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The prolific art patron and collector Beth Rudin DeWoody is indelibly affiliated with Florida, where she spends much of her time and where, in 2017, she founded the Bunker Artspace in West Palm Beach to show off a sliver of the more than 10,000 pieces in her collection. But a significant share of that collection has its origins, one way or another, in Chicago. A new exhibition at the Peninsula Chicago hotel, Neo Chicago (14 April-31 May), highlights artists who were born in the city, studied there or live there, and especially whose work DeWoody bought from galleries based there.
“This is about the Chicago galleries and Beth’s support through showing acquisitions that she has made from these galleries for 20 years-plus,” says Laura Dvorkin, who is curating the exhibition with Maynard Monrow, her co-curator at the Bunker. “This has been happening for decades now, with galleries that have been there and have been showing world-renowned work. They take major chances in showing these artists before the acclaim.”
The exhibition will include works by long-time Chicagoans like McArthur Binion and Omar Velázquez, celebrated School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumni like Angel Otero, and many artists who show or have shown with Chicago galleries, from Adam Pendleton (who had one of his first solo exhibitions at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in 2005) to Clotilde Jiménez—who has now had three solo exhibitions with the Chicago dealer Mariane Ibrahim.
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The exhibition also includes a 2017 painting by Amy Sherald, who famously painted possibly the most beloved Chicagoan of this century, Michelle Obama, and had shows with Monique Meloche before being picked up by Hauser & Wirth. “Our idea is that even if the artist is not Chicago-based, their gallery is and the artist has made their mark in some way on Chicago,” Dvorkin says.
Neo Chicago follows a 2016 exhibition of works by Chicago-based artists from DeWoody’s collection at the Peninsula. That exhibition was titled Whoville in homage to the Hairy Who, the group of Chicago-based artists influenced by a shared, comics-inflected aesthetic who emerged in the 1960s. Both shows reflect DeWoody’s goal for works from her collection to be shown far and wide.
“We have about 200 pieces out on loan right now,” Monrow says. “The collection takes on the ideal that art wilts in the crate and thrives on the wall. It does no good for the work to be in crates and it does such good for it to be out in the world.”
- Neo Chicago, 14 April-31 May, Peninsula Chicago hotel