“Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago” is a new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago celebrating the Arts and Crafts movement. For those of you who would love to see Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Beata Beatrix" in the flesh, this is your chance, as it's one of the pieces featured in the exhibit!
"Apostles of Beauty" features 187 "handcrafted, organic works by the movement's most notable practitioners." The pieces in the show are drawn from a variety of artistic disciplines, including ceramics, wood and metalwork, paintings, photographs and textiles.
In its overview of the exhibit, the museum's website calls the Arts and Crafts movement "one of the most politically progressive and aesthetically compelling artistic movements of modern times." It planted the seeds for the sort of critical thinking about modern living that has driven the green movement. Arts and Crafts connected organic thinking and living on a large scale for the first time, and demonstrated that the "beautiful and useful" as William Morris loved to say, were not mutually exclusive. As the museum's website so beautifully puts it:
The Arts and Crafts movement sprang from a rebellion against industrial life and mass-produced objects yet eventually united hand and machine in the service of beauty.
On a side note, it certainly seems like 2009 has been a great year for interest in Arts and Crafts and the Pre-Raphaelites. It would be interesting to know if there are actually more exhibits being held, or if it just seems like there are because I'm always looking for them! (I suppose I could find out if I had the time or discipline to research the issue). Could it be a bit of both?
"Apostles of Beauty" runs now through January 31, 2010.
Read more at The Art Instutute of Chicago's website.