Acclaimed designer Norman Teague brings a new visionary exhibition to Elmhurst Art Museum inspired by the music of jazz legend John Coltrane.
Music has, for centuries, inspired design across the spectrum of art creation. Have you ever thought about the kind of visual output the music of jazz legedn John Coltrane might inspire? Well, Norman Teague has, and his visionary exhibition on the subject is set to launch at the the Elmhurst Art Museum this January. Entitled A Love Supreme, this solo exhibition inspired byColtrane will accompnayan adjoining group exhibition in the famed Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House featuring over 30 Chicago-based artists who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The companion show is entitled A Love Supreme: McCormick House Reimagined. Teague uses Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme as a cultural touchstone to consider design influences from his life-long home in Chicago, exploring just how the power of bold improvisational jazz and unapologetic Black aesthetics have expanded the minds and inspired creative communities of color. Celebrating BIPOC designers and a variety of cultural influences in Chicago at a time when the country is reckoning with representation across industries and disciplines, A Love Supreme takes place at the Elmhurst Art Museum from January 20 to April 28, 2024.
A Love Supreme features new sculptural and installation-based works by Teague, providing a setting to heal, unify, and activate community. Visitors are greeted by a collage of Teague’s personal influences, including John Coltrane, designer Chuck Harrison, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the Civil Rights era mural the “Wall of Respect,” sculptor Martin Puryear, and others.
With these cultural inspirations in mind, Teague presents new assemblage pieces with used brass instruments embedded in ceramics, and designed objects and sculptures that convey the power of jazz, such as a new, monolithic wood sculpture that references the shape of a horn. Central to the exhibit are African-influenced objects, including a large-scale round house created as a gathering place to celebrate, experience, and discuss Black life and shared culture.
“I believe there is a quest for craft from the imaginations of Black America that needs to be heard, seen, and felt as safe, desired, and beautiful. And it can only come from us. This turning point of awareness in American history will only get greater as time goes on—and design history will follow,” says Teague.
Norman Teagueis a Chicago-based designer and educator who uses design as an agent for change and as a mechanism to empower black and brown communities. Teague was one of five artists selected to participate in the United States Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia 2023. He worked with Theaster Gates on 12 Ballads for Huguenot House for dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany and his participation in Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and Legacy of Black Power in Chicago, chronicled the legacy of a seminal mural developed for Chicago’s Black South Side located at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue. Teague was named a creative collaborator on the exhibitions team for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. He is an assistant professor of industrial design at University of Illinois Chicago and is the Founder and Lead Designer of Norman Teague Design Studios.
In line with his highly collaborative practice, Teague uplifts other creatives while expressing joy through design. For the adjoining exhibition in Mies van der Rohe’s 1952 McCormick House, co-curators Teague and Rose Camara, Charles Hummel Curatorial Fellow at The Chipstone Foundation, asked others, “What is your Coltrane story? Who awakened you personally and artistically?” Works on display by over 30 artists include furniture, blown glass, and fiber art pieces that transform the house from the picture of upper-class, white suburban living to an alternative interior reimagined by BIPOC architects, designers, and artists.
The exhibiting artists selected by Teague and Camara include Oluwaseyi Adeleke, Germane Barnes, Cain Baum, Bryana Bibbs, Paul Branton, Steve Bravo, Brandon Breaux, Roger Carter, Funlola Coker, Summer Coleman, Shani Crowe, Max Davis, Juan de la Mora, Julius C. Dorsey, Brian K. Ellison, Stephen Flemister and a host more. A Love Supreme: McCormick House Reimagined provides a new narrative about the bold, bright, and vast number of Black and Brown designers who are the future of American design.
The exhibition includes audio components. Headphones and smartphone are recommended to provide a fuller experience.