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About this collection


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70+: Chicago Visual Artist Oral History Archive:

Collected by Linda L. Kramer and Sandra Binion between 2010 and 2013, these oral histories were donated to the Ryerson & Burnham Archives in 2013. According to Kramer, the artists received a list of questions before their interviews so that they had the opportunity to assemble factual material relating to their careers. Suggested topics included: academic study, family background, cultural influences, gallery affiliations, exhibitions, awards, artistic influences and the role of Chicago in their work and career. The duration of the interviews varies from less than an hour to 2-1/2 hours.

Kit Schwartz Archive:

Coming soon.

New Bauhaus/Institute of Design (Moholy-Nagy Foundation):

The Institute of Design (ID) began as an outpost of experimental Bauhaus education in Chicago and became one of the most important schools of photography in 20th-century America. In its iterations as the New Bauhaus (1937–38), School of Design in Chicago (1939–1944) and finally the Institute of Design (beginning in 1944), the school fostered exploration and innovation. Its faculty included such luminaries as László Moholy-Nagy, Harry Callahan, and Aaron Siskind, who in turn attracted students who would become some of the nation's finest artists, designers, and photographers. The photographic work produced by teachers and students at the ID set new standards for picture-making, and the school’s pedagogy has been disseminated internationally by generations of photographer-teachers.

In preparation for the exhibition Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937–1971 (David Travis and Elizabeth Siegel, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2002), numerous telephone and in-person interviews were conducted with teachers and students from the school. These recollections provide insight into teaching methods, the unusual pedagogy of the school across its iterations, details of student life, and the camaraderie and mutual support felt by the students at this exciting place and time.

The transcription of these interviews has been made possible by a generous grant from the Moholy-Nagy Foundation.

Scholars may submit a request to hear audio recordings at


György Kepes. Juliet with Peacock Feather, 1937/38. Maurice D. Galleher Endowment, 1996.1, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Ray K. Metzker. The Loop: Chicago, 1958. Photography Gallery Fund, 1960.183, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Milton Halberstadt. Norm Martin, 1940/41. Acquired through a grant from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; gift of Susan Ehrens and Leland Rice, 1998.26, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Harry Callahan. Untitled (Lakefront Fence), c. 1947. Restricted gift of Anstiss and Ronald Krueck in honor of Sylvia Wolf, 1999.315, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Aaron Siskind. Chicago 42, 1952. Gift of Mr. Noah Goldowsky, 1956.395, © Aaron Siskind Foundation, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Joseph D. Jachna
. Untitled, 1959. Ernest Kahn Endowment, 2001.204, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. Kenneth Josephson. Mountains, Colorado, June 1959. Photography Gallery Fund, 1960.324, © Kenneth Josephson, Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago. László Moholy-Nagy. Untitled, c. 1940. Gift of George and Ruth Barford, 1968.264, © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Department of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago.

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