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McCormick AfterParti Elmhurst Art Museum On view January 25 – April 12, 2020

An interactive installation by


ABOUT THE EXHIBIT McCormick AfterParti invites new and unexpected interactions that reference the original 1952 floor plan of Mies van der Rohe’s historic McCormick House. Pink curtains reenact the original wall partitions that were removed when the home was renovated to become part of the museum, and playful, furniture-like interventions invite you to participate in the original domestic functions of each room. For example, lounge on the playful pull-out seating in the living room, challenge your companions to a game on the chess table in the parlor, taste a treat from the shapely countertop in kitchen, or put on a show at the puppet theater in the children’s playroom! The installation celebrates the interchangeability of non-load bearing wall panels enabled by the clear spans typical of Mies’s architecture, questioning any “correct” or “optimal” floor plan layout for the McCormick House. While buildings like this steel-and-glass architecture are typically associated with the “less is more” aesthetic of minimalism, McCormick AfterParti seeks to subvert the dominant narrative of Miesian modernism by calling attention to the messiness, liveliness, and joy of domestic life through an installation that embraces vibrant color and shapely character. During its three-month run, McCormick AfterParti will host numerous participatory events and audience interactions, highlighting the space as one of continual inspiration, while also initiating open discussions about past and future preservation efforts. Much like a home, the installation will not be a corded off space, but rather, it will be filled with movement, activity, food, conversation, and much more.


ABOUT COULD BE ARCHITECTURE Could Be Architecture is a Chicago-based design practice directed by Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison that designs seriously playful spaces, things, and happenings that celebrate what our world could be. They work across scales, including designs for buildings, interiors, installations, scenographies, exhibits, furniture, costumes, and publications. As practitioners and academics, their work is equally invested in built pragmatics and speculative research. As citizens and artists, their work is committed at once to public engagement and aesthetic ambitions. They aim to create architecture that tells stories, builds audiences, resonates with people’s emotions, and instigates enthusiasm around the activities and imagery that it stages. Their work positions architecture as an active character in the world, enacting a future full of wonder, humor, color, and delight. Could Be Architecture also publishes SOILED, a mashup of a literary journal and design magazine that narrates a playfully sincere and seriously humorous exploration of oft-overlooked dimensions of our built environment. Learn more at www.couldbearchitecture.com Follow us on Instagram @couldbearchitecture


BEDROOM

BEDROOM

BEDR

UTILITY ROOM

PLAY ROOM KITCHEN

HANG YOUR COAT SIT AND CHAT

PLAY A BOARD GAME TASTE A TREAT PUT ON A SHOW

TAKE A NAP


ROOM

ABOUT THE McCORMICK HOUSE In 1952, the renowned modern architect Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) designed a home for Robert Hall McCormick III, a member of Chicago’s most prominent families, and his wife, the poet Isabella Gardner. The house was later lived in by families of Arthur and Marilyn Sladek, Ray and Mary Ann Fick, and then purchased by the Elmhurst Art Museum for a new arts complex. The house is a rare and important example of Mies van der Rohe’s mature style, incorporating elements of his celebrated designs for the Farnsworth House (1951) and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive (1951). The McCormick House—one of only three single-family homes designed by Mies in the United States— originally servedMake two purposes: it was a home for the McCormick family and yourself at home. a prototype for a proposed group of smaller, affordable mass-produced modular homes in the western Chicago suburbs that McCormick and co-developer Herbert S. Greenwald were hoping to build. However, the cutting-edge, high-end buildings were not met with enough buyers to begin construction. The house became part of the Elmhurst Art Museum’s campus in 1994, and important restoration efforts have been recently undertaken. In 2018, the McCormick House’s façade and Mies van der Rohe’s original carport design were revealed for the first time in nearly twenty-five years.

WELCOME!

BEDROOM PARLOR LIVING AND DINNING STUDY


RELATED PROGRAMS CALENDAR ARTIST TALK: COULD BE ARCHITECTURE Saturday February 01 | 1:30pm Led by designers and educators Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison of Could Be Architecture, this artist talk will give an in-depth look at their site-specific installation in the McCormick House , as well as other recent works. MCCORMICK HOUSE TOUR Saturday February 08 | 1:30pm Learn about the history and unique design of the McCormick House (1952) by Miles van der Rohe on this docent-led tour, incorporating the current interactive installation. SMALL BITES ARE MORE: A CULINARY POP-UP Thursday, February 20 | 6:00–9:00pm Tickets: $65 Members | $75 Non-Members At this culinary activation event, Could Be Architecture teams up with local brewery Twisted Hippo and local restaurant One Fifty One, offering a specialty beer and bite-sized appetizers in their installation in the McCormick House, inspired by elemental geometry, colors, and flavors of modernist architecture. For registration, visit www.elmhurstartmuseum.org. MCCORMICK HOUSE TOUR Saturday February 29 | 1:30pm Learn about the history and unique design of the McCormick House (1952) by Miles van der Rohe on this docent-led tour, incorporating the current interactive installation. FAMILY DAY WORKSHOP: PUPPET-MAKING Saturday, March 14 | 1:00–4:00pm Families are invited to participate in art activities inspired by McCormick AfterParti, including an exploration of storytelling and character design via the creation of their own puppets.


ABOUT THE McCORMICK HOUSE In 1952, the renowned modern architect Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) designed a home for Robert Hall McCormick III, a member of Chicago’s most prominent families, and his wife, the poet Isabella Gardner. The house was later lived in by families of Arthur and Marilyn Sladek, Ray and Mary Ann Fick, and then purchased by the Elmhurst Art Museum for a new arts complex. The house is a rare and important example of Mies van der Rohe’s mature style, incorporating elements of his celebrated designs for the Farnsworth House (1951) and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive (1951). The McCormick House—one of only three single-family homes designed by Mies in the United States— originally served two purposes: it was a home for the McCormick family and a prototype for a proposed group of smaller, affordable mass-produced modular homes in the western Chicago suburbs that McCormick and co-developer Herbert S. Greenwald were hoping to build. However, the cutting-edge, high-end buildings were not met with enough buyers to begin construction. The house became part of the Elmhurst Art Museum’s campus in 1994, and important restoration efforts have been recently undertaken. In 2018, the McCormick House’s façade and Mies van der Rohe’s original carport design were revealed for the first time in nearly twenty-five years.

CREDITS DESIGN Could Be Architecture

INKIND SUPPORT Interface, Inc.

FABRICATION Stolatis Fabrication

SPONSOR - BOOSTER Altorfer Cat

PUPPET DESIGN Grace Needlman

SPONSOR - FRIEND Helios Construction Chan Moon

CULINARY COLLABORATION One Fifty One Twisted Hippo Brewing

SPECIAL THANKS Sarah Franklin


Profile for Elmhurst Art Museum

Could Be Architecture: McCormick AfterParti  

exhibition guide

Could Be Architecture: McCormick AfterParti  

exhibition guide

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