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Circa 1881 And The Peninsula Chicago Present “Whoville”

Whoville, the main lobby installation. Photo: James Prinz Photography
Exhibition celebrates Chicago’s distinct artistic history during EXPO CHICAGO

Circa 1881 and The Peninsula Chicago present Whoville, an exhibition featuring over thirty art works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection.

Whoville installation. Left photo, top: Liz Craft, Eyes Without a Face (brown), 2003, ceramic, tin, spray paint, 16 x 18 x 8 in. bottom: Art Green, Disclosing Enclosure, 1968 Oil on canvas, 93 x 62 ½ in

On view from September 9 to October 23, 2016, at The Peninsula Chicago, the exhibition coincides with the annual EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (September 22-25, 2016). Whoville is the latest project from Circa 1881’s ongoing partnership with The Peninsula Hotels to present rotating art exhibitions of world-class contemporary art for the hotels’ public spaces. The winner of the 2016 CODAaward in the Hospitality category, Circa 1881 produces art exhibitions and programming in collaboration with noted collectors or from artworks on loan from private  collections it has under management.

A Collection that Explores the Fantastical & Surreal

Whoville is both an exclusive glimpse into the collecting world of Beth Rudin DeWoody, one of America’s most notable collectors, and a celebration of Chicago’s distinctive artistic history. A playful reference to the noted Chicago artist group, the Hairy Who, most of whom studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and exhibited together at the Hyde Park Art Center in the 1960s, Whoville highlights some of Chicago’s most prominent artists, past and present, along with an eclectic selection of works that explore travel, transformative environments or share the fantastical, surreal aesthetic of Dr. Seuss’ fictional land, Whoville. Curated by Laura Dvorkin, the exhibition includes works by Thomas Beale, Roger Brown, Nick Cave, Liz Craft, Mira Dancy, Ed Flood, Theaster Gates, Art Green, Richard Jackson, Kerry James, Marshall, Bruce Nauman, Gladys Nilsson, Ed Paschke, Randy Polumbo, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Christina Ramberg, Tony Tasset, H.C. Westermann, and Karl Wirsum.
Whoville installation. Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Richard, 2014, Black charcoal, gouache, oil, pastel, oil paint on Coventry vellum paper, 55 x 43 in.

On A Mission to Bring Museum-Quality Art to Public Spaces

“We are pleased to showcase this exceptional collection during EXPO CHICAGO,” said Alvaro Leal, founder of Circa 1881. “This collaboration exemplifies our mission to bring museum quality art into public spaces and adds another exciting art venue for the fair goers, hotel guests, and the general public.”
Nick Cave, Sound Suit #20, 2005, found sequins and hand beaded, 100 x 26 x 14 in. Photos: James Printz Photography

“Collaborating with Circa 1881 on this exhibition has provided an exciting opportunity to share my collection with Peninsula Chicago guests and the greater public,” said DeWoody. “I look forward to attending EXPO CHICAGO and exhibiting the Whoville artists in Chicago, a city to which many of them are historically linked.”

Maria Razumich-Zec, Regional Vice President and General Manager of The Peninsula Chicago says, “We are delighted that Ms. DeWoody will showcase pieces from her renowned collection at The Peninsula Chicago. Known for celebrating stimulating art within the hotel, we believe it is our obligation to continue to display works that provoke thought, emotion and dialogue. The pieces selected by Laura Dvorkin from Ms. DeWoody’s collection should accomplish this feat. We hope this collaboration with Circa 1881 will further elevate the perception of Chicago as a pillar among the world’s art community.”

A Collection in an Array of Media

The art represented in this exhibition spans an array of media including drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. In addition to artworks displayed inside the hotel’s main lobby, Love Stream #2 by Randy Polumbo will be on view in front of the hotel’s main entrance and open to the public daily during EXPO CHICAGO (Sept. 22-25). Polumbo’s most ambitious and monumental work to date, Love Stream #2 is a vintage Airstream aluminum trailer whose interior has been transformed into a colorful garden of hand blown glass and light sculptures.

Whoville is Circa 1881’s seventh collaboration with The Peninsula Hotels. Their recent project, PINK LOTUS, a large-scale, site-specific light sculpture by artist Grimanesa Amorós that was installed on the façade of The Peninsula New York in October, 2015, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, won the 2016 CODAaward in the hospitality category. More information:

About Circa 1881
Circa 1881 produces art programming and exhibitions of world-class contemporary art sourced from noted private collections. Its clients are non-profit institutions and corporations interested in creating unique art experiences for their public spaces that can be periodically refreshed. Circa 1881 seamlessly handles all curatorial, logistics and risk management details for each exhibition. For more information about Circa 1881 visit

About Beth Rudin DeWoody
Beth Rudin DeWoody, art collector and curator, resides between New York City, Los Angeles and West Palm Beach. She is President of The Rudin Family Foundations and Executive Vice President of Rudin Management Company. Her Board affiliations include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Creative Time, Hammer Museum, The New School, The Glass House, Design Museum Holon Israel, Empowers Africa, New Yorkers for Children, and The New York City Police Foundation, among others. She is an Honorary Trustee at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and on the Photography Steering Committee at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, Florida. DeWoody has curated numerous exhibitions including I Won’t Grow Up at Cheim & Read, New York; In Stitches at Leila Heller Gallery, New York; Think Pink at Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, Hunt & Chase at Salomon Contemporary, East Hampton; Inspired at Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; Bad For You at Shizaru Gallery, London; and Please Enter at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York. Two exhibitions of her collection were recently on view at the Norton Museum of Art in The Triumph of Love: Beth Rudin DeWoody Collectsand Still/Moving: Photographs and Video Art from the DeWoody Collection.

About Laura Dvorkin  
Laura Dvorkin has worked with the Beth Rudin DeWoody (BRD) Collection for over eight years, managing the publications and exhibitions that DeWoody curates, and as part of the larger team overseeing the collection. Dvorkin has organized eight exhibitions in the US and abroad for DeWoody including Bad For You at Shizaru Gallery, London; Inspired at Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; In Stitches at Leila Heller Gallery, New York; Please Enter at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York; and Think Pink, at Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach. Dvorkin is also the Associate Art Consultant for the Eventi Hotel, New York and advises private clients. She is the former Sales Associate of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York and Associate Director of Salomon Contemporary, New York, where she curated the show #summerfridays in 2013.

About The Peninsula Chicago
The Peninsula Chicago is a Five Star, Five Diamond hotel located on the “Magnificent Mile” at 108 East Superior Street (at Michigan Avenue), within the city’s premier shopping district. The 339 guest room hotel recently completed an extensive renovation of all guestrooms and suites. The hotel opened in 2001 and features three distinctive restaurants, a popular bar and a world-class spa. For information on The Peninsula Chicago, please visit or call +1 (312) 337 2888 or toll-free at +1 (866) 288 8889.

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