chicago

“Chicago Architecture 1872–1922”

The Art Institute of Chicago

The decision on the part of the Art Institute of Chicago to commission architect Stanley Tigerman—described in their own press releases as an “iconoclast”—to design the installation of this exhibit was a clear signal. This was to be no tepid run-of-the-mill show, no simple trotting out of the interminable ground plans and elevations, no staid recitation of art-historical dogma. Rather, there was to be a confrontation of context and content, a pointed and sentient inquiry into the tactics of display, all undertaken to enliven the assorted effluvia of Chicago’s golden age of architecture.

Tigerman provided an overwhelmingly insistent frame. There was piped-in music, trompe l’oeil floor painting, unexpected trellis work climbing museum walls, the occasional gazebo, potted dried ferns, huge posterlike photos of the superstars of Chicago architecture, columns, arcades, and more and more and

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