This is the last week to catch the Art Institute's exhibition, Looking after Louis Sullivan: Photographs, Drawings and Fragments, centered on the photographs of Adler & Sullivan's
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The good news is that its companion show, Tim Samuelson and Chris Ware's Louis Sullivan's Idea, at the Chicago Cultural Center, has actually been extended, through May
written before, it's a don't-miss-it show, beautifully designed and mounted, an epic journey of the life and work of one of America's greatest architects. I've heard one visitor comment they found the layout confusing, but it really is pretty chronological: the earliest years as you enter, and at the far end, the final ones, ending on a very sad and diminished note - the last designs of a facade, a stove mat and a Christmas card, the final days in a tiny room at the Warner Hotel, even a pack of the bargain brand Home Run cigarettes that a friend would buy Sullivan when the architect didn't have the money to get them himself. It's a downer, for sure, but then to exit you have to retrace your steps, past all the brilliant designs from the peak of his career, and you leave not disheartened by how it ended but exhilarated by Sullivan's stunning achievements and indomitable spirit.
Urban China: Informal Cities, an idea-packed retrospective of China's only publication devoted to the issues of urbanism, and the Chicago Tourism Center Gallery on Randolph across the Cultural Center has History Coming Home, revealing "public policies, oral histories, and artifacts from public housing from Chicago to Boston and New Orleans to Sacramento . . . including a 1950's-style public housing apartment that visitors can walk through."
The above drawing, a "Design for a child's tricycle" by R.G. Martelet, really hasn't anything to do with the ArchiTech Gallery's current show, The House:Drawings for Residential Architecture, but it's so redolent of a holiday spirit where the gift giving transcends consumerism to the realm of actual delight that I wanted to pass it on. (It can be yours for $250.00, and there are other drawings of Martelet's vehicle designs from that price up to $1,200). Running through December 25, The House features drawings, blueprints and sketches from designers Barry Byrne and Alfonso Iannelli, D.H. Burnham & Co., Richard Neutra, Frank Gehry and many others.
Chicago Model City, featuring a spectacular model of Chicago's center city, continues, with a second exhibition, Neighborhoods Go Green! Scaling up Sustainability on display in the Lecture Hall.
Hyperlinks: Architecture and Design at the Art Institution, which "presents more than 30 projects that span from architecture and furniture to multimedia and conceptual design from an international group of architects and designers . . . Not always intended as ends in themselves, these multidisciplinary practices are often experiments that motivate reflection on the values, mores, and practices often overlooked in society."
Check out the full December calendar - now with Exhibitions! - here.