• Houses of Tomorrow: Solar Homes from Keck to Today
    Robert Boyce and Jan Tichy
    Elmhurst Art Museum
    Feb 04, 2022 to May 29, 2022
    Elmhurst Art Museum

Jan Tichy, "reflectance, Light Props for a Solar House," 2022. Solar kinetic sculpture, 100*20*20 inch; Solar panel, motor, cables, wires; historical objects from the House of Tomorrow: doorknobs, black Carrara glass wall cladding, mirrors, and GE dishwasher racks. Courtesy Elmhurst Art Museum

Houses of Tomorrow: Solar Homes from Keck to Today celebrates Chicagoland’s innovative solar homes starting with George Fred Keck’s 1933 visionary design for the World’s Fair. Keck and his brother, William, built hundreds of innovative midcentury homes throughout the Midwest as the first “solar architects.” Their development of passive solar energy and other modern construction methods now stand as early precursors to today’s sustainable building practices—which are more relevant than ever before. As part of the exhibition, the artist Jan Tichy created two new installations that explore light reflections using historical elements from Keck’s 1933 groundbreaking home.

Robert Boyce taught art and architectural history for thirty-seven years at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Berea College, KY, where he served as art department chair for 12 years and held the Miller Mischler Chair in Art. He published Keck and Keck (Princeton Architectural Press, 1993) and Building a College: An Architectural History of Berea College (2006). While teaching and before retirement, he received three National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowships, a Graham Foundation grant supporting his Keck and Keck publication, and a Jessie Ball Dupont Fellowship.

Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, is principal of Kipnis Architecture + Planning, based in Evanston, IL and Boulder, CO.  In 2019 the firm was named Best Residential Architect by Better Magazine and was also awarded Illinois Green Alliance’s prestigious Emerald Award. He was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s 2030 Commitment Working Group and national cochair from 2018 to 2019.  The 2030 Commitment assists architects to design to Net Zero by 2030.  He also serves on the AIA’s national Sustainable Leadership Group. Kipnis is the founder of NextHaus Alliance, a new, premium design/build concept to provide "net zero" sustainable and resiliently designed homes.

John McKinnon has over fifteen years of curatorial and administrative experience. In 2017, he was appointed executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum, where he oversaw the fundraising and restorations of Mies van der Rohe's McCormick House—revealing the full exterior for the first time in nearly 25 years. Under his leadership, the museum changed physically and philosophically, including rebranding and programming expansion. McKinnon serves on the City of Elmhurst's Public Arts Commission and the Arts DuPage Advisory Committee. His previous positions include program director of the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and assistant curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum. He earned dual master’s degrees in arts administration and policy and art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator. Working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography, his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Born in Prague in 1974, Tichy studied art in Israel before earning his master’s from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now assistant professor at the department of photography. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; No Longer Empty, NY; and Chicago Cultural Center among others.

The Elmhurst Art Museum, established and granted 501(c)(3) status in 1997, is dedicated to the development of rotating contemporary art exhibitions by regional artists, ongoing educational programs that are available at no cost to interested groups, schools and individuals, and the celebration and preservation of a rare single-family home designed by Mies van der Rohe. The galleries, Education Center, and the Mies House, are complementary, working together to enrich thousands of lives annually by deepening knowledge of art, architecture and design, increasing understanding of the relevance of visual art in our times, and sparking the development of individual creativity through innovative programming.