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


Cover of Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society, featuring Ângela Ferreira’s Crown Hall/Dragon House, 2009, as shown in the exhibition “Learning Modern” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Galleries. Photo: Jill Frank.

Chicago Makes Modern Book Launch
Ben Nicholson and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle
Nov 19, 2012 (6pm)

Please RSVP

From the radical social and artistic perspectives implemented by Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Buckminster Fuller to the avant-garde designs of László Moholy-Nagy and Mies van der Rohe, the prodigious offerings of Chicago's modern minds left an indelible legacy for future generations. Staging the city as a laboratory for some of our most heralded cultural experiments, Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society reimagines the modern as a space of self-realization and social progress—where individual visions triggered profound change. Featuring contributions from an acclaimed roster of contemporary artists, critics, and scholars, this book demonstrates how and why the Windy City continues to drive the modern world.

At this book launch event, contributor Ben Nicholson and artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle remark on their work presented in this publication, reflecting on their personal artistic and scholarly research and the continuing legacy of modernism in Chicago and beyond.The talks will be followed by a reception in the Madlener House library where signed copies of the publications will be for sale.


Ben Nicholson is associate professor in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He taught at the Illinois Institute of Tech­nology for sixteen years before joining the faculty of SAIC in 2006. He has been a visiting professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Royal Danish Academy, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Houston. He was a fellow at the Chicago Institute for Architecture and Urbanism and has received grants from the Graham Foundation and others. His work alternates between designing homes and urban projects, digging into vernacular culture, and studying geometry and pattern. Nicholson’s earlier work focused on issues of domestic architecture, resulting in the publications Appliance House (MIT Press, 1989) and Thinking the Unthinkable House (Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, 1997). He is currently coediting a book about Frederick Kiesler and Paul Tillich titled Forms of Spirituality: Modern Architecture and Landscape in New Harmony. Nicholson is also creating micro-infrastructural projects in the utopian town of New Harmony, Indiana, where he lives.

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (b. 1961, Madrid, Spain) received a B.A. from Williams College in Williamstown, MA, and an M.F.A. from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. His noted film trilogy Le Baiser/The Kiss (1999), Climate (2000), and In Ordinary Time (2001) focuses on the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and the implications of Modernism. Solo exhibitions include: The Art Institute of Chicago; The Krefeld Suite, Museum Haus Esters and Haus Lange, Krefend, Germany; El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey and Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City; Barcelona Pavilion, Fundación Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others. Group exhibitions include: Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; InSITE, San Diego; Tempo, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, England, and Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Media Arts Award from the Wexner Center for the Arts, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

Chicago Makes Modern was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation in 2010. The book is a co-publication of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago Press, with special thanks to the Mies van der Rohe Society at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Loyola University Museum of Art. This launch event is also made possible by the Consulate General of Switzerland.