CHICAGO, IL.- The political and artistic climate of 1968 will be explored on the 40th anniversary of that epic year in an art exhibit titled 1968: Art and Politics in Chicago, which opens Sept. 18 at the DePaul University Art Museum, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago.
The exhibit, which runs through Nov. 23, features the work of international luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg as well as local artists such as Ellen Lanyon, Don Baum and Gladys Nilsson. Curated by Patricia Kelly, an assistant professor of art history at DePaul, the exhibition brings together 42 works created in response to the turbulent events surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, where rioting erupted after police and Vietnam War protestors clashed.
The show kicks off with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at the museum. Artwork featured in the exhibition ranges from Barnett Newmans formidable minimalist steel sculpture titled Lace Curtain for Mayor Daley to Ellen Lanyons image of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson conceived as a giant puppet. In conjunction with the exhibit, a series of films will also be shown and a symposium will be held in October. All are free and open to the public.
The exhibition explores the response of the Chicago arts community to the 1968 Democratic convention 40 years later, Kelly said. With the United States again a nation at war, the questions posed by the exhibit regarding the social responsibility of artists and the relationship between politics and art are crucial and timely.
Museum Director Louise Lincoln said it is the first time that many of the works have been seen publicly since 1968. They make visible the passion and tragedy of that moment in time, one of the most important and transformative in recent American history.
In conjunction with the exhibit, a series of films and documentaries about 1968 also will be shown. All events will be held at the DePaul Art Museum.
August 1968: Chicago, Mass Media and the Age of Dissent, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7. The Right to Dissent: A Press Conference (The Film Group, 1969); Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Avenue (The Film Group, 1969); Law and Order versus Dissent (The Film Group, 1969); and What Trees Do They Plant? (Henry Ushijima Productions for the City of Chicago, 1968). This series is presented courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives.
Oppositional Media: Antiwar Protest and Experimental Film, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14. Carolee Schneemanns Viet-Flakes (1966); Joyce Wielands Rat Life and Diet in North America (1968); Week of the Angry Arts, For Life, and selections from Against the War (1967).
The Personal is Political: Vietnam, the Womens Movement and Black Power, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21. Films: Norman Fruchter and John Douglas Summer 68 (Newsreel, 1969); Yippie (1968); Jeannette Rankin Brigade (Newsreel, 1968); Sheila Pages Testing, Testing, How Do You Do? (1969); and Black Power Were Goin Survive America (1968).
After 1968: Art, Politics, History symposium, Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25 (times and speakers to be determined. Visit the museum Web site for more details). The symposium uses the exhibition as a point of departure to consider the relationship between art and politics, but more broadly defined and without such regional specificity. It is intended to bring together scholars whose work engages the complex and often contradictory ways in which artists negotiate the socio-political sphere.
This exhibition and film series are sponsored by a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art as part of its American Art American City program, a multi-year initiative that encourages residents and visitors to explore the diverse array of American art on display in museums, galleries and public spaces in Chicago.