Legendary jazz musician John Coltrane’s album “A Love Supreme” inspired artist Norman Teague’s installation of the same name, on display at the Elmhurst Museum of Art from January 20 to April 28.
The exhibition is paired with “A Love Supreme: McCormick House Reimagined,” an installation in the adjacent Mies van der Rohe house that features works by 35 BIPOC artists.
The McCormick House exhibition is curated by Teague and Rose Camara, the Chipstone Foundation’s Charles Hummel Curatorial Fellow. Working hours are Wednesday-Thursday noon-5pm and Friday-Sunday 11am-5pm.
Teague said Coltrane’s music inspired him because of its “soothingness, melody, and strangeness.” As much as I love John Coltrane, I also love the rest of the band. “There is a sense of community that comes with listening to jazz music.”
The artist stated that he started seriously planning the installation in November, but that he had been dreaming of such a show for years. This includes the related installation “McCormick House Reimagined,” which he imagined as part of a traveling exhibition.
“It’s like taking a band on the road and showcasing the great work of artists and increasing the number of artists as they travel,” Teague said.
Teague’s installation features approximately 20 pieces in four galleries; Alongside the existing works there are also some new pieces created for the installation. The porcelain includes sculptures made from ash wood, African mahogany, and poplar from Chicago. He employs a wide range of techniques, including designed objects and sculptures, as well as mixed media pieces cast from used instruments.
Teague began the McCormick House exhibition with a list of 100 artists, choosing 35 of them to participate.
“I thought about his age, I thought about the type of work they did with the idea of furnishing a house,” Teague said. “There were some ideas around domesticity, but there were also a lot of musical influences, with jazz being a part of it. These are people I know really well or want to know well. I appreciate their work.”
There were no requirements for the works submitted by the selected artists. “I didn’t want them to do anything new,” Teague explained. “I was very happy with what they did.”
Artists chose the work they wanted to present. The only requirement was that they add a song to their work.
He asked each of them: “What is your background music when you are alone in your studio and lost in thought, or when you are alone working on that piece of clay, that piece of wood, or working on that painting? It’s about Teague.
Works by BIPOC artists include furniture, ceramics, paintings, photography, and more.
“This is my first time curating an exhibition and it has been a really fun process,” Camara said. “The Chipstone Foundation truly values collaboration opportunities.”
Since Teague had already come up with the concept for the installation at McCormick House, Camara’s function was to create the written portions of the exhibition.
“When you enter the exhibition, we wanted it to have a more homely feel, rather than seeing museum signs and labels on the wall,” Camara said. “Guests will be given the opportunity to look at a handout, and the handout will include all curatorial content.”
This includes a description of what the show is about and each artist’s description of their work.
Camara also worked with Teague to determine the layout of the installation based on images of the work.
“I think McCormick House is complementary to Norman’s exhibition because the house not only looks at the musical influences of some of these artists, but also goes into broader themes of how the movement influenced the work of artists, specifically talking about issues such as migration, emigration and emigration as a the physical movement of the artist’s hands.”
‘A Great Love’ and ‘A Great Love: The McCormick House Redesigned’
When: January 20-28 April
Where: Elmhurst Museum of Art, 150 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst
Tickets: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for students 18 and over, $5 for ages 5-17
Information: 630-834-0202; elmhurstartmuseum.org
Myrna Petlicki is a freelance reporter for the Pioneer Press.