Chicago Architecture 1872-1922

“…highly idiosyncratic and often brilliant.” Paul Goldberger, New York Times, July 1988

The installation design for this exhibition marking Chicago’s rich architectural heritage within a time frame bounded by the Great Fire of 1871 and the Tribune Tower Competition of 1922–23 is informed by several concepts.  The most basic of these is the idea that an exhibition of architectural elements and drawings can be made accessible to a general audience.  The design focuses sharply on the contemporary debate within the museum realm regarding exhibitions.  Should works be displayed in a white box or should the installation by a presence that creates a dialogue with the works.  The architectural drawings are presented in a context that would resemble the way that work might have been seen at the turn of the century.  Recognizing that many of the drawings convey varying degrees of dissimulation on the part of their authors, the installation reflects that in the unique conditions that informed the most heroic period of development in this city as defined by the time frame of the exhibition.  The installation design reflects the interplay of these concepts through the use of polychromy, music, formal and spatial axiality, and other mechanisms.

“It could all be hopelessly vulgar, and the genius of this remarkable design is that it is not vulgar at all.  It pushes the limits of curatorial imposition to the very edge, but it stops short of interfering with the superb drawings, models, objects and photographs on display, and even enhances them.  Indeed, the most impressive thing about this exhibition is the way its intense, highly active design supports rather than competes with the material on view.  It is impossible not to sense Mr. Tigerman’s deep emotional connection to Chicago’s buildings here, and indeed, to all that Chicago has meant to American culture.  ’Chicago Architecture’ is a tribute to architects and to buildings, but most of all to Chicago, a city that believes itself to epitomize the American love of building, of accomplishing of dealing in reality rather than in abstract ideas.”

“Mr. Tigerman’s extravagant installation has become, not surprisingly, the talk of the Chicago architecture community.”

“Stanley Tigerman’s installation is highly idiosyncratic and often brilliant.”

Paul Goldberger, New York Times, July 1988