So named because it fills the entire lower level of the Art Center—over 6,000 square feet of gallery space— Ground Floor 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 have a strong commitment toward voicing political concerns about the current state of society. Several came to Chicago from other countries, attracted by the city’s reputation as hot bed of experimentation in art and activism.
In the spirit of supporting young artists, the Art Center commissioned Chicago-based writer, artist, and curator, Lynnette Miranda, to author the Ground Floor catalog essay, which will be released November 2018. 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.