Wrightwood 659 is a new exhibition space conceived for the presentation of exhibitions of architecture and of socially engaged art. It is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, who has transformed a 1920s building with his signature concrete forms and poetic treatment of natural light.
Since the 1980s, artists working in China have experimented with various materials, transforming everyday material into large-scale artworks. These artists have exploded fireworks into paintings, felted hair into gleaming flags, stretched pantyhose into monochromatic paintings, deconstructed old doors and windows to make sculptures, and even skillfully molded porcelain into gleaming black flames. Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material. For the first time, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China brings together works in which intentional material choice has become a means of the artists’ expression, displaying this thought-provoking trend in recent history. In Chicago, the exhibition is divided into two unique halves, taking up the entire footprints of the Smart Museum of Art on the South Side and Wrightwood 659 on the North Side. To fully experience the exhibition, guests are encouraged to visit both locations.