“Museums have always been a bit of a respite for me. Going to the Art Institute when I was quite young and being around art made me feel whole. When I travel, museums and art are my first stops. It is my way of learning about the history and the visual language of a community.” —Maria Pinto.
From a young age, growing up on Chicago’s South Side, art played an important role in Maria’s life. As a shy kid, she found solace in museums, studying the ways in which others expressed themselves and the creative methods they used to do so. Her decision to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago was based on her ability to study both fashion and art. For Maria, art is everything, whether it’s a canvas or a dress, the same rules apply.
From left: exhibit program; freeform wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa; Zoë Ryan in M2057’s Deslyn Dress in magenta (right) and Consulting Curator Ana Elana Mallet. Below: a panel discussion. (Photos courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago: left, top right and below.)
ON ZOE RYAN Since 2007, Maria has been on the board of the Architecture and Design Society at the Art Institute, which supports the Department of Acquisitions and Design. In 2006, Zoë Ryan joined the Art Institute of Chicago as the inaugural Neville Bryan Curator of Design, and in 2011 was named chair of the Department of Architecture and Design. From the beginning, Maria has been a fan of Zoë's knowledge of architecture and the inspiring exhibitions she brings to the museum. “Zoë is a force,” says Maria. And, it seems, the feeling is mutual. Zoë often looks to Maria’s M2057 for the clothes she wears.
MARIA ON “IN A CLOUD, IN A WALL, IN A CHAIR: SIX MODERNISTS IN MEXICO AT MIDCENTURY
Zoë has created an exhibition that unites, for the first time, the pioneering work of six artists and designers: Clara Porset, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Cynthia Sargent and Sheila Hicks. Inspired by both local traditions and modern methods, these women made art that reflected and contributed to a better understanding of Mexico’s rich artistic landscape at the height of the modern period. Their work, which included furniture design, jewelry, photography, photomurals, prints, sculpture, and textiles, was rooted in modernism and grounded in abstraction. These women shared an affinity for Mexico, a country they all lived in or visited between the 1940s and the 1970s. The installation of Asawa’s sculptures and drawings is sensational. I am especially attracted to how she hand-weaves these pieces where the shapes go inside of each other. Sargent’s “Scarlatti” is a gorgeous play of pattern and color.
Art Institute of Chicago, through Jan. 12. 111 S. Michigan Ave.
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