Aug. 15, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 1

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    Conversation with artist Peter Saul Aug. 22 at Smart

    Artist Peter Saul, often described as a contemporary history painter who documents society's crueler preoccupations, will answer questions about his work at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Smart Museum of Art. An exhibition of his work, "Peter Saul: Art World Portraits," will open at the Smart Museum on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

    Created in the early 1970s, Saul's art-world portraits critique the "superheroes" of the art world, including such notables as Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Franz Schulze and Saul himself. These figures are portrayed satirically with enlarged female and male genitalia and in some cases are engaged in sexual acts with one another. The works address the "back room" of the art world -- in which the artist himself is a participant -- where gossip and insults replace the intellectualizing and professionalism of the art world's public persona.

    "We wanted to feature Saul in a show because of his influence on contemporary art in Chicago, and the time seemed ripe, since only one of his works will be included in the Museum of Contemporary Art's upcoming exhibit on post-war art in Chicago," said Kimerly Rorschach, Director of the Smart Museum. "Saul's art-world portraits ask fundamental questions about what art is, while reflecting important developments in the Chicago art world of the late '60s and early '70s that greatly influenced the Smart Museum's own founding and collecting history."

    In addition to the artist's talk at the opening reception, art historian Franz Schulze will speak about his portrait by Saul at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5. On Sunday, Sept. 15, the closing day of the exhibition, art historian and critic Dennis Adrian will lead a walk-through tour at 1:30 p.m.

    For Smart Museum gallery hours and more information, see the Calendar, pages 6-7.