The Corner Store: Kate Zeller, Sullivan Galleries of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Prior to its acquisition by Columbia College in 1975, the historic building at 600 South Michigan Avenue served as the Chicago headquarters of Fairbanks, Morse & Company. For nearly forty years, with bustling offices above, the ground floor windows showcased world-renowned displays of the company’s products—modern machinery for industry, agriculture, and railways.
These same windows, over 75 years after their first presentation of commercial goods, are now the site of Columbia’s Cornerstone Gallery where this digital exhibition will be on view.
Returning to this history, the selected images from the MoCP collection invite a reengagement of the windows as a site of commercial display. Framed behind glass panes and viewed from the street corner, the photographs suggest new possibilities for objects and goods to be purchased, consumed, or potentially coveted. Presented as a series of pairs, the images also evoke speculations of the retail venue promoted by these wares, while referring back to the virtual surrogates now commonplace to contemporary consumerism.