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Past Exhibitions : 2008

Visitors watch Guy Ben-Ner's Wild Boy (2004) from a carpeted hill that re-creates the woodland set the artist built in his kitchen. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Adaptation: Video Installations by Ben-Ner, Herrera, Sullivan, and Sussman & The Rufus Corporation

January 31 – May 4, 2008

This exhibition looked at the use of adaptation in the work of four leading artists: Guy Ben-Ner, Arturo Herrera, Catherine Sullivan, and Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation. 

Sol LeWitt: Color and Line, Reproduced

March 25, 2008 – June 8, 2008

This exhibition, which featured a suite of lithographs and a sampling of artists' books created between 1968 and 1977, explored how LeWitt's serial use of color and line intersected with some of his early experiments with mechanical reproduction.

Albrecht Durer, Sudarium Displayed by Two Angels, 1513, Engraving on cream laid paper. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Selle, 1979.1.

Idol Anxiety

April 8 – November 2, 2008

By juxtaposing Mesopotamian cult figures with Classical antiquities and Renaissance paintings,Idol Anxiety examined how objects become idols and offered insight into the sometimes uneasy relationship between people and things.

Installation view

Seeing the City: Sloan’s New York

May 22 – September 14, 2008

Seeing the City maps John Sloan's New York, locating precisely the sites portrayed in his work and examining the personal meaning tied to the places he chose to depict again and again.

Nathan Lerner, Cigar Store, 1934, Gelatin silver print. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Gift of Joel Snyder, 1981.86.

Street Level: Modern Photography from the Smart Museum Collection

June 17 – September 7, 2008

With photographs by Walker Evans, Georgy Zelma, Nathan Lerner, and Paul Strand, among others, this exhibition of works from the Smart Museum collection looks at the modern city as seen from the street.

Installation view

The Brutal Line: Drawing Death, Being, and Becoming

September 16, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Through focused comparisons between Italian masters and their modern and contemporary counterparts, The Brutal Line examines how artists have used drawn marks to express extreme physical or existential states.

Installation view of Chen Qiulin's Rhapsody on Farewell (2002), River, River (2005), Color Lines (2006), and Garden (2007).

Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art

October 2, 2008 – January 25, 2009

This exhibition presents work that four leading contemporary Chinese artists—Chen Qiulin, Yun-Fei Ji, Liu Xiaodong, and Zhuang Hui—have created in response to the Three Gorges Dam.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Black Lion Wharf, 1859, Etching and drypoint on laid paper. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Gift of Brenda F. and Joseph V. Smith, 2000.93.

The ‘Writing’ of Modern Life: The Etching Revival in France, Britain, and the U.S., 1850-1940

November 18, 2008 – April 19, 2009

This exhibition examines the intertwined arts of etching and writing, from the polemical beginnings of the Etching Revival in the 1850s to its twentieth-century afterlife.