Recent Gift to DePaul Art MuseumAugust 22, 2016
CHICAGO — Collectors and artists in Chicago who are seeking to build a legacy of the city’s modern and emerging artists are finding a home for artwork in the DePaul Art Museum’s collection. Located on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus, the museum recently acquired more than 100 works by Chicago-based artists, underlining its commitment to curate, exhibit and collect art from the local community.
Collector Chuck Thurow donated the 114 works by 59 Chicago artists to the DePaul Art Museum’s permanent collection, strengthening the museum’s hometown focus that positions Chicago as a global city. The works include paintings, photography, sculpture, drawings and other works on paper.
“This gift supports the DePaul Art Museum’s vision to reflect the history of art in Chicago, from the modern era to the present,” said Julie Rodrigues Widholm, director and chief curator of the museum. “Whether artists have spent their whole career here, studied here or were born here, we are interested in all of those scenarios in which Chicago is a touch point for artists.”
“It is significant that this gift is from Chuck Thurow, who rallied support for artists in Chicago as director of the Hyde Park Arts Center and has played a significant role in the story of art in Chicago that we’re trying to tell,” Widholm added.
Many of the artists were not previously represented in the DePaul Art Museum’s collection, and the donation significantly expands the museum’s holdings of local art. Works include:
- Paintings by Jim Lutes, Phyllis Bramson, Candida Alvarez and Philip Hanson.
- Photography by Dawoud Bey, Bob Thall, Jay Boersma, Ben Gest, Shane Huffman, Lisa Lindvay and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford.
- Works on paper by Linda Kramer, Oli Watt, Richard Rezac, Mike Lash, Paul LaMantia, Eleanor Speiss-Ferris, Max King Cap, Karl Wirsum and Sandra Perlow.
- Works from Latino artists including Juan Angel Chavez, Nicolas de Jesus, Arnaldo Roche, Michael Hernandez de Luna, Paul Sierra and Santiago Filemon.
- Early work from Theaster Gates, Brian Calvin and Marie Krane Bergman.
- Small sculptures by Chris Garofalo, Faheem Majeed, and Marva Jolly.
- Works by self-taught artists: Mr. Imagination, Derek Webster and Stephen Warde Anderson.
Thurow collected the artwork during his tenure as director of the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side, from 1998 to 2010. Throughout his career, Thurow said he worked to “make Chicago a great place for artists to live and work.”
“Part of that is not only the exhibition spaces, but places that are building a legacy of art in the city, and DePaul is one of those places. I was very delighted to give the work to their collection,” Thurow said.
DePaul’s faculty and students will have access to study these works at the museum. According to Thurow, he was drawn to that scholarship and the museum’s connection to Chicago.
“It’s a chance to tackle the question: What is the relationship between the physical place and the creativity in that place? And that’s an exciting topic to me, to have the collection in an academic setting where people are looking at those kinds of questions. That’s one of the reasons I love having given the material to DePaul,” said Thurow.
Earlier this year, the DePaul Art Museum lent several works by Chicago artists to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago for its “Monster Roster” exhibition. Thurow noticed that the holdings from DePaul rounded out the show. “You would not be able to do a show in-depth like that without the DePaul Art Museum.”
Chicago artists are also featured in this summer’s exhibitions at the DePaul Art Museum. Tony Fitzpatrick’s “The Secret Birds” and Barbara Rossi’s “Poor Traits” and “Eye Owe You!” are on display through Aug. 21.
Widholm hopes that Thurow’s donation will be a catalyst for other gifts.
“As we seek to expand the art historical canon for future generations to study, I hope people will think of us if they have work by significant, interesting artists with ties to Chicago. We would like to be the home for that work to create a meaningful platform for its study and display alongside great works of art from around the world.” she said.
image above: Candida Alvarez, “Son So & So,” Acrylic and Graphite, 2001.
Selina Trepp InterviewJune 30, 2016
DePaul Newsline interviews artist and faculty member Selina Trepp about her work on view at DePaul Art Museum.
WGN interviewMay 23, 2016
Tony Fitzpatrick talks with Dave Hoekstra on the Nocturnal Journal on WGN.
Press ReleaseMay 5, 2016
CHICAGO — Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick will bring his signature brand of witty visual repartee to the DePaul Art Museum this spring with a display of his collage series “The Secret Birds.” The exhibition will run May 12-Aug. 21, 2016, and is the largest presentation of his work to date with more than 50 of his intricately layered collages as well as 40 prints from the DePaul Art Museum collection that span more than two decades of the artist’s career.
In his ongoing series “The Secret Birds,” Fitzpatrick meticulously draws and layers images, poetry and found materials onto the page. He combines inspiration from his working class roots in Chicago and influences from folk art, comic book characters and tattoo imagery. Each drawn collage depicts a specific species of bird, ranging from the peregrine falcon to the common starling.
Several of the works are commentaries on gun violence, drug abuse and other inequities and injustices found in Chicago and beyond. “The birds play symbolic roles, some delivering otherworldly messages and cautionary tales,” said curator Laura Fatemi, associate director of the DePaul Art Museum. Other works eulogize Fitzpatrick’s influences, including writer Roberto Bolaño, musician and Chicago blues legend Otis Clay, and his own father.
“Tony celebrates the beauty of the natural world in ‘The Secret Birds’” said Fatemi. “The Artist’s Studio” section of the exhibition will feature items from Fitzpatrick’s studio, including the ornithological reference books he has studied and his carved wooden bird collection.
A Chicago native, Fitzpatrick draws on the history and lore of the city, as well as popular culture and his Irish Catholic roots. He is a self-taught artist, playwright, actor, poet and essayist and a consummate raconteur, said Fatemi. “Tony’s astute observations and contemplations of his surroundings reveal and celebrate the magic, beauty and wonder of the world around him,” said Fatemi.
Printmaking has played an important part in Fitzpatrick’s development as an artist. In 1992, he founded a printmaking workshop, Big Cat Press, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The operations have moved and changed over time, but printmaking remains an important part of his work.
Fatemi has grouped some prints with Chicago subject matter from a series titled “Remembered City.” These images take the viewer on a journey through the streets of Chicago and reference the city’s history and landmarks, including the Chicago Stockyards. “Tony is a chronicler of the city, and the view of Chicago he expresses in prints and poetry is historical, political and intensely personal,” said Fatemi.
The exhibition includes selections of Fitzpatrick’s work from the DePaul Art Museum’s permanent collection, and more than 30 private collectors have contributed their holdings. “These works encompass a range of ideas and showcase a sampling of the visual trajectory of the artist over the past two decades,” said Fatemi.
An opening reception will be held for “The Secret Birds” and another exhibition, “Barbara Rossi: Poor Traits,” May 12 from 5-8 p.m. A discussion with Fitzpatrick and Chicago Tribune writer Rick Kogan, known for his compelling takes on the city, will be held May 23 from 6-7:30 p.m. These events are free and open to the public.