Posted in ALL THE NEWS on Friday, December 23rd, 2016
Lots has happened this year, here at the Roger Brown Study Collections,
which Ben Nicholson elegantly described as a formal garden of inorganics.
Ben’s formal garden analogy is apt for the collection,
which remains arranged as Roger planted it.
In terms of our work here, we’ve been doing a lot of weeding in the back 40…
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
In May and June we closed the orientation/project space to make room for a Special Collections project. Nick Lowe worked with Arts Administration grad student Flora Zhang, on the complete organization of the 32 year archive of the Goat Island performance collaborative.
They archived up a storm, resulting in the organization of diverse materials including video and photo documentation, international and national performance communications and ephemera, and costumes and props. The collection was moved to the Flaxman Library and officially became an SAIC Special Collection.
RBSC staff had much-awaited quiet time to work on collections. James Connolly oversaw staff on the ongoing project to advance the Master RBSC collection database, locating and photographing many hundreds of objects and entering info and images.
Volunteer Kurt Peterson cleaned most of Roger’s ~ 300 vinyl LP record albums, from the 1926, New Buffalo, and La Conchita collections, and began the digitization process. Staff member Matias Anon spent the summer digitizing all the albums.
We mounted a selection of “staff picks” on the Yoshida shelves this fall. Each class that visited selected 2-3 albums for their playlist while in the collection. The albums were played upstairs through the Sonos speakers. We kept track of all album selections throughout the semester. Nina Simone and Johnny Cash are definitely trending!
1926, the building
The project to restore the doors, windows, transoms, and install new, wood-framed, uv filtering storms on all windows was completed this fall.
As more and more buildings in the neighborhood are demolished and the streetscape evolves, 1926 continues to connect the past with the future. At 1926 the histories of the 19th century building and a 20th century artist are performing fully into the 21st century. We’re committed, as always, to enacting historic preservation as a creative activity.
The plan to remove the crumbling wood ramp and renovate the sidewalk, and east and west doors, for improved, ADA compliant access was scheduled for 2017. Major construction on the property next door accelerated this project. The new sidewalk and ramp is a major improvement.
A security camera and accessible doorbell were installed.
Sincerest thanks to the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation
for their generous support of these projects!
As always, huge thanks to SAIC’s Instructional Resources Facilities Management team,
Tom Buechele, Ron Kirkpatrick, Mike Plummer, Colette Tam, and Rachel Krcmarich,
for their ongoing care of 1926. Speaking of which,
We got I-T done!
All electronic communications and security systems were completely upgraded at 1926. The project vastly improved our internet connectivity, for RBSC staff and all the classes that use it. Thanks to Kevin Lint, Brian Werle, and Jeff Panall for making this happen.
Good House-Museum Keeping
Garage: cleaned and rat proofed!
Bathroom shower: Had been an “archive” space for years, with wire shelves and archival textiles stored there. All were removed and it’s back to being a bathroom shower, to our great relief.
We struggle to keep ahead of researchers’ queries and requests, but the archive has the knack for keeping ahead of us. We got serious in late November and relocated a van-load of materials that we don’t need regular access to, to offsite storage, freeing up our heads and much needed space.
All unprocessed materials were identified and prioritized for processing. Gabe, Flora, and Xin are all working on processing archival materials, adding descriptions to our finding aid, filing and/or re-housing them.
The Chicago Area Archives consortium held its second annual Chicago Open Archives event in October. We opened the RBSC for tours and put out a spread of very excellent ephemera.
The RBSC St. Honey West Fragment Hospital
For years lost limbs, detached fragments, broken pieces, and bits + bobs were cataloged and stored in the St. Honey West RBSC Archive Hospital – named (by former student staff member Lisa Abbatomarco) after the vampy 1966-67 TV show. Roger acquired two Honey West accessory cards, which can be seen, if you’re on your hands and knees, in the Yoakum Room curio cabinet. The hospital was located in an old bankers box; the wards were overcrowded and, well, inhospitable.
Hospital expansion project
We demolished the old hospital to make room for a new 5 story, archivally sound Fragment Hospital.
Roger Brown’s Sketchbooks!
We worked with Flaxman Digital Librarian Chris Day and his stellar staff, who completed the project to make the digitized versions of all (22) of Roger Brown’s sketchbooks accessible online. The sketchbooks reveal the origin and development of Brown’s creative process, providing insight into his ideas, from his student years to his final works. Enjoy this trove of stunning drawings, invaluable in the interpretation of the resulting artworks, as well as revealing ideas that never went further than a sketch. You can access them here: Roger Brown’s sketchbooks.
Programming: who came and what they did
We hosted approximately 1900 guests this year, with 86 SAIC class visits, 54 in fall semester. Following are views of some highlights from the autumn onslaught of SAIC students, faculty, and other august guests.
Each fall Ceramics professor Patricia Rieger brings her Curious, Intimate Objects class to explore the collection and connect with a place and/or objects within. The students then make works based on this research and install them throughout the collection and property, for an all day critique. Following are a few examples of many wondrous responses to our formal garden of inorganics.
Legendary artist/musician Jon Langford serenaded Peter Exley’s Research Studio students with Mekons’ hit White Riot.
We extend sincerest thanks for the enormous amount of energy, acuity, creativity, rigor, and resources that the Kavi Gupta team poured into the fall exhibition, Roger Brown & Andy Warhol: Politics, Rhetoric, Pop! The show was insightfully curated and interpreted, and augmented by three panel discussions with an outstanding roster of artists, scholars, critics, and curators, including John Yau, Lisa Wainwright, Dan Nadel, Katherine Andrews, Greg Brown, Russell Bowman, Chloe Pelletier, Jonathan Odden, Will Simmons, and David Getsy. The second floor gallery included five arrangements from Brown’s La Conchita, California home, examples of Brown’s object paintings, and a selection of catalogs, exploring Brown’s and Warhol’s collecting proclivities. The project went far to present Brown’s work in a previously unexplored context and we applaud their efforts to widen perceptions of Brown’s work.
We are honored that that two paintings from the Roger Brown estate are included in the Chicago exhibition of ArtAIDSAmerica. Organized by the Tacoma Art Museum, the show was expanded to include several Chicago artists and is on view in a space created specifically for the exhibition by the Alphawood Foundation, under the direction of Anthony Hirschel. We extend congratulations and thanks to Tony and Alphawood staff.The exhibition is deeply moving, not to be missed. ArtAIDSAmerica, Alphawood Gallery, 2401 North Halsted St., December 1, 2016 through April 2, 2017.
We went politically, historically, conceptually, and most fashionably correct at 1926 this fall. We were elated to unveil the modest exhibition, Doris E. Lane – Ladies, First –– a collection of dolls bedecked in the most exquisitely crocheted gowns, representing the First Ladies in their inaugural garb (plus the Tricia Nixon Wedding Party), lovingly made by Doris E. Lane.
We know little about Ms. Lane other than she was in fashion design in the Bay area and in the 1960s she began crocheting doll garments––eventually completing over 300––representing a broad range of nationalities and types of garments. She was in her mid 80s in 2010 (or thereabouts), when she donated her whole collection to the Oakland Museum of California, to be sold individually at the Museum’s White Elephant benefit sale.
The First Ladies collection was discovered by Dr. Jacqueline Fulmer, folklorist in doll history and culture in Berkeley, and rescued by our dear friends and colleagues at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. Friends at the MJT graciously agreed to loan the collection to the RBSC, sharing our desire to soften the election season tension with attention to beauty and craft-of-the-highest order. The exhibition reflects Roger Brown’s ardent commitment to conjoining the so-called high style with the so-called not-so-high style, and the celebration of popular culture and popular crafts.
We extend sincerest thanks to Jackie Fulmer and Museum of Jurassic Technology friends Hana van der Steur, David Wilson, and Alexis Hyman-Wolff, and of course, to Doris E. Lane.
Roger wasn’t the only artist in the Brown family to fall under SAIC faculty member, artist/art historian Whitney Halstead’s spell. Greg Brown attended SAIC in the 1970s. In one of Halstead’s classes, he took the assignment to find and document excellent examples of the vernacular landscape to heart. Wandering all over creation with his radar tuned high, and camera at the ready, Greg got the goods! He allowed us to digitize 147 slides taken in 1976, and gave us the notebook logging his research. These enhance our understandings of: a) what ordinary people did to personalize their homes and gardens forty years ago, and b) Whitney Halstead’s creative, expansive teaching, and c) Roger Brown’s and Barbara Rossi’s collections of images from similar assignments. You can see Greg’s images here.
Greg also gave the RBSC an extraordinary scrap book that his mother made during 1945-46, the years her husband James served overseas in World War II. She saved the most poignant of scraps, including a napkin from Roger’s 5th birthday. Inscribed December 10, 1946, seventy years on the candles still shine.
Lisa Stone, December 22, 2016
Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, June 17th, 2016
Tours and group visits to the RBSC will be suspended from June 20 to July 11 for construction and collection organization. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, February 25th, 2016
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is pleased to announce the representation of the Roger Brown Estate by Kavi Gupta. Gupta and his staff bring enthusiasm and myriad ideas for expanding recognition for Brown’s seminal presence in late 20th century American art, and for introducing Brown’s work into new audiences, globally. We’re excited to work with the Kavi Gupta team and to fully support their efforts through the Roger Brown Study Collection archive and resources.
We’re digging deep for archival materials to augment what will surely be an intriguing and provocative fall exhibition. SAIC’s Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Administration, Lisa Wainwright, said “SAIC is deeply committed to the thoughtful management of the Roger Brown estate. We are tremendously excited by Kavi and his staff’s ideas and enthusiasm around the advancement of Brown’s important legacy. Watch this space!”
Russell Bowman/Russell Bowman Art Advisory represented the Estate since 2003. We’re ever grateful to Bowman (who closed his gallery in late 2015), and his staff, for their and efforts in promoting the art of Roger Brown and the Roger Brown Estate.
Roger Brown, A Painting for a Sofa: A Sofa For a Painting, 1995, oil on canvas/mixed media, 25 ½ x 31 x 9 in.
Posted in ALL THE NEWS on Saturday, January 9th, 2016
Posted in ALL THE NEWS on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
Greetings from the RBSC at the tail end of summer. Spring semester went by in a combined blur of class and staff projects. A few highlights include Nick Lowe’s Sophomore Seminar students who morphed ideas about Roger Brown works of art with areas of interest in the Roger Brown Study Collection, and installation strategies, into the exhibition Sophomore Sensations, installed briefly on the Yoshida shelves.
Frédéric Moffet’s Intimacies class (Film Video New Media Animation) held An Intimate Affair at 1926 on a balmy Sunday afternoon in May. Students screened outstanding films and performed intriguingly to an audience of significant sweethearts. A charged time was had by all, and Frédéric managed to arrange a surprise downburst, a refreshing end to the midspring afternoon.
On June 11 a solemn ceremony was held for the inurnment of a portion of Harold Allen’s ashes at Graceland Cemetery. Renowned and revered as artist, scholar, teacher, friend, and avowed Egyptomaniac, as his signature initials above convey (!), Allen joins a pantheon of extraordinary people who impacted Chicago forever. We are eternally grateful to Scott Dietrich for shepherding the Harold Allen Study Collection (HASC) into SAIC’s collection of Special Collections. The inurnment marks renewed efforts to organize the extraordinary materials in the HASC for access.
AT LONG LAST, The project to digitize all (21) of Roger Brown’s sketchbooks was completed in June. The sketchbooks reveal the origin and development of Brown’s creative process, providing insight into his ideas from early years to his final works. They are original, irreplaceable drawings invaluable in the interpretation of the resulting artworks, while revealing ideas that never went further than a sketch.
The sketchbooks are now safely stored in the Prints and Drawings Department at the Art Institute of Chicago, where they are on long-term loan and accessible to scholars, the curious, and sketchbook-obsessed. Now begins the project to write metadata for each page, then Chris Day, Digital Services Librarian at Flaxman Library, will organize the images into an online collection. Our thanks to Leigh Armstrong and Armstrong-Johnston staff for their special care and expert digitization, and to Mark Pascale, the Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Works from the Roger Brown estate were on view in two outstanding New York exhibitions, Roger Brown: Political Paintings at DC Moore Gallery (June 18 – August 7, with catalog) and Roger Brown: Virtual Still Life at Maccarone (June 25 – August 14). Both shows received excellent press––see links to reviews below. Huge thanks to Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Jay Gorney, and all staff at DC Moore and Maccarone, for showcasing two diverse and critical dimensions of Brown’s remarkable oeuvre.
The last chapter of Roger Brown’s life––creating a home, studio, gardens, collections, and extraordinary body of work in Southern California––is explored in depth, in Jonathan Griffin’s insightful article in East of Borneo.
Meanwhile, back at 1926
Roger Brown’s devotion to conflating high style with vernacular is ingeniously distilled in his 1926 N. Halsted St. garden. Grand Greco-Roman statues of Persephone and Neptune gaze down upon four classically-styled jardinière and a table, all of cast concrete, of the sort that many would consider “ersatz.” Teak English garden seating lends a warm––and maybe for some, sophisticated––note to the setting. The objects rest on a radiating pattern of pavers, redolent of flooring of the Florentine Renaissance. They radiate around the catch basin manhole cover. IN this garden notions of high and low blur. All are subject to the Midwest weather and well past due for a cleanup. Don Howlett / Preservation Services, Inc., cleaned all the objects of atmospheric staining and buildup of biological growth. Hairline cracks and broken areas were repaired, and all received a surface treatment to deter moisture penetration and protect interior metal.
Preserving 1926 Preservation contractor and SAIC faculty member Neal Vogel and his Restoric crew are hard at work on the project to restore all the doors, windows, and transoms, and create new, wood framed, UV filtering storm windows for the second floor. This project is generously funded by the Walter and Karl Goldschmidt Foundation, to whom we are most grateful! Stay tuned for a full report in our fall semester update.
BLANKETY BLANK BLANK!
Roger Brown acquired 36 drawings by venerable master artist Joseph Yoakum. As fragile works of art on paper the trove is subject to deterioration from exposure to light. Thus, we regretfully remove them for a rest rotation for half of each year––March through August––transforming the Yoakum Room from a warm and rich place to a barren one. After some years of fumbling, we realized we could restore a measure of the room’s soul by installing 36 blanks. Guests enter the room and gasp in awe, imagining the works they can’t actually see. The drawings will be reinstalled by the end of August so you’ll have to come back next March to catch the curiously empty display.
Lisa Stone, August 2015
Posted in Happening Now at the RBSC on Friday, February 20th, 2015
The Roger Brown Study Collection is pleased to present the exhibition Compare and Contrast: 39 American Artists, an expanded version of a traveling show from the Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, showcasing the artists in the consortium.
In 2000 the Roger Brown Study Collection (RBSC) joined the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS), a consortium of 39 member sites from across the United States committed to the preservation, interpretation, and accessibility of spaces where American artists lived and worked. You can explore the individual sites on the HAHS website.
HAHS member sites include iconic artists such as Winslow Homer’s rustic cottage perched on the Maine coast (below, left), the paint-splattered barn used by Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in East Hampton, Long Island (below, right), and 101 Spring Street, New York City, the home, studio, and collection environment of Donald Judd (below, center), to name just a few.
HAHS organized a traveling exhibition of 39 black and white photographs of artists, which has traveled to six sites since 2012. The timeframe the HAHS artists span begins with Thomas Cole, born in 1801, and ends with Roger Brown, born 140 years later. Representing a diverse range of painters, sculptors, photographers, furniture makers, and other artists, the HAHS artists are associated by the circumstance that their sites are preserved and open to the public, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the intimate spaces where artists lived and worked.
RBSC staff revamped the exhibition to explore this somewhat random cross-section of American art history through the lens of Roger Brown’s ideas, critiques, and related works, in hopes of inspiring ideas and rigorous comparing and contrasting of/by SAIC’s faculty, students, and staff, and our guests.
Compare and Contrast is anchored by a robust painting of Zinnias by Clementine Hunter (Melrose Plantation, Melrose, Louisiana, from the collection of Jim Zanzi), to represent Roger Brown’s fervent commitment to the work of artists who worked outside of the academic mainstream.
Also on view, Brown’s Ring of Fire (Buffalo Bill in Hell, 1988) invites reflection on representations of America’s landscapes, history, and historical figures, in artworks, and directs attention to representations of the American West and historical attitudes toward Native Americans that are critiqued and debated today.
Ever the observer and critic of the art world and its history, Brown made paintings referencing artists or histories in the HAHS consortium. We found connections to works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollock, and painters of the American landscape, among Brown’s oeuvre. Color reproductions of six paintings are mixed in with the black and white portraits. Brown dined on Russel Wright American Modern dinnerware (in his modernist home in Michigan) and a coral dinner plate punctuates the installation. We included a photo of Brown astride a camel next to the photo of Frederic Church astride a camel, to highlight the importance of travel to distant lands, for historical and contemporary artists.
We assembled a mini-library of books on the HAHS artists (borrowed from SAIC’s Flaxman Library), so information and images on the artists are on hand.
Compare and Contrast includes a slideshow with an introduction to each artist and their home & studio, showing works by HAHS represented in the Art Institute of Chicago. A guide with Art Institute floor plans identifies 62 artworks by HAHS artists that are currently on view, offering a kind of scavenger hunt through the museum, to works as diverse as Thomas Cole’s Distant View of Niagara Falls (1830), to an untitled work by Donald Judd (1968), to Jackson Pollock’s The Key (1946), and many more.
Co-curator Olivia Junell (Art History/Arts Administration dual degree grad student) created and designed an accompanying booklet, with information and quotations about and by each artist.
On February 11, Art Historian Jason LaFountain gave the lecture Both/And American Art here at the RBSC.LaFountain, who teaches in SAIC’s Art History, Theory, and Criticism department, explored Brown’s work in relation to many of the HAHS artists and sites (including other sites he thinks should be in the HAHS consortium), and teased out insightful connecting threads between and among the artists. Using Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture––a text dear to Roger Brown––as a conceptual framework, the lecture positioned Brown’s artistic production in relation to Venturi’s theorizations of the “both-and” in architecture” and “the difficult whole.”
The Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is supported by a generous grant from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. We hope Compare and Contrast will inspire our guests to experience these sites in person, and to support HAHS’s mission of preserving these special places that are vital to the nation’s cultural heritage. Many thanks to Donna Hassler (Director of Chesterwood and Administrator of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program), and Chesterwood staff.
Note: the subtitle “39 American Artists” was publicized before we realized that in the exhibition of 39 photos, there are actually 40 artists in the exhibition. Helen Torr and Arthur Dove are in the same photo, taken at the Dove/Torr Cottage, Centerport, New York.
Compare and Contrast: 39 American Artists
January 22 – May 8, 2015
Roger Brown Study Collection, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
1926 N. Halsted St., Chicago * by appointment, 773. 929-2452, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted in Uncategorized on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Greetings, from our garden to yours. Roger Brown left this world 17 years ago today, November 22, 1997. We remember him for many things, especially for his exceptional generosity to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We always say that he didn’t have to teach in his lifetime, but he’s been teaching 24/7 ever since. We are eternally grateful.
Things have been hopping at the RBSC all summer and fall, and there’s much to report. Before diving in I’d like to express sincerest thanks to SAIC deans and administrators, Office of Institutional Advancement, and Instructional Resources and Facilities Management staff, for many exciting improvements to the building, grounds, and collection. As always, thanks to RBSC staff and volunteers for stellar work.
Good news first: preservation of the building and garden
We received a very generous grant for $49,000 from the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation for the project to restore the doors, windows, and transoms and create all new storm windows! Treatments are outlined to preserve elements present from 1974 to 1995, the years Brown lived at 1926 N. Halsted St. New storm windows will be fitted with UV filtering glass, introducing a large measure of protection for the collection while increasing energy efficiency. This milestone project will greatly improve the building’s appearance and extend the life of its historic 1888 features well into the 21st century. We are especially grateful to the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation for their continued support of the RBSC. A previous grant from the Foundation funded the major restoration of the historic storefront and apartment doors, completed in 2012. We’ll spend the winter planning for the project, to begin in spring 2015.
In October Neal Vogel / Restoric removed the apartment door for maintenance and touch up; the wood and cast iron elements of the storefront received maintenance and touch ups as well.
Back to the garden…
The project to remove the existing porch and stairs––which we’ve barely been able to use since 1997––and replace them with a code compliant structure was a great success. SAIC’s IRFM team and Structures Construction first created a design that would accommodate the two conifer trees planted by Brown in 1994, but after much consideration we realized that the design would be incoherent if the trees died and were removed, and we settled on a straight-run stair design, similar to the original.
The new stairway and porch, completed in late August, have transformed the garden into an enchanting and much more usable space, with fluid circulation between the floors. Many thanks to Structures Construction and IRFM staff, especially project manager Vince Bertucci.
Tours and guests
By the numbers: 2014 has brought nearly 100 SAIC classes and ~ 2150 guests.
Fall semester began with Historic Preservation and AIADO departmental receptions and we hosted the Chicago Area Archivists, among other groups.
Students in Patricia Rieger’s Curious, Intimate Object ceramic class explored the collection, made works in response; a month later they installed their works throughout the collection for a class critique. This pushes us into transgressive zones of house museum management (!), but is well worth the effort. The temporary introduction of new works into Brown’s home/collection continues the creative record of the building and collections, enhancing the lab aspect of our interpretation of the curious and intimate oxymoron we know as house / museum.
Nicholas Lowe’s Research Studio freshmen spent a morning exploring Roger Brown paintings, selected by Nick, to align with each students’ interests. After learning about Brown’s Virtual Still Life works, they went on a hunting expedition through the RBSC, to discover objects of interest. They were assigned the task to create their own, virtual Virtual Still Life, combining images from the home collection with Roger Brown paintings. The students rose to the occasion with verve and originality, enriching the ongoing project of what could be…..
We were delighted to host Lauren Bon and the Optical Division of Metabolic Studio team of remarkable artist/explorers––all in town for Chicago Humanities Festival events––with friends from the DePaul Museum of Art. The Metabolic Studio team gave an outstanding presentation about their work with the Liminal Camera in Chicago. Lauren and Optical Division artists plan to deploy the Liminal Camera elsewhere in the region this spring, exploring the complex relationships between people, waterways, and social and environmental ecologies, recording their findings through ingenious processes.
Right: Freshly processed print of the Chicago Stockyard entrance taken with the Liminal Camera.
Conservation: The trusty and ever-careful Tim Fox installed backings on all the paintings (30) that are on stretchers or strainers, allowing us to breathe sighs of relief about the care and life of many extraordinary paintings on canvas in the RBSC. Interesting details were found when examining the painting’s versos. We removed five Kilims and one Afghan rug in the La Conchita collection from offsite storage and had them cleaned and professionally wrapped. More sighs of relief…
TOP THIS! Treasure trove of Roger Brown’s slides, now online
Last summer staff scan-a-holic Molly Hewitt digitized over 2000 slides taken by Brown over the years, and uploaded them to a flickr website: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbsc/ , aka “the motherlode!”
The slides document Brown’s travels around the country and overseas, and his discoveries of roadside signage, yard shows, art environments, arrangements of objects, streetscapes, vernacular architecture, and other wonders both ordinary and extraordinary. We’re thrilled to have these images online and accessible. Treat yourself to a gambol through the visual landscape that caught Brown’s eyes and camera.
And speaking of “the cloud…”
We’re well into the project of making high resolution, corrected digital files of all of Brown’s artworks, and working with Flaxman Library staff to make all the images available on the ArtStor and Shared Shelf websites. We hope to have the project completed in 2015.
We welcome Kaveri Raina (left, painting/Drawing grad), Henry Graser (center, freshman), and Katie Doyle (right, ceramics grad).
Russell Bowman Art Advisory
We commend Russell Bowman and his staff for the elegant Roger Brown: Virtual Still Life exhibition, on view at Russell Bowman Art Advisory from September 5 – November 1, 2014. The exhibition featured eleven Virtual Still Life object paintings (from the series of 27 works made in 1995 and 1996), from SAIC’s Roger Brown Estate Collection. Nicholas Lowe gave two outstanding lectures at the gallery, widening and deepening our understanding of this series, in which Brown leveled the playing field between “high” and “low,” and distilled the essences of much that mattered to him into sublime conversations between object and painting.
Two works in the RBSC from 1968 rocked (or are still rocking) exhibitions in England and Rhode Island. Christina Ramberg’s Bagged was on view in the Liverpool Biennial Exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack, curated by Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman, from July 3 to October 26.
Jim Nutt’s Officer E. Doodit is on loan to the exhibition What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art from 1960 to the present at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, September 19, 2014 to January 4, 2015, organized by Dan Nadel and Judith Tannenbaum. The catalog includes Roger Brown’s interviews with Hairy Who artists, published in the October 1985 issue of Chicago magazine.
Right: What Nerve…! Catalog.
New Buffalo, Michigan landscape preservation
Kirk Wagner and the Upstream Waters crew planted several hundred native plants and grasses in between and around the River Pavilion and the Studio and Guest House, to re-establish the lush meadow planted by Brown and Veronda, and the critical relationship of the original landscape to the buildings. This is a major phase of the landscape Preservation Plan, created by Carol Yetken, CYLA Design Associates and students in the Historic Landscape Studio class in 2008. 2014 was the sixth year of implementing phases of the preservation plan. We owe many thanks to Carol and former students, to Kirk Wagner and his Upstream Waters crew for their careful, sensitive work on site, and to IRFM staff. We look forward to spring 2015, and many more seasons ahead, to watch the new meadow take hold and evolve.
Photos: Bill Hedrich, Hedrich Blessing Studio. C. 1980.
The overgrowth of wild, volunteer honeysuckle at the head of the driveway was removed, and replaced with a tidy screen of viburnum.
Greg Brown, new work!
Greg Brown has turned his mind and hands to marvelous, exotic portrait sculptures made of hypertufa, no doubt adorning the enchanted garden he and Benedicte continue to create. We miss Greg and Benedicte and hope 2015 sends RBSC staff to Alabama for a long-overdue visit.
In closing, a letter from Aubrey Fisch
Aubrey Fisch, a senior studying Visual Communications, missed a trip to the RBSC with Nick Lowe’s What’s My Job class. Ms. Fisch wrote this reflection on her first visit to the collection as a freshman, four years ago.
I felt so bad this week, I don’t know how I completely forgot about meeting at the Roger Brown House, I guess I just got used to meeting in the classroom, or getting an email. But I remember now looking forward to it when Nick mentioned it in class, because I remember thinking that the last time I was there it was a fall day like this only it was my freshman year at SAIC in my research studio class, and it became this kind of really magical day amongst what was kind of a hard time for me. I remember I felt so lost in Chicago. Everything was so new and different, and I was really overwhelmed and confused and felt out of place in every way. I didn’t think I could make sense of things here, everything felt foreign and I didn’t think I could ever belong. I felt really homesick all the time, but it was accompanied with this feeling that I couldn’t go back, that I was in Chicago now and I had to make it work. But I remember on this day everything kind of fell in place. I remember it was the first time I rode an L train that was truly above ground so I could see Chicago, kind of slowly pass, I remember it felt like a floating feeling like a flying ship or something, and everything was really beautiful from this height. And when we got off I was really taken by this neighborhood, I remember it felt small and safe in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time.
Then when we got to the Roger Brown house, I was completely taken and inspired. It was everything I loved about art and everything that had made me want to follow it. Everything just felt so beautiful and I felt like a sponge absorbing it all. I remember I got really excited when I saw some Henry Darger works, because I recognized them from the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, which was a place I would go a lot back home. I didn’t even know he was from Chicago, or that these works even had significance outside of what I thought was this small peculiar museum back home.
Anyways, the thing is I feel like so much has changed since then. I finally feel like a bit more at place in Chicago, and that feeling has taken much longer than I ever imagined or hoped it would but I finally think I feel okay here. I was really looking forward to going back, because I love the collection, and also because I wanted to see if it felt different now, and to see if I could feel that change.
Lisa Stone, November 2014
Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, September 15th, 2014
The project to replace the porch and stairway in the RBSC garden was completed just in time for fall semester receptions and waves of classes and other guests. We thank IRFM (SAIC’s Instructional Resource and Facilities Management ) staff and all contractors and workers for transforming the garden into a fully usable space.
Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
The Roger Brown Study Collection is proud to be featured on the new website for the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program, a coalition of more than 30 museums that were the homes and working studios of American artists. Check it out at www.artistshomes.org.
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