Hyde Park Art Center is proud to announce the return of Ground Floor, the fifth iteration of a biennial exhibition that features artwork by some of Chicago’s most promising emergent talent. The Ground Floor tradition began in 2010 with the intention to present a survey of artists representing the top-rated art schools offering Master of Fine Art degrees in Chicago. These institutions currently produce the young artists influencing the climate of art making here and abroad. The selection of paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, photography, and video work featured in Ground Floor provides a deeper look into the city’s pedagogical art institutions as well as the individual production and budding art practices of these rising artists.
This exhibition is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Ground Floor, so named because it fills the entire lower level of the Art Center—over 6,000 square feet of gallery space—gives these artists a major public venue in which to display their works at a critical juncture in their careers, helping to build, support and ensure a strong, vibrant and broad community of artists in Chicago. The exhibition also facilitates a unique cross-institution conversation under one institutional umbrella.
At the same time, Ground Floor offers the Chicago community a consistent and dynamic biennial destination where they are introduced to those artists whose work demands to be seen and collected. The Art Center is a neutral ground without any school affiliation and so the perfect host for an exhibition that takes the pulse of current local art production. Ground Floor presents art made in the past couple of years in the hopes of investigating and articulating conceptual and stylistic trends simultaneously coming out of Chicago art schools right now. Many of the artists in this year’s selection use the lens of technology and design to reinterpret, distort, or enhance their abilities expressed in traditional media like painting, sculpture and drawing in exciting ways. Additionally, several artists explore the relationship between the body and the built or natural environment with a certain uneasy tension which presents itself through fragmentation or a desire to archive and re-organize material.
In the spirit of supporting young artists for this exhibition, the Hyde Park Art Center will commission an emergent Chicago-based artist, writer, and curator to author the Ground Floor catalog essay. This tradition, of creating a catalog for the Ground Floor exhibition as a method of documenting and archiving this pivotal and vital moment in time, creates an unprecedented opportunity for a young voice to emerge alongside those visual artists presented here.
Ground Floor is organized by the Hyde Park Art Center’s 2017-2019 Exhibition Committee led by Chair, Dawoud Bey, who together with Zachary Buchner, Tempestt Hazel, Lauren Leving, Lorelei Stewart, Allison Peters Quinn, and Scott Wolniak. selected artists from a list of artists nominated for consideration by local faculty, artists, and curators. The Exhibition Committee reviewed the work of over 125 artists from the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016 from schools including Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. This year all five of the schools provided sponsorship to the exhibition in acknowledgement of the value the Ground Floor program brings to the art ecology in Chicago.