CHICAGO, IL (August 2014)- Continuing the museum’s lively exploration of the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House (1952), Elmhurst Art Museum is premiering an ongoing exhibition series called “In the House.”

On a regular basis, artists, designers and architects will be invited to respond to the modernist structure by producing a site-specific installation in the house that takes into consideration its unique space and history. These dynamic presentations encourage conversations between past and present and provide a rare opportunity for artists to work directly with and in this exceptional example of Mies’ residential design. The first artist invited to participate in the series is Laura Davis, a Chicago-based artist whose sculpture and installations examine the intersection of craft, design and art. In the House: Laura Davis was curated by EAM’s Chief Curator Staci Boris and is on view at Elmhurst Art Museum from September 13, 2014 to January 11, 2015. The opening reception is Friday, September 12 at 6:30pm. Elmhurst Art Museum is located just 14 miles from downtown Chicago and is open 10pm – 5pm. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, 10am – 8pm Friday, and 12-5pm on Sunday. A list of exhibition-related public programs follows at the end of this release. For more information please visit




Davis approaches the McCormick House with a passion for the modernist style (minimal form, clean lines, industrial materials) but also an awareness that in order for “less to be more,” certain exclusions were made. Her installation Histrionic Restoration reinserts these omissions into the modernist context, from the drama and stuff of everyday life to the value of things past to the female presence in society and art. Davis alters and combines after-market finds (from jewelry to tchotchkes to mid-century modern furniture), appreciating the narrative and layered history of these used items. When juxtaposed in her sculptures and groupings, they also complicate notions of value. 


Davis was particularly drawn to the McCormick House as a home, sheltering and witnessing the family activities of the McCormicks, the Ficks and others. Using mirrored paper to cover Mies’ famous windows, Davis directs the focus to the interior where she places domestic and decorative objects from different postwar decades. A sparkly wrap on the back of a powder-coated MR 10 chair frame, an old exercise bike, design and LIFE magazines, ashtrays, a cigar, a rotary phone, a dog and a special aquarium find their way into the house, alluding to real and imagined former residents and challenging viewers to put the pieces together.

Public Programs

Friday, October 24, 6:30pm

Artist Talk: Laura Davis

Meet “In the House” artist Laura Davis and hear her take on modern design and architecture and how her sculptural assemblages and placement of vintage objects respond to the house designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Saturday, November 8, 1 to 4pm

Mid-Century Modern Roadshow

Bring your collectible mid-century objects and art to EAM’s Mid-Century Modern Roadshow to learn more about your modern treasures and what they may be worth! First enjoy an overview of 20th Century Design by Richard Wright, President and Founder of Wright Auction, Chicago. Then share your items with specialists in the field of modern design and decorative arts including Don Schmaltz and Jared Peterson from Circa Modern and Susan Klein Bagdade, director of Richard Norton Gallery and an expert in modern art and costume jewelry. 

Elmhurst Art Museum, located just 14 miles from downtown Chicago and one block from the Elmhurst Union Pacific West Metra Station, is the cultural center of DuPage County and showcases the visual arts of our time. In addition to presenting exhibitions of work by distinguished regional, national and international artists, the Museum’s Education Center and architecturally significant facility–encompassing Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House–enrich people’s lives by deepening their knowledge of art, architecture and design, and increasing understanding of the relevance of visual art in our society. Elmhurst Art Museum is a recipient of the Chicago AIA Regional Architecture Award and was nominated for a National Distinguished Building Award for Architectural Excellence.

Museum hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, 10am-8pm Friday, and 12-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and children under 5 are free. Admission is free on Fridays.
Please visit for more information.