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“Art isn't a mirror, but a window or lens for criticism, provoking sociocultural change within external and internal development.”


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Not Just 
Pretty Face /V/

Hyde Park Art Center unveils deeply personal commissioned artworks in fifth Not Just Another Pretty Face® exhibition.

Patrons to see commissions revealed for first time at The Unveiling event on December 14 2013

Chicago, IL (October 2013) —Hyde Park Art Center is pleased to present over 70 unique and personal works of art created through its signature collaborative commissioning project, Not Just Another Pretty Face. This year marks the fifth installment of this dynamic program, which has been replicated in five cities across the nation. Through Not Just Another Pretty Face, the Art Center plays matchmaker between artists and the public, facilitating a fun, accessible commissioning process that builds lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creates a new base of patronage for artists, and invests in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community. Project commissions range from in the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, and have raised over $400,000 to date—half of which goes directly into the hands of artists, with the other half going to support Art Center programs. The project culminates in an unveiling event on December 14, where patrons see their commissioned works for the first time.

A truly distinctive event in the art world, The Unveiling presents a hushed gallery filled with the thrumming energy of anticipation, where the commissioned pieces are concealed beneath sheets of muslin. At the chime of a bell, the coverings are thrown off, seemingly conducting a crescendo of voices excitedly exclaiming over the revealed artworks. The Unveiling kicks off an exhibition, which is accompanied by a catalogue documenting the works as well as artists’ and patrons’ experiences. The exhibition will be on view from December 15, 2013 to March 30, 2014 in Gallery 1, Gallery 2, the Cleve Carney Gallery, and the lobby at Hyde Park Art Center.

Stories of unique collaborations between artist-patron pairs united through Not Just Another Pretty Face abound. One example is emerging artist of color Tony Lewis being commissioned by prolific collector Deone Jackman—known for her keen eye and ability to spot rising talent—who first noticed Lewis’ work when it was featured in the Art Center’s 2012 Ground Floor exhibition, a biennial group show highlighting some of the most promising young Chicago artists recently graduated from the city’s MFA programs. Other intriguing pairs include the commissioning of artist Conrad Freiburg, formerly a Resident Artist at the Art Center, by composer Lisa Kaplan, who was interested in a custom work of art being designed around her music; and the commissioning of emerging artist of color Kenrick McFarlane by Amanda Williams, herself an artist of color who has been commissioned through Not Just Another Pretty Face in the past, and who this summer matriculated through The Center Program, the Art Center’s artist professional development program. Williams is playing the patron role in Not Just Another Pretty Face for the first time this year, shifting her engagement in the project because she noticed Macfarlane’s work and felt that it deserved recognition and support.

Meanwhile, these emerging and mid-career artists are shown in an exhibition and included in a catalogue alongside the likes of artists Jessica Stockholder, Judy Ledgerwood, and Terry Evans, and get their work in front of collectors and gallerists at the level of patrons like Deone Jackman, Richard Wright and Valerie Carberry, and Janis Kanter and Thomas McKormick. This kind of exposure represents a tremendous value for these artists beyond just the financial boon of money in their pocket through a commission facilitated by the project. In this way, Not Just Another Pretty Face enables Hyde Park Art Center to activate local collectors to invest in their city’s artists directly; encourage a new and diverse group of people to think of themselves as supporters and patrons of contemporary art; and build lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creating a new base of patronage for artists and investing in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

The Not Just Another Pretty Face exhibition includes work by Candida Alvarez, Rahmaan K. Barnes, Hebru Brantley, Dawn Brennan, Corinna Button, Gillion Carrara, Pearl Dick, Lessie Venardo Dixon, Aaron Downs, Terry Evans, Douglas R. Ewart, Theodore Feaster, Lora Fosberg, Conrad Freiburg, Amanda Gentry, Peter Gray, Jennifer Greenberg, Juarez Hawkins, John Himmelfarb, Cody Hudson, Candace Hunter, Julie Renee Jones, Jackie Kazarian, Anna Kunz, Tulika Ladsariya, Kirsten Leenaars, Judy Ledgerwood, Tony Lewis, Julius Lyles, Faheem Majeed, Kenrick McFarlane, Adelheid Mers, Iain Muirhead, Sarah Nishiura, Melissa Ann Pinney, Otis Richardson, Darrell Roberts, David Schalliol, Sheri Stewart, Jessica Stockholder, Garland Taylor, Bill Talsma, Lowell Thompson, Mel Watkin, Marvin Wells, Rhonda Wheatley, Bernard Williams, Shyvette Williams, Scott Wolniak, Mark Yee, and Rebecca Zemans.

Not Just Another Pretty Face will be on view from December 15, 2013 to March 30, 2014 at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60615; 773.324.5520 and www.hydeparkart.org. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public.

Hyde Park Art Center is a unique resource that advances contemporary visual art in Chicago by connecting artists and communities in unexpected ways. As an open forum for exploring the artistic process, the Art Center fosters creativity through making, learning about, seeing, and discussing art—all under one roof.

The Art Center is funded in part by: the Alphawood Foundation; Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts; a City Arts III grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Field Foundation of Illinois; Harper Court Arts Council; Harpo Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Irving Harris Foundation; Joyce Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; National Endowment for the Arts; Polk Bros. Foundation; Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust; and the generosity of its members and people like you. The Hyde Park Art Center does not discriminate against any person for reason of race, gender, age, place of national origin, handicap, religious conviction, marital status, veteran status or sexual preference.