Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Exhibitions

The Neubauer Collegium Gallery, supported by the Brenda Mulmed Shapiro Fund, presents art in the context of academic research. Our exhibitions explore the ways that thought and creative expression respond to and shape each other. Curated by Dieter Roelstraete since 2017, the gallery provides space for scholars, artists, practitioners, and the public to engage with the arts as a form of knowledge. The gallery is open to the public Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 4:00pm.

Exhibitions Directory

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Rick Lowe: Notes on the Great Migration

Abstract painting by Rick Lowe
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Rick Lowe: Notes on the Great Migration

This exhibition features a series of new paintings by the acclaimed Houston-based artist.

In the fall of 2022, the Neubauer Collegium will present an exhibition of new paintings by Rick Lowe, the acclaimed Houston-based artist who was a Visiting Fellow at the Neubauer Collegium from 2019 until 2021. Lowe’s “notes” on the Great Migration took shape in the wake of another Chicago-centered project begun in 2019: his Black Wall Street Journey, part of the Toward Common Cause exhibition celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program. (That exhibition, in turn, was informed by the Black Wall Street Journey research project at the Neubauer Collegium.) The centerpiece of Notes on the Great Migration will be a new mode of presenting Lowe’s two-dimensional work – in a manner fitting for the artist’s seminal contribution to the development of a properly American brand of Sozialplastik, or “social sculpture.”

Project Topics:

The Chicago Cli-Fi Library

Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, 18 West 11th Street, March 6, 1970, 2006.

The Chicago Cli-Fi Library

This exhibition is a modest attempt to make sense of the paralysis that sets in when artists try to fashion a response to the complexity and enormity of climate change. Featuring recent works by Chicago-based artists Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Jenny Kendler, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Dan Peterman.

Climate change is a great existential crisis for humanity, yet the apocalyptic prospect of global warming and other consequences of this great disruption hardly make themselves felt in the mainstream of cultural production. Whether we consider art, film, literature, or music, the specter of climate change has yet to produce the Anthropocene’s defining masterpieces. One could make the case that it is the very enormity of the challenge of imagining the unimaginable that causes this creative paralysis. The Chicago Cli-Fi Library is a modest attempt to make sense of this paralysis, suggesting that art’s response to the complexity and enormity of the issue at hand can only ever be piecemeal, ad hoc, and hyperlocalized – all of which must be understood as virtuous. Named after the emerging literary genre of “climate fiction,” or “cli-fi,” and accordingly bookish in both conception and outlook, this exhibition will feature the work of Chicago-based artists Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Jenny Kendler, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Dan Peterman.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete.

Project Topics:

Rick Lowe: Notes on the Great Migration

Abstract painting by Rick Lowe
Featured

Rick Lowe: Notes on the Great Migration

This exhibition features a series of new paintings by the acclaimed Houston-based artist.

In the fall of 2022, the Neubauer Collegium will present an exhibition of new paintings by Rick Lowe, the acclaimed Houston-based artist who was a Visiting Fellow at the Neubauer Collegium from 2019 until 2021. Lowe’s “notes” on the Great Migration took shape in the wake of another Chicago-centered project begun in 2019: his Black Wall Street Journey, part of the Toward Common Cause exhibition celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program. (That exhibition, in turn, was informed by the Black Wall Street Journey research project at the Neubauer Collegium.) The centerpiece of Notes on the Great Migration will be a new mode of presenting Lowe’s two-dimensional work – in a manner fitting for the artist’s seminal contribution to the development of a properly American brand of Sozialplastik, or “social sculpture.”

Project Topics:

Slavs and Tatars: MERCZbau

A mannequin displays Slavs and Tatars merchandise

Slavs and Tatars: MERCZbau

MERCZbau revisits the intertwined histories of the Ukrainian city of Lviv and the Polish city of Wroclaw as seen through the prism of a particularly eastern Orientalism. An installation featuring merchandise dedicated to a defunct Department of Oriental Studies offers a reflection on the shifting meanings of our enduring East/West divides and the human drama of migration, made so much more poignant by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The gallery is open to the public Mon – Fri, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

MERCZbau revisits the intertwined histories of the Ukrainian city of Lviv and the Polish city of Wroclaw as seen through the prism of a particularly eastern Orientalism. The Berlin-based artist collective have created a speculative range of merchandising dedicated to the defunct Department of Oriental Studies of what was once known as the Jan Kazimierz University of Lwow, acting as if age-old traditions of scholarship and inquiry about “the East” had survived the Polish population’s forcible westward journey after World War II. The installation thereby offers a reflection on the human drama of migration as well as the shifting meanings of our enduring East/West divides, made so much more poignant by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The exhibition was made possible in part through a partnership with the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and Gray Center Fellow Leah Feldman. All proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will be donated to the Scholars at Risk organization.


Curated by Dieter Roelstraete.


Installation photography by Robert Heishman. Event photography by Max Herman.

Project Topics:

Arnold J. Kemp: Less Like an Object and More Like the Weather

Arnold J. Kemp: Less Like an Object and More Like the Weather

Masks have occupied Arnold J. Kemp’s imagination for close to three decades, and they are doubly present in the project developed for the Neubauer Collegium, the centerpiece of which is a sprawling installation consisting of hundreds of hand-sculpted ceramic objects, paired with two large-scale photographs of the artist’s hand eerily animating a flaccid Fred Flintstone mask.

Arnold J. Kemp (b. 1968) is a Chicago-based American artist whose work ranges across an array of media including installation art and sculpture, painting and photography, and performance and poetry. Over the years, Kemp has sought to articulate his long-standing interest in challenging and interrogating the politics of “othering” so central to the imperial project of Western enlightenment. He has pursued this interest through a variety of forms and motifs, among which the mask stands out as the artist’s most persistent iconographic concern. Masks have occupied Kemp’s imagination for close to three decades, and they are doubly present in the project developed for the Neubauer Collegium, the centerpiece of which is a sprawling installation consisting of hundreds of hand-sculpted ceramic objects, paired with two large-scale photographs of the artist’s hand eerily animating a flaccid Fred Flintstone mask: “speech acts” that are exquisitely articulate in their wordlessness.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete

Project Topics:

Ida Applebroog: MONALISA

Ida Applebroog: MONALISA

This exhibition, presented as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, features an installation of MONALISA by American artist Ida Applebroog. Living in Southern California in 1969, Applebroog sought refuge from her family in her bathtub, where she spent between two and three hours an evening drawing pictures of her body. This ritual eventually resulted in 160 portraits of Applebroog’s vagina. Packed away in 1974 and rediscovered in 2009, the drawings are installed as wallpaper on a wooden structure resembling a house.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete

Installation photography by Robert Heishman. Event photography by Max Herman. Video by Robert Heishman and Robert Salazar. All rights reserved.

Project Topics:

Carmenza Banguera: The Visible, the Laughable, and the Invisible

Carmenza Banguera: The Visible, the Laughable, and the Invisible

This exhibition offered a provocative meditation on the meanings of the “resistant” Black body.

In her three-part exhibition project The Visible, the Laughable, and the Invisible, Afro-Colombian artist Carmenza Banguera explored tropes of Blackness and belonging, conjoining perspectives across two multicultural democracies, Colombia and the United States. Banguera’s works were partly based on observations drawn from an exploratory trip to Chicago in the spring of 2019 and reviewed through the lens of the Afro-Colombian experience in her hometown of Cali. Informed by the “racial reckoning” taking place in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, the exhibition offered a compelling meditation on the transnational meanings of the “resistant” Black body as invulnerable and thus capable of arduous and unsafe work. Banguera offered a striking critique of this gendered and racialized notion of bodily resistance, baring the contradictions of such embodied citizenship as they subtend Black Americans’ daily dealings with pervasive state violence and constrained labor markets. Conceived in close collaboration with the Contours of Black Citizenship in a Global Context research project at the Neubauer Collegium, this exhibition compelled us to imagine new ways of being and seeing.

Curated by the Contours of Black Citizenship in a Global Context research team in collaboration with Dieter Roelstraete

Installation photography and video by Robert Heishman. Event photography by Max Herman. All rights reserved.

Project Topics:

Pope.L: My Kingdom for a Title

Pope.L: My Kingdom for a Title

My Kingdom for a Title was the first exhibition to be organized at the Neubauer Collegium since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health emergency unavoidably cast a shadow over the project, which contained allusions to the crisis with a degree of directness that is unusual in Pope.L’s work. Visitors entered an immersive installation under a cloud of objects that have come to symbolize the socio-medical predicament. The centerpiece was a selection of works chosen from Pope.L’s Skin Set Project, an ongoing series of text-based drawings and paintings featuring elliptical aphorisms that call attention to the way color is deployed to categorize people. An arrangement of medicine cabinets with mirrored doors left ajar were lit from the inside, inviting visitors to get a better look at the works contained within. The subtle play of prompts and references animated the gallery as a space where notions of access — to art, to meaning, to health care — were entangled with those of color as conventional markers of identity.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete

Installation photography and video by Robert Heishman. All rights reserved.

Project Topics:

Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

The Apsáalooke Women and Warriors project was a multi-site exhibition, jointly organized by the Neubauer Collegium and the Field Museum, that presented a rich narrative of the Apsáalooke cultural past, figured the present-day Apsáalooke identity, and offered a vision for the future. The centerpiece of the Collegium site was a tipi-like structure that transformed the gallery into an intimate space showcasing historical materials and works by contemporary Apsáalooke artists. All proceeds from the book published on the occasion of the show will benefit Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana.

Curated by Nina Sanders in collaboration with Dieter Roelstraete.

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Martha Rosler: Passionate Signals

Martha Rosler: Passionate Signals

Martha Rosler: Passionate Signals was the first exhibition by the acclaimed New York–based photo and video artist to center primarily on her interest in flowers, gardens, and related “green” motifs. This may seem a somewhat unorthodox iconographic preoccupation for an artist fêted for her critical interventions in the public sphere and for her pioneering role in bringing together art and activism, aesthetics and politics. Pairing a selection of twenty-five years’ worth of flower and garden photographs with emblematic early video pieces and embroidery, Passionate Signals highlighted the social, political, and economic costs of producing beauty at its most innocuous. “Say it with flowers” – but what, exactly?

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete

Project Topics:

HUTOPIA

HUTOPIA

Dedicated to the curious phenomenon of the philosopher’s retreat, HUTOPIA took as its point of departure two famous philosopher’s huts: Martin Heidegger’s Black Forest cabin in the German village of Todtnauberg and the lesser-known mountain refuge built by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the remote Norwegian village of Skjolden. Both huts were constructed around the same time to serve the same purpose: offering their occupants the kind of isolation conducive to thinking the kind of thoughts that would go on to revolutionize twentieth-century philosophy. Completing the triumvirate of modern German-language philosophy is Theodor Adorno, whose theorizing was likewise decisively shaped by his American exile – another kind of philosopher’s retreat. HUTOPIA brought together works by Alec Finlay, Patrick Lakey, Goshka Macuga, Guy Moreton, and Ewan Telford alongside John Preus’s interpretations of these hermetic structures, and offered a properly three-dimensional reflection on the relationship between place and thought and the joys and perils of exile and retreat.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete

Project Topics:

Kleine Welt

Kleine Welt

Named after a Paul Klee print from 1918, this exhibition was devoted to the curious art of the book cover, more specifically the titular “little world” of philosophy and theory publishing in which Klee’s imagery has proven itself so enduringly popular. In addition to a selection of Klee-infused book covers, a special section of the exhibition was dedicated to Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. The result was a bibliophilic reflection on the afterlife of images, and the power they wield over disciplines of the mind that often fancy themselves above imaging. (Not so.) With new works by Zachary Cahill, R. H. Quaytman, and David Schutter.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete