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Ralph Arnold
Ralph Arnold
DePaul Art Museum

Re: Chicago at the new DePaul Art Museum

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40 artists who are famous, who used to be, or who ought to be, according to members of the Chicago art world – that is the premise for the inaugural exhibit at the DePaul Art Museum. Re: Chicago (September 16 – March 4, 2012) initiates a conversation with visitors in order to explore familiar Chicago art world favorites as well as surprising lesser-known artists’ works.

Wesley Kimler's "Five Sisters" with one of Nick Cave's "Sound Suits" in the foreground
Wesley Kimler's "Five Sisters" with one of Nick Cave's "Sound Suits" in the foreground
Jeff Stevenson

This exhibit addresses the relationship between the viewer and the work more directly than most by involving a large community of art world collectors, scholars and critics, each with individual voices and choices. This format welcomes a continued conversation and the museum is creating opportunities for visitors to express their thoughts as well.

Museum Director Louise Lincoln also served as curator for the exhibit and has included a placard for each piece with information about who chose the piece and why.

“Who You/Yeah Baby”, c. 1968 by Ralph Arnold (American, 1928-2006), a piece chosen by Darby English, Associate Professor, Art History, University of Chicago (see slide show), includes commentary by Lincoln herself: “…only the presence of Uncle Sam, associated at the time with military recruiting for the unpopular Vietnam war, hints at the turbulent events of 1968…” and “Arnold’s politics, like his attitudes toward issues of race and sexual identity are presented with subtlety and a degree of irony”.

Art critic Paul Klein says Wes Kimler is one of the best painters of our time, fluid in myriad styles from abstraction to realism, and that he can put onto canvas any image or form he wants. Kimler’s oil painting on canvas “Five Sisters, 2010 dominates the second floor room where it is placed.

The location, (935 West Fullerton just east of the Fullerton CTA station) seems to underscore the DPAM’s mission to be a central fixture in the Chicago art world as it contributes to the very definition of it. The Free Admission continues the spirit of openness and accessibility, Monday – Thursday 11 – 5, Friday 11 – 7, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5.

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