Maggie Crowley: Playmate

In her first solo exhibition in Chicago, artist Maggie Crowley presents a new series of large figurative paintings in acrylic on silk in which she examines her admiration and personal connection to the service industry. Uniforms and accessories, like safety vests, helmets, and coolers, identify public workers and render them visible, while conducting labor that is considered invisible. Crowley considers this contradiction as it relates to the value placed on essential work – a discrepancy recently heightened in the US by the pandemic.

The exhibition title, Playmate references the portable Igloo cooler beloved by laborers. The artist chose the object as a symbol of care, foresight, and independence of the skilled work force. Maggie Crowley is an alumni of the Art Center’s exhibition Ground Floor 2014 and co-founder of the alternative gallery, Produce Model.

Image above: Maggie Crowley, Sidewalk Closed, 2020, acrylic on silk woven, 78 x 50 inches (approximate). Courtesy of the artist.

  • April 12, 2021 – June 6, 2021
  • Gallery 5


    This exhibition is partially supported by an artist grant from the Illinois Arts Council.


Previous work by Crowley combined neon tinted abstractions of figures in domestic settings. Reflecting on this shift in her work, Crowley states, “My most recent body of work focuses on the figure in motion and totems of production. Raised by a hairdresser and an ironworker, I am interested in labor and its relationship to value and visibility. The neighborhood I live in is constantly in motion with construction workers, builders and city sanitation employees. Professionals rely on hi-vis clothing to decrease the risk of injury while also having the peace of mind to perform a given task. I am interested in exploring this specific “peace of mind” that seems inextricably tied to service, ritual, agency and performance.”

About Maggie Crowley

Maggie Crowley (b. 1987, Ottawa, Illinois) received her M.F.A. from the University of Chicago in 2013, her M.A. from Eastern Illinois University in 2011 and her B.S. from Illinois State University in 2009. Crowley has exhibited in numerous venues including the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Evanston Art Center, the Hyde Park Art Center, Area: Lugar de Proyectos in Caguas, Puerto Rico and 65Grand in Chicago. Her work has been featured in the prestigious journal New American Paintings in 2017 and 2013. Since 2014 Crowley has co-directed Produce Model Gallery in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The gallery is dedicated to programming and exhibitions featuring Caribbean and Latinx artists. Crowley serves on the board of the International Children’s Media Center (ICMC) in Chicago, helping to facilitate education programs for prisons, jails and at-risk students in Chicago.


Winter Community Dinner + Talk

Be My (Anti) Valentine

SAIC Voices Embodied Talk

President’s Day Event

Joyce Awards Info Session

Let’s Go DIsco

 Artist Mother Meet Up

Holiday School & Studio Art Sale + Fundraiser

Screening: Mother Art Tells Her Story

Self Care Tools for Artist Parents

Portfolio Week

Gala After Party

Extended Self: Stroller Tour

Extended Self: Stroller Tour

At Bounded Space

Artist Mother Meet Up

Supporting A Creative Life in Chicago


Intersectional Public Program

The Surviving the Mic Writing Workshop

The Surviving the Mic Writing Workshop

The Surviving the Mic Writing Workshop

The Surviving the Mic Writing Workshop

The Surviving the Mic Writing Workshop


Artist Talk: Angela Dieffenbach


Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Mind & Matter: Meditation & Yoga

Found Gestures: Opening Reception

Saturday Studio: Open Spin & Crate-Digging

Saturday Studio: Open Spin & Crate-Digging

Saturday Studio: Open Spin & Crate-Digging

In Dialogue: Fo Wilson and Chelsea Frazier

Spring Equinox: Ain’t Got No, I Got Life

Monarch Wellness Fair

Monarch Wellness Fair

Spring 2019 Exhibition Receptions

School and Studio Spring Sale + Fundraiser!

Robert Walton – Exhuming Johnny

Stay Safe Party

Curator-led Tour

Super Sunday

Winter Break Closure

Art 21 Screening: Berlin

Art 21 Screening: Johannesburg

Art 21 Screening: San Francisco Bay Area

End Tales

Self Care = Resistance: A Community Jam No. 2

Murmur of Democracy

December Public Reception

Overlook Field Trip: Ballots & Balance

Pumpkin Carving & Painting

EXPO Chicago

Hot Mess Yoga

Hot Mess Yoga

Hot Mess Yoga

Hot Mess Yoga

50/20 Vision

Teaching Artists Fall Summit

Solid Gold Saturday

Parallel Universe and Other Stories

Soul Saturday

Yoga for Black Lives

Yoga For Black Lives

When We Move: Dialogue & Performance

Sketchbook Project 2018

Sketchbook Project 2018

Bike Tour

Brea a visual journey

Black Mental Wellness Expo

PC Gathers Art Visit: Damon Locks

9-12th Grade Orientation

6-8th Grade Orientation

The Whole Yadig?! Teen Panel

Synergy! Teen Pop-Up

Fugitive Narratives: Story Time

Visiting Artist Talk: Doro Carl

Mary Young’s Open Studio

Kunz Extended: Jazz X-tet Performance

Second Sunday

Visiting Artist Talk: Moe Satt

The Sebau: Concert in Response to Urban Griot

Inaugural featuring Moe Satt & Cameron Clayborn

Materials Decoded Closing Reception

Resilience in Chicago and Hauts-de-France

Artist Talk: Sheri Rush


Second Sunday

Second Sunday

Artist Talk + Reception: Continuous Span

The Artist’s Artist: Bill Walker

DJ Activation: Ayana Contreras + Bill Walker

Visiting Artist Talk: Ronit Porat

Fall Quarter Ends

Panel: How the Arts Affect Neighborhoods

Boo Bash: Halloween at the Art Center

Films Inspired by Architects/ Architecture

TalkingPoint: Max King Cap

Public Reception: 5 Exhibitions

The Ultimate Art-Opera Super Bowl Party

TalkingPoint: Lorraine Peltz

Live Performance: God’s Punk

Speaker Project Exhibition Begins

For Public Consumption Parade

For Public Consumption Discussion

EXPO Chicago

EXPO Chicago

EXPO Chicago

EXPO Chicago

Films Inspired by Architects/ Architecture

John Corbett Interviews Phil Cohran

Opening Reception: Converging Patterns

Film: The Cry of Jazz (1959)

Fun for All

Curators’ Discussion: Interstellar Low Ways

Talkingpoint: Fred Lonberg-Holm

Film: Space is the Place

Exhibitions Reception

HPAC at Argonne Open House

Just Good Art 2006 Auction & Afterparty

Artists’ Talk: Luftwerk

Artist Talk: Shane Huffman

Talkingpoint: Allora & Calzadilla

Artist Talk: Mario Ybarra Jr.

Artist Talk: Jennifer Greenburg

Public Receptions: 3 Exhibitions

Members-Only Preview: Ruby Satellite

Exhibition Reception: Material Science

Home of the Free Reception and BBQ

Talkingpoint: Jens Hoffman

Takeover: Round Table Discussion

Talkingpoint: Random Sky

Creative Move: Grand Opening Weekend

Exhibition Opening: Takeover

Exhibition Opening: For Real

Members’ Preview: For Real

Making Something out of Something

Bulletin Board

Live Performance: God’s Punk

Opening Reception for 3 New Exhibitions

We Ate It Up Opening Reception

Speaker Project Concert

Speaker Project Concert

Talkingpoint: Juan Angel Chavez

Opening Reception: Interiority

Speaker Project Concert Featuring Vertonen

Speaker Project Performance: Zelienople

Opening Reception: Pedagogical Factory

Pedagogical Factory: Sounds and Listening

Pedagogical Factory: How We Grow

Pedagogical Factory: How We Felt

Talkingpoint: Jim Duignan

Smart Art in a Smart House: Chuck Walker

Pedagogical Factory: How We Fund

Pedagogical Factory: Distorientation Guide

Pedagogical Factory: How We Listen (pt. 2)

Pedagogical Factory: How We Build

How We Make a Pedagogical Sketchbook

Artists’ Reception for Impossible Violence

Talk on Seasons

Curator’s Tour of Another Story

Art Thing with Sandra Binion

Reporting from Baghdad

Talk Back: Iraq Veterans Against the War

Not Just Another Pretty Face Public Salon


Prostrations for Peace

Art Thing: Consuming War

Opening Receptions and Concert for Malachi

Talk Back: Buyer Beware

Talk Back: Creating Histories

Art Thing Featuring Alice Shaddle

Enemy Kitchen

Not Just Another Pretty Face Public Salon

Exhibition Opening/Reception: Drive By

Artists’ Reception for Current Exhibitions

Art Thing With Chuck Walker

Teacher Professional Development

Art Thing with Danny Mansmith

EXPO Booth Talk: Inside Resilient Images

Exhibition Reception

Art Thing with Howard Fonda

Film Screening: Watermelon Man

Pow Wow with Hyde Park Art Center

Film Screening: Bamboozled

Art Thing with Kelly Kaczynski

Drawing with Unexpected Materials


Viceodance Curator’s Talk

Film Screening: Fear of a Black Hat

Art Thing with Tamasha Williamson

Film Screening: Hollywood Shuffle

Visual Art Poetry Workshop

Art Thing with Casey Ann Wasniewski

Cocktails and Clay

Artists’ Reception for Current Exhibitions

Art Thing with HPAC Faculty

Chicago Artists Month Opening Celebration

Artists’ Reception for Current Exhibitions

Not Just Another Pretty Face Unveiling Soiree

Artists Talk: Emergence: Art Meets Science

Art Thing with Monica Herrera

Live Spoken Performance

Live Spoken Performance

Art Thing with Elke Claus

Art Thing with Mark Booth

Art Thing with Lisa Lindsay and Ben Gest

Art Thing with Mary Lou Zelazny

Exhibition Begins: Bits and Pieces

Exhibition Reception

Art Thing with Andy Paczos

Art Thing

Art Thing with Linda Cohn

Video Art Screening & Discussion

Materials Decoded: Final Presentations

Finding Ourselves in Nature

Ronit Porat at Filter Photo Festival

Musical Performance

Reverse Banditry Workshop with Carlos Flores

Front & Center Public Critique

Passport Photo Session with Soohyun Kim

Passport Photo Session with Soohyun Kim

Playtests with Grace Needleman

Playtests with Grace Needleman

Artist Talk: Studies in Patriotism

Flux Workshop with Connie Noyes

Graffiti Jam

Hut Office Hours with Carlos Flores

Hut Office Hours with Carlos Flores

Curator’s Tour of Virtue of the Vicious

Disclosed/Undisclosed Exhibition Reception

Stompin’ at the Parkway Ballroom

Open Studio: Visiting Artist Gabriel Martinez

Open Studio: Visiting Artist Gabriel Martinez

Open Studio: Visiting Artist Gabriel Martinez

Open Studio: Visiting Artist Gabriel Martinez

Open Studio: Visiting Artist Gabriel Martinez

Why is Graffiti

Where Future Unfolds

Read/Write Library Workshop: What We Found

Local Music Mixtape Sessions

Local Music Mixtape Sessions

Things That Mattered

Drop-In Hip Hop Arts Workshop

Mobilize Creative Collaborative Workshop

Pattern Workshop

Artist Talk and Ball Drop

What is Seeing

Walking Club with Regin Igloria

Crystal Seeing Events Dana Major

Suitable Presents: Cookout and Videos

South Side Tweet-Up

Roots & Culture: Kimchi Feast

Artists Run Chicago Opening Events

Exhibition Reception

Art Thing with Julian Williams

TalkingPoint with Britton Bertran

History of Spaces Panel Discussion


Art of Party? Panel Discussion

Art Thing with Matt Harris

Signs of the Apocalypse/Rapture

Art Thing with the Artists of Spellbound

Art Thing

MoneyBags: Screening-Printing Workshop

Cocktails & Clay

Fun for All

Exhibition Opening Reception

Art Thing

Just Good Art 2009

Art Thing

Exhibitions Opening Reception and Second Sunday

Art Thing

Talk with the Artist: Juan Angel Chavez

Artist Talk: Jason Salavon

Cargo Yard Sale

Artist Talk: Aspen Mays

Second Sunday

Exhibitions Reception

Cancelled: Flow Interrupted Artist Talk

Concert & Puppet Show

Not Just Another Pretty Face Public Salon

Closing Reception & Reading

Artist Talk: Andreas Fischer

Artists’ Reception

Artist Talk Stan Chisholm

Second Sunday

Pedway Tours by Hui-Min Tsen

Pellot Gonzalez Rios Exhibition Reception

Roger Brown Guided Tour

Panel Discussion: What Is a FRAC?

Open Call for Public Objects

Architecture Engineering Ideas Exchange

310 conTEMPORARY Gallery Walk

Second Sunday

Artists Talk: Spatial City

Artist Talk: Jennifer Mannebach

Exhibitions Reception

Pedway Tours by Hui-Min Tsen

Artist-in-Residence Open Studio

Open Call for Public Objects

Curator for a Day

Curator for a Day

Pedway Tours by Hui-Min Tsen

Curator for a Day

Open Studio with Maximo Gonzalez

Ground Floor Artists Talk: Site as Medium

Talk with the Curator

310 Contemporary Gallery Walk

Artist’s Talk: Pat Swanson

Roundtable: What’s an MFA Worth?

Not Just Another Pretty Face: Unveiled

Exhibitions Reception

The Precession Groundbreaking Ceremony

Artist Talk: Kim Piotrowski

Exhibition Reception

The Precession Live Performance