Making Modern Graduate Design Exhibition at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Showcasing design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO), Making Modern runs from June 13 to July 25 at the SAIC Sullivan Galleries. The exhibition brings together work by recent AIADO graduate students in the department’s inaugural master’s thesis exhibition. Included will be special projects featured during Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in April, the highly regarded “Objects for the Age of Obama,” “2000 Watt Living,” and “The Expanding Classroom,” which will be joined by “Objects That Entertain Us,” a collaboration with Dupont Corian that will move to Making Modern following the annual NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, held in Chicago’s nearby Merchandise Mart from June 15-17.

In antiquity, “modernism” meant confronting magic and replacing it with the plough, the sword, the house, and the ship. For the thesis work presented in Making Modern, to “be modern” means reuniting with eco-scapes, city-scapes, and all the varied “‘scapes” of conscience, technology, and mobility. Making Modern will showcase buildings, objects, and systems where humans are part of the globe’s many entwined layers – helping to choreograph this connectivity without the need for dominion.

“As evidenced by the presentation of SAIC work in Milan over the past few years, the AIADO program speaks to the School’s ability to envision, and put into practice, design that addresses and encourages sustainable and forward-thinking ways of living,” says Wellington Reiter, SAIC President, FAIA. “The proposals seen in Making Modern range from the concrete to the speculative, but are united by an emphasis on connecting design to the environment and a desire to address the urgent problems of the day.”

“At SAIC we encourage and practice a vibrant engagement with design,” says AIADO Department Chair Hennie Reynders. “We believe future designers will need to be thinking designers, willing to explore unknown territory, engaging problems not yet defined, and confident enough to find opportunity in complexity. We launch future individual voices willing to lead in the fast mutating cultural landscapes–changing the field from the inside out, while connecting past traditions with future possibilities.”

A part of the ongoing Living Modern Chicago series, Making Modern will be the site of a panel discussion at 4:00pm on June 16 in the SAIC Sullivan Galleries, reflecting on the work seen in the exhibition and its present engagement with the larger mandate of design and architecture. Panelists will include architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, design consultant Kelly Costello of Doblin, SAIC professors Hennie Reynders and Ben Nicholson, and graduating AIADO students. The panel discussion will be followed by an opening reception at 6:00pm.

Living Modern Chicago is an ongoing series of lectures, exhibitions, events, and courses organized by SAIC and the Mies van der Rohe Society, building on the legacy of László Moholy-Nagy and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who carried Bauhaus principles to Chicago. Making Modern will be followed in September with the SAIC Sullivan Galleries exhibition Learning Modern, which will bridge the historic roots of American modernism with the critical practices of contemporary artists, architects, and designers.

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