This exhibition examined three distinct moments in which American artists devised innovative ways to use this elemental, immaterial medium; including works by Charles Biederman, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, James Turrell and a major commission by Stephen Hendee.
Drawing principally on the Smart Museum's permanent collection, The Uses of Art in Renaissance Italy considered the daily life of strikingly diverse objects: a silver reliquary, a marble tabernacle, an embroidered chasuble, a birth bowl—as well as altarpieces, works on paper and a selection of important medals.
Active in England and France, the American-born painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) is one of the giants of nineteenth-century printmaking. This exhibition featured a selection of the 25 prints by Whistler donated to the Smart Museum in 2001. Included are early, middle, and late period etchings and drypoints.
As western "Jazz Age" mores and styles jostled with traditional Japanese values of tranquility and harmony, the reign of Emperor Taisho (1912–1926) was an era of transition in Japan when the vastly different cultures of the native past and the seemingly foreign future emerged in stark contrast.
For thirty years the Smart Museum has been a focal point for the visual arts at the University of Chicago and in the city.
From the Early Christian material culture of Egypt and the Eastern Roman empire and the devotional art of Gothic Europe to the Celtic revival of the nineteenth century, medieval art shifted from iconic religious image to historical tribute.
This exhibition was the first to comprehensively consider the outpouring of photo-based art that has taken place in China since the mid-1990s. Ambitious in scale and experimental in nature, the photographic works included in this groundbreaking project offered a range of highly individual responses to the unprecedented changes in China's economic, social, and cultural life in the past decade.