Elmhurst Art Museum presents Inventory_The EAM Collection from September 21, 2013 - January 5, 2014. Inventory_The EAM Collection unpacks the Museum's vault and fills the galleries from floor to ceiling with art and objects from its collection. Never before has the entire building been dedicated to EAM's holdings--until now. This ambitious exhibition provides unprecedented access to EAM's unique collection and includes work spanning three centuries by such notable artists as Thomas Eakins, Frederic Remington, Sonia Delaunay, Abbott Pattison, Tsuguharu Foujita, Peter Saul and EAM's own founder, Eleanor King Hookham--all ripe for interpretation and discovery.
EAM established its collection in 1981, when the Museum opened its doors in a single classroom at Eldridge School. Through a second move, the purchase of Mies van der Rohe's McCormick House and the construction of a new building in 1997, the collection has grown to encompass more than 600 objects from around the world. Focused largely on contemporary local and national artists, many who have participated in EAM exhibitions, the collection chronicles the institution's history and development.
After more than 30 years of amassing objects, EAM is taking stock of the collection to identify its strengths and weaknesses, compile new research and determine the future direction the collection will take. To this end, the Inventory occurs both behind the scenes and in the galleries. Objects will be loosely ordered in a way that corresponds to their time of acquisition, yet the sequence will be punctuated with special groupings distinctive to EAM's collection. Together these objects define a dynamic and evolving institution, yet individually, each tells many different stories.
EAM's Collection ranges from a Han Dynasty bronze vessel and a 19th century iron spear from the Democratic Republic of Congo to early 20th century architectural drawings by Mies van der Rohe and late 20th century paintings by self-taught artist Lee Godie. The collection includes several works from the mid-20th century, providing a context for the Museum's McCormick House, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1952 (often referred to as the largest "work" in the collection). Mies himself is further explored through his iconic furniture designs and portraits by Hugo Weber and William S. Engdahl from Hedrich Blessing Photography. Fused glass objects by Frances and Michael Higgins, sculpture by Abbot Pattison, and prints by Richard Florsheim and Richard Koppe are among our many examples of the modernist impulse in Chicago.
Prints and drawings from the 1960s-80s by important American figures such as Peter Saul, Ellen Lanyon, Barbara Rossi, and John McCracken join those by Elmhurst favorites Sandra Jorgensen, Keith Achepohl, and EAM founder Eleanor King Hookham. Chicago painting from the 1980s and 90s forms a significant part of the collection with canvases by Phyllis Bramson, Michiko Itatani, Wesley Kimler, the Zhou Brothers and many others who are still working in Chicago. The collection is brought into the 21st century with works by Nikki Renee Anderson, Doug Fogelson, Melissa Oresky, Billy Tokyo, and many others, representing EAM's compelling exhibition program from the past decade.