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Elmhurst Art Museum announces A Love Supreme

The Elmhurst Art Museum is proud to announce A Love Supreme, a solo exhibition by Norman Teague inspired by legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, with an adjoining intervention in Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House by Chicago-based BIPOC designers. Teague uses Coltrane’s album “A Love Supreme” as a personal, cultural, and spiritual touchstone to consider design influences from his life-long home in Chicago, exploring how the power of bold improvisational jazz and unapologetic Black aesthetics have expanded the minds and inspired creative communities of color. Celebrating BIPOC designers and a variety of cultural influences in Chicago at a time when the country is reckoning with racial inequities in representation across industries and disciplines, A Love Supreme takes place at the Elmhurst Art Museum from January 20 to April 28, 2024.

In A Love Supreme, the main galleries will feature new works with African-influenced objects. The solo exhibition culminates in Teague’s version of a large-scale African round house containing multiple organically designed objects that nod to his Midwest influences, like the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the Wall of Respect, and sculptor Martin Puryear.

In the McCormick House, Teague asks, “What is your Coltrane story? Who awakened you personally and artistically?” Work in the McCormick House will include furniture, blown glass, and custom leather pieces that transform the house from the picture of upper-class, white suburban living to a space celebrating alternative aesthetics, including acknowledgments of overlooked historical figures from Chicago reimagined through an alternative lens by BIPOC architects, designers, and artists.

“I believe there is a quest for craft from the imaginations of Black America that needs to be heard, seen, and felt as safe, desired, and beautiful. And it can only come from us. This turning point of awareness in American history will only get greater as time goes on—and design history will follow,” says Teague .

Teague and his collaborators will draw on their own history and cultural inspirations, including designers such as Chuck Harrison, sculptor Martin Puryear, and Emory Douglas. Throughout the exhibit, Teague mines the empowering musical legacy of the Civil Rights Era, acknowledges overlooked historical BIPOC figures, and creates opportunity for today’s generation to acknowledge and reclaim the historical absence of Black design history in America. A Love Supreme seeks to provide a new narrative about the bold, bright, and vast number of designers who are the future of American design.

In line with his highly collaborative practice, Teague in A Love Supreme will uplift other creatives while expressing joy through design, musical performances, public talks, and other creative expressions by designers and artists. Jazz and jazz-influenced performances throughout the run of the exhibition will further underline the influence of avant-garde music on Chicago design.

A Love Supreme is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities. It is sponsored by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. A Love Supreme is supported in part by a grant from the League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd.

A Love Supreme: McCormick House Reimagined is co-curated by Norman Teague and Rose Camara. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Chipstone Foundation.

More information:

Norman Teague, Installation view of “Objects for Change,” Art Center Highland Park, 2022. Courtesy the artist