• The Chicago Effect @ HPAC (June 28, 2014)

    Assaf Evron, 
    Untitled (series R) 
    archival inkjet print 
    1 out of 5 in series 


    Exhibition and Collaborative Experimental Program Examines the Concept of the Middle 

    Chicago—In August, Hyde Park Art Center will unveil a group exhibition that takes a seemingly 
    pedestrian topic and turns it on its head. "The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle" is an 
    exhibition and public program that engages artists and practitioners in considering conditions of 
    the middle—both conceptual and concrete. Artwork on view in “The Chicago Effect” will explore 
    permeable boundaries, liminal spaces, and in-betweens, identifying and asserting the necessity 
    of the middle as a fertile improvisational space that becomes a creative engine, and raising 
    questions about the value of a middle-man, a middle class, a moderate political position, and 
    even the middle ground between formal and material states. Using the Art Center as a model for 
    how an arts institution can occupy the space of the middle to foster intercommunity connectivity 
    and spur creative production, public programming and a printed catalogue will accompany the 
    exhibition to offer analyses of how mid-sized organizations can serve and engage audiences. 

    Co-curated by Director of Exhibitions & Residency Programs Allison Peters Quinn, Residency 
    & Special Projects Manager Megha Ralapati, and New York-based guest curator Christopher 
    K. Ho, the exhibition encourages movement away from the poles. The curators frame the 
    position of the middle as an essential condition of the creative process, selecting artwork that 
    exemplifies this idea. “The Chicago Effect” includes work by Marissa Lee Benedict, Devon 
    Dikou, Essex/Olivares, Assaf Evron, Jamie Hayes, Patrick Meager, Mike Smith, Jan Tichy, 
    and others.

    We’ve found our position in ‘the middle’ to be fertile ground for creativity and connectivity—both 
    for the Art Center as an institution and for the artists and communities we work with,” said 
    Executive Director Kate Lorenz. “We’re excited to partner with artists and organizations in ‘The 
    Chicago Effect’ to present alternate viewpoints of the middle and its benefits to the creative 
    process. The middle can be a place of uncertainty, but that’s exactly what makes it so exciting. 
    Those moments can be used to turn the middle into an incubator for radical thought.” 

    Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, Hyde Park Art Center is somewhere in the middle of its 
    history. An organization that has developed a lasting legacy over time, its institutional identity 
    has always been oriented to the new. The Art Center embraces occupying this middle ground: 
    the space of tension between past and future, the grey area of openness to what could be, the 
    place of connection between opposing elements. By being comfortable with the middle—being a 
    mid-sized institution, supporting artists at the emerging and blockbuster levels and everywhere 
    in between, straddling the line between contemporary art gallery and community center—the Art 
    Center has grown into a space of creative production that connects diverse audiences unlike 
    any other in Chicago. 

    Using the Art Center model as a laboratory, “The Chicago Effect” includes a year-long think tank 
    in which teams of academics and practitioners in diverse fields question assumptions about how 
    an art center can and should function. These projects inspired a complementary program of 
    experimental interventions, which will be presented throughout the run of the exhibition. 
    Representatives from DePaul University, IDEO, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Rhode 
    Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of 
    Chicago’s Science of Philanthropy Initiative will physically and conceptually adapt the Art 
    Center’s administration, architecture, design, and programming leading up to and during the 
    exhibition. A catalogue documenting these trials will serve as a blueprint for experimental ways 
    the art center of the future might effectively engage with and serve its community. 

    The public is invited to celebrate the “The Chicago Effect” and all the exhibitions on view at the 
    Art Center’s 75th Anniversary Block Party BBQ Bash on Saturday, September 13 from 12 – 

    About Christopher K. Ho 
    Christopher K. Ho lives and works in New York and is currently the resident curator of the 
    Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center. Recent solo exhibitions of his artwork 
    include Privileged White People at Forever & Today, Inc., New York and Lesbian Mountains in 
    Love at the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines. He has participated in the Chinese, Busan and 
    Incheon, South Korea Biennials and exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens and Queens 
    Museum of Art. His curatorial projects and artwork have been featured in, Art in 
    America, Art Papers, ArtReview, Bomb, Modern Painters, The New York Times, and TimeOut 
    New York.