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The School of the Art Institute of Chicago presents
Paul Durica, Pocket Guide to Hell's Haymarket Reenactment, 2011. Photo: Yoni Goldstein

A Proximity of Consciousness:
Art and Social Action

September 20–December 20
Reception: Friday, September 19, 6:00–9:00 p.m.

Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th floor

At the core of Chicago’s intellectual and creative life stand these influential artists for whom this city itself was a springboard for a new way of thinking about art at the intersection of society. Their work has influenced generations, having made social practice a worldwide phenomenon. Now this exhibition brings their ideas alive through 10 newly commissioned projects. Exhibiting artists: Jim DuignanPablo Helguera (BFA 1993), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (MFA 1985), Dan Peterman, Pocket Guide to HellJ. Morgan Puett (BFA 1981), Michael Rakowitz, Tamms Year TenTemporary Services, and Rirkrit Tiravanija (MFA 1986).

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Joseph Beuys's lecture at SAIC in 1974. Photo © 2012 Klaus Staeck and Gerhard Steidl

Joseph Beuys
Untitled (Sun State), 1974

Through February 6, 2015
The Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Wing, Gallery 294, 159 E. Monroe St.

An advocate for the transformative potential of art through what he termed “social sculpture,” Joseph Beuys made his first trip to the United States in 1974, with the purpose of promoting his Free International University. He spoke at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during his American tour, where he was met with an enthusiastic reception and a lively exchange. This chalkboard, created during that lecture-performance, maps the connections Beuys perceived between the spiritual, social, and natural worlds. This work returns to Chicago on the 40th anniversary of the artist’s historic trip, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

German curator and author Leonhard Emmerling will speak about Beuys’ Free International University on Monday, November 11, 6:00 p.m., at the Goethe-Institut, 150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200. 

This presentation is made possible with generous support by the Goethe-Institut Chicago and the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, and in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago.


Futurefarmers, Flatbread Society Mobile Bakeoven, 2013. Photo © Max McClure

In Dialogue: Claire Bishop and
Claire Doherty

Thursday, October 2, 6:00 p.m.
Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

This dialogue continues a season of critical thinking around social practice developed by SAIC to address this burgeoning and much-debated field. Claire Bishop is an art historian and critic based in the PhD program in Art History at CUNY Graduate Center, New York. Her books include Installation Art: A Critical HistoryArtificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, and Radical Museology, or, What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art?. Claire Doherty is founder and director of Situations, and renowned for pioneering new forms of public art in unexpected locations across the world.

This event is free and open to the public, and presented in collaboration with SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program

City Farm, Chicago. Photo: Patricia Evans

A Lived Practice Symposium

November 6–8
The Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Hall, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

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This weekend intensive program seeks to probe the reciprocal relationship of art and life: one can make a life as an artist, but we can all lead a meaningful life of heightened consciousness and awareness. So what can we glean from art practice to cultivate our own life practice? This has been a driving question throughout time and has taken many forms across civilizations. How can we address this question today? What can we learn from artists who are changing our communities and social landscape though their innovative cultural output and through the ways that they live their lives.

The symposium is presented with the support of the Goethe-Institut Chicago, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, Salzburg Global Seminar, and SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program.

Series covers. Design: Corey Margulis

Chicago Social Practice History Series

Published by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Distributed by the University of Chicago Press
Series editors: Mary Jane Jacob and Kate Zeller

This series of four, 225-page illustrated books examines for the first time Chicago’s thinkers and makers that have defined the intellectual and creative life of this city. With nearly 30 chapters each, these volumes locate Chicago’s critical social thought and practices within a history of modern urban change and its commensurate societal issues as played out in the complexities of its communities. The inspirational starting point is Jane Addams; our mission is to recall movements and collectives in the 20th century; and the need in the fields of art, architecture, and design is to recognize Chicago’s present-day committed practitioners, offering a depth of geographic and historical context for the work they continue around social design, including education, housing, food, ecological urgencies, prison reform, and much more.

This publication series is made possible through grants from SAIC’s Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

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Max Gimblett, A Glimpse of the Ox, 2009. Courtesy of the Gund Gallery

Oxherding: A Buddhist Parable

September 20–November 8
Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th floor

Oxherding is based on the Song-Dynasty Chinese Oxherding Series, a Zen Buddhist parable of self-discovery comprised of pictures and verse. The original series was used by Zen masters to guide disciples through successive stages of spiritual training. Departing from this traditional approach, artist Max Gimblett’s ink drawings are abstract “demonstrations” of the text, manifesting his personal vision and spiritual connection to the themes, while author Lewis Hyde’s multiple English translations of the Chinese poems suggest a range of possible readings, with varying nuances of meaning and tone.

Oxherding has been organized for tour by the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College and previously shown there and at the Japan Society, New York, where the exhibition originated.