March 7

School of the Art Institute of Chicago Announces 2014 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctorate Recipients

Chicago, IL—Celebrated artist Theaster Gates will deliver the Commencement address to the 2014 graduating class of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on Monday, May 12, at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 East Congress Parkway. Along with SAIC alumni Franz Schulze (MFA 1950) and Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975), Gates will receive an honorary doctorate from SAIC to recognize his achievements and commitment to the arts. 

“This year’s honorees have reimagined the possibilities of artistic practice, combining various disciplines into their own unique and influential sensibilities,” said Walter E. Massey, President of SAIC. “All three have made Chicago a priority in their work, and in the diversity, flexibility, and complexity of their artistic explorations, reflect the spirit of this city and our school. We are thrilled to have Theaster, one of this country’s most important contemporary artists, as well as Ellen and Franz, two of our most distinguished alumni, at this year’s commencement ceremony.”

For the prestigious art school’s 148th Commencement, more than 900 students are expected to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates. Previous SAIC Commencement speakers include Tony Award–winning actress and playwright, Anna Deavere Smith; Pritzker Prize–winning architect, Renzo Piano; and Chilean installation artist and MacArthur Fellow, Alfredo Jaar.

About the Honorees

Theaster Gates has developed an expanded artistic practice that includes space development, object making, performance, and critical engagement with many publics. Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor and subsequent time spent studying clay has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Gates recently opened the Arts Incubator in Chicago to offer a design apprenticeship program, exhibitions, artist residencies, performances, and talks.

Ellen Sandor is a pioneering new media artist whose innovative work integrating photography with other forms of art, including sculpture and computer graphics, resulted in the creation of PHSColograms, a collaborative medium that blends art, science, and technology and has been used for medical applications and experimental visual research. In 1983, she founded (art)n Laboratory, and her works have been featured in the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago;  Smithsonian Institution; and Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris. Commissioned installations include the City of Chicago Art Program for the Battle of Midway, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and International Center of Photography in New York.  

Franz Schulze is an acclaimed artist, critic, lecturer, author, and teacher who has been active in the art scene for more than 70 years. After receiving his Master of Fine Arts from SAIC in 1950, Schulze was awarded the Konrad Adenauer Fellowship to study in Munich, where he deepened his knowledge and appreciation for art and architectural history. He served as an art critic for numerous publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, and spent nearly 40 years as an art professor at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Artist Biographies

Theaster Gates

Artist and innovator in the field of social practice, Theaster Gates is internationally known for his work on the South Side of Chicago, including Dorchester Projects, Black Cinema House, and the upcoming Stony Island Arts Bank and Dorchester Artists Housing Collaborative. Founder of the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation, Gates’s work both in museums and in communities responds creatively to the challenges of space.

In 2013, Gates opened the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, a vision he developed as Director of Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. The renovated building is now home to artist residencies, a design apprenticeship program, exhibitions, performances, and talks. The Arts Incubator has received awards including the Urban Land Institute Chicago Vision Award for Programming and the Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award.

Gates has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; among others.

Gates has received awards and grants from Creative Time, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, United States Artists, Creative Capital, the Joyce Foundation, Graham Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Artadia.

Ellen Sandor

Artist and SAIC alumna Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975) is a member of SAIC’s Board of Governors, a Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chair of SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board where, in 2013, she was honored for Outstanding Leadership. She is a member of the Art Institute’s Photography Committee and SAIC's Fashion Committee. As the founder of (art)n Laboratory, Sandor is also currently an affiliate of eDream, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Sandor has an active, Chicago-based studio practice and has exhibited work in galleries including Feature, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Maya Polsky Gallery, and Kasia Kay Projects. She has also exhibited in museums throughout the world including the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; International Center of Photography; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma; Museum of Jewish Heritage; Museum Victoria, Australia; National Academy of Sciences; U.S. Art in Embassies Program (Germany and Zimbabwe); and Musée Carnavalet, Paris. She recently received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts. She has just completed a collaboration between her team and the University of Chicago Institute for Molecular Engineering on a nano particle, PHSCologram. Sandor is presently co-editing the forthcoming Women in New Media Arts: A Survey of Innovative Collaboration for the University of Illinois Press that chronicles the oral history of pioneering new media women artists.

Franz Schulze

Franz Schulze was born in 1927 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania where he and his family lived until they moved to Chicago in 1939 to escape the Great Depression. After earning his Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor and MFA from SAIC in 1949 and 1950, he taught briefly until awarded the Konrad Adenauer Fellowship, which enabled him to study in Munich until 1957. Schulze is an artist, working on canvas and with charcoal, and has done many portraits, including some of significant Chicago architects. A show of his drawings took place in 2011 at the Printworks Gallery in Chicago.

Schulze’s career as a writer began with his monthly Chicago report for ARTnews in 1958. He later became art critic for The Chicago Daily News in 1961, transferring to the same post in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978. His writing has appeared meanwhile in ARTnews and as corresponding editor of Art in America. In the latter journal, his articles on art and architecture continue to appear on a regular basis. His books include Mies van der Rohe, a Critical Biography (University of Chicago Press, 1985);  Philip JohnsonLife and Work (Alfred A. Knopf. 1994); and Chicago’s Famous Buildings, with co-author Kevin Harrington (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also provides adults, high school students, and children with the opportunity to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit saic.edu.

Commencement to take place at the Auditorium Theatre, Monday, May 12
Commencement to take place at the Auditorium Theatre, Monday, May 12
April 7

SAIC Announces 2014 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctorate Recipients

Celebrated artist Theaster Gates will deliver the Commencement address to the 2014 graduating class of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on Monday, May 12, at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 East Congress Parkway. Along with SAIC alumni Franz Schulze (MFA 1950) and Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975), Gates will receive an honorary doctorate from SAIC to recognize his achievements and commitment to the arts.

“This year’s honorees have reimagined the possibilities of artistic practice, combining various disciplines into their own unique and influential sensibilities,” says Walter Massey, President of the SAIC. “All three have made Chicago a priority in their work, and in the diversity, flexibility, and complexity of their artistic explorations reflect the spirit of this city and our school. We are thrilled to have Theaster, one of this country’s most important contemporary artists, as well as Ellen and Franz, two of our most distinguished alumni, at this year’s Commencement Ceremony.”

For the prestigious art school’s 148th Commencement, more than 900 students are expected to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates. Previous SAIC Commencement speakers include Tony Award–winning actress and playwright, Anna Deavere Smith; Pritzker Prize–winning architect, Renzo Piano; and Chilean installation artist and MacArthur Fellow, Alfredo Jaar.

About the Honorees

Theaster Gates has developed an expanded artistic practice that includes space development, object making, performance, and critical engagement with many publics. Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor and subsequent time spent studying clay has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Gates recently opened the Arts Incubator in Chicago to offer a design apprenticeship program, exhibitions, artist residencies, performances, and talks.

Ellen Sandor is a pioneering new media artist whose innovative work integrating photography with other forms of art, including sculpture and computer graphics, resulted in the creation of PHSColograms, a collaborative medium that blends art, science, and technology, and has been used for medical applications and experimental visual research. In 1983, she founded (art)n Laboratory and her works have been featured in the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Smithsonian Institution; and Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris. Commissioned installations include the City of Chicago Art Program for the Battle of Midway, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and International Center of Photography in New York.  

Franz Schulze is an acclaimed artist, critic, lecturer, author, and teacher who has been active in the art scene for more than 70 years. After receiving his MFA from SAIC in 1950, Schulze was awarded the Konrad Adenauer Fellowship to study in Munich, where he deepened his knowledge and appreciation for art and architectural history. He served as an art critic for numerous publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, and spent nearly 40 years as an art professor at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Artist Biographies

Theaster Gates

Artist and innovator in the field of social practice, Theaster Gates is internationally known for his work on the South Side of Chicago, including Dorchester Projects, Black Cinema House, and the upcoming Stony Island Arts Bank and Dorchester Artists Housing Collaborative. Founder of the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation, Gates’s work both in museums and in communities responds creatively to the challenges of space.

In 2013, Gates opened the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, a vision he developed as Director of Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. The renovated building is now home to artist residencies, a design apprenticeship program, exhibitions, performances, and talks. The Arts Incubator has received awards including the Urban Land Institute Chicago Vision Award for Programming and the Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award.

Gates has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, among others.

Gates has received awards and grants from Creative Time, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, United States Artists, Creative Capital, the Joyce Foundation, Graham Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Artadia.

Ellen Sandor

Artist and SAIC alumna Ellen Sandor (MFA 1975) is a member of SAIC’s Board of Governors, a Life Trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chair of SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board where, in 2013, she was honored for outstanding leadership. She is a member of the Art Institute’s Photography Committee and SAIC's Fashion Committee. As the founder of (art)n Laboratory, Sandor is also currently an affiliate of eDream, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Sandor has an active, Chicago-based studio practice and has exhibited work in galleries including Feature, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Maya Polsky Gallery, and Kasia Kay Projects. Her work has been featured in museums throughout the world include the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; International Center of Photography; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma; Museum of Jewish Heritage; Museum Victoria, Australia; National Academy of Sciences; U.S. Art in Embassies Program (Germany and Zimbabwe); and Musée Carnavalet, Paris. She recently received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts. She has just completed a collaboration between her team and the University of Chicago Institute for Molecular Engineering on a nano particle, PHSCologram. Sandor is presently co-editing the forthcoming Women in New Media Arts: A Survey of Innovative Collaboration for the University of Illinois Press that chronicles the oral history of pioneering new media women artists.

Franz Schulze

Franz Schulze was born in 1927 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where he and his family lived until they moved to Chicago in 1939 to escape the Great Depression. After earning his Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from SAIC in 1949 and 1950, he taught briefly until awarded the Konrad Adenauer Fellowship, which enabled him to study in Munich until 1957. Schulze is an artist, working on canvas and with charcoal, and has done many portraits, including some of significant Chicago architects. A show of his drawings took place in 2011 at the Printworks Gallery in Chicago.

Schulze’s career as a writer began with his monthly Chicago report for ARTnews in 1958. He later became art critic for The Chicago Daily News in 1961, transferring to the same post in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978. His writing has appeared in ARTnews and as corresponding editor of Art in America. In the latter journal, his articles on art and architecture continue to appear on a regular basis. His books include Mies van der Rohe, a Critical Biography (University of Chicago Press, 1985);  Philip JohnsonLife and Work (Alfred A. Knopf. 1994); and Chicago’s Famous Buildings, with co-author Kevin Harrington (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Download Release (printer-friendly version): SAIC 2014 Commencement.

The exhibit runs from March 15–April 2 and features nearly 300 emerging artists
The exhibit runs from March 15–April 2 and features nearly 300 emerging artists
April 7

SAIC to Host Its Annual Spring Undergraduate Exhibition

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, announced the opening of its annual Spring Undergraduate Exhibition on Saturday, March 15 at the school’s Sullivan Galleries, located at 33 South State Street, 7th floor.

Nearly 300 SAIC students completing undergraduate degrees this spring will showcase their work from various disciplines, including sculpture, photography, architecture and design, film, and painting. The students are influenced by SAIC’s interdisciplinary approach of challenging assumptions through a range of theory and skill-based coursework. 

“SAIC is proud to host the Spring Undergraduate Exhibition, which is, for our students, the culmination of countless hours of study and experimentation with the purpose of creating and shaping their own footprints within their chosen fields of work,” says Tiffany Holmes, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at SAIC. “The exhibited work represents each emerging artist’s self-directed curricular map which emphasizes critical thinking and creative research.”

The exhibit runs from March 15 through April 2, with the opening reception on March 15, from 12:00–6:00 p.m.

more info

ABOUT THE SULLIVAN GALLERIES

The Sullivan Galleries brings to Chicago audiences the work of acclaimed and emerging artists, while providing the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the public opportunities for direct involvement and exchange with the discourses of art today. With shows and projects often led by faculty or student curators, it is a teaching gallery that engages the exhibition process as a pedagogical model and mode of research. Comprising approximately 30,000 square feet, the Sullivan Galleries are the largest single contemporary gallery space in Chicago’s Loop, and are located in the recently renovated Sullivan Center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The building was originally designed by architect Louis Sullivan and was home to the flagship store for Carson Pirie Scott & Co. for more than a century. The Sullivan Galleries are generally free and open to the public, Tuesdays–Saturdays, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. 

Download Release (printer-friendly version): Spring 2014 BFA Show.

Renowned artist Nick Cave to receive SAIC’s Legend of Fashion Award at annual benefit, THE WALK, at Millennium Park
Renowned artist Nick Cave to receive SAIC’s Legend of Fashion Award at annual benefit, THE WALK, at Millennium Park\n
April 15

SAIC Celebrates 80 Years of Fashion Innovation at Its Annual Fashion Show on Friday, May 2

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, proudly announces Fashion 2014, the annual fashion show that celebrates an astounding 80 years of fashion innovation this year. The extraordinary runway show will be presented three times throughout the day on Friday, May 2, at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade North. Fashion 2014 will culminate with THE WALK 2014—SAIC’s annual benefit gala supporting the production of student work and scholarships. To honor the anniversary, performance artist, fashion influencer, and SAIC educator Nick Cave will receive the Legend of Fashion Award. This year, SAIC also welcomes Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Curator Naomi Beckwith as emcee.

“In eight decades, SAIC has developed an internationally renowned Fashion Design department that has produced visionary talent like Halston and Gary Graham and is now cultivating the next generation of great designers,” said SAIC President Walter E. Massey. “Our Fashion Design students receive an interdisciplinary education that challenges them to be both artistic and conceptual in their work and to imagine the future of the industry. The support provided by THE WALK and its audience ensures that all of our students will have the opportunity to succeed through continued access to SAIC’s distinguished faculty, special collections, and acclaimed resources.”

Previously, SAIC has recognized leaders in the fashion industry, including Anna Sui, Nicole Miller, Maria Pinto, Ikram and Josh Goldman, Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. This year, SAIC honors Cave for his cutting-edge work combining performance, sound, color, and fashion. Cave’s excellence and expertise influences the SAIC community and energizes the fashion world at large. Dries van Noten, Thom Browne, Akris, Suno, and The Row have all cited Cave’s work as inspiring their collections. His work has also graced the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, and the New York Times. In addition to being named the honoree, Cave will also debut a three-part performance at THE WALK 2014. Through movement, dress, ceremony, and sound, Cave's kaleidoscopic creations explore life's rights of passage.

“It is a privilege to bestow the Legend of Fashion Award on Nick Cave, who has been pioneering a new hybrid of art, dance, performance, and fashion, and most importantly, he is a magnificent mentor to our students,” said SAIC Professor Katrin Schnabl, Sage Chair in Fashion Design. “The passion and dedication Nick exemplifies through collaborative work is visionary, and we are excited to celebrate his accomplishments and acclaim at our 80th anniversary.”

Production Highlights

  • For the first time ever, the SAIC Fashion Design department will collaborate with the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects to develop the look of the runway shows.
  • Approximately 250 student-designed looks showcasing a combination of painting, sculpture, performance, sound, body, installation, and technology will be presented.
  • Seniors in SAIC’s Fashion Design department will create complete collections of five garments, juniors will show three complete designs from their collections, and each sophomore will present one avant-garde look in muslin.
  • A presenting sponsor of THE WALK 2014, Swarovski, the leading designer of crystal fashion jewelry and accessories, will extend its partnership with SAIC for the fourth year. Five junior students from SAIC’s Fashion Design program, under the direction of professor and SAGE Chair in Fashion Design, Katrin Schnabl, will incorporate Swarovski’s signature jewelry and crystals in their garments for the runway show.

More than 50 models from Factor Runway will wear the students’ original garments as they walk down a custom-constructed, 72-foot ramp runway. The show is produced and directed by Conrad Hamather, SAIC’s Graduate Coordinator of its Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment, with talent direction by Annie Novotny, SAIC faculty member, alumna, and head designer of Frei Designs.

THE WALK 2014 is generously supported by returning presenting sponsors MacLean-Fogg Company and Swarovski and new presenting sponsor Bank of America. CS Magazine is the exclusive media sponsor. Additional support for THE WALK 2014 is provided by Ariel Investments, ULTA, Macy’s, Exelon, Mesirow Financial, and Goldman Sachs and new this year, McDonald’s, Blick Art Materials, and Grosvenor Capital Management.

THE WALK 2014

THE WALK 2014, SAIC’s annual evening scholarship benefit, co-chaired by Margaret MacLean and Debbie Jagel and honoring acclaimed artist Nick Cave is held in conjunction with Fashion 2014.

  • The event begins with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception in the Millennium Park Chase Promenade North.
  • THE WALK starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes a special three-part act from Nick Cave, the runway show featuring SAIC student collections, presentations of the Legend of Fashion Award as well as significant student scholarships, awards, and coveted fashion industry internships.
  • Immediately following THE WALK 2014, guests will enjoy a strolling dinner at the rooftop terrace of Millennium Park’s Harris Theater.
  • Individual tickets for THE WALK 2014 are $500–$1,000. Tables are $5,000–$25,000.

Fashion 2014

Fashion 2014 will be presented three times on Friday, May 2.

  • 9:00 a.m. is a general admission dress rehearsal. Tickets are $40.
  • 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. shows are general admission seating. Tickets are $75 and available on site or online.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 312.499.4190 or visit saicfashion.org

Download Release (printer-friendly version): SAIC Fashion 2014.