Michael Schmelling: Your Blues

Michael Schmelling, Untitled (Jimmy Whispers_37), 2013

About the Exhibition

During an eighteen month-long commission in his hometown of Chicago, Schmelling explored the musical landscape of the region. The artist has immersed himself headlong into Chicago’s music scene, focusing on the overlooked and off the beaten path, frequenting house party shows and searching out niche and local acts that are not widely known. While photographing at clubs and parties, Schmelling has taken stock of the fluid crossover between music genres in Chicago. Close attention has also been paid to the fans of these varied genres, as well as the performative roles audience members play at the city’s summer festivals and other larger venues. All the while, Schmelling has maintained a careful awareness of Chicago’s rich music history that includes the blues, psychedelic jazz, and house music as well as other major contributions to music. The project’s title, Your Blues, has multiple meanings, at once referring to Schmelling’s insertion of himself into Chicago’s most iconic musical legacy, the blues, while also calling attention to a feeling of DIY individualism that permeates Chicago’s music landscape. Your Blues is organized by MoCP Curator and Associate Director Karen Irvine.     

This project is generously supported by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

The 2014-2015 season is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. It is also partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.