Eight artists come together after facing institutional denial to present a group exhibition at Hyde Park Art Cente

Eight artists come together after facing institutional denial to present a group exhibition at Hyde Park Art Cente

Chicago (November 11, 2022) – Hyde Park Art Center hosts the group exhibition Regarding the Missing Objects, curated by art historian and critic Ruslana Lichtzier, in the Kanter Family Foundation Gallery from November 13 to February 27, 2023. The show presents work by eight contemporary artists who chose to work together in the face of institutional denial while exploring the deep material, social, and spiritual relations to Jewish culture. 

Back in 2019, the exhibtion’s artists, Elana Adler, Dana Carter, Tirtza Even, Julia Klein, Jaclyn Mednicov, William J. O’Brien, Ben Segal, and Maggie Taft participated in the Jewish Artists Fellowship at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. However, two months before the exhibition’s opening, Spertus announced that it refuses to exhibit a work by the fellow Tritza Even, since it featured a “one-sided” view of Gaza, a decision that led to the unanimous withdrawal of the participating artists and the subsequent resignation of Lichtzsier, who at the time was the Director of the Fellowship.

The current exhibition at Hyde Park Art Center presents for the first time the outcomes of a group of artists who chose to work together in the face of institutional denial and question the accessibility of museums and archives through their artwork. According to curator Ruslana Litchzier, “The exhibition sheds light on the precarious state of artistic and intellectual labor in cultural and pedagogic institutions.” 

In 2019 the exhibition was supposed to focus on the diverse material investigations of the fellows-artists into the Spertus’ collection alongside with selected items from the collection, this exhibition focuses on absences. It is structured around the absence of the first exhibition, the absence of the collection items, and the absence of an artist—Dana Carter—who passed away in the early days of the current exhibition design. 

For instance, during her fellowship, Elana Adler researched–while focusing on Architectural plans–the “handbreadth,” a traditional measuring unit used to build the Sukkah (a temporary shelter constructed for the holiday of Sukkot) and the space of the Eruv (an urban area enclosed by a wire boundary, permitting various activities on the Sabbath). After the exhibition’s cancellation, Adler utilized the Jewish material concepts to produce I see through your barriers (2021), a soft sculpture suspended off the ground. The work explores the complexities of community-making with means of exclusion.

On the other hand, Jaclyn Mednicov created a series of photographic transfers on acrylic polymer “skins.” Hung, the “skins” present morphed images that the artist took while researching at Spertus the unclaimed textiles that the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction organization had rescued after World War II. Featuring unclaimed textiles turned into skins, the work gives space to unspoken embodied histories that were nearly erased. In tandem is Memories of Objects (2022), a grid of nine wooden cyanotype collage panels, also by Mednicov. The collages are made of photographs the artist took during a workshop Mednicov led, where the fellows brought objects of personal significance. Uniting the dispersed objects into a cyanotype grid, Mednicov transfers the objects’ individual stories to the story of one group and in doing so she visually proposes a way in which a future counter-archive may take shape.

About the curator: Ruslana Lichtzier (she/her) is a doctoral student in Art History, a Mellon Fellow in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and in Critical Theory at Northwestern, as well as a curator, educator, and critic. Past selected fellowships include Core, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, and Red Bull Arts, Detroit. Lichtzier directed Triumph School Manual Project, in Triumph, Illinois, the project space Triumph, Chicago (in collaboration with Ryan Coffey), and the Jewish Artist  Fellowship at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Recent curatorial projects include  the group exhibitions An Echo, She Is (Chicago Manual Style, Chicago, IL), Four Flags Chicago (Chicago Manual  Style, Chicago, IL (in collaboration with Stephanie Cristello)), The Dangerous Professors (Flatland Gallery,  Houston, TX (with the support of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)). Lichtzier has contributed to  numerous exhibition catalogs and international art publications; her essays have appeared in English,  Hebrew, Spanish, and Korean. Lichtzier is a Lecturer in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the artists:

Elana Adler (she, her) received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. She currently lives in Portland, Meine. In the past, she was the co-director of a Chicago artist-run gallery, while also managing a studio collective. Adler exhibited at The Chicago Artists Coalition (Chicago, IL), Compound Yellow (Oak Park, IL), Borderline Art Collective (San Francisco, CA), Flatland Gallery (Houston, TX), Chase Public (Cincinnati, OH), Nave Annex Gallery (Summerville, MA), Calico Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Westbeth Gallery (NYC, NY), NorthernSouthern (Austin, TX), and Woods Gerry Gallery (Providence, RI), among other places.

Dana Carter (she, her; 1976-2019) was an artist who used fabric, light, and video in installations that dealt with the subjectivity of visual perception. She received an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Carter exhibited in MassArt (Boston MA), Elmhurst Art Museum ( Elmhurst, IL), American Institute of Architecture (New Orleans, LA) Iceberg Projects (Chicago, IL), Devening Projects (Chicago, IL) Center for Print Studies, Columbia University (NYC, NY), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), Cleve Carney Art Center, College of Dupage (Dupage, IL), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), The Bioscope (Johannesburg, South Africa), Fabrica de Arte, Havana Biennielle (Havana, Cuba), Canterbury Museum, and in South Island (New Zealand), among other places. In 2012, Shadow Velocities: on the work of Dana Carter was published by the College of DuPage with a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

Tirtza Even (she, her) is a documentary-maker and a video artist. She has produced both linear and interactive video work that has been shown, among other places, at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC, NY), the Whitney Biennial (NYC, NY), the Johannesburg Biennial (Johannesburg, South Africa), as well as in many festivals including the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight, Rotterdam Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, New York Video Festival, Lincoln Center. Even has received numerous grants and awards, including 3ARTs Next Level and Visual Arts Awards, Fledgling Distribution Fund, Artadia Award, Media Arts Award, The Jerome Foundation; Individual Artists Program Awards, NYSCA. Even’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC, NY), the Jewish Museum (NYC, NY), and the Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel), among others. Even’s work is distributed by Heure Exquise, France, Video Data Bank (VDB), and Groupe Intervention Video (GIV), Canada. She is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department.

Julia Klein (she, her) is an artist and publisher. She has exhibited her work nationally in venues including Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA);  Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (Detroit, MI);  Shirley Fitterman Art Center (NYC, NY); and, International Museum of Surgical Science, , Weinberg/Newton Gallery, andThreewalls (Chicago, IL). Past residencies include the Terra Foundation Summer Residency in Giverny, Sitterwerk Kunstbibliothek, and Vermont Studio Center. Klein received an MFA in Sculpture from the Bard College Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and a BFA from the University of Michigan She is a member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago,  and since 2009 she has run Soberscove Press, through which she publishes  books about art and culture. 

Jaclyn Mednicov (she, her) is a Chicago-based artist, whose work combines painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation. She has her BFA from University of Kansas, MA from Eastern Illinois University, and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mednicov has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale Foundation, and The SEA Foundation in the Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited in recognized galleries including Mixed Greens Gallery (NYC, NY). The Franklin (Chicago, IL), Northern Illinois University Art Museum (Dekalb, IL), Paris London Hong Kong (Chicago, IL), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL), The SEA Foundation (Tilburg, Netherlands), and more. She has won awards such as a 3Arts Make a Wave Grant, a Netherland-America Cultural Grant, and an NEA grant. Her work has been published in New American Paintings and Sheridan Road Magazine. Mednicov is a Lecturer in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

William J. O’Brien (he, him) is an artist who works in multiple media: drawing, painting, ceramic, metal sculpture, installation, and assemblage. Inspired by Modernism, as well as the history of material usage of Outsider Art, O’Brien’s multidisciplinary practice is a search for identity and genuine expression through material and process. O’Brien has held solo exhibitions at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Madison, WI), Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL), KMAC Museum (Louisville, KI), MAD Museum (NYC, NY), Witte De With (Rotterdam, Netherlands), and The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (Overland Park, KS), among others. In 2014, O’Brien had his first major museum survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago curated by Naomi Beckwith. He has held residencies at the Vermont 

Studio Center and the U-Cross Foundation. O’Brien has received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and Artadia. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Miami Art Museum, Pérez Art Museum, Hammer Museum, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago. O’Brien is also a professor and the Chair of Ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ben Segal (he, him) is the author of Pool Party Trap Loop and 78 Stories, co-author of The Wes Letters, and co-editor of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. He holds degrees from Hampshire College, UC San Diego, and the University of Chicago, and has held a variety of teaching, writing, and legal positions. 

Maggie Taft, PhD (she, her) is an art historian and founding director of Writing Space, a community-based writing center for artists and designers. Her writing and reviews have appeared in many magazines and journals including Artforum, The Point, Texte Zur Kunste, Design and Culture, and The Journal of Design History. She is co-editor of Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now (University of Chicago Press, 2018), the first single-volume history of art in Chicago from the nineteenth century through the present day, and her book, The Chieftain and the Chair: The Rise of Danish Design in Postwar America will be published by the University of Chicago Press in Spring 2023. She is curator of the forthcoming permanent exhibition at the new Shaker Museum in Chatham, New York.

About Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center, at 5020 South Cornell Avenue on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, is a hub for contemporary arts in Chicago, serving as a gathering and production space for artists and the broader community to cultivate ideas, impact social change, and connect with new networks. Since its inception in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center has grown from a small collective of quirky artists to establishing a strong legacy of innovative development and emerging as a unique Chicago arts institution with social impact. The Art Center functions as an amplifier for today and tomorrow’s creative voices, providing the space to cultivate and create new work and connections. For more information, please visit www.hydeparkart.org.

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