Alice Shaddle: Fuller Circles

Discover the intricate world of Alice Shaddle (1928 – 2017), an artist whose practice centered more than 60 years on paper-based creations in Chicago. Curated by Nicholas C. Lowe and Lisa Stone, working closely with Dana Boutin, Shaddle’s son Charles Baum, and grandson Cain Baum, the exhibition introduces Shaddle’s ingenious, original manipulations of paper; including daring papier maché bas relief sculpture; shadow boxes with haunting visages; enigmatically constructed and layered collaged objects; documentation and remnants from Shaddle’s elaborate, immersive installations with related, large-scale colored pencil drawings; and her meticulously constructed, cut paper mosaic collage compositions. The exhibition will reveal Shaddle’s intensive modes of working and inventive use of materials. Among these is a collection of handcrafted collaged notecards with missives to her closest artist friend, Kathryn Kucera, revealing her sharp sense of humor and evidence of their deep friendship and support for each others’ creative lives. 

The exhibition explores Shaddle’s life and work in the context of Chicago’s kaleidoscopic art world from the 1960s into the 2000s, highlighting her association with Artemisia Gallery for many years, her life in the George Blossom House, a residential property in Hyde Park designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, where Shaddle lived for over fifty years. The exhibition will include interactive programming for all ages and a catalog. 

Fuller Circles is informed by a three-year research project into the lives and works of Alice Shaddle and artist/curator Don Baum, in which exhaustive images and information on Shaddle’s life and work were gathered and organized. Many artists, scholars, critics, and friends of Alice Shaddle and Don Baum were interviewed. The research project was conducted by Shaddle and Baum’s son, Charlie Baum, and grandson, Cain Baum, with assistance from art historian Susan Weininger. The launch of a major online catalogue raisonné of Shaddle’s and Baum’s work will coincide with the exhibition.

 

 

banner image: Alice Shaddle, Pool, 1984, colored pencil on paper, 47 x 69 in.

  • March 23 – June 16, 2024
  • Kanter Family Foundation

Alice Shaddle: Fuller Circles is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.

This exhibition is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Alice Shaddle: Fuller Circles

I work for a fluent fantasy which moves with casual ease and lightness through metaphors of the transitory.

-Alice Shaddle, from the Hyde Park Herald, August 12, 1981, p. 17

About the Artist

Photo: Mary Baber, 1974

Alice Shaddle (1928 – 2017) was a remarkably gifted and highly original artist who lived and worked in Chicago. She was robustly engaged in the art culture of the city, where she concentrated life and work in Hyde Park. She was well known in her lifetime, particularly in her early to mid-career years in the 1980s. Like many artists, she has slipped from the public’s eye and is most deserving of critical, visual, and art historical attention. 

Shaddle was a devoted educator who taught art classes at the HPAC for over 50 years, informing, encouraging, and delighting countless young artists. Shaddle was a founding member and former chair of Artemisia Gallery, a cooperative, alternative Chicago exhibition space that was run by and served women artists from 1973 to 2003. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954 (the year she married artist Don Baum; the couple divorced in 1970) and her MFA from SAIC in 1972. Shaddle worked in many media, often focusing in a particular mode, meticulously and intensively, resulting in highly resolved bodies of work. She was fearless in her experimentation with media, creating sculpture in a range of types including floor installations, paintings, prints, drawings, reliefs and cut paper mosaics, boxed objects, magazines, and all manner of collages. 

As a resident, mother, homemaker, and placemaker, Shaddle was creatively engaged in her life in Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1892 Blossom House on Kenwood Avenue, where she lived for over five decades. She interacted with Wright’s very early Prairie School idiom, responding to its design through specific furnishings, while physically and compositionally engaging its architectural features and elements into her work. She meticulously conserved and championed this significant structure. Shaddle exhibited widely, especially in Chicago and the vicinity. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Illinois State Museum, and in many private collections.

About the Curators

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Nicholas Lowe is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, author, and teacher. Recent projects span studio material work and experimental curatorial projects. Lowe is engaged in work that includes the formations and interpretations of cultural landscapes, critical museology, archival and museum access and interpretation, material culture studies, and public and vernacular histories. Particularly interested in projects and collaborative working spaces where a critical level playing field is established, in both curatorial and visual work, he actively questions established museum structures, categorization methods, and subject hierarchies.

Lowe is an active member of the International Panorama Council and in 2021 convened a research and discussion group to explore the implications of panoramic form in relation to (de)colonization, historiography, hegemony, and the monumental. Curatorial projects include the exhibition and performance series, goat island archive – we have discovered the performance by making it, was at Chicago’s Cultural Center in 2019; Roger Brown, Calif USA, at Hyde Park Art Center in 2010. I teach classes in archival and collections management, cultural landscapes and artifact interpretation, and interdisciplinary studio.

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Lisa Stone is an independent curator and writer. Her research, teaching, writing, and curating concern artists who work independently from the academic mainstream. Stone has a Master of Science in Historic Preservation and focuses on the preservation and interpretation of artist-built environments. She works, seasonally, with soil, plants, and stone in her studio, a garden/ruin in rural Wisconsin.

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Dana Boutin, Research Associate, Publication Editor, and Production Manager, is an independent researcher and communications professional specializing in art and education. Her work has included projects with the Hyde Park Art Center, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Red Line Service, Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Her work on art exhibition teams includes as a research associate for the Shaddle Baum Archive; Terra Foundation Research Fellow for Chicago as Catalyst: Immigrant Communities Nourish Self-Taught Artists, at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in 2022-23; research and writing for Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow, at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in 2017;  Accidental Genius: Art from the Petullo Collection, at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2012; and Roger Brown: Calif. U.S.A., at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2010. She earned a Master of Arts in Arts Journalism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, a Bachelor of Arts in English and Arts & Ideas in the Humanities from the University of Michigan in 2007, and post-baccalaureate in Marketing & Advertising from Northwestern University in 2013. She is a board member for Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago and served on Intuit’s Young Professionals as board president in 2020-2021 and vice president in 2019.

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