150 South Cottage Hill Ave
A Two-Months Re-Occupation of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House
The artist Claudia Weber moved into one wing of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House in Elmhurst, Illinois, in February 2019, to temporarily challenge its current role as a museum by reoccupying it as an actual home for eight weeks.
The house had been commissioned in 1951 as a prototype for affordable prefab housing, and, after being owned (or rented) by three successive families, was moved in 1991 to a new site to become incorporated into the Elmhurst Art Museum, first as an office and later as exhibition space. These contextual shifts offered a potent backdrop for Weber’s living experiment. By conflating the role of the museum with that of the home, the artist not only challenged the relationship between art, architecture, and life, as well as between visitors and resident, but also reconsidered how the cultural climate of the 50s, including cold war rhetoric and the instrumentalization of mass psychology, has resurfaced in the cultural conditions of today.
To make the empty wing livable and to compensate for the missing kitchen and defunct bathroom, Weber expanded the house’s floor plan to include the museum’s education center and the local YMCA. She also brought a carefully selected set of furniture and objects that she either already owned or specifically bought, built or commissioned for this occasion, and which were flexible enough to support any type of activity that unfolded over the two months, including a series of public salons and private gatherings. Weber also created a 260-piece oversized card set, Exquisite Corpse, which offered visitors a playful way to encounter the house’s trajectory and potential.
Additionally, Weber invited sound artist Olivia Block and textile designer Kate Park to contribute works. She concluded her stay with the publication McCormick House Exquisite Corpse, developed in collaboration with Other Forms and distributed during her last weekend in the house.
The exhibition took place between February 16th – April 14th, 2019.
Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House
Elmhurst Art Museum
150 S Cottage Hill Ave
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Parallel to this exhibition, an installation by artist Assaf Evron was on view in the other wing of the McCormick House. Both exhibitions were part of the Year of German-American Friendship initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
Generous support for the exhibitions had also been provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.