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Art of the School Institute

If you’re ever bored at the Chicago Art Institute, you’re probably walking around with your eyes closed. I visit the museum at least twice a month (it’s down the street from work). Predictably, I usually visit Joseph Cornell’s boxes on the third floor of the new(ish) wing. Frankly, I don’t really like what they’ve done with the pieces. The room is kept dim to protect the boxes from harsh light and they sit behind the glass of, ironically, a large display case, arranged a little too carefully and distantly. I miss the old “Aviary” set-up. This time I just wanted to wander through the museum. I was feeling cooped up at the office, so a brisk walk through the new wing seemed like a fine idea.

Happy occurrence, the museum was showing a Chicago printmakers exhibit, and they happened to be displaying H.C. Westermann’s set of lithographs “See America First.” What a madman. Westermann was  a sailor (as I recollect) but also an acrobat (hence the Iggy Pop physique). Later on he got into wood sculpture and printmaking, letting his mind run wild. He presaged punk cartoonists like Gary Panter by decades. The man had no fear. and had a sense of humor to boot.

This particularly impressed me. Westermann and his uncle designed boxes to hold the portfolio of “See America First” lithographs. Read the exlanation of the design below.

Elsewhere in the exhibit, a few selections from the Hairy Who Collective. Nifty galifty.