Grand Opening of New Museum Building

The DePaul Art Museum’s new $7.8 million home at 935 W. Fullerton Ave., just east of the CTA’s Fullerton “L” stop, will debut with the Sept. 17 opening of “Re: Chicago.” The exhibition, which will run through February 2012, will re-examine the careers and artistic reputations of Chicago artists over more than a century.

The museum’s inaugural exhibition, “Re: Chicago,” re-examines the careers and artistic reputations of Chicago artists over more than a century. Artwork for the exhibition was chosen by 40 people in the Chicago art world – from art critics to scholars to collectors – to propose an artist to include.

“What’s interesting, and one of the things that we’re exploring in the exhibition, is the simple, sort of obvious point that people understand art in a lot of different ways,” said museum director Louise Lincoln. “If you’re a collector, you see it differently from how a scholar sees it, from how a media critic sees it.”

Next to the artwork will be short paragraphs by the nominators about why they made their choices, and visitors to the exhibition are invited to give their input as well on laptops in the galleries, said Lincoln, who also serves as curator of the show.

“Early on, we decided not to interfere with the process. As a result, the show certainly has some holes. For example, Ed Paschke – the one Chicago artist everybody has heard of – is not represented,” Lincoln said. “But the list of who’s included is complex, and I like that. Some choices were really unexpected – like Margaret Ianelli, a wonderful graphic designer from the early 20th century, who was not only a female in a man’s world, but was also mentally ill. I’m thrilled she’s in the show. Another unconventional choice was Nick Cave, whose ‘sound suits’ alter the body in radical ways.”

The new museum will open to the public Sept. 17 with an opening reception and panel discussion with the catalog authors and conversations with artists in the galleries. Various additional events and programs, including faculty-run tours and a film festival, will be held throughout the show’s run.

At 15,200 square feet, the new three-story building more than doubles the space the museum previously occupied at the Richardson Library and includes space for class use, programs and events. The building’s mechanical systems are tailored to provide appropriate conditions for the care of artwork. A second-floor bay window facing the Fullerton “L” allows the museum to interact and communicate with commuters through messages and artwork.

Construction of the new art museum reflects DePaul’s broad commitment to the arts and parallels the university’s Performing Arts Campaign, which aims to improve the physical space for theatre and music education and performance.

“For our students and our community, direct access to the arts is an essential component of education,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul. “Our new facilities for theatre and music will offer audiences an opportunity to see tomorrow’s performers in the making, and the new museum will let visitors, art and artists interact in novel ways. Art encourages the exploration of ideas in visual form and encourages new ways of thinking. That’s what a university is all about.”

DePaul has applied for LEED silver certification for the building based on its energy-efficient features, such as its partial green roof; reflective roof coatings; proximity to public transportation; water-efficient landscaping; stormwater system design; and energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation.

Grand Opening of the DePaul Art Museum Video on YouTube