The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has long prioritized the art of our time. The College of Fine and Applied Arts, established in 1931, made an uncommon commitment to organizing curated and juried exhibitions, facilitating artist-in-residence programs, and building an outstanding collection of contemporary painting and sculpture.
These activities were understood as fundamentally interdisciplinary and undertaken for the benefit of all university students, not only for those studying art and art history. Faculty, students, and visiting artists in ethnic studies, music, dance, and computer science, along with art and design, have all played vital roles in producing and bringing contemporary art to our campus.
This new long-term installation begins chronologically with works of art collected in the late 1940s, from the first years of what became the university’s historic Festival of Contemporary Arts, and continues to the present.
With strengths in American and European surrealism, abstract painting, mid-century kinetic and light works, and art addressing powerful themes of history, land use, and identity, Art Since 1948 surveys the collection and encourages formal and conceptual connections across six decades.
Comprised primarily of painting and sculpture from KAM’s holdings, the exhibition also features key loans from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, the American Indian Studies Program, and local collections. Some objects—particularly in our deep holdings of works on paper—will rotate each semester, leaving room for small focused installations and ongoing dialogue about the history and future of contemporary art on the University of Illinois campus.
The reinstallation is designed by Julia diCastri, a University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture graduate, based in Toronto.
Curated by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art