JT returns to Chicago!

Jack Tworkov, Expo Chicago, Art Chicago, Alelxander Gray Associates, Alexander Gray

JT has had an exciting history with the city of Chicago. In 1982, the Chicago International Art Exposition commissioned Jack Tworkov to design the poster for its then second annual contemporary Art Chicago exposition. Building upon his use of Fibonacci systems and grid play, Tworkov created a masterwork, published by Tyler Graphics LTD, which would be the artist’s final commission before his death. This year, JT returns to the Chicago stage with Alexander Gray Associates at EXPO CHICAGO.

Jack Tworkov, Chicago Expo, 1982, Tyler Graphics, Art Chicago

Jack Tworkov, Poster Design: Art 1982 Chicago, 1982, featuring print by the artist published by Tyler Graphics LTD

Art Chicago 1982 featured 113 galleries and was hyped by organizers as putting “Chicago on the Map,” yet critic Alan G. Artner interjected, “The fair does not ‘put Chicago on the map’ as much as bring parts of the map closer to Chicago … Here you can see more different kinds of art from more different galleries than one possibly could visit in a comparable amount of time, but the experience is most valuable to those who already are informed. A novice seeking an instant education should be cautioned: He will learn about art roughly as much as a non-driver learns from an auto show.” (1)

Oh how this statement remain true still today!

Art Chicago was American’s version of the Art Basel contemporary art exposition. Founded in 1980 by Michigan print dealer John Wilson, the international art exposition was held annually in May at Chicago’s Navy Pier and was Chicago’s longest-running contemporary art fair. In 2012, a new exhibitor EXPO CHICAGO began operation.

Jack Tworkov, Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, Chicago, Holland Goldowsky

Exhibition catalogue for Jack Tworkov’s 1960 solo exhibition at Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, Chicago.

JT has enjoyed a historic relationship with Chicago stretching back the 1950s. In 1956 he was asked to jury the emerging local talent at Exhibition Momentum ’56. (The same juried exhibition that saw Franz Kline and Philip Guston get into a drunken spree when they returned as jurors for “Exhibition Momentum ’57”) During the 1960s where he exhibited regularly with the Holland-Goldowsky Gallery (’60, ’63). In 1975, The Arts Club of Chicago presented JT in a group exhibition along with paintings by Kyle Morris, and sculpture by James Prestini. JT returned to The Arts Club of Chicago in 1992 included in their 75th Anniversary Exhibition. And more recently, JT had numbers exhibitions at the Valerie Carberry Gallery (’06, ’09, ’14). JT’s work can also be found in the collection of many prominent private and public Chicago collections including The Art Institute of Chicago and the Smart Museum of Art.

This year, for its inaugural presentation at EXPO CHICAGO, Alexander Gray Associates (Booth 327) will present an exhibition of the conceptually paralleled artistic processes of gallery artists from diverse geographical and cultural contexts, featuring recent and historical works by Luis Camnitzer, Melvin Edwards, Harmony Hammond, Lorraine O’Grady, Hassan Sharif and Jack Tworkov.

Jack Tworkov, Art Chicago, Expo Chicago, Tworkov, Alexander Gray Associates

Jack Tworkov, SS-68 #2 (1968), Oil on linen, 40 x 35 in. (101.6 x 88.9 cm) on view at Alexander Gray Associates (Booth 327)

As pivotal figure in the development of Abstract Expressionism, Jack Tworkov radically shifted his painting style in the late 1960s, as he moved away from overtly gestural brushstrokes to controlled diagrammatic abstraction, as seen on SS-68 #2 (1968). Taking an interest in elementary geometry, he turned to the rectangle and its potential measurements as the basis of pictorial composition. Drawings from this period, which will also be available, convey spatial play of interlocking, folding, overlapping, or intersecting planes, with individual marks built up into slightly uneven densities to create a unified, field-like surface.

On exhibit at Alexander Gray at EXPO CHICAGO are a painting “SS-68 #2,” 1968 (which was included in an important retrospective of Tworkov’s work in 1994 at the Boston College Museum of Art),  and drawing the “DWG #5-70 (CH #5),” 1970.

 

Jack Tworkov, Tworkov, Expo Chicago, Alexander Gray Associates

Installation view: Alexander Gray Associates at EXPO CHICAGO 2016 featuring recent and historical works by Luis Camnitzer, Melvin Edwards, Harmony Hammond, Lorraine O’Grady, Hassan Sharif and Jack Tworkov.


  1. Alan G. Artner. “Freewheeling Navy Pier exposition brings a world of art to Chicago,” The Chicago Tribune, Friday, May 14, 1982, p. 10.

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