Artis invites you to join us for Reflecting Monsters: Excavating Trauma in Model Houses of Detroit and Chicago, a conversation with artist and educator Jan Tichy and historical archaeologist Dr. Rebecca S. Graff, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lake Forest College, IL about connections in contemporary art practice and urban archaeology. Jan and Rebecca will discuss their recent work and collaborations that explore the ways that architecture, and material culture, provide insight into lived experiences, memories, and local histories.
“All Monsters” (2022) is a site-specific installation by Jan Tichy that was presented as a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD) in Detroit, MI and was supported by Artis. The work utilizes Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead—a full-scale replica of the 1950’s ranch-style home where the artist, Kelley, was raised, which is now housed on the museum grounds—as a foundational premise. Introducing elements such as light, darkness, mirrors, industrial materials, and sound into the rooms of Mobile Homestead, Jan created an intervention that orients viewers to the space in new and unexpected ways, amplifying the relationships between the social, institutional, and environmental elements of the house. As part of the exhibition, Jan collaborated with Rebecca, archeologist Krysta Ryzewski, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and a group of students from the museum and university to conduct an excavation of the site, revealing a multi-layered history of Detroit. Speaking to the artistic research and excavation process, Jan and Rebecca will reflect on methodologies used to interpret spaces and places.
Jan and Rebecca will also discuss World’s Fairs in Chicago as a topic in each of their respective work. “Reflectance” (2022), Jan’s solo exhibition at Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, IL, which was supported by Artis, references design features of The House of Tomorrow, a visionary design for a modernized home created by architect George Fred Keck and presented at the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago. Rebecca will share work from her excavation of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, conducted in 2008, and related research.
Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator. Working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography, his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Born in Prague in 1974, Tichy studied art in Israel before earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now Associate Professor at the Department of Photography and the Department of Art & Technology Studies.
Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the MCA Chicago, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, CCA Tel Aviv, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Chicago Cultural Center, among others. His works are included in the public collections of MoMA in New York and Israel Museum in Jerusalem, among others.
His large public art projects engage communities and offer platforms to share. In 2011, Project Cabrini Green illuminated with spoken word the last high rise building of the Cabrini Green housing projects in Chicago. In 2017, Beyond Streaming: a sound mural for Flint at the Broad Museum in Michigan brought teens from Flint and Lansing to share their experience of the ongoing water crisis. In 2018, Tichy was one of the inaugural artists for Art on theMart. In 2019, he co-edited and curated Ascendants: the Bauhaus Handprints collected by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy published by IIT Press. His 2020 yearlong project, titled Remote Pyramids, in Dallas, TX, brought together local Latinx teenagers with refugee teens to critically and creatively address issues of migration. www.jantichy.com
Dr. Rebecca S. Graff is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lake Forest College (PhD and MA, University of Chicago; BA, University of California, Berkeley). As an historical archaeologist with research interests in the 19th- and 20th-century urban United States, she explores the relationship between temporality and modernity, memory and material culture, and contemporary heritage and nostalgic consumption through archaeological and archival research. Her book, Disposing of Modernity: The Archaeology of Garbage and Consumerism During Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (2020) was based on an archaeological and archival project focusing on the ephemeral “White City” and Midway Plaisance of the 1893 Chicago Fair and the modern disposal practices seen at the Louis Sullivan-designed Charnley-Persky House. In Chicago, Graff has excavated the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument (2016), the Gray-Cloud House (2018), and Mecca Flats (2018).