• Grotjahn
  • Simon Denny
    08.55 Textbook Disruption, 2013, by Simon Denny
  • Keita
    Untitled #110, 1950-55, Seydou Keita
  • Frances Stark
    Structures That Fit My Opening (and Other Considered in Relation to Their Whole), 2006, by Frances Stark
  • Cao Fei
    Tussle, 2004, by Cao Fei
  • Cauleen Smith
    Ivory Anthropologie #20, 2010, by Cauleen Smith
  • Tacita Dean
    The Russian Ending, 2001, The Crimea, by Tactica Dean
  • Rhodes
    Excerpt (gray), 2007, by Stephen Rhodes
  • Edgar Arcenaux
    Disentaglement Equals Homogenous Abstractions, 2014, by Edgar Arcenaux
    • FEATURE

      A Harper Center Art Walk

      Take a tour through some of the highlights of Chicago Booth’s renowned, 500-piece-strong contemporary art collection and discover what paint, prints, and neon have to say about today’s global business landscape.

      Start your art walk at Foreigners Everywhere, visible from the walkways on north side of the Winter Garden. Then, head toward Room 122 to find Untitled, by Mark Grotjahn (above). This standout, five-work series of colored pencil on paper was commissioned especially for the business school, and is a prime example of work in the collection by an artist whose career later skyrocketed. In it, Grotjahn illustrates the nature of risk in business-a point he made by taking the value of the commission and gambling it at a casino over five days. Each piece is a representation of one day's winnings or losings-mostly losings, aside from a lucky January day when he had a hot hand at Texas Hold'em. Grotjahn's work has become highly sought after in the years since, with pieces recently selling at auction for $4 million or more. Take a minute to recall just how diversified your portfolio is, then turn left and continue down the hallway to . . .

    • FEATURE

      08.55 Textbook Disruption, 2013, by Simon Denny

      Camouflaged as a typical poster is New Zealand artist Simon Denny's testament to how quickly today's hot new technology trends can lose their luster. The inkjet print on canvas uses real content from an actual tech conference in 2012. Today, the mementos from the conference seem more like leftover marketing material than cutting-edge ideas. Keen observers will note there's no guardrail around this piece. That's on purpose, said Prendergast. Both he and Denny enjoy the idea of the work hiding in plain sight. Do a double take, then head back to the Winter Garden behind you. Take the large, open staircase on your left to the second floor and head toward Room 223 to find . . .

    • FEATURE

      Untitled #110, 1950-55, Seydou Keita

      When a member of the committee proposes a new piece of art, the group often weighs the purchase decision slowly and methodically. Not so with Malian photographer Seydou Keita's portraiture series. "Those discussions took three minutes," said Prendergast. The series of five silver gelatin prints are just a few of the many portraits Keita took of the residents of Bamako in the 1940s and '50s, in the years before Mali gained its independence. His subjects wore their finest outfits and posed in front of intricately patterned backgrounds, and would give the pictures out to friends and family. The committee was drawn to the prints' beauty as well as the unique moment in Mali's colonial history that they represent. Stop to take in the intricate tailoring and lacework, then take the elevator to the third floor. Outside Seminar Room 3A, you'll see . . .

    • FEATURE

      Structures That Fit My Opening (and Other Considered in Relation to Their Whole), 2006, by Frances Stark

      The work of artist and writer Frances Stark is often about the ways we use technology to communicate with one another today. She created this piece, a 25-minute-long PowerPoint presentation presented on a laptop, after she was asked to participate in a show. Unable to leave her newborn, she sent this in her stead. "A lot of her art is about her difficulties of balancing being a mother and being an artist at the same time," Prendergast said. "It's again very relevant in the context of what we should be thinking about here at the school." Stay for a loop, then head down the hallway to your right. Take another right, and head toward the water fountains ahead, across from which is . . .

    • FEATURE

      Tussle, 2004, by Cao Fei

      Artwork that considers the power of cultural globalization seems right at home in a business school with alumni living and working around the world. Such is Cao Fei's Tussle, a chromogenic color print that captures a glimpse into the lives of young people from China who cosplay as their favorite Japanese anime characters as a hobby. The enthusiasts here pose in costume near fiberglass props-a cow and a zebra-against the backdrop of modern urban China. Stop to contemplate Fei's adjacent work in the collection, Ah Ming at Home (2004), then head to your right for a stunning view of the building's main atrium. Follow the signs toward office 318, across from which hangs . . .

    • FEATURE

      Ivory Anthropologie #20, 2010, by Cauleen Smith

      In this series of painted collages, African American artist Cauleen Smith makes a cutting statement about the lack of black subjects in mainstream advertising. Smith uses Wite-Out to superimpose a bar of Ivory soap over images of models from a clothing store catalog. A filmmaker and multimedia artist, Smith is based in Chicago, and her work frequently deals with topics surrounding African American identity. Pause to contemplate the five works, then continue down the hallway toward the seating area to find . . .

    • FEATURE

      The Russian Ending, 2001, The Crimea, by Tactica Dean

      A British artist, Tacita Dean was inspired by how Danish filmmakers in the 1920s modified the conclusions of their movies to match the preferences of different audiences: Americans liked happy endings, while Russians preferred calamity and disaster. Here, Dean handwrote imagined stage directions for fictional movies over a macabre parade of decades-old images-shipwrecks, desolate landscapes, funerals-to illustrate this "Russian Ending" and make a larger point about how widely cultures can differ. What works in one country might not work in another-a keen lesson for any student passerby wanting to go into international business. Take a moment to imagine the works as a storyboard, then continue down the long hallway. Take the first right, then an immediate left, and you'll encounter . . .

    • FEATURE

      Excerpt (gray), 2007, by Stephen Rhodes

      Stephen G. Rhodes, who grew up in Louisiana, is interested in how Americans outside of the South view the region. In each of these three digital collages, he uses what seems to be the facade of a typical Southern plantation home or French Quarter building as a base image. They're not: all three are actually images of locations within Disney theme parks built to mimic Southern architecture. (That classic plantation home? It's actually Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.) Rhodes brings this imagined South into direct confrontation with reality, layering over them pictures of post-Katrina landscapes, and a bright spray-painted X-similar to the symbol used to mark hurricane-hit houses during search-and-rescue operations. Pause to ponder the nature of reality versus fiction, then head up the spiral staircase to the fourth floor. Cross the seating area using the hallway to the right and you'll come face to face with . . .

    • FEATURE

      Disentaglement Equals Homogenous Abstractions, 2014, by Edgar Arcenaux

      Part of Edgar Arceneaux's larger body of work about Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., this piece uses a mirror, light fixtures, and primary-source documents to literally and figuratively illuminate King's complicated legacy. On the right, Arceneaux has recreated a threatening letter King received alongside tapes outlining alleged extramarital affairs, both of which were later discovered to have been sent by the FBI. Arceneaux received the document through a Freedom of Information Act request, and the mirrored background fills redacted areas. The document on the left references a now-settled legal dispute among King's children over whether to sell his Nobel Peace Prize medal and Bible.

      —By LeeAnn Shelton