UChicago Arts: University of Chicago Headquarters at EXPO Chicago, Sep 19–22 at Navy Pier

September 20, 2013



SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2013, 3:30 PM

In Seance. v.9; Notes from the Blood Bank, artist ZACHARY CAHILL will discuss wellness in relation to his art and the project USSA 2012: Wellness Center: Idyllic—affair of the heart, on view at the Smart Museum of Art, August 23, 2013–August 23, 2014. With an introduction by SHANNON STRATTON (Executive and Creative Director, threewalls).


THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO HEADQUARTERS at EXPO Chicago fronts several organizations that offer contemporary art exhibitions and programs.Partners include the Smart Museum of Art, Open Practice Committee, Logan Center Exhibitions, and the University of Chicago Press—as well as the new Arts + Public Life initiative, The Grey Center for Art and Inquiry and the Departments of Visual Arts and Art History. This presentation signals a spirit of collaboration integral to the evolution of each individual initiative; to the role of the arts at the University, and to the shape of Chicago’s greater contemporary art landscape. 

The works of three artists are featured in the Headquarters. New York- and Houston-based Mary Ellen Carroll created these modular tables and chairs in collaboration with the London-based designer Simon Dance for her project Open Outcry. Originally presented as part of the exhibition Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art at the Smart Museum of Art (2012), Open Outcry took the form of a performative meal staged at the Chicago Board of Trade on January 23, 2012. While trading took place on the floor below, a group of invited strangers including an economist, a farmer, and a contemporary art curator, lunched and discussed the nature of the commodity while seated at these tables.

The black pedestals created by Chicago-based Shane Ward (University of Chicago MFA 2012) parallel Carroll’s provocation, questioning the relation between artwork and support. Ward conceives of his support structures as ‘positive holes’, rising from the ground to reveal the buried or yet to be known. An ominous metal sculpture (The Formative Years, AKA: Commemorative Thud, 2013) and a collection of art and theory publications from the University of Chicago Press are held up on a level plane. Might the 300 lbs. of reclaimed lead shot, cast aluminum, brass rod, and a fragment of an old rusted playground, which Ward welded into a sculpture, be understood as a material form of research—of comparable ‘weight’ to the knowledge which accumulates on the pages of a book?

Meanwhile, the syntactical works of Chicago-based David Giordano (University of Chicago MFA 2012) reconsider power structures through virtual means. Humanitarian Animation is just that—an animation (viewable on the iPad)—as well as text applied directly onto walls, enveloping the Headquarters with repetitive incantations that stretch the symbolic capacity of the visual phrase. Beneath the elegant curve of each letter or logo lies a dense accumulation of sources (the animation combines elements from Hugh Harman’s 1939 Peace on Earth, Sam Cooke’s 1963 A Change is Gonna Come; David Bowie’s 1979 Fantastic Voyage, and the detail of the Devil in the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s promotional animation Helpman). With these works Giordano positions his viewers also as readers.

All publications from The University of Chicago Press are available for purchase. A representative of the press will be present at the booth to answer your questions.