Artists Find Home in Chicago’s Innovative Art World

Some of my great friends and favorite artists are featured in an article by Harper’s Bazaar about Chicago’s transformative art scene. Chicago is widely known as a “laboratory for architectural innovation and experimentation” for its architecture and art. Living in the city, it’s clear that its unparalleled designs translate to various unique projects, artwork, and influences. Harper’s Bazaar takes us into the creative minds of Chicago’s artists, gallerists, curators, community builders, and beyond.

The feature analyzes how Chicago became an art-world capital without falling victim to cliches. Many of the incredible people mentioned are my personal friends or colleagues from whom I have procured artwork for the Clark Collection. Working in construction, I highly value the “Art and Science of Building,” and our team collaborates with local artists to incorporate community values in every development and form deeper connections between residents and the spaces we create for them to enjoy.

My friend and gallerist, Mariane Ibrahim, showcases prominent international artists of the African diaspora through the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery. Ibrahim moved her shop to Chicago from Seattle after realizing that the narratives and ideas around race, movement, identity, and creative expression she wanted to highlight in her shows were closely connected to the city’s history and culture.

Revolutionary artist and my great friend, Theaster Gates, has also made waves in the art scene. Through his multimedia projects, installations, and performance art, Gates confronts issues of social justice, racial inequality, and poverty in the United States. I witnessed his creativity while working on the Arts Incubator project, and it can also be seen through his first major American museum survey, “Young Lords and Their Traces,” and much more.

Director of the Museum at the Obama Presidential Center, Louise Bernard, noted how this development, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, aims to build on the great legacy of our nation’s first African American President and the First Lady. Clayco had the honor of being a part of this project from the start. The center will extend beyond its new home in Jackson Park to inspire many across our city, country, and the world.

Candida Alvarez is well-known for her bold and colorful creations, which was one of the concepts that drew me to purchase one of her pieces for the Clark Collection. The painting titled “No Chickens” is particularly special because we added it while it was still being made. The goal of Alvarez’s work is to “expand the hybrid space of painting while maintaining a crucial connection to daily life.”

These creative innovators call Chicago home because of their connection to its culture, history, and immense artistic value and potential. Art is a compelling medium that evokes strong emotions and can relay messages from protest to peace and everything in between, which is one of the reasons I began collecting years ago. Collecting art from rising artists supports and advances their careers and is a perfect way to invest in the local community – something each of these fantastic members of the art world makes a possibility.

Read more about outstanding artists in Chicago here.

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