- Illinois State Museum, Springfield
A new exhibition, Kings & Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago, comes to the Illinois State Museum (ISM) in Springfield as a collaborative effort organized by Jenny Gibbs, Executive Director of the Elmhurst Art Museum, Acting Director of the Illinois State Museum’s Art and History Department Robert Sill, and curated by New York curator Dan Nadel.
Two of Chicago’s greatest exports – pinball and imagist painting – have an intertwined history of mutual appreciation. Arguably the world’s finest pinball machines were made in Chicago's North Side factories, and many of those were produced by Elmhurst's Gottlieb family. As those machines reached their apex of pictorial and engineering ingenuity, the Chicago artists now known as Imagists were finding their unique visual sensibilities. They drew inspiration from pinball’s high contrast coloration, absurd juxtapositions, and ultra-flat forms. Pinball was but one inspiration for these artists, along with the city’s many colorful storefronts and the enormously popular Riverview Park.
The exhibition at the ISM in Springfield will display sixteen pinball machines from the 1960s through the 1980s, nearly all designed and built in Chicago, alongside Imagist paintings, sculptures and prints by Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Ed Flood, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Barbara Rossi, Ray Yoshida and Karl Wirsum.
The exhibition opens at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Saturday, May 20, and will continue through Saturday, August 19. A public reception will be held on Friday, June 2 from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Attendees at the reception will have the opportunity to play select pinball machines.