Depth and Illusion at the Graham Foundation

The Graham Foundation is a Chicago Institution that continually inspires the arts and design world through exhibitions, talks, and performances, mostly held in the historic Madlener House in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.  The Prairie-style mansion is gorgeous from its outlook to the street to the detailing of its grand staircase.

The Madlener House from W Burton Pl.

An afternoon at the Graham Foundation is always an uplifting experience.  Take a car, train, or bicycle to Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, find the mansion on the corner of State and Burton Pl, walk through the flowing galleries, absorb the finely curated shows; it can be a feast for the senses and the mind.  We are indeed fortunate to have such a place for the architecturally curious in our city.

Currently showing at the Graham, Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth is an exhibition that “examines the recent proliferation of collage in architectural representation in relationship to scenography and theatrical set design”.  The rich collection of collages, architectural models, models for set design, and sculptures show how the thought processes of each discipline may overlap, particularly relating to the perception of depth.  Each piece displayed possesses a strong perspective, raising questions about our relationship to space.  The exhibit as a whole offers thought-provoking ideas of the many uses of perspective across media: new perspectives on perspective.

David Hockney’s design for the Magic Flute

The exhibit features works from over twenty architects and artists, each employing a particular medium (or media) in an evocative way.  One of the stand out pieces for me was an installation by artist Norman Kelley, consisting of a distorted end table near a door, with a model of the same scene sitting atop the table.  The artist places a reality onto another onto another, and ironically plays with the perspective at the full scale while leaving the small scale as real.

In addition to the curated show, which is free to all, the Graham is hosting a series of talks by some of the artists to muse about the meaning of their work in the context of the exhibition.

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