Exhibits

“Library Adventures in a Digital Age,” a history of medicine pop-up display

Library Adventures in a Digital Age

Join Dr. Mindy Schwartz, Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director for Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, in the Special Collections Research Center for a special pop-up display of rare medical history collections.

Library Adventures in a Digital Age:
Chicago Connections
Friday, October 26, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center
Regenstein Library, 1st floor

View a selection of books and objects from our collections that enhance our understanding of the history of science and medicine, and learn how they can be used for research and teaching. A resource guide will be available.

For more information about the event, contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption

How have protesters in Chicago occupied space with their bodies, voices, and possessions? What do their strategies reveal about a protest’s purpose and message?

A large group of people with signs protesting

Strikers and sympathizers gather at Republic Steel rally, Chicago, Illinois, June 2, 1937. Source: Chicago History Museum.

Explore fifteen case studies of protest in Chicago spanning nearly 150 years of the city’s history in the Chicago Collections Consortium’s new digital exhibit, Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption, curated by Rachel Boyle, PhD.

From a makeshift bomb hurled into a crowd of police officers and laborers in Haymarket Square to a city-wide boycott of Chicago Public Schools in protest of continued segregation, the exhibit tells the stories of dissent among labor, civil rights, and antiwar protesters through archival images, documents, and oral histories curated from libraries and cultural institutions around Chicago. The interactive exhibit encourages navigation though a timeline of events as well as an interactive map that reveals how local declarations uniquely expressed national tensions and the ways in which memories of protest shape Chicagoans’ responses to urban conflict.

The University of Chicago Library contributed scans of items in its ACT UP Chicago collection to the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 1991 page of the web exhibit, which explores the ways the LGBTQ community asserted its needs outside a convention of medical professionals.

Protesters at Chicago HIlton and Towers, 1991

Nightlines Weekly, July 3, 1991. Source: ACT UP Chicago Records 1969 – 1996, University of Chicago.

About Chicago Collections and the University of Chicago Library

Chicago Collections is a consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions with archives that collaborate to preserve and share the history and culture of the Chicago region.  The University of Chicago is a governing member of the consortium, and the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center has contributed 356 archival finding aids describing collections that document Chicago urban history and 1078 digital images from its collections that depict Chicago urban settings and events in the city.

Censorship and Information Control

Censorship and Information Control: A Global History from the Inquisition to the Internet

The cover of the "Complete Unabridged" edition of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" with the title and author's name blacked out

In 2002 Penguin released this commemorative edition of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” with the title and Orwell’s name blacked out as if censored, as a tribute to the book’s unique contributions to discourse about censorship. George Orwell. “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” New York: Penguin, 2002. On loan from Ada Palmer.

Exhibition Dates: September 17 – December 14, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Associated website: voices.uchicago.edu/censorship

Why do people censor? For ambition? Religion? Profit? Power? Fear? This global history of attempts to control or silence information, from antiquity’s earliest written records to our new digital world, examines how censorship has worked, thrived, or failed in different times and places, and shows how real censorship movements tend to be very different from the centralized, methodical, top-down censorship depicted in Orwell’s 1984, which so dominates how we imagine censorship today. From indexes of forbidden books, to manuscripts with passages inked out by Church Inquisitors, to comics and pornography, to self-censorship and the subtle censorship of manipulating translations or teaching biased histories, the banned and challenged materials in this exhibit will challenge you to answer: how do you define what is and isn’t censorship?

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Curator

Ada Palmer, Associate Professor History, The University of Chicago

Ada Palmer is a historian and novelist, who works on transmission of radical ideas in hostile intellectual environments. She specializes in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but also looks from antiquity to modernity for patterns in the ways societies respond to unwelcome ideas.  Her publications include work on Lucretius and atomism in the Renaissance, on revivals of Platonism, Pythagoreanism, stoicism, and heterodox ideas about the soul and afterlife, and censorship of comic books in Japan after World War II.  She is also the author of the science fiction series Terra Ignota, which imagines censorship’s evolution into the 25th century.

Related Events

A public dialogue series brings together scholars of print revolutions past and present with practitioners working on the frontiers of today’s information revolution.  Eight dialogues will unite historians, editors, novelists, poets, and activists, and will be filmed and shared online, to let the public enjoy and continue the discussions.

Sessions are open to the public, and will take place Fridays from 1:30 to 4:20 pm on the University of Chicago Campus, in Kent Room 107, on October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, and 30.

Visit voices.uchicago.edu/censorship/dialogueseries/ for more information.

 

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download to members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

War, Trauma, Memory

Soldier in front of flag on cover of the Anzac Book

Cover, The Anzac Book. 1916. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Dates: April 30 – August 31, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

It seems an understatement to note that war is traumatic to those who experience it in any way, shape or form. The pieces in this exhibition reflect their creators’ experiences in wars from the 16th century through the present day. Each was published or made public by their creators; by that action the creator invites us into the captured moment. We see, not a moment of trauma itself but a time after that moment, whether that be seconds or years. In this exhibition, the trauma of war is represented by that very absence of trauma, through the experience creators share with viewers, listeners or readers.

Here, photographs by soldiers or journalists at the scene share space with expressions of the effect of war created at a greater remove. Events are recounted at a personal, intimate level as in portraits of families or on a grand scale: the destruction of Dresden. Over time, images retain their power but may no longer serve the purpose for which they were made. For example, some of the items were created to be propaganda and here are displayed as art or as a curiosity. At times an overt intent of the creator or bias of the image is evident, and at others we need to remind ourselves that creators may have emotions hidden even from themselves. With images of war, in particular, the observer’s relationships to the conflict will affect the ways in which the object is understood. How many recall the stakes of the 30 Years War?

Drawing of soldiers

Jean Louis Forain. Le Poilu psychologue, [1918]. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Anchoring the exhibition is Francisco Goya’s Los desastres de la guerra, a book of prints etched in the early 19th century, left unpublished until 1863 for fear of censorship. The suite of plates Goya created in response to suffering he witnessed during the Napoleonic wars is considered to contain the first eyewitness images of war reporting. The book is opened to Plate 44 “Yo lo vi” (I saw it).

Indeed “Yo lo vi”: the images, sculpture, poetry, and music here are haunted by the very absence of violence and the persistence of memory.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Yo lo vi

Francisco Goya. Plate 44, “Yo lo vi,” Los desastres de la guerra, 1893. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Related Event

In the Wake of the Bombs: Germany, 1945

May 14, 5 p.m.
Regenstein Library, Room 122

Professor Françoise Meltzer will speak about the book she is currently completing on the bombing of Germany in World War II: Through a Lens, Darkly. The talk is based on a series of photographs of the ruins taken by her mother in 1945.

Meltzer is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Professor in the Divinity School and the College, and Chair of Comparative Literature.

Cost: Free

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Science and Conscience: Chicago’s Met Lab and the Manhattan Project

Reunion of atomic scientists on the 4th Anniversary (1946) of the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction, December 2, 1942, pictured in front of Bernard A. Eckhart Hall at the University of Chicago. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf3-00232, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Dates: February 19 – April 13, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

On December 2, 1942, scientists at the University of Chicago produced the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction beneath the West Stand of Stagg Field, the University’s athletic stadium. This experiment, crucial to the control of nuclear fission, drove a rapid nationwide expansion of the Manhattan Project, the secret federal research and engineering program charged with producing a nuclear bomb.

Chicago’s role in the Manhattan Project did not end with the successful operation the first nuclear reactor.  Buildings across the University of Chicago campus were converted for use by the code-named Metallurgical Laboratory.  The Met Lab conducted extended research on the structure of uranium, developed the process for separating plutonium from uranium, and investigated nuclear radiation’s biological effects and safety issues.  At the end of World War II, the Metallurgical Laboratory was transformed into the first United States federal laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory.

Chicago’s Met Lab also took the lead in organizing scientists’ political response to the devastation caused by atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Concerned about the future development and use of nuclear weapons, Met Lab veterans created the Atomic Scientists of Chicago and began publishing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  They joined scientists from other Manhattan Project sites across the country and pressed successfully in 1946 for the passage of the Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) and creation of the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.

The Met Lab scientists achieved great technical success in their contribution to the creation of a powerful new military weapon.  Yet the sobering consequences of their work moved them to enter the political arena and make the first critical arguments to control nuclear weapons and turn nuclear energy toward peaceful ends.

Based on archives and manuscripts in the Special Collections Research Center, Science and Conscience presents unique historical documents and artifacts, many not previously exhibited.  Items on display are drawn from records of scientists’ organizations and the papers of those who worked on the Manhattan Project and at Chicago’s Met Lab, including Enrico Fermi, James Franck, Herbert L. Anderson, Samuel K. Allison, Samuel Schwartz, Francis W. Test, Lawrence Lanzl, John H. Balderston, Jr., Albert Wattenberg, Eugene Rabinowitch,  Paul Henshaw, William B. Higinbotham, and Donald MacRae, among others.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago

The Red Press exhibition has been extended.
Exhibition Dates: September 25, 2017 – February 2, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Socialist Revolution poster

“Long Live the Worldwide Socialist Revolution,” undated. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Samuel N. Harper, the first American scholar to have devoted a career to the study of Russia, was a first-hand witness to Russia’s revolutions of 1905 and 1917. An avid collector, over four decades, Harper built a unique archive that provides a street-level view of many of the historic events of the period. Broadsides, handbills and pamphlets attest to a long war of ideas—and to a decisive battle for explanatory power in the months leading up to the Revolution.

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the exhibition also draws from other archives in Special Collections, including materials documenting the development of revolutionary print culture in the USSR, the spread of revolutionary ideas and methods from Russia to the Far East and to the streets of Chicago, and anti-revolutionary texts such as the fraudulent, anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Together they allow us to trace visual genealogies from the political satire of the post-1905 period to the mortal derision of Stalinist propaganda in the 1930s and the HUAC hearings of the 1950s.

Curators (from University of Chicago unless otherwise indicated): Robert Bird, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies; Christy Brandly, Ph.D. student in Political Science; Monica Felix, graduate student in Comparative Literature; Erin Hagood, student in the College; Austin Jung, Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature; Zachary King, Ph.D. student in Russian Literature; Zdenko Mandusic, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University; William Nickell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Claire Roosien, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Department of History; and Kaitlyn Tucker, PhD student in Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Related Events

Socialist poster

“Here and There and Everywhere We’re Building Socialism!,” 1930. Dr. Harry Bakwin and Dr. Ruth Morris Bakwin Soviet Posters Collection, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition: Revolution Every Day
September 14, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60637

Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this exhibition immerses visitors in the distinct textures and speeds of everyday life that arose—and have lingered stubbornly—in the wake of revolutionary upheaval. Revolution Every Day juxtaposes works of Soviet graphic art—primarily posters from the 1920s and 1930s, many by female artists such as Valentina Kulagina—with works on video and film, including excerpts from Dziga Vertov’s documentary films from the 1930s, post-Soviet videos by artists like Olga Chernysheva, as well as a new commission by Cauleen Smith.

Humanities Day—Guided Tour of Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago
October 21, 12–1 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Trace the worldwide spread of revolutionary and anti-revolutionary media and ideas through rare printed sources. Professor and co-curator William Nickel leads a tour of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 as it was waged through broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals, and posters.

Registration: This tour is full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please email humanities@uchicago.edu.

Revolutionology Workshop: The Bolshevik Contagion
November 3–4
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

Presenters at this two-day workshop, the first in a series sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium research project Revolutionology: Media and Networks of Intellectual Revolution, will focus on key texts and images emerging directly from the revolutionary struggle in Russia and the early Soviet Union.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Art in the Stacks: Selections from Special Collections

Exhibition Dates: June 19–September 15, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Installation view: In the foreground: Edouard Benedictus’s “Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches,” [1928?]. In the background: Henri Matisse’s “Jazz,” 1947. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Special Collections Research Center is known for being the University of Chicago Library’s center for rare books, manuscripts, and university archives. Nestled within these materials, there is a lesser known aspect of our collections—art. Art in the Stacks highlights these holdings with a selection of original paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in addition to artists’ books and other works on paper produced in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Stephen Longstreet’s collages

Installation view of Stephen Longstreet’s collages. Stephen Longstreet Collection. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Among the featured items are Picasso etchings, selections from Matisse’s Jazz book, pen and ink drawings by  Harold Haydon (PhB’30, AM’31), Professor Emeritus in Art, University of Chicago, and a bronze sculpture by Ruth Vollmer.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Tensions in Renaissance Cities

Exhibition dates: March 27 – June 9, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Cicero. Philosophical treatises

Cicero. Philosophical treatises, ca. 1400. Ms. 956. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Venice, Florence, Rome, Mexico City, Geneva, London: the rapidly transforming cities of the Renaissance used art and literature to express their growing power, and growing pains. In the centuries of recovery after the Black Death, wealth, trade, and technology accelerated exponentially. Urban centers existed in a web of interdependence, in which the borders of fluctuating kingdoms were overlaid by geographies of mercantile connections, and information networks whose influence exploded with the arrival of the printing press. This new invention let news of new discoveries or disasters sweep through Europe in weeks, rather than years.

Moving geographically, this exhibit charts the interconnected tensions of great capitals from Venice to Mexico City. As Venice looked both eastward towards Islamic cultures of the Mediterranean and inward toward the microcosmic tensions of diversifying populations, Mexico City grappled with cultural and religious clashes between native Mesoamerican and imported European traditions. Florence and Rome looked backward toward the golden dream of antiquity and upward into a celestial geography. Magic, science, humanism and theology each played a role in filling in the blanks in current knowledge of the world and the universe. Concurrently, Geneva saw conflict in shifts from Latin to the vernacular and changing Calvinist and Catholic devotional practices, and London sought to establish itself as a major intellectual center that was both in dialogue with and distinct from continental centers.

Arch of Titus

“Arch of Titus.” Etching and engraving. Cavalieri, Giovanni Battista de’ Dosio, Giovanni Antonio, engraver [1569]. From the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The treasures presented in this exhibit from the Special Collections Research Center and Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago offer a look into the Renaissance not as a single, coherent cultural movement, but rather a set of many simultaneous and often contradictory developments across scholarship, politics, and religion. Many of the cultural, political, and religious tensions experienced during this period are just as relevant today. In an effort to create a neat narrative, the history of a period can be cleaned up too much. By examining the nuances and complexities of the early modern past, this exhibition hopes to shed light on just how messy history can be in both the past and the present.

Curators:  Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago; Hilary Barker, PhD student, Department of Art History, The University of Chicago; Margo Weitzman, MAPH’15, The University of Chicago

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Related Events

Curator’s Open House for the Renaissance Society of America Conference

March 29, 2017, 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Curators Ada Palmer, Hilary Barker, and Margo Weitzman will be on hand to discuss and give tours of the exhibition Tensions in Renaissance Cities.

Free and open to the public.  Those attending the Renaissance Society of America Conference can sign up for transportation on the conference events page.

Library Society Lecture and Exhibition Viewing

May 10, 2017 – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery and Room 122, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Lecture by Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book

Exhibition: Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945
Dates
: January 17 – March 17, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Die Schastrommel

“Die Schastrommel” no. 9. Bolzano: Österreichische Exilregierung. 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Following the Second World War and with increasing intensity in the 1960s and 1970s, artists working throughout Western Europe explored new media and techniques, engaging in participatory and performative practices that tested the limits of language, representation, and action. Across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and beyond, friendships formed amongst artists concerned with generating new avenues of access to their artistic aims, often realized in the form of public group events, as well as collaborative publications like art journals, inexpensive multiples, and artists’ books, all of which could be widely circulated and enjoyed independently of fine art institutions.

Drawing on the remarkable collection of rare artists’ books housed in the University of Chicago Library, Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book considers how the artist’s book emerged as a significant preoccupation in this milieu. The exhibition establishes links between artists affiliated with the reduced forms and focused design quality of concrete poetry and artists whose unruly, often messy materials and actions defined performance art. For all of these artists, books afforded sites for experimentation with visual and tactile experience, and the activity of “reading.”

Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007). "Hier und jetzt." Köln: König, 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007). “Hier und jetzt.” Köln: König, 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Referring to the way that language takes up space on the page, arrests the eyes, and requires perceptual interaction, works of concrete poetry test the graphical display of language, focusing on the material quality of letters and words. Concrete poetry often required that books take on unusual forms, such as the sequential unbound pages of Gerhard Rühm’s bewegung (1964) and Hansjörg Mayer’s fold-out book typoaktionen (1967), which reinvents the alphabet for tactile encounter. Artists’ books activate the process of reading, inviting the reader to play with and participate in how language and form produce meaning, as in André Thomkins’ “polyglot machine” Dogmat Mot (1965).

At the same time, artists’ books tend to deemphasize reading as a technique for understanding, foregrounding instead tactility, physicality, and materiality, as exemplified in the die-cut multi-colored laminate pages of Dieter Roth’s Bilderbuch (1957/1976). Indeed, Wolf Vostell’s 20-pound Betonbuch (1971), which encases in actual concrete his own book of sardonic proposals “to concretify” cities, furniture, and even clouds, may be read as a definitive if not paradoxical example of an artist’s book: unreadable in any conventional sense, it provokes and at the same time frustrates interaction.

Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago and UChicago Arts logos

In tandem with the year-long UChicago Arts Program Concrete Happenings devoted to Vostell, this exhibition aims to showcase artists’ books that intersect with and depart from the ambitions of concrete poetry and Fluxus.

Presented by the University of Chicago Library, with additional support generously provided by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago, UChicago Arts, and individual donors.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Related Events

Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945 is part of Concrete Happenings at the University of Chicago, a collaborative series of public exhibitions, screenings, symposia, and other programs that mark the return of Wolf Vostell’s colossal Concrete Traffic (1970) to public view following a major conservation effort. Concurrent exhibitions at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and Smart Museum of Art delve into other aspects of the Fluxus movement and Vostell’s work.  Among the programs on offer are Reading Fluxus Films and a two-part Concrete Poetry Workshop. Learn more about all of these projects at arts.uchicago.edu/concretehappenings.

First Week Events at the Library

Library Society Winter Reception for Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5 p.m. exhibit viewing, 5:45 p.m. lecture and soundscape, 6:45 p.m. reception
The Joseph Regenstein Library (1100 E. 57th Street, Room 122)

Join the University of Chicago Library Society to celebrate the Special Collections Research Center exhibition Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945. Following an exhibition viewing, Christine Mehring, Chair and Professor of the Department of Art History, will present a lecture on highlights of the exhibition. A “Soundscape” inspired by select scores from items in the exhibition will be performed in collaboration with the Department of Music. A wine and cheese reception will follow the lecture and performance.

Free, but space is limited. Registration is required in advance at http://bit.ly/2gyeaEE. Free valet parking will be available in front of the Regenstein Library as of 4:30pm.

Presented by the University of Chicago Library Society.

Instructions for a Chicago Fluxus Opening

Sunday, January 22, 2017, 3–6 p.m.
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (5701 South Woodlawn Avenue), Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library (1100 East 57th Street), and Smart Museum of Art (5550 South Greenwood Avenue)

A set of “instructions”—inspired by participatory Happenings orchestrated by Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell—will guide you across the University of Chicago campus during this opening celebration for three related exhibitions: Fantastic Architecture (Neubauer Collegium), Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book (Special Collections Research Center), and Vostell Concrete (Smart Museum). Enjoy a variety of free programs, food, and drinks at the three locations. A free shuttle will run between locations, but please bring your own thermometer.

Free, open to all.

Presented by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library, and Smart Museum of Art.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Alma and Donald Lach’s legacies continue in Special Collections

Alma Lach Test Kitchen

Alma Lach, photograph, ca.1980, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The late Alma S. (1914-2013) and Donald F. Lach (1917-2000) were a notable Hyde Park–University of Chicago team. The couple hosted countless dinner parties, beautifully prepared by Alma, EX’38, a great chef, author, and food consultant of her time, and their home was often a gathering place for the esteemed Professor Donald Lach’s students of history.

As a culinary arts leader and a groundbreaking historian, Alma and Donald reached worldwide audiences. Thanks to the generosity of their daughter Sandra Lach Arlinghaus and her husband William C. Arlinghaus, the legacies of both Donald and Alma continue to benefit UChicago’s students and faculty, as well as scholars around the globe. The Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library has been the proud home of the Donald F. Lach Papers since 1995 and recently received the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library from Sandra and William.

Hows and Whys of French Cooking

Alma Lach. Hows and Whys of French Cooking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma Lach’s Kitchen: Transforming Taste, the current Special Collections Research Center exhibition, displays items from Alma’s rich archive through January 6, 2017.  Alma blazed a path for herself in the culinary world. One of the first Americans to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she earned her Grand Diplôme in 1956. Upon her return to Chicago, Alma secured a position at the Chicago Sun-Times as the Food Editor, writing a weekly column on gourmet cookery until 1965. In 1955 she hosted a public television show for children, Let’s Cook. This was one of the earliest cooking shows of any kind on TV, and Alma was one of the earliest chefs to appear before the camera for a regularly broadcasted show. In 1965 Alma launched her own cooking school and was a very popular teacher; she also served as a food consultant for airlines and food companies, such as Lettuce Entertain You, and invented the Curly Dog Cutting Board. Perhaps most notably, in 1974, Alma wrote Hows and Whys of French Cooking (originally published as Cooking à la Cordon Bleu), a best seller that incorporated her knowledge of French cooking and cuisine.

Curly-Dog Cutting Board

Curly-Dog Cutting Board label, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma emerged as an important figure in the transformation of American cuisine in the latter half of the 20th century, moving American palates and kitchens away from basic, conventional cooking  to embrace new flavors, combinations, ingredients, and techniques not only from France but from around the world. She was intrigued by international cuisines as well as the accompanying social aspects. Her culinary book collection contains volumes about ethnic cuisines, including Hungarian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Hispanic, and Indian. Some of these cookbooks, as well as selections from her papers, are on display in the exhibition.

Sandra Arlinghaus considers the Special Collections Research Center an excellent home for the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library for several reasons. “Mom’s entire culinary career was centered in Hyde Park!” she wrote. “Of equal importance was the fact that my father’s collection was already well-cared for at the University of Chicago Library. It was nice to think that my parents could continue to be together, in perpetuity, at the site where they first met (as students living in International House) and lived most of their adult lives.”

A Child's First Cook Book.

Alma Lach. A Child’s First Cook Book. New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1950. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Donald F. Lach, PhD’41, was professor of History at the University of Chicago from 1948 to 1988. His scholarship focused on the influence Asia had on the history and development of Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. The extensive materials found in the Donald F. Lach Papers have been processed into a consolidated collection, and an online finding aid, an indispensable tool for accessing this important resource, has been created.

The Library is raising funds so that Alma’s culinary book collection and papers can be catalogued, processed, and preserved, and, therefore, can become discoverable by all. Both Lach collections are prime examples of archives that warrant care and discovery. Together and separately, the Lachs helped shape their disciplines. With the acquisition and processing of both the Lachs’ archives, Donald and Alma can continue to influence others.

For information about ways to support the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development, at 773-834-3744 or at yasminomer@uchicago.edu.