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"Sentinels, Iron Portals of Chicagoland" by Cédric Van Parys

Friday, April 05, 2024

Iron Portals of Chicagoland

Exhibition Opening: Friday, April 5, 2024, 6pm
Location: School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago. 845 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607.

Lecture: Thursday, April 18, 2024, 6pm
Location: Graham Foundation. 4 West Burton Place, Chicago, Illinois, 6061.

As the Garofalo Fellow for 2023-2024, Cédric Van Parys has investigated and transformed the meaning of billboard infrastructures as representative monuments of American culture by juxtaposing and reconciling word, image and object.

There are plenty of surveys of America littered with commerce and ads, but this is not a project about advertisement. Van Parys is interested in the effect of these steel monopole structures on the people and the (local) urban environments. The billboard’s monetized side faces the highway and is directed mainly to drivers and passengers. But from every other viewpoint, we see a massive structure that removes part of the sky. Documenting those hyper-functional backsides reveals a monumental sacredness that resembles ancientmonuments such as Native American Totem Poles, Nigerian Shango staffs, or Inuit Inukshuk stone landmarks—all are markers of space. The billboard’s imposing scale fits the American landscape and was intended to do only one thing—sell. But the billboard is more than just an icon of American consumerism; like Sentinels, these structures guard and protect the community while at the same time welcoming you home.

The Fellowship concludes with an exhibition at the University of Illinois School of Architecture, where Van Parys will present a series of photographic and sculptural works manifesting a spiritual fundamentalism through conceptual and material appropriation. This is followed by a lecture at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago.

Exhibition runs from Friday, April 5, 2024 until Friday, May 3, 2024.

About the Douglas A. Garofalo Fellowship

Named in honor of architect and educator Doug Garofalo (1958–2011), this nine-month teaching fellowship—supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation—allows emerging designers to teach studio and seminar courses in undergraduate and graduate programs and conduct independent design research. The fellowship includes a public lecture at the Graham Foundation and an exhibition at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) School of Architecture. To learn more about the fellowship, click here.

Image caption:
Location: Addams (I 90) S/S .8 Mi W/O Wolf F/E
Media/Style: Permanent Bulletin/Regular
Impressions: 550000/week
Advertising Strengths: Located on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90), this 20×60 reaches NW Suburban commuters. With a site that is within 2 miles of O’Hare International Airport, and on the main route between Downtown and hard-to-reach suburbs such as Barrington, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg (Woodfield Mall), this sign is extremely valuable in any general market showing.