2016 Annual Conference

2016 Annual Conference

2016 Annual Conference

Apr 7, 12:00 am – 9, 2016

The Midwest Art History Society held its 43rd annual conference in Chicago, on April 7th-9th, 2016, hosted by the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, DePaul University, and Loyola University. The 2016 Annual Conference in Chicago featured a wide array of scholarly sessions in addition to viewings of special exhibitions, receptions, and a walking tour. Scholarly sessions were held at the DePaul Center in Chicago’s Loop at Jackson and State.

2016 Conference Overview

The 2016 Annual Conference in Chicago featured a wide array of scholarly sessions in addition to viewings of special exhibitions, receptions, and a walking tour.

2016 Conference Overview

Scholarly sessions were held at the DePaul Center in Chicago’s Loop at Jackson and State. Besides an extensive and inviting range of open sessions, intriguing thematic sessions explored Chicago-specific art history as well as current trends in the field. One session, held at the Art Institute of Chicago (Friday, April 8 at 1:00, Morton Auditorium), examined recent acquisitions in Midwestern collections. Other thematic sessions explored such themes as Chicago artists’ books, the Chicago Bauhaus, the state of curatorial programs, funding in the arts, portraiture, alternative exhibition spaces, and feminist social practice. Conference registration included:

  • Private viewing of the exhibition Van Gogh's Bedrooms in the Art Institute of Chicago (8 pm, Thursday, April 7)
  • Members Breakfast Meeting (8:30 am, Friday April 8 at the DePaul Conference Center)
  • Open House hosted by the Department of Prints & Drawings of the Art Institute (10:30 am, Friday, April 8 - advance registration was required)
  • Walking tour of Wabash Arts Corridor and reception hosted by Columbia College Chicago and its Museum of Contemporary Photography (5:00 pm, Friday, April 8)

For more details, click on the links to the 2016 Conference Program and 2016 Conference Sessions.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gloria Groom

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gloria Groom

Dr. Gloria Groom presented a dynamic lecture on Vincent Van Gogh's Bedroom paintings--the subject of a major Art Institute exhibition on display at the time of the conference.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gloria Groom

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gloria Groom

Dr. Gloria Groom, Chair of European Painting and Sculpture, and David and Mary Winton Green Curator in the Department of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, served as this year’s keynote speaker. She presented a dynamic lecture on Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedroom paintings—the subject of a major Art Institute exhibition on display at the time of the conference—in the museum's Fullerton Auditorium.

Chicago Conference Highlights

The Art Institute of Chicago, voted #1 museum in the world last year, is a premier encyclopedic museum and host to 1.5 million global visitors annually.

Chicago Conference Highlights

The museums, galleries and art historical resources in Chicago are unmatched. The Art Institute of Chicago, voted #1 museum in the world last year, is a premier encyclopedic museum and host to 1.5 million global visitors annually. Housing approximately 300,000 works of art in its permanent collection, its Michigan Avenue location, just two blocks from the conference site, includes the Modern Wing (2009) by renowned architect Renzo Piano. The new Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art and the reinstallation of Marc Chagall’s America Windows are recent noteworthy additions to the museum’s displays.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in the North Loop, designed by Josef Paul Kleihues, and one of the largest contemporary art venues in the world, hosted exhibitions devoted to Kathryn Andrews and to Surrealism at the time of the conference. The MCA’s exhibition layout plan has recently been reimagined, featuring Chicago artists along with acknowledged contemporary masters. The nearby Driehaus Museum of decorative arts, housed in the Gilded Age Nickerson Mansion, featured a costume exhibition based on 1920s era fashions seen in the television series, Downton Abbey. The Arts Club of Chicago hosts ongoing exhibitions and the Union League Club holds an important collection of American art.

Only steps away from the DePaul Center are the Chicago Architecture Foundation – which offers architectural tours continuously – the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and the Chicago Cultural Center. Theo Jansen’s large-scale, mechanical Strandbeests was on display there in a hands-on exhibition alongside a full range of ongoing exhibitions and events. The Chicago Cultural Center occupies the former public library (1897), and is considered a Beaux-Arts masterpiece. Just across the street is Millennium Park, which features temporary sculpture exhibits, gardens and walkways, along with the Jay Pritzker Pavillion (2004), considered one of Frank Gehry’s most important works. Jaume Plensa’s four new large- scale sculptures now stand alongside his renowned Crown Fountain (2004), and Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate (2004) with its reflective surface is now a leading Chicago's landmark. Click here for a guide to more Chicago public sculpture, including iconic masterpieces by Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder and newer works by Richard Hunt and Magdalena Abakanowicz--all within a short distance from the conference site.

Short train rides took conferees to the National Museum of Mexican Art – the only Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums – and in Hyde Park, to the Smart Museum of Art, DuSable Museum of African American History, Oriental Institute, and Renaissance Society. Exciting gallery districts are found in Chicago’s North, and West Loop, River North, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Pilsen and elsewhere.

Chicago is also home to renowned academic departments of art history. The recently enhanced campus museums of Loyola University (LUMA), Columbia College Chicago museums (including the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Center for Book and Paper Arts), and the DePaul Art Museum (DPAM), were all easily accessible to those attending the conference.