This summer, Elmhurst Art Museum appointed Staci Boris—a 13-year veteran of the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago—as its new chief curator. After much preparation, her first exhibit for EAM opened on Saturday, the realization of an idea she has been building for a long time.
“Open House: Art About Home” is an exhibition of seven artists’ notions and physical representations of home. The exhibit’s main event is the standing McCormick House, a mid-century modern home designed by famed Chicago architect Mies van der Rohe in 1952 and incorporated into EAM in the ‘90s. “One of the initiatives I’d like to do with EAM—because it contains the McCormick House—is try to create cohesion between the different elements of the institution,” Boris says. “[I’ve been] waiting to do an exhibition of home, and this was the right time. With the current economic climate, foreclosures, [we are] questioning the American Dream and what it means to be a homeowner. So it was timely.”
The McCormick House is one of only three private homes that van der Rohe designed in the U.S. About half of the home is currently open to the public and still furnished in the mid-century modern style; after exploring the various artists’ representations of home in the exhibit, museum-goers can continue into the interior of the McCormick House to see for themselves. In doing research, “I learned about the families that lived there, and I started to think of it as an actual home, not just a piece of architecture,” Boris says. “Three different families lived there, made memories, and were all very different.”
If “Open House” is any indication, Boris has big ideas to bring to EAM. As for what’s to come, “I’d like to continue EAM’s track record of supporting local regional artists,” she says. “I’d like to work with artists who, within their practice, collaborate with the public and include others in the process. We want to broaden our scope, and make more ambitious exhibitions as we go.” “Open House: Art About Home” runs January 19-April 20. Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, 630-834-0202