When he is in the midst of planning a new exhibition, Brooklyn-based artist Kamrooz Aram aims to respond to the space in which his art will be displayed. That is especially true with his latest show, “Privacy, An Exhibition,” now on view at the Arts Club of Chicago.
“The architecture is always something that informs the work—art informing architecture, architecture working with art,” he said on Wednesday night during a talk with Janine Mileaf, the Arts Club’s executive director and chief curator. “Something that I prefer not to do is to alter the of architecture physically in a major way. I find it quite wasteful, especially with shorter exhibitions, that you build three or four walls, and then four weeks later you tear them down.”
His first concern was the tension inherent in the location of the show: a private members club (with a storied history of presenting modernist art since 1916) that has a public exhibition space. “There’s another kind of spatial conversation that takes place here,” he said.
Next, Aram mulled how the effect of his paintings could be heightened by the Arts Club’s reflective floors, made of black terrazzo, as well as by the Arts Club’s two permanent installations: a Mies van der Rohe staircase and Alexander Calder’s 1942 sculpture Red Petals, both commissioned by the organization and transplanted to the current space in 1997. (The title of one of Aram’s new paintings, Iskandari, is a reference to the Persian and Arab variant of Alexander, derived from Alexander the Great. For Aram, Iskandari is “a tribute to the other Alexander the Great: Alexander Calder.”)