Poetry magazine curates a series of readings by Chicago-based poets Hannah Gamble, Anthony Madrid, and Nate Marshall that resonate with the William J. O’Brien exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Wrap up your gallery walk with these three young and exceptional writers who weave their work in, around, and through the exhibit, which itself is organized like a poem. The performances may be pretty, warm, itchy, cozy, and/or strangulating. This event takes place in the exhibition space.

William J. O’Brien, the artist’s first major survey exhibition, demonstrates his prolific output in a broad range of media, from sculpture and ceramics to drawing, textiles, and painting. Stemming from O’Brien’s interest in language and poetry, the exhibition is organized like a poem. It is divided into several sections, or stanzas, with each section featuring works in several media to underscore the connections between disparate objects as well as the artist’s interest in scale. The stanzas demonstrate how each of O’Brien’s artworks is a carefully calibrated exercise in improvisation and control. Above all, the exhibition develops new language around O’Brien’s contemporary abstract artworks—language that focuses on process rather than individual expression or technique and that considers his body of work as a reflection of a multitude of cultural sources.

O’Brien’s first artist’s monograph, produced by MCA Chicago, accompanies the show. Exhibition curator Naomi Beckwith and Peabody Essex Museum Curator of Contemporary Art Trevor Smith contextualize the artist’s work in light of recent modes in contemporary art history, such as l’informe, the handmade, and semiotics. Critic Jason Foumberg contributes a creative writing piece, aesthetically inspired by the artist’s working process.

Co-sponsored with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

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Tuesday, April 29th, 6:00 PM
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Free Admission