The Draw of the Art DePaul Exhibits Artwork from around the Globe and Close to Home

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Draw of the Art DePaul Exhibits Artwork from around the Globe and Close to Home


Byline: Julie Merar Contributing Writer

By now most of us have figured out that our local colleges offer great lower cost deals on performances of all kinds - concerts, movies, plays and so much more.

That's why it came as no surprise to me when I heard that DePaul University has its very own art museum. What did blow me away was the caliber of the museum and the exhibits - especially when you consider the cost - it's free.

Housed in the John T. Richardson Library, the Museum is a 4,000- square-foot facility on the university's Lincoln Park campus. Staffed by museum professionals and students, it serves both students and the community at large through its permanent collections, exhibitions, programs and events.

Now you might be thinking - bad first-year art student exhibits - but you couldn't be more wrong.

Some recent presentations include paintings, sculpture, printmaking and installations by contemporary Iraqi artists; early 20th century photographs by Eugene Atget and Berenice Abbott, and Old Master prints by such artists as Durer, Cranach, Rembrandt and Goya.

The facility consists of two galleries.

One shows exhibitions that rotate every four months (approximately every semester). Though the collections, exhibitions and programs are highly diverse, they strongly represent art of the Chicago area.

"Many of its projects are historical or thematic in focus, but the gallery has a commitment to showing contemporary art as a means of exploring aspects of our own culture," the university says on its site.

Currently showing is Augustus F. Sherman's "Ellis Island Portraits 1905-1920."

A registry clerk at Ellis Island, Sherman systematically photographed prospective immigrants to the United States.

Romanian shepherds, Greek priests, Russian vegetarians, Moroccan children, often donning elaborate national dress, seem remarkably close and present in these portraits. Seventy-five images from his archive are traveling to museums in Europe and the United States.

The black-and-white images stare back at you with eyes that are brimming with tales. Some pictures are labeled with full explanations, while others leave you to concoct your own adventure.

While the presentation reflects the political and social controversies of that period, there is still a light-heartedness to it.

Sherman's exhibition is part of an "Immigration and Film" series. Featuring such films as "The Immigrant," "My Girl Tisa," "La Ciudad" and "In America," this series runs the length of the exhibit with each film falling on a different night.

The second gallery displays pieces from the university's permanent collection, which is impressive and expansive.

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