6a) Chicagoisms Exhibit

Chicagoisms exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, Kurokawa Gallery, April 24, 2014 – January 4, 2015. Co-organized and curated with Jonathan Mekinda; exhibition design by Studio Offshore (Eisenschmidt) in collaboration with graphic designer Matthew Wizinsky.

120 images, nine models, and five principles. The exhibition builds on the premise of the book Chicagoisms. Revisiting the characteristics, attitudes, and mentalities of the city’s past, it mines the history of Chicago to define principles of architectural action and urban engagement: Vision Shapes History, Optimism Trumps Planning, Ambition Overcomes Nature, Technology Makes Spectacle, and Crisis Provokes Innovation. These Chicagoisms are also deployed here as springboards for new experiments as local and international teams of architects conceived visions inspired by the city that project as models from an array of historical imagery, together constructing a panorama of alternative urban worlds.

In collaboration with architectural historian Jonathan Mekinda and graphic designer Matthew Wizinsky, and with contributions by Bureau Spectacular, DOGMA, MVRDV, ORG, PORT, Sam Jacob Studio, Sean Lally/Weathers, UrbanLab, and WW.

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Chicagoisms installation 4_ (c) Art Institute of Chicago


  • Curators: Alexander Eisenschmidt and Jonathan Mekinda
  • Art Institute Liaison: Karen Kice (Department of Architecture and Design)
  • Exhibition Design: Alexander Eisenschmidt (Studio Offshore) with Matthew Wizinsky (Studio Junglecat)
  • Exhibition Sponsor: Architecture & Design Society at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Image Sponsor: Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum
  • Project Contributions: Bureau Spectacular (Chicago), Dogma (Brussels, Belgium), MVRDV (Rotterdam, Netherlands), ORG Organization for Permanent Modernity (Boston and Brussels, Belgium), PORT A+U (Chicago), Sam Jacob Studio (London, England), Sean Lally / WEATHERS (Chicago), UrbanLab (Chicago), WW (Houston)
  • see fact-sheet for more information and credits

Press Coverage:
“Urban Workshop Speculation,” Domus, by Francesco Zuddas, October 2014. 
“Exhibition Review: Chicagoisms,” Architectural Record, by Zach Edelson, September 2014.
“Eisenschmidt and Mekinda Curate Architectural Chicagoisms Exhibition,” DesignBoom, July 2014.
“Across Chicago,” Architect: The Magazine of the AIA, by William Richards, June 2014.
“The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation,” Dwell, by Patrick Sisson, May 2014.
“Architectural Gems of Chicago,”  Chicago Tonight on WTTW, with Blair Kamin, May 1, 2014. (TV @ 6:26 min.)
“In Search of a New Era for Ambitious Chicago Architecture,” The Atlantic, by Mark Byrnes, May 2014.
“Cultural Highlights Around the Globe / Chicago: Chicagoisms,” in Swiss Magazine, May 2014. (print)
“Chicagoisms, a Small Gallery Stuffed with Big Architectural Ideas,” Chicago Tribune, by Blair Kamin, April, 2014. (print and online)
“Is Chicago Architecture too Enamored of its Own Past?” Chicago Reader, by Laura Pearson, April 2014. (print and online)
“5 Lessons the World Can Lean From One of History’s Most Intrepid Cities,” Huffington Post, by Kim Bellware, April 2014.
“Radical Old, Futurist New,” Fast Company, by Shaunacy Ferro, April 2014.
“Chicagoisms: More Than ‘Over by Dere’ and ‘Da Bearz,” in Chicago Architecture, by Bill Motchan, April 2014.
“Chicagoisms at Art Institute of Chicago,” Concierge Preferred, April 2014.
“Chicagoisms Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago,” in Canadian Architect / Daily News, April 2014.
“Exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago Examines the City’s Architectural Legacy and Future Potential,” Art Daily, April 2014.

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