Bricks and Metaphor: Architecture as Poetic Space

September 2, 2017 to February 19, 2018

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space. –Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This exhibition includes work by artists from the Illinois State Museum's Illinois Legacy Collection who consider the built world as a poetic space. This exhibition features artwork from the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Program of the 1930's up to the present day. This exhibition is a companion to the Robert Middaugh: Machines Inherit the Earth exhibition in our Temporary/Permanent Gallery. Like Middaugh's work, all the artists in this exhibition look to buildings and interiors as a metaphor, making implied comparisons to architecture and human experience. Most strongly, these artists take what we perceive in the world—perceptual space—and alter it through artistic inventions into a psychological experience of place.

For visual artists, the built environment has been a long standing source of inspiration. Artists have depicted buildings and structures as an homage to the aspirations of the architect. Equally, artists have looked to our built environment as symbolic of darker, more troubling aspects of our psyche, depicting the ruinous, uninhabitable or inhuman. Either way, artists take architecture, the thoughtful making of a space, and reflect it back to us as a mirror of our own hopes and fears.

Organized by Associate Curator of Art Doug Stapleton

Artist List: Berenice Abbott, Gertrude Abercrombie, Jean Crawford Adams, Harold Allen, Tony Armour, Don Baum, Fred Becker, David Bower, Patty Carroll, Fay Chong, Charles Dahlgreen, Horatio Forjohn, Irean Gordon, James Hawker, Margo Hoff, Richard Hull, Hyman Katz, Dave Klamen, Gary Kolb, Nathan Lerner, Robert McCauley, Elizabeth Olds, Martin Puryear, Nicholas Sistler, Thomas Skomski, Daniel Smajo-Ramirez, Bob Thall, Dox Thrash, Reynold Weidenaar

Celestial City #14 by Daniel Ramirez
  • Celestial City #14 by Daniel Ramirez
  • Radio by Horatio Forjohn
Temporary Exhibitions
Visitor Information
502 South Spring Street
Springfield (217) 782-7386
Admission: Adults (19-64) $5.00,
Seniors, Veterans, & Members Free
Museum: Mon-Sat: 9-4:30, Sun: 12-4:30
MacLean Play Museum: Mon-Sat: 10-4, Sun: 1-4:30
All Facilities Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.