Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Return of the Chicago Seven

In 1976, just as Mayor Richard J. Daley controlled Chicago, the legacy of Mies van der Rohe was seen as controlling new architecture in the city, even though the master had died in 1969. When the Musuem of Contemporary Art's exhibition One Hundred Years of Architecture in Chicago squeezed the history of the preceding century through a forced Miesian and monumentalist perspective, provocateur Stanley Tigerman led a group of younger architects in mounting a counter-exhibition, Chicago Architects, where the work displayed a creativity and freedom that directly challenged the orthodoxy and dominance of Mies's followers. The group, expanded to include Tom Beebe, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, Jim Freed, Jim Nagle, and Ben Weese, became known as the Chicago Seven, an homage to the radicalism of the anti-war activists put on trial in the city in 1970. Several other historic shows followed, and many of the same crowd were instrumental in reviving the long dormant Chicago Architectural Club.

On September 27th, the Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting a panel, Celebrating 25 Years of the Chicago Seven, that hopes to reunite those seven architects. It beats still another Stones reunion hands down. Information here.

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