MAS Context Fall Talks 2022

Tracing / Traces: Architecture and the Archive 2022

November 12, 2022 at 11AM

Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

The event is free with museum admission. Please, check coats and bags before entering the library.


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Aaron Siskind photographing the Max M. Rothschild Building (or Flats), c. 1953. Photographer: Richard Nickel. Richard Nickel Archive, 1850-2011 (bulk 1945-1972). Courtesy of the Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

On Saturday, November 12, 2022, MAS Context organized the sixth edition of our Tracing / Traces event when readers had the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at selected items from the Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives located at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Five architects and designers selected items of the collection and discussed them in relationship to their practice, the discipline, and/or society. Nathaniel Parks, Tigerman McCurry Director of the Art Institute of Chicago Archives, provided some background on the archives.

Participants included:

Elizabeth Blasius Preservation Futures
Ania Jaworska Ania Jaworska
Ralph JohnsonPerkins&Will
Patricia Saldaña Natke UrbanWorks
Kekeli Sumah – Multidisciplinary artist and designer

The Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives’ collections are notably strong in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American architecture, with particular depth in midwestern architecture. Architects such as Edward Bennett, Daniel Burnham, Bruce Goff, Bertrand Goldberg, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright are represented in a broad range of papers. Major architectural events, such as the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, The Century of Progress International Exposition of 1933–1934 in Chicago, and the World’s Fair of 1939 in New York, are also represented in an individual archive.