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


Photo: Jason Chow

The Shape of Language
Dionne Brand
Jun 16, 2018 (3pm)

Please RSVP

The poet Dionne Brand delivers a talk and shares selections from her forthcoming book, The Blue Clerk (Duke). Brand’s presentation—commissioned by the Graham Foundation in partnership with the Poetry Foundation—weaves narratives between Brand and the artist Torkwase Dyson as both address the language of shapes. Selections of this talk will be included in the Wynter-Wells School publication that will be published at the conclusion of the exhibition at the Madlener House.

Dionne Brand is a Canadian poet. Born in Trinidad, Brand attended the University of Toronto earning degrees in Philosophy and English and a Masters in the Philosophy of Education. Her books of poetry include No Language Is Neutral, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award; and thirsty, finalist for the Griffin Prize and winner of the Pat Lowther Award for poetry. Brand is also the author of the acclaimed novels In Another Place, Not Here, which was shortlisted for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Award, and At the Full and Change of the Moon. Her works of non-fiction include Bread Out of Stone and A Map to the Door of No Return. In addition to her literary accomplishments, Brand is Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

For more information on the exhibition, Wynter-Wells School, click here.



Graham Lambkin & Joe McPhee
Lampo Performance Series
Jun 16, 2018 (8pm)

RSVP Required

Join us for a new performance by Graham Lambkin and Joe McPhee. In 1993 one of the chief concerns of Graham Lambkin’s then fledgling group Shadow Ring was to emulate, on a cheap Casio keyboard, the electronic textures of ’70s Joe McPhee collaborator John Snyder’s ARP synthesizer. Twenty-two years later Lambkin and McPhee recorded their Chance Meeting album using chimes, whistle, pocket synthesizer, tape, Baoding balls and other objects. The recording is marked by the jovial spirit and wry humor that characterizes their collaborative dynamic, both in performance and friendship.

Graham Lambkin (b.1973, Dover, England) is a multidisciplinary artist who first came to prominence in the early 90s through the formation of his experimental music group The Shadow Ring. A sound organizer rather than music maker, Lambkin looks at an everyday object and sees an ocean of possibility, continually transforming quotidian atmospheres and the mundane into expressive sound art using tape manipulation techniques, chance operations and the thick ambience of domestic field recordings.

Joe McPhee (b.1939, Miami, Fla.) has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scenes in the late 60s. Inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he taught himself the saxophone and proceeded to cut two records that remain defining monuments to the civil rights era: the out free jazz of Underground Railroad and avant-funk of Nation Time. His odyssey since has taken McPhee through Deep Listening collaborations with Pauline Oliveros and countless left field improv sessions both within and way outside of the jazz tradition.

Since 2010 the Graham Foundation has supported and partnered with Lampo to produce this performance series held at the Madlener House. Lampo, founded in 1997, is a non-profit organization for experimental music and intermedia projects.

Image: Courtesy Steve Louie



Christina Sharpe and Torkwase Dyson in Conversation
Jun 14, 2018 (6pm)

Please RSVP

Join us for an evening of discussion with scholar Christina Sharpe and artist Torkwase Dyson. First introduced through the Center for African American Poetry & Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh’s program, Unruly Collaborations, Sharpe and Dyson continue their conversation at the Graham Foundation. Both share interests in tackling meaningful and ethically responsible ways to wrestle with the many challenging issues of contemporary society, including those influenced by post-civil rights and postcolonial landscapes.

Christina Sharpe is Professor of English, Africana, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Tufts University. In July she will join the faculty of York University in Toronto as Professor in the Department of Humanities. Her second book, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, was published by Duke University Press in November 2016 and was named in the Guardian newspaper and The Walrus as one of the best books of 2016. In the Wake was also chosen as a finalist in the category of nonfiction for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. Her first book, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-SlaverySubjects was published in 2010, also by Duke University Press. She is currently completing the critical introduction to the Collected Poems of Dionne Brand (1982–2010) to be published by Duke University Press. She is also working on a monograph: Black. Still. Life. She has recently contributed essays to the book accompanying Arthur Jafa’s first solo exhibition Love is the Message, The Message is Death and an essay called “The Crook of Her Arm” for a collection on the work of the artist Martine Syms.

This talk is presented in conjunction with our current exhibition Torkwase Dyson and the Wynter-Wells School.

For more information on the exhibition, Wynter-Wells School, click here.



Mitch McEwen
May 31, 2018 (6pm)

Please RSVP

Urban designer and professor of architecture, Mitch McEwen presents an original lecture responding directly to the exhibition Torkwase Dyson and the Wynter-Wells School. Building on ongoing discussions with Dyson, McEwen examines experimentation, design, and how transformative events, such as climate change, can incite change in architecture and urban studies. Components of this commissioned lecture and elements of the intellectual partnership between McEwen and Dyson will be presented as part of the Graham-published book that accompanies Dyson’s exhibition and fellowship.

V. Mitch McEwen is principal of McEwen Studio and co-founder of A(n) Office, a collaborative of design studios in Detroit and New York City.  McEwen’s work has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, Knight Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts.  A(n) Office and McEwen Studio projects have been commissioned by the US Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Istanbul Design Biennial. McEwen’s work in urban design and architecture began at Bernard Tschumi Architects and the New York City Department of City Planning, as well as founding the Brooklyn-based non-profit SUPERFRONT. McEwen earned her MArch at Columbia University and BA at Harvard College cum laude in Social Studies.  Since 2017 she has been Assistant Professor at Princeton School of Architecture, after teaching previously at University of Michigan and Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Since 2017, McEwen serves as a Board Member of the Van Alen Institute in New York City.

This talk is presented in conjunction with our current exhibition Torkwase Dyson and the Wynter-Wells School.

For more information on the exhibition, Wynter-Wells School, click here.



Automatic Architecture
Sean Keller
May 23, 2018 (6pm)
Book Launch

Please RSVP

Join us for a talk by Sean Keller to launch his new Graham-funded book Automatic Architecture: Motivating Form after Modernism recently published by University of Chicago Press.

Automatic Architecture examines architects’ enthusiasm for autonomic design methods in the 1960s and 1970s. Influenced by the new science of computing, these architects tried to replace individual intuition with methods that were thought to be objective, logical, or natural. The book closes with an analysis of our contemporary condition, suggesting paths for architectural practice that work through, but also beyond, the merely automatic.

Sean Keller is a historian and critic of modern and contemporary architecture. His writing has been recognized by a Winterhouse Award for Design Writing and Criticism and by a Warhol Foundation Grant. He is the author of Automatic Architecture: Motivating Form After Modernism (University of Chicago Press, 2018); and is currently completing a book on the art and architecture of the 1972 Munich Olympics (forthcoming, with Christine Mehring, Yale University Press).

Keller is Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Research, and Director of the MS program at the IIT College of Architecture. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the Neubauer Collegium and formerly a Residential Scholar of the Franke Institute for the Humanities, both at the University of Chicago. He is a trustee of the Graham Foundation.

Image: Grid-shell forms determined by hanging chain nets, the Institute for Lightweight Structures, Stuttgart, 1974. Courtesy of ILEK, University of Stuttgart.


Unless otherwise noted,
all events take place at:

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place, Chicago

Gallery and Bookshop Hours:

Wednesday—Saturday, 11am–6pm


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.