Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Telephone: 312.787.4071


Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, from Unraveling Modern Living, digital collage, 2019

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Unraveling Modern Living Opening Reception
Sep 16, 2019 (6pm)
Opening Reception

Please RSVP

Join us for a reception with Tatiana Bilbao Estudio to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition Unraveling Modern Living.

Mexico City-based architecture office Tatiana Bilbao Estudio creates an immersive installation that transforms a former domestic space to explore new forms of collectivity. The installation is activated by collaborative projects, on-site talks, and workshops throughout the run of the exhibition with Archeworks, Colectivo 1050º, Cultural ReProducers, Fieldwork Collaborative Projects, Stefan Gruber, Nance Klehm of Social Ecologies, Lurie Garden, MAS Context, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Sweet Water Foundation, The Weaving Mill, and Anna Martine Whitehead, among others.

Tatiana Bilbao founded her Mexico City-based eponymous architecture studio in 2004. Her work analyzes site specificity and creates built environments through multidisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives. She has taught as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Bilbao’s work has been published in Architecture + Urbanism, GA Houses, Domus, and The New York Times, among other outlets. 

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio creates work internationally at various scales, translating vernacular social codes into architecture, to develop affordable and sustainable architectural practices.  Highlighted projects in Mexico include: the Culiacán Botanical Garden; the Pilgrim Route, Jalisco; and the Biotechnological Center, Sinaloa. In 2015 the studio built the Sustainable House, a social housing prototype displayed at the Chicago Architectural Biennial. The work has been recognized widely with awards such as the Berlin Art Prize and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Image: Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, from Unraveling Modern Living, digital collage, 2019

For more information on the exhibition, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Unraveling Modern Living, click here.



Portal Court
Cultural ReProducers with Alberto Aguilar
Sep 15, 2019 (1pm)

Please RSVP


Using pavement, chalk, bouncy balls, and bean bags, artist Alberto Aguilar transforms the sidewalks surrounding the Madlener House into a floor game court and participatory performance. This event is designed as an outdoor program for children and families though participants of every age are invited to join.

This event is presented in collaboration with Cultural ReProducers in conjunction with the exhibition Estudio Tatiana Bilbao: Unravelling Modern Living.

Alberto Aguilar is a Chicago based artist. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; El Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba; Palo Alto Art Center; National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Minneapolis Institute of Art: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; and The Art Institute of Chicago. His work is held in the collections of the National Museum of Mexican Art; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Soho House Chicago; and the Chicago Cultural Center. Aguilar is the recipient of the 3Arts Award.

Cultural ReProducers is an evolving group of active cultural workers—artists, designers, curators, musicians, performers, writers, etc.—who are also parents. Founded in 2012 by artist Christa Donner, the group is a creative platform, web resource, and community-based initiative that is for anyone interested in making the art world a more inclusive and interesting place by supporting arts professionals raising kids.

Image: Multiple Entires, latex paint and window signs on home, 2018.

For more information on the exhibition, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Unraveling Modern Living, click here.



Nelly Agassi, 1:1
Exhibition Tour
Aug 09, 2019 - Aug 16, 2019

No registration required

Artist-led tours of Spirit of the Waves (approx. 45 min.):

Friday, August 9, 12 p.m.
Wednesday, August 14, 12 p.m.
Friday, August 16, 12 p.m.

Our current exhibition, Nelly Agassi: Spirit of the Waves, has been extended with special hours through August 16th. Join artist Nelly Agassi for a tour of her Graham Foundation Fellowship exhibition that explores erasure, preservation, identity, and architecture’s capacity to change. This newly commissioned body of work, includes a large-scale textile installation, intricate embroideries, works on paper, and sculptures that conjure historical and imagined narratives from the architectural details of the Foundation's headquarters, the Madlener House. Agassi will discuss her work and practice during her residency.

Advanced registration for the tours is not required; additional tours are available by appointment.

For more information on the exhibition, Spirit of the Waves, click here.



Performance (For Albert): Lebe, wie du, wenn du, stirbst wuenschen wirst, gelebt zu haben (Live that so, when you die, you have lived as you would have wished)
Nelly Agassi with Ryan Packard and Peter Maunu
Jul 31, 2019 - Aug 07, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 6 p.m.
Sold out (Join the waitlist)

Wednesday, August 7, 6 p.m.
Sold out (Join the waitlist)

Nelly Agassi presents a new performance within her site-specific installation as part of her Graham Foundation fellowship exhibition, Spirit of the Waves. Developed in collaboration with Ryan Packard and Peter Maunu, the performance title refers to a line of poetry that was inscribed on a bracelet from Elsa Seipp Madlener—who, along with her husband Albert Fridolin Madlener, commissioned the house the Foundation inhabits—that has been passed down through the Seipp-Madlener family for multiple generations. The quoted passage is taken from the stanza “Vom Tode” (“From Death”), part of Christian Fürchtegott Gellert’s 1757 work Geistliche Oden und Lieder (Spiritual Odes and Songs), which was later adapted to music and popularized by both Bach and Beethoven, in 1758 and 1803 respectively.

Chicago-based artist Nelly Agassi (b.1973, Israel) received her MFA from Chelsea College and her BFA from Central St. Martins, both in London. Her work has been shown internationally at institutions and galleries such as The Arts Club of Chicago, Aspect Ratio, Hyde Park Art Center, The Israel Museum, Poor Farm, Tate Modern, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, La Triennale di Milano, and Zacheta Warsaw. Agassi is a cofounder of the nonprofit organization Fieldwork Collaborative Projects and a 2019 Graham Foundation Fellow. She is represented by Dvir Gallery and Foksal Gallery.

Guitarist and violinist Peter Maunu has toured, performed, and recorded with a long list of diverse musicians including Charles Lloyd, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bobby McFerrin, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Charlie Haden, Archie Shepp, and Grace Slick. As the guitarist on the Arsenio Hall Show, he performed nightly with legends like Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Madonna, Ray Charles, NWA, Public Enemy, and many more. Additionally, Maunu contributed to the soundtracks of film scores including Crash, Bobby, Food Inc., and television shows Chicago Hope, Arrested Development, and CSI New York. Since relocating to Chicago, he has performed and recorded with improvisers Fred Lonberg-Holm, Dave Rempis, Michael Zerang, Mars Williams, Jim Baker, Tomeka Reid, Katherine Young, Jason Roebke, Tim Daisy, Ryan Packard, Nelly Agassi, Avreeyal Ra, dancer Ayako Kato, and many others. In addition, he founded, curates, hosts, and performs at the Splice Series, a bimonthly improvisation series at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago.

Ryan Packard is a percussionist, composer, and sound artist based in Chicago. His sound installations have been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Defibrillator Gallery, Hyde Park Arts Center, Galeria Labirynt, High Concept Labs, Constellation Chicago, and Experimental Sound Studio. His compositions have been performed by Fonema Consort, Ensemble Chartreuse, Seth Parker Woods, The Morton Feldman Chamber Players, and the AndPlay Duo. As an improviser and collaborator, Packard performs regularly with Nelly Agassi, Dave Rempis, Brandon Lopez, Jasper Stadhouders, Oscar Jan Hoogland,  ZRL (Zach Good and Lia Kohl), John McCowen, Nestle (Cyrus Pireh and Rob Lundberg), ombra di organo (Keefe Jackson and Manuel Troller), Kieran Daly, Jason Roebke, RGB (Paul Giallorenzo and Charlie Kirchen), Daniel Wyche amongst many others. He is in the newest reincarnation of the NYC experimental indie rock band, Skeleton$; Chicago’s Wei Zhongle; and collaborates with the Michael Albert Music Group, Slow Mass and VV Lightbody. He’s a member of Fonema Consort and has performed with Ensemble Dal Niente, Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society, MOCREP, ensemble, Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, Nate Kinsella’s Birthmark and Architek Percussion Quartet as a founding member. Packard has a master's of music from McGill University and bachelor's of music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Image: Nelly Agassi, Untitled, 2019. Photo: Assaf Evron

Please note that registration for this performance is required, but does not guarantee entry. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the event and space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for those registered in advance. Reservations expire 5 minutes before the event start time, at which point space will be released to the waitlist. No late entry will be permitted.

Accessibility: This event will be held on the second floor, which is only accessible by stairs, and will not be seated. A limited number of stools for those unable to stand for the duration of the 30 minute performance will be available. The first-floor galleries, library, and bookshop are accessible via outdoor lift. Please call ahead to make arrangements.

For more information on the exhibition, Spirit of the Waves, click here.



Architecture in Motion
Diane Simpson with Every house has a door
Jul 25, 2019 (6pm)

Sold out; waitlist only

In 2018, Diane Simpson received a research grant from the Graham Foundation to support her project Architecture in Motion commissioned by FD13 Residency for the Arts in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN. Working over an extended research period of nine months, Diane designed her first costumes to be animated by two performers. Taking inspiration from the former Women’s City Club of St. Paul, designed by architect Magnus Jemne in 1931 in the Art Deco style, Simpson’s costumes reference key details of the elegant building. In collaboration with FD13, the costumes were first used in performance with Minneapolis-based dancers in June 2019. Building on the success of this first iteration, Every house has a door created a new performance to premiere on July 25. Following the 30-minute performance, Sara Cluggish, Director of FD13 joins Diane Simpson in conversation about the evolution of the project.

Diane Simpson is a Chicago-based artist who creates sculpture and preparatory drawings that evolve from a diverse range of sources, including clothing, utilitarian objects, and architecture. The structures of clothing forms has continuously informed her work, serving as a vehicle for exploring their functional and sociological roles and the influence of the design and architecture of various cultures and periods in history. Diane Simpson’s works were included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Other museum exhibitions include solo shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2016) and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2015). Recent solo gallery exhibitions include Herald St, London (2018); JTT, New York (2016); and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago (2016).

Sara Cluggish is a writer and curator based in Minneapolis. She earned her MFA in curating and BFA in photography. Her research interests lie at the intersection of performance and moving image scholarship, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality studies. Cluggish is 2018 Guest Curator of FD13, Residency for the Arts in Minneapolis and St. Paul for which she is developing a season of events surrounding themes of health, illness, disability politics, and the body in a state of flux. From 2012 to 2014 she was the assistant curator at Nottingham Contemporary and has worked in the exhibitions departments at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an occasional contributor to ArtReview, ArtReview Asia, Frieze, L’Officiele Arte Italia, and the Third Rail.

Every house has a door was formed in 2008 by Lin Hixson, director, and Matthew Goulish, dramaturg, to convene diverse, inter-generational project-specific teams of specialists, including emerging as well as internationally recognized artists. Drawn to historically or critically neglected subjects, Every house creates performance works and performance-related projects in many media. The company is based in Chicago and presents work for local, national, and international audiences.

Image: Diane Simpson, source images from the former St. Paul Women’s City Club, designed by Magnus Jemne in 1931, with Architecture in Motion costume drawings, 2019

For more information on the exhibition, Spirit of the Waves, click here.


Unless otherwise noted,
all events take place at:

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place, Chicago


Wednesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
and by appointment


Directions to Madlener House


Events are held in the ballroom on the third floor which is only accessible by stairs.
The first floor of the Madlener House is accessible via an outdoor lift. Please call 312.787.4071 to make arrangements.