The ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Arts
May 7th – August 27th
Chicago has been known as one of the world’s premier architectural and design capitals for some time now. Thanks to forward thinking designers such as Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Alfonso Iannelli (just to name a few), Chicago boasts an abundance of public art that ranges from art deco skyscrapers to large-scale, abstract garden sculptures. But what we end up seeing on the street and in the park is merely just the byproduct of a larger creative process…a process that we as the public rarely get to see. That’s where the ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Art comes in.
The ArchiTech Gallery is one of many art galleries located in the River North neighborhood, but is really the only one of its kind in the city. David Jameson, owner/collector, has painstakingly assembled a unique collection of rare prints, drawings, plans, and concept models created by some of the greatest modern architects and designers the city, and the country, has ever seen. Sketches, daybooks, and various “doodles”, make up a collection of art that allows us to see that special moment when the artist had an idea. The same idea that could have very well changed the skyline of the city, the brand of a famous department store, or a failure that would never see the light of day.
Currently, The ArchiTech Gallery is exhibiting a special group of sketches and drawings from Iannelli disciple Edgar Miller. Miller, who was famous for his intricate Chicago home designs, apprenticed at Iannelli’s design firm in the 1920’s. During that time Miller was called upon to design concepts for a variety of ads, logos, and product packaging for the Marshall Fields department store. As-is, these pieces are wonderful representations of “roaring 20’s” design, but taking into account the iconic reputation of Fields, they’re pieces of Chicago history as well.
Store For Men (c. 1920’s), reduced to an almost photographic blue and black color, give the impression that there’s a simple grace in upper crust men’s couture, while the packaging design for B&B Toothpaste (c. 1920’s) embellishes the decadence and frivolity of 18th century Europe.
The exhibit itself is quite small, but it is one that will evolve, as Jameson has a reserve of other pieces from this collection that have yet to be framed. There is also a wall of interesting works by Iannelli, that compliment the Miller exhibit, or vice versa.
Don’t worry about asking questions at this gallery. Jameson looks forward to educating each patron, as long as they have the interest in learning. If you’re in the neighborhood I encourage you to stop in and soak up the knowledge of such a gracious and well informed host.
John B. Reinhardt
The ArchiTech Gallery of Architectural Arts / 730 N. Franklin St. Chicago, IL 60654/ running thru May 7th– August 27th, 2011/ free/Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Noon to 5pm