Event—Public Programming

Designing the "Chicago Avant-Garde" Identity

Designers Ben Blount, Nadine Nakanishi, and Nick Butcher share their creative process for developing the catalog and identity for Chicago Avant-Garde: Five Women Ahead of Their Time.


This program will be held in person at the Newberry. Register for free in advance.

Chicago Avant-Garde, now on view at the Newberry, tells the story of five Chicago women who took radical risks in their lives and their art, transforming their city into a hub of avant-garde experimentation in the process.

Featuring a range of items from the Newberry's collections, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalog that includes more than 100 photographs, an essay by exhibition curator Liesl Olson, and new poems by Eve Ewing.

In this discussion, Olson will talk with the catalog's designers--printmaker Ben Blount and artists Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher of Sonnenzimmer––about the exhibition and how the catalog they created illuminates Chicago's avant-garde dancers, writers, and artists, past and present.

To demonstrate and document their creative process, Sonnenzimmer and Blount are producing a special edition print. Broadsides will be available to visitors to take home.

This event is sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and is presented as part of Art Design Chicago Now, an initiative funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art that amplifies the voices of Chicago's diverse creatives, past and present, and explores the essential role they play in shaping the now.

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Please note: This is an in-person event at the Newberry. Following guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health, masks are required for all attendees above the age of two, regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, we are limiting capacity to ensure social distancing is possible. If you feel sick on the day of the event, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please stay home and visit us another time.

In compliance with an emergency travel order issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health, some visitors arriving from outside Illinois must take certain safety measures before visiting the Newberry.

We are closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 in Chicago and will move this program online if recommendations from public health officials change.