Friday, July 18, 2014

The Ed Paschke Art Center

In the fall of 2003, I opened Gallery 180 at the corner of Lake and Wabash, for The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. I had been producing various exhibitions for the school’s exhibition space at 350 North Orleans since January of 2002 and—with the addition of a new building—a new gallery was created at street level. The mission of the new space—Gallery 180—was to expose the student body to the world of fine art… inspiring the various design programs of study.

I spent a great deal of time exploring possibilities for the inaugural exhibition of the new gallery, and finally decided on the work of Chicago’s Contemporary Master, Ed Paschke. At the time, Paschke was represented by the Maya Polsky Gallery in the River North Gallery District. Working through his gallery representative, I scheduled an appointment and soon found myself in the artist’s Rogers Park studio.

I spent a couple of hours talking with Paschke about his recent work and presented my proposal to open Gallery 180 with a show of his work. He was incredibly kind, helpful and generous in allowing me to select works for the show. As we sat in one of the side rooms of his studio, we flipped through stacks of prints that he had produced over the years. He also offered a few of the larger canvases that were in the position of the Polsky gallery.

This past Tuesday, I was re-introduced to one of these paintings when I visited the Ed Paschke Art Center. Turning a corner as I explored the center, I found myself confronted with “Papagallo” of 2002. I use the word “confronted” intentionally. Paschke’s work is just that, confrontational. It provokes the viewer to either love or hate the image… forcing the viewer to feel.

Ed Paschke, Papagallo, 2002, oil on linen, 78" x 60"

The Ed Paschke Art Center opened last month—on what would have been the artist 75th birthday [June 22]. Located at 5415 West Higgins Avenue, in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago, this newly renovated building includes 2,800 square feet of gallery space, educational space and a re-creation of Paschke’s Rogers Park studio. Next to the studio replication is a video room, which presents a half hour loop of interviews the Paschke—amazing to watch and well worth the time.

The center is filled with objects created by this modern master. I was told that the works will be changed regularly—offering a new visual experience to repeat visitors. The Center will also host the work of other area artists in a second gallery... I’ll keep you posted.

Learn more about the Ed Paschke Art Center at:

The Ed Paschke Art Center has been funded through the generous support of The Rabb Family Foundation and includes partnerships with the 3M Company, the School of the Art Institute and the Block Museum of Art.