Culture Nut: The art of house and home

2013-02-08T00:00:00Z 2013-02-11T14:33:04Z Culture Nut: The art of house and homeEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

The subject of house and home is the foundation of a fascinating new exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, Ill.

"Open House: Art About Home," continuing through April 20, is a multi-faceted display of various art works from the imaginations of seven artists.

"The exhibit [speaks to] what a home is today and how we define it," said Staci Boris, Elmhurst Art Museum's chief curator. She said the exhibit is an interesting "commentary and observation" on the idea of home in contemporary life.

"We have an actual home incorporated into the museum building which is Mies van der Rohe's McCormick House," said Boris, adding the house itself was an inspiration for the new exhibit.

Boris, who's been at the helm of the museum since last July, said she wanted to center an exhibit around that landmark van der Rohe structure since it's a monumental part of the institution.

"Open House: Art About Home" puts the spotlight on works by artists Alberto Aguilar, who is Elmhurst Art Museum's Artist-In-Residence; Martin Hyers, Gabrielle Garland, William Mebane, Ann Toebbe, Alyssa Miserendino, and Don Baum.

There are sculptures, photographs, paintings and other visuals.

Boris said Baum's work acts as a type of prelude to the exhibit.

"They're works (house-shaped sculptures) all constructed out of found objects that are cleverly cut and reassembled," the curator said.

Artist-in-Residence Aguilar, she said, offers a very unique perspective with his work.

"He's created what he calls 'domestic monuments.' I'm really amazed in the way he assembles them. He often likes to put things through other things..I'm struck by the beauty of these objects that you wouldn't normally think are beautiful," Boris said.

Aguilar's domestic monuments are created from objects he borrows or gets from people's homes. He then refashions them into bold and interesting sculptures.

Artist Aguilar, of Chicago's Southwest Side, said the "Home" exhibit was a rewarding project to work on.

"I think it was also a good opportunity to get to know some of the residents of Elmhurst," as well as the Chicagoland area, he said, adding he received most of the objects he's used in his works from locals.

"I enjoy going into people's homes and creating monuments out of their personal objects," he said. He commented it was a wonderful experience making something different out of common articles and objects.

While in the process of creating the pieces in the exhibit, Aguilar said he was given free rein in every person's home he visited.

"As I go around I look at things I think I can create a sculpture out of. They let me roam free. It was fascinating," he said. It's also an interaction between artist and homeowner, Aguilar added.

When he blends the items together in unique ways he also feels as though he's creating something significant out of an individual's personal property and treating them with respect. The monuments are often something people wouldn't even think would be crafted out of their items.

Among items he's used are a bird cage, table, books on a bookshelf, artificial fruit and other common household objects.

In addition to Aguilar's works, other artists such as Ann Toebbe have works displayed in collage and paint; with photography exhibited by Alyssa Miserendino. Miserendino has documented houses that have been abandoned.

Various programs will run in conjunction with Elmhurst Art Museum's exhibit.

A sampling of programs are:

Friday Night Spotlight: Exhibiting Artist Ann Toebbe, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Toebbe will discuss her cut-paper collages and paintings.

Friday Night Spotlight: Exhibiting Artist Alyssa Miserendino and Screening of Short Documentary Film "Our World Insideout: Brazil", 6:30 p.m. March 15. Miserendino will talk about her project "Our World Insideout" including discussing the documentation of her abandoned childhood home.

Artist in residence Alberto Aguilar will also have various programs throughout the duration of the exhibit, including tours, workshops and a special dinner FYI: ElmhurstArtMuseum.org

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