The Gallery within the Gordon Parks Arts Hall promotes artistic and cultural awareness by exhibiting works of art for the Laboratory Schools, the University of Chicago, and the broader Chicago community. It serves to amplify our aesthetic and intellectual life on campus both by displaying the work of Lab students, faculty, and alumni, and by holding special exhibits. A focal point within the integrated arts environment fostered by Gordon Parks Hall, the gallery provides a forum for promoting visual acuity and for discussing a wide range of questions, both formal and cultural.
The Senior Art Exhibition is a culmination of the student’s work in various mediums, from digital art and photography, to traditional painting and drawing, to three dimensional and installation-based works. Seniors have been working in various mediums with a diverse range of approaches and styles as evident in this show. Working alongside Lab’s Visual Arts HS Faculty; Mirentxu Ganzarain, Benjamin Jaffe, Sunny Neater-Dubow, Ana Romero and Brian Wildeman, seniors have been mentored on various artistic practices and then turned loose to explore their own approach to art making. This creative freedom has allowed students to create work that is uniquely theirs, enjoy!
This exhibit was inspired by the artwork of Angélica Dass, award-winning photographer born in Brazil and based in Spain. Her practice combines photography with sociological research and public participation in global defense of human rights. She is the creator of the internationally acclaimed Humanæ project—a collection of portraits that reveal the diverse beauty of humanity. Her TED Talk exceeded two million views, a testament that her work extends beyond photography, becoming a tool for social change promoting dialogue and challenging cultural prejudices.
She created project Humanæ in 2012 by taking portrait photographs and matching a strip of pixels from the noses to color cards from Pantone, an industrial color palette numbering system. The artwork is a catalogue of human skin colors displayed as a collage of Pantone portraits. The display is intended to create a dialogue about how we see each other and how we view race, ethnicity, and identity, and has included over 4,000 pictures of people in seventeen countries and twenty-seven cities around the world.
At the Laboratory Schools, art teacher Gina Alicea asked the community to participate in the project so students would engage in a dialogue about their own skin color and what it means to them. The teachers in the Nursery and Primary schools engaged students in a conversation about race, ethnicity, and identity. Ms. Alicea presented a workshop to students during Diversity Week featuring Angelica Dass’ TED Talk, The Beauty of Human Skin in Every Color, prompting Middle School students to participate, as well.
YOU BE MY ALLY is a public artwork that demonstrates how art, especially when mobilizing new technologies, can provide collective and meaningful experiences within the converging social and political contexts of the Covid-19 pandemic, calls for social justice, and the national election season. Holzer uses texts from the UChicago Core curriculum, opening them up to a broader public and offering a novel introduction to K–12 students, through an augmented reality (AR) mobile app. These rich curriculum concepts, through the app, are "projected" onto the façades of selected campus buildings. This format provided a great opportunity for students to think about all the places language shows up in their communities and to generate public artwork by casting relevant quotes onto any surroundings virtually.
Jenny Holzer (b. 1950), a world-renowned conceptual and feminist artist and alumna of the College at the University of Chicago, was awarded UChicago's Rosenberger Medal in 2019. To increase community access to public art on campus and in the city of Chicago, the University commissioned the artist to create a site-specific artwork: a FREE web-based augmented reality (AR) app, and trucks circulating Hyde Park and neighboring communities. Photo by Nanda Lanfranco.