josiah McElheny: A Prism (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2010); The Light Club: On Paul Scheerbart’s The Light Club of Batavia (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010); and Lynne Cook and Josiah McElheny, eds. A Space for Island Universe (Madrid: MNCARS & Turner, 2009). McElheny lives and works in New York

The Arts Club of Chicago is located at 201 East Ontario Street, on the southeast corner of St. Clair and Ontario. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Saturday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.

For press and general inquiries, please contact Rachel Levin at 312.787.3997 or information@artsclubchicago.org. For questions regarding the performances taking place as a part of The Club for Modern Fashions, please contact Molly Feingold at 312.787.3997 or mfeingold@artsclubchicago.org.

Homebodies, MCA,

Homebodies, MCA,

Jun 29–Oct 13, 2013

This show talks about the idea of home, in both literal and metaphorical way, through Oct. 6th. I’m recently curious about the idea of home, so I had a great time there. The exhibition was divided into three sections, ArchitectonicsLabor, and Psychogeographies.  The range of it is quite broad, in the first part involve many work discussing the idea of a home space and the transformation of it, which related to the idea “HOME” the most but also easy to be forgotten. The labor are invisible since we constantly consider home is a space for leisure and labor took place outside of our home, but there’s no space without physical work. The last part is the idea of home, to transfer them into different unfamiliar space. I’m interested in this topic because of we often focus on things or topic outside of home but never look back into our most familiar space. The show has diverse range of work, from photography to sculpture, painting to installation and performance documentation, also involve different discussions in different era, which provides a broad thinking of the idea.