The exhibition installation presentation is twofold: 1. The eight topics are thematized with each alleé; and 2. A “time line” is superimposed for chronological readability. Two grids disrupt each linear presentation in order to display “negative” iconic photographs about the depression and WWII, and cultural ruptures resulting from the late 1960’s. Two other grids define the beginnings and endings of each alleé in order to synthesize each topic photographically. The funnel shaped spaces compress the viewer by representing the compression understood about time itself, and the walls defining these funnel shapes are partially open in order to infer the next theme to be seen. Materials used to define spaces are “process oriented” (galvanized C channels and studs, wire mesh, etc., all in combination with the sounds of the city), since the exhibition itself is a “show in progress” (many of the architects whose architectural production is presented are alive and still evolving). Societally, the exhibition advances our understanding of the city by presenting the pluralism common to our age as seen through the eyes of the antihero, toward the end of conveying the notion of a “machine” which has been inserted into the Art Institute in order to perceive architecture in its hybridized American result as the good, the bad and the ugly, without aesthetic preconception.
This exhibition follows the exhibition of Chicago Architecture 1871-1922, also designed by Tigerman McCurry. The exhibit is organized around 8 major themes: Urban Fragments, Transportations, Governments and Institutions, Commerce and Business, Industry, Shopping, Houses and Housing, and Recreation. Tigerman McCurry is responsible for the layout and detailing of the space, and coordination with the curator on exhibit layout. Each of the eight thematic spaces is further developed by eight young Chicago architects, with overall coordination by Tigerman McCurry.