The Stars really pop at 21c

Thu. March 24, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

A new exhibition opened in the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago called Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art with a festive party on March 23. Located just steps from the Magnificent Mile at 55 E. Ontario Street, this boutique hotel hosts two floors of art to accompany the modern rooms, restaurant and spa on the property. 

Chief curator of the exhibit, Alice Gray Stites attended the celebration and stated how happy she is to be out on the road again. Her dream job is traveling to the various locations of the 21c hotel chain to scout out new spaces and lay out the art installations. 

Also at the party was the new creative director Nigel Barker. Known for his photography and a keen eye for talent, this charming Englishman will work to bring more attention to these exhibitions to the public. He certainly knows how to work a room!

Throughout the over 10,000 square foot space, over 90 works of art are featured. Artists include Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, Titus Kaphar and Kerinde Wiley. One of the artists, Brendan Fernandes, was also in attendance at the party who has created 1979.541.7 featured in the museum.

All around the two floors, it was plain to see the influence of pop art masters from the past such as Andy Warhol. Celebrity culture continues to grow and evolve in the world and the art that was presented reflected that. Pop icons such as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears were featured as subjects. Politicians and sports figures were also arranged around the gallery and lobby. 

African American identity was a subject that was prominently highlighted in several of the statues and paintings in the large space. 

Currently located in nine cities, this is the only museum chain dedicated solely to the art of the 21st century. Stites mentioned that the company will continue to grow and expand over the next few years with more locations across the United States. St. Louis is in the works and will be located near the iconic City Museum. 

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