"Chicago: Where comics came to life (1880-1960)" opens Saturday, June 19 at Chicago Cultural Center. The new exhibition celebrates Chicago as the comics capital of the world.
Current exhibitions include "Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations;" "what flies but never lands?" and "A Designed Life: Contemporary American Textiles, Wallpapers, and Containers & Packaging, 1951—1954"
The exhibit is curated by artist and author Chris Ware and the City of Chicago's Cultural Historian Emeritus, Tim Samuelson; presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)
A significant but often overlooked contribution to American art and culture is Chicago's role in the development of the early comic strip. Through its countless newspapers and its publishing industry, Chicago led the transformation of comics from daily fantasy and joke features into ongoing stories grounded in the textures and details of real life, its first real step towards legitimacy as an expressive language and semi-literary art form.
The exhibition focuses on the origins of the comics in popular publishing, the immeasurable importance of African-American cartoonists and publishing, the first woman cartoonists and editors, the first daily comic strip, and finally the art and comics of undeservedly forgotten Frank King, who with "Gasoline Alley" captured not only the rhythms and tone of everyday existence in his characters that aged not only at the same daily rate as its newspaper readers, but were also fictionalized versions of real people.
The exhibition is designed and planned as an intentional historical companion to the concurrently appearing survey of contemporary Chicago comics at the Museum of Contemporary Art, in which Ware's work also appears.
This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The exhibition runs June 19—October 3, 2021, at Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.), Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North and is open daily 11 a.m.—4 p.m. Exhibition galleries begin closing 15 minutes prior to building closing.
The Chicago Cultural Center (ChicagoCulturalCenter.org) has reopened with new visitor amenities and exhibitions including "Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations" (through August 29) and "what flies but never lands?" (through September 6). "CHICAGO: Where Comics Came to Life (1880—1960)" opens June 19 (through October 3) and "A Designed Life: Contemporary American Textiles, Wallpapers, and Containers & Packaging, 1951—1954" opened June 12 (through September 19) at both the Chicago Cultural Center and Expo 72 (72 E. Randolph St.) presented by the Design Museum of Chicago (DesignChicago.org). Free public programming continues with virtual and in-person tours, a series of "Meet an Artist" events in the redesigned Learning Lab (12-2pm on June 25 & 26; July 9, 10, 23 & 24; and August 13 & 14), Dame Myra Hess Memorial Virtual Concerts presented by the International Music Foundation (IMFChicago.org), and Cinema/Chicago's virtual Summer Screenings (ChicagoFilmFestival.com). BUDDY (Hi-Buddy.org), a new store created by the Public Media Institute, sells Chicago-made art, objects, and more with special events on June 19, 20 & 27. The Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St.) is open daily 11am—4pm. Admission is free.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago's artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago's non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City's future cultural and economic growth, via the Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City's cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit chicago.gov/dcase .