Event: Exhibition Walk-Through: A Home for Surrealism

Event Date: June 26
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: The Arts Club of Chicago

Exhibition Walk-Through: A Home for Surrealism

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
6:00 p.m.

Join Executive Director of The Arts Club and Curator of A Home for Surrealism, Janine Mileaf, for a tour of the exhibition. She will offer background on how European Surrealism came to Chicago and give some insight into the lives and practices of the artists featured in the exhibition.

This program is free and open to the public. Please contact us at or 312.787.3997 if you have any questions about accessibility in advance of the walk-through.

Posted April 24, 2018

Exhibition of Chicago Surrealist Paintings from the 1940s and 1950s

Opening: 7 June 2018 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Surrealist Soirée: 8 June 2018 6:00 – 8:00 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Arts Club of Chicago is pleased to announce A Home for Surrealism: Fantastic Painting in Midcentury Chicago, a ground-breaking exhibition that traces the US arc of the international art phenomenon. Following displays of Salvador Dalí’s paintings Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1933, such local artists as Gertrude Abercrombie, Ivan Albright, Eldzier Cortor, Harold Noecker, Julio de Diego, Dorothea Tanning, Julia Thecla, and John Wilde took to their canvases to fashion a home-grown apotheosis of the imagination. Working not as an organized movement, but rather in personal and idiosyncratic ways, these painters shared a tendency toward meticulous handling of form. They conjured dream spaces that strove to convince a Midwestern audience of the plausibility of their fantasies.

As early as 1929, The Arts Club of Chicago played an important role in introducing the city to European surrealism with both exhibitions and visits by such artists as Max Ernst, Dalí, and Man Ray. The institution was not only at the forefront of the transatlantic avant-garde, but it also became a meeting place for artist members like Albright and Thecla, as well as ground zero for new information about art. The Arts Club continues these traditions to this day, and with this exhibition will introduce a group of Chicago painters who, until recently, have been largely overlooked.

“This exhibition unearths a trove of Chicago paintings that speak to the city’s psychic life following World War II—the images are haunted and haunting, and display the artists’ simultaneous alienation and rootedness to this place,” says Arts Club Executive Director and curator of the exhibition Janine Mileaf.

Insisting on recognizable subject matter and depictive style, the Chicago surrealists ran counter to the rising tide of Abstract Expressionism on the East Coast. The generation of artists known as the Imagists who succeeded the Chicago surrealists have seemed to appear sui generis from a prior cultural vacuum. This exhibition sheds light upon the missing Midwestern Midcentury and highlights this loosely associated group of artists who dared to portray their wild imaginations.

A Home for Surrealism is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, as well as a gift from the Zell Family Foundation. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue distributed by the University of Chicago Press (available June 2018), including essays by Robert Cozzolino (Minneapolis Institute of Art), Adam Jolles (Florida State University), Janine Mileaf (Arts Club of Chicago), and Joanna Pawlik (University of Sussex), and artists’ biographies by Marin Sarvé-Tarr (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

A Home for Surrealism is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

About Art Design Chicago Art Design Chicago is a spirited celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of creativity and commerce. Spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this citywide partnership of nearly 60 cultural organizations explores Chicago’s art and design legacy and continued impact with more than 30 exhibitions, hundreds of events, as well as the creation of several scholarly publications and a four-part documentary presented throughout 2018. #ArtDesignChicago #ArtsClubChicago #ChicagoSurrealism


About The Arts Club of Chicago

Since 1916, The Arts Club of Chicago has been a preeminent exhibitor of international art, a forum for established and emerging artists, and a celebrated venue for performers from around the world. For over 100 years, The Arts Club has opened its membership to artists and patrons of the arts, and its exhibitions to the public. At its inaugural meeting, the mission of the Club was defined as: “to encourage higher standards of art, maintain galleries for that purpose, and to promote the mutual acquaintance of art lovers and art workers.”

The Arts Club of Chicago is located at 201 East Ontario Street. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday- Friday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Saturday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.
ph: 312.787.3997; email:


Featured Image: Harold Noecker. The Genius?, c. 1943. Oil on canvas; 30 x 36 in. (76.2 x 91.4 cm). Collection of Bernard Friedman, Chicago.

Posted April 19, 2018

Event: ‘Address’ & ‘Glen Elder’: Exhibition Walk-Through of Richard Rezac’s new work in Chicago

Event Date: April 28
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

In parallel with Glen Elder, Richard Rezac’s site-specific installation for The Arts Club Garden Project series, The Renaissance Society will be showing an exhibition of Rezac’s sculptural works past and present, entitled Address. Join us for this two-part tour led by the artist, and champagne toast beginning at The Renaissance Society in Hyde Park. You may arrange your own transportation between the venues, or a bus will depart from the Renaissance Society at 12:00 p.m. and return at 2:30 p.m.; seats on the bus are limited, so please register in advance on The Renaissance Society’s website.

Richard Rezac will lead each walk-through, and accompany visitors to each site.


Tour of Address at the Renaissance Society

12:45-1:30 (approximately)
Travel from the Renaissance Society to the Arts Club

Tour of Glen Elder at the Arts Club, followed by wine reception

2:30-3:15 (approximately)
Return to the Renaissance Society from the Arts Club

This event is free and open to the public.

Posted April 3, 2018

Praise for the 88th Members Show

Thank you to Judy Carmack Bross and the team at Classic Chicago Magazine for their coverage of The Arts Club’s 88th Visual Artist Members Exhibition.

The Incredible Arts Club Member Show



Posted March 30, 2018

“Man Walking toward a Fata Morgana” Reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

“Like a mirage, everything here is other than it seems. Science can explain optical illusions, just as aesthetics can explain artistic ones, but the effects remain enchanting to behold.” — Lori Waxman

In Autumn 2017, Slovakian artist Roman Ondak, renowned for his object-based and participatory practices, exhibited for the first time in the United States four sculptural installations and an ongoing series of paintings, Deserts. Although Ondak began Deserts  in the 1990s, most of the “found paintings” exhibited were produced expressly for The Arts Club. Below, Lori Waxman celebrates the exhibition in the Chicago Tribune, highlighting Ondak’s precarious play between inherited practices and experimental forms.

Read the full review here!

This exhibition coincided with Ondak’s inclusion in the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s feature of exceptional works in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, entitled “Being Modern: MoMA in Paris“, which ran through March 8th. To learn more about Man Walking Toward a Fata Morgana, click here.



Posted March 27, 2018