Both McMillian’s photograph and the subject of the photograph—a plaster cast—are infinitely reproducible, implying a repetition of form based on tradition. The artist's combination of the cast and the photograph highlights the similar perpetuation of the cultural status quo in America, a question McMillian brings to light often in his body of work.
The densely-textured surface of Bradford’s work here is made of found materials from the artist’s home neighborhood in Los Angeles, sanded down and re-layered. The shape and striation recall a wave, with the title referencing the Sirens of Greek mythology, bringing together an allure and an urgency to the mixed-media work.
McMillian’s lungs combines painting and sculpture, organic and inorganic form, and enormity and delicacy to create these lush yet ominous objects. The inherent juxtaposition of the work manifests current political and social tensions through their insistent physicality.
An enigmatic amalgam of Abstract Expressionist style and viscerally rendered poetry, Finnish Painting acknowledges a struggle in understanding and interpreting other people. The last word of the poem, and one of the few legible words, is “decode,” mirroring the viewer’s experience trying to decode the work itself.
Ganku’s last known images of the dragon and the tiger, this pair of screens depicts the earth- and sky-based subjects to highlight their nature as opposites, according to Taoist beliefs. Black ink brings the creatures to life over a smooth gold surface, showcasing Ganku’s eccentric and energetic style.
This sculpture represents the 13th petal from Yoko Ono’s installation SKYLANDING, a 12-petal lotus in Chicago’s Jackson Park that rises from the ashes of the Phoenix Pavilion. In contrast to the smooth petals of SKYLANDING, MENDED PETAL has visible seams of repair, symbolically commemorating the ground-healing ceremony held by the artist in June 2015 through which she prepared the site of the lost Phoenix Pavilion for her new work.
The Greek people’s worship of the Olympian deities included the ritual dedication of gifts (votives) at sacred sites. These offerings took a variety of forms, but statuettes of horses had special significance as symbols of affluence. This bronze sculpture is one of the finest such votive statuettes to survive from antiquity.
Ha developed an innovative painting technique—bae-ap-bup (back-pressure method)—by which he applied oil paint to the back of hemp canvases and pressed the paint through to the painting’s front, a technique he used for his landmark
Yun’s use of diluted paint evokes the Korean ink painting traditions and led many critics to conclude that his practice was intentionally representative of Korean tradition, a notion against which the artist fought, claiming, “in trying to
create something Korean, it actually ends up being not Korean… Being Korean has to come out absent-mindedly.”
Shimamoto was co-founder of postwar Japan’s Gutai Art Association, the nation’s most significant avant-garde collective. This piece was created through performance, by shooting bags of paint from a cannon and throwing glass bottles filled
with paint against the canvas.
Viollet-le-Duc created faithful copies of church decorative arts in the wake of the French Revolution, when the country’s ecclesiastical heritage was destroyed. This particular reliquary is significant here in Chicago, as Viollet-le-Duc knew Chicagoan
and architect Louis Sullivan when the latter was studying in Paris, and Viollet-le-Duc’s influence can be found in Sullivan’s designs.
Sérusier belonged to a group of avant-garde Post-Impressionist known as Nabis. This painting is a particularly strong example of Sérusier’s early Nabi aesthetic, interweaving the influence of Japanese prints, the Breton countryside,
and the Nabis’ signature approach to perspective, color, and line.
Sebastiano’s depiction of Christ carrying the cross has dramatic visual impact in the expressions of the figures, in the diagonals lines created by the cross, and the luminous background. This work is a significant addition to the museum’s
holdings of central Italian paintings.
The five vessels in this set would have been the focus of either Buddhist or Confucian spiritual ceremonies. Each vessel is painted with the Eight Buddhist Emblems over a lime green background—a color perhaps inspired by enameled metalwork introduced
to China from Europe.
Yellow and underglaze-blue dishes of this type are among the most treasured Ming dynasty porcelains in China; they are particularly rare, making this example, covered in traditional motifs, an exquisite acquisition for the Art Institute.
Gorham was the first major American silver company to introduce Japanese-inspired designs to their product line, with this particular vessel featuring interpretations of Asian motifs, likely drawn from print sources: giant carp and a turtle thrash in
violent waters, suggesting the movement of the sea.
This Nyakyusa beer storage container from southern Tanzania features a repeated arching motif—or mahena—created with a burnt red pigment. While the identity of most Nyakyusa ceramicists is unknown, records preserve the name of this vessel’s creator, Frarasia Bukusi.
American modernist Elie Nadelman was fascinated by folk art, amassing his own considerable collection with his wife. With his own practice in the style, Nadelman found a means of expressing the modern times by allowing his figures to appear as they are,
in real life, through simplified modernist forms.
Wanda Pimentel emerged within Brazil’s 1960s New Figuration movement, which used Pop-inflected representation as a form of sardonic commentary on and resistance to the country’s dictatorial government, the rise of consumer culture, and the
constraints imposed on women. In her Involvement Series, Pimentel offers a scene of everyday objects, representing consumerism, with two disembodied feet crowded into the canvas. The figures are fragmented, but the colors are vivid and urgent.