Art of Chicago

Written by: Nora Guerrero

The Krannert Art Museum is currently exhibiting Between the Buildings: Art from Chicago 1930-1980’s through March 2019. If you have a chance to see it, do so before you realize time has almost come and gone!


As mentioned in the gallery’s description of “Activating the City”, the reformation of the infrastructure done during Mayor Daley’s era in the 60’s changed the urban landscape of the city, displaced residents, and sparked artists creativity to use the city as their muse and inspiration for its culture and educational opportunities.

The art culture in Chicago was interesting at best – it consisted of the Chicago School with two groups of artists. These groups were the Monster Roster and the Imagists. Their art was represented in the gallery walls. During their time of creation, it was said that the artists shared difficultly finding spaces to share their work. Therefore, these artists joined forces and created their own exhibitions with other students from various design schools around the city. When there were no galleries or venues that wanted to showcase their work, they forged their own path and made it possible.

An example of the Monster Roster art is Seymour Rosofsky’s General Rowing, 1972. Rosofsky studied at the School of the Art Institute like many other artists featured in the exhibit. His work is considered “the bridge between the myth-expressionist and image-and-fantasy painters”. Looking at his work from a viewer’s perspective, I found myself intrigued and confused, always finding something new within the piece. 




And then we have art that is completely different, yet also still a representation of daily life in Chicago. For example, Allen T. Stringfellow’s Street Smarts II, 20th century, worked with collage and watercolor. He depicted an image of a daily scene in Chicago, with people up and moving. A much more realistic approach than Rosofsky’s surrealism.




While we see many different types of art featured in the exhibit, we can capture the immense impact that Chicago had on these artists and how they chose to express their inspiration. It’s spectacular to see a variety of artists from different time periods feel such a connection to Chicago.

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