Benjamin (Ben) H. Weese was born in 1929 in Evanston, Illinois. Weese received his B.Arch. and his M.Arch. from Harvard and a certificate from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau, France. He returned to Chicago in 1957 to work in his older brother's firm, Harry Weese Associates, specializing in urban renewal and subsidized housing projects. In the mid-1970s, Weese joined a group of fellow architects, the "Chicago Seven," to promote a wider understanding of Chicago's diverse architectural history and to advance the work of more eclectic contemporary architects. In 1977, Weese opened his own architectural firm, Weese Seegers Hickey Weese, in partnership with his wife, Cynthia. That award-winning firm, now Weese Langley Weese, is best known for non-profit and educational projects designed with a sensitivity to vernacular and historic design. Weese has had a long commitment to social service: he was a co-founder of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and also served on the board of trustees of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1974.
Weese speaks about his early influences and exposure to architecture through his brother Harry; education at Harvard and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; conscientious objector service in Europe; returning to work at Harry Weese Associates in Chicago; designing housing in Hyde Park and Kenwood; saving the Glessner house and establishing the Chicago Architecture Foundation; opening his own office; activities with the Chicago Seven, including the "Chicago Seven," "Exquisite Corpse," Townhouses, and "Late Entries to the Chicago Tribune" exhibitions;" and the revival of the Chicago Architectural Club.
Townhouse, "Exquisite Corpse" exhibition, Walter Kelley Gallery, Chicago, 1977.
Perspective rendering of the Evelyn Chapel, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL, 1982. Department of Architecture, The Art Institute of Chicago.
"Well, historically, I want to make it clear that I have come from a very intense architectural background and family setting that I benefitted from with the help of my oldest brother Harry and also the contributions of my highly-skilled middle brother John. But then, as one matures, I want to also make clear that we had a civil dissolution of our interests and a kind of branching out that is part of the maturation process. I want to underline the fact that it was perhaps inevitable, but not necessarily unconstructive. It was useful. It brings me to another relationship, which is the kind of family operation in my office, which is collaborative, where the design is a process of interaction. Design is very precious in a lot of people's eyes but there's so much that creates the situation to make it valid that we sit and we trade ideas. I may have more experience or more knowledge because of my age, which can also be a disadvantage. I wanted to say that working collaboratively with my family in a kind of cottage-industry...leaves us as the modern model of a medieval guild." (page 129)
Funding for this oral history was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Additional funding for the electronic presentation of this transcript was provided by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.
5 hours 50 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Just like the museum's collection comes from artists around the world, so does the Museum Shop’s assortment of products. We source exclusive products from artisans that are inspired by the cultures, mediums, and techniques represented in our museum collection. View our assortment of unique items from India.
14 hours 58 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–1975
Provoke was the English-language title for a Japanese photo magazine of the late 1960s; the name also designates the group of photographers and writers who put that formative publication together. Their influence has grown so great that the “Provoke era” is now international shorthand for sixties counterculture in Japan. This generational uprising swelled from the massive unrest, and sheer cultural disorientation, that accompanied the country’s transformation from ruined empire to superpower after World War II.
This exhibition places the achievements of Provoke alongside those of protesters and protest collectives, who made riveting photobooks, films, and photographs throughout the same era, as well as artists and art collectives keenly interested in live performance and its relation to the mechanical image.
18 hours 30 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NEW ACQUISITION—In the early decades of the sixteenth century, Antwerp was a great center of commerce, finance, and luxury trade. The Flemish city attracted innovative painters like Quentin Massys, Jan Gossart, and Joos van Cleve working in a style that combined northern traditions with Italianate forms. Numerous other painters, whose work is only known under names of convenience, like the Master of the Lille Adoration, swelled the ranks of the Antwerp guild.
Saint Jerome in Penitence (by the Master of the Lille Adoration) is an ideal addition to our collection and can be seen alongside other exemplary paintings from Renaissance Antwerp—on view in Gallery 207.