FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago’s First Major Presentation of Shaker Art, Design, and Theology Opens February 7
CHICAGO, January 16, 2015 – The first major presentation of Shaker art, design, and theology in Chicago will be on display at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) February 7 through April 26.
The presentation is comprised of three exhibitions that explore the role of faith in the design and creation of art, objects, and architecture by members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly referred to as the Shakers. These exhibitions explore Shaker community life and examine how with mottos such as “hands to work and hearts to God,” Shakers turned their creativity—in the form of furniture design, music, dance, gift drawings, and other innovative products—into a form of worship. The presentation is generously supported by the American Folk Art Society, Ray and Judy McCaskey, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and Terry Dowd, Inc.
Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection tells the story of the first and most avid collectors of Shaker art—Faith and Edward Deming Andrews. This exhibition has over 100 objects including textiles, baskets, kitchen implements, and furniture. It is the most comprehensive collection of Shaker material culture ever assembled.
Organized by Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, this exhibition examines the full scope of the Andrews’ involvement as Shaker scholars, collectors, and dealers. From the 1920s to the 1960s, they actively pursued Shaker objects, collecting primarily from the Shakers. Gather Up the Fragments is toured by International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
As It Is In Heaven: The Legacy of Shaker Design and Faith showcases objects and art from select private and public collections in the Midwest and East Coast. These objects illustrate and broaden the understanding of Shaker life and theology.
Included in this exhibition are rare examples of gift drawings. These moving and sincere images were drawn in the mid-1800s. Shaker brothers and sisters created them to motivate one another to greater faith and love for their community at a time when Shaker membership numbers were falling. These drawings are on loan from the collections of Eric Maffei, and David Schorsch and Eileen Smiles.
Also included are examples of gift songs. The Shakers produced thousands of songs using their own musical notation system. Shaker music is perhaps best known by the song “Simple Gifts,” popularized by American composer Aaron Copland in his orchestral suite, “Appalachian Spring.” The songs are on loan from the Hamilton College Archives in Clinton, New York, and several private collections.
In addition to the gift drawings and gift songs, this exhibition has several outstanding pieces of furniture and objects from collectors in the Midwest, including: Robert and Janice Campbell; James and Lori Gelbort; Ray and Judy McCaskey; and Thomas and Jan Pavlovic.
Order in All Things: Community and Identity in Shaker Architecture, curated by Charles Heinrich, is a survey of buildings constructed by or for the Shakers, from the 18th to 20th centuries. The exhibition explores a variety of Shaker styles found in 15 communities in the East, South, and Midwest. It demonstrates how the Shakers’ environment reflected their desire to promote piety, prosperity, and a communal identity. The exhibition also shows how the environment varied from village to village, as communities responded to local circumstances, accumulating what it meant to be Shaker to the local situation.
Visit LUC.edu/luma for a list of public programs and information on the available exhibition catalogues.
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.
Art illuminating the spirit!