From: The Art Institute of Chicago Limited Edition: 3 Exhibition: The Art Institute of Chicago Permanent Collections Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 30" x 99" (76cm x 251cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Many Midwest artists hightailed it to NYC to make it as an artist, but not Ed Paschke. He loved Chicago and was often referred to as ‘Mr. Chicago’ by his friends. He even had a Chicago thoroughfare named after him near his alma mater, the Art Institute of Chicago. Paschke embraced the grittier side of the city known for gangsters and corrupt politicians, and he fed on the intensity of the sports scene, once appearing on a 50 foot billboard with basketball legend Michael Jordan. His 1969 oil painting, Mid American, captures the essence of Paschke’s passion for electric color and super hero imagery, and is captured on this street banner.
Ed Paschke was first exposed to pop art and culture on his family's living room floor as his father read the Sunday comics. At the kitchen table, they experimented with making clay figures and drawing animals and people with exaggerated features. Like Andy Warhol, who was a key inspiration for Paschke, he gravitated towards subjects more akin to the underbelly of American life – crime, sex, fame, and money. Paschke’s son, Marc, said, growing up he'd say his father "painted really crazy pictures" when friends mentioned their fathers were policeman and the like.
Paschke completed Mid American in 1969 after three or four attempts during the height of the Imagist movement. He described painting as a process of growing into a work, such that it represents what you intended. He was a member of the Chicago-based Imagist movement along with other figurative artists Roger Brown and Barbara Rossi, who drew heavily from outsider art, popular culture and Surrealism.
Paschke liked to paint confrontational images that would stop people in their tracks and Mid American is quintessential. The painting incorporates many common Paschke themes like intense use of color, wrestler physiques, tattoos, and a comic book sense of expressionism. In Mid American, he also explored the trappings of middle class American identity: a robed athlete with wings that resemble winged tip shoes, the eagle and shield chest tattoo, and the superhero face mask. Floating baseball mitts appear on the left side of the full image, though not on the portion that appears on the banner.
"Art Institute Chicago" appears at the top of the banner in white on red. Below is the right portion of the full painting-- the boxer superhero. The back side of the banner is white with "The Real Superheroes Visit" in black and grey sideways vertical letters and the TW logo at the bottom.
This banner was displayed around the Chicago area during the summer of 2012, and was used as a general branding banner to promote the Art Institute of Chicago's permanent collection.