‘Re: Chicago’ At New DePaul Art Museum

January 9, 2012 6:00 AM

depaulartmuseum facade ‘Re: Chicago’ At New DePaul Art Museum

(credit: DePaul Art Museum)

by Amy Cavanaugh

Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m – 5 p.m.; Fri, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 12 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Free admission

rechicago watt ‘Re: Chicago’ At New DePaul Art Museum

Oli Watt (American, born 1968), No Parking, 2007 Screenprint; each: 11 x 8 in.; Collection of the artist. (courtesy of DePaul Art Museum)

The new three-story, 15,200 square foot DePaul Art Museum opened in mid-September, bringing a large, beautiful art space to Lincoln Park. The Museum itself is a beautiful space, with light woods, airy rooms, and large windows that let sun stream in. To kick things off, the Museum is showing “Re: Chicago,” an exhibit of work by Chicago artists that serves as a great introduction to the city’s present and past art history.

To select the paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and installations for the show, museum curators asked critics, scholars, collectors, and museum staff to suggest an artist to include. It doesn’t mean every notable Chicago artist is represented, but the mix is worth a look. Among the unsurprising inclusions are a Henry Darger watercolor of the Vivian Girls and photographs by Art Shay. There are also works by notable people in local art history, like Margaret Burroughs, who founded the DuSable Museum of African American History and the South Side Community Art Center.

rechicago chavez ‘Re: Chicago’ At New DePaul Art Museum

Juan Angel Chavez (American, born Mexico 1971) No Campground Just Water, c. 2005 Found objects and plywood; 84 x 84 x 84 in.; Collection of the artist. (courtesy of DePaul Art Museum)

The show includes less expected artists, like Oli Watt, whose “No Parking” was selected by Richard Holland and Duncan Mackenzie of the art blog Bad at Sports. The piece features those groan-inducing signs that say “No Parking for Street Cleaning,” in a rainbow of fading from red to yellow as the week progresses, and are a fun nod to the city.

A standout work is Juan Angel Chavez’s 2005 work “No Campground Just Water.” The huge piece, made of found objects and plywood, is a tent-like construction built from lace curtains, stuffed fish, thermoses, a horse-topped weathervane, and other objects. The work stands as a metaphor for the Mexican-born artist’s coming-of-age in the United States, but it also works as a monument to Chicago, which has been shaped by people of so many different backgrounds.

“Re: Chicago” runs through March 4.

Amy Cavanaugh, CBS Chicago

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