Palais de Tokyo to Take Over Chicago’s DuSable Museum in New EXPO Chicago Partnership

The historic Roundhouse will host the Palais de Tokyo's first show in the US.

The Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American Art. Photo by Assaf Evron.

Organizers of EXPO Chicago have announced that the historic Roundhouse at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History will be the site for a major new partnership with institutions including Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, Institut Français, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, as well as the DuSable. It will host the Palais de Tokyo’s off-site exhibition that will open during EXPO art week (September 13–17) and run through October 29, concurrent with part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

This marks the first satellite exhibition for the Palais De Tokyo, as part of its broader “Hors les Murs” or “outside the walls” initiative.

Katell Jaffrès of the Palais de Tokyo will curate the show, working with guest designer Andrew Schachman, the architect chosen by the Chicago-based Graham Foundation. The plan is for the project to develop in two parts—the first through a residency partnership with Mana Contemporary Chicago, which will bring international and France-based artists to produce new work in Chicago, before unveiling the large-scale public exhibition.

The Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American Art. Photo by Assaf Evron.

The Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American Art. Photo by Assaf Evron.

“The institutional connection and historical relevance of the Roundhouse provides a perfect setting for the local and global art and architecture communities to engage in this landmark exhibition,” said Tony Karman, president and director of EXPO Chicago. Calling the collaboration “extraordinary,” Karman added that “no venue in Chicago is more appropriate.”

The 17,000-square-foot building was built in 1881 by the famous architecture firm Burnham and Root, which organized the plans for Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. Jaffrés plans to utilize the raw, historic space to present emerging artists from both the French and Chicago art scenes, focusing on the dialogue between architecture and the artistic process. The Chicago iteration of “Hors Les Murs” will emphasize the relationship between the space of the Roundhouse and the site-specific works from selected artists, who will be announced at a later date.

“The structures, or stations, that the artists will create will each act as an architectural intervention within the exhibition,” said Jaffrès, “including action into the exhibition space.”

Palais de Tokyo president Jean de Loisy said that having the show overlap with both EXPO and the architecture biennial “provides the opportunity to affirm the vital relationship between the two disciplines of art and architecture.”

The show is the first iteration of a three-year program developed by the Palais de Tokyo and Institut Français, aimed at building special platforms to showcase a new generation of emerging artists.

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