Nelly Agassi: Spirit of the Waves at the Graham Foundation

16 July 2019


The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, only a few minutes’ ride from 1000M in the South Loop, is well worth the visit to appreciate its architecture, gorgeous courtyard, library and current gallery exhibits. Right now, Nelly Agassi: Spirit of the Waves is on view, an evocative installation that you can’t miss.


The Graham Foundation

The Graham Foundation is located in the beautiful, turn-of-the-century Prairie-style mansion, the Madlener House, in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. Built in 1902, the Madlener House was renovated in the 1960s for the foundation’s opening in 1963. 


Since its founding, the mission of the Graham Foundation has been to foster “the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture and society.” The foundation does this through making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and producing exhibitions, events and publications.


Nelly Agassi: Spirit of the Waves

Nelly Agassi is an Israeli-born artist based in Chicago. She earned her MFA from Cheslea College and her BFA from Central St. Martins, both in London. Spirit of the Waves was commissioned by the Graham Foundation during Agassi’s time as a 2019 Graham Foundation Fellow; the exhibition is on view from May 23-August 3, 2019.


Spanning from the first floor gallery and library to the second floor and even outside to the courtyard, Spirit of the Waves includes a large-scale textile installation, intricate embroideries, works on paper, sculpture and a performance on July 31 at 6 PM. On the first floor, intricate embroideries examine architectural changes of the mansion. Out in the courtyard, two new sculptures and planting of native species intermingle with the foundation’s preserved architectural artifacts. On the second floor, long golden curtains trail across the room in a display so beautiful that you have to see it to believe it. 


The Graham Foundation is located at Madlener House, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago, IL. They are open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM; admission is free and private tours are available by request.