The Peninsula Chicago turns a new leaf in its artistic narrative this year with the vibrant showcase of ‘Neo Chicago’, a contemporary art exhibition studded with gems from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection. This captivating tableau, spinning out from the fertile minds of curators Laura Dvorkin and Maynard Monrow, dovetails with the annual EXPO Chicago and signals the continuation of a fruitful collaboration that first bloomed in 2016.
From April 14, 2023, the hotel’s public spaces morph into a dynamic canvas for this museum-grade installation. As part of the public art project and The Peninsula Hotels’ global initiative, ‘Art in Resonance’, the exhibition is committed to nurturing a vibrant dialogue with artists who aren’t afraid to question boundaries and engage senses in new ways.
Neo Chicago, unlike its predecessor Whoville, pays homage to the city’s contemporary art galleries, their perseverance in featuring globally acclaimed artists, and DeWoody’s unflinching support for these cultural incubators spanning over two decades. It also hosts a unique installation from Ebony Patterson, on loan from Kyle DeWoody’s collection.
Chicago holds a special place in DeWoody’s heart, being a crucible where “extraordinary art is created and first shown to the world.” This year, the spotlight turns towards the Windy City’s galleries, an idea formulated with the aid of Dvorkin and Monrow.
The exhibition provides a tantalizing glimpse into DeWoody’s diverse and thought-provoking collection, reflecting her playful and visceral art acquisitions since the 1980s. The curators have ingeniously mirrored the eclectic charm of her private art space, The Bunker, in this exhibition.
Neo Chicago champions culturally diverse, intergenerational artists who have left their creative fingerprints on the city. From Angel Otero and Jimmy Wright, who carved their skills in the city’s renowned art institutions, to Amy Sherald, whose riveting portrait of Michelle Obama found home at the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition is a testament to the city’s nurturing spirit towards artists.
While Chicago’s cultural heartbeat is often tied to its “renaissance” periods, Neo Chicago begs to differ. They argue Chicago’s current cultural explosion, which combines its past and present creative energy, is an actual “Golden Age”. Is it? Only time will tell.
Maria Razumich-Zec, The Peninsula Chicago’s managing director, acknowledges the importance of showcasing such thought-provoking artworks that stir dialogues and emotions. The extensive collaboration with The Peninsula Chicago underscores EXPO CHICAGO’s commitment to presenting international contemporary art, cherishing the vision of leading patrons like Beth Rudin DeWoody.
As we anticipate the ripple effects of Neo Chicago, it’s evident that the city’s rich and vibrant art scene is the real star of this tale. The Peninsula Chicago is not just a five-star hotel; it’s a stage where art and culture waltz in a grand spectacle, celebrating the eclectic beauty of contemporary creativity.