Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art


Media Contact:
Megan Troppito
Communications Specialist

Loyola University Museum of Art Presents Elegant Enigmas:

The Art of Edward Gorey and G is for GoreyC is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak
Two Exhibitions Coming to Chicago in February 2014

CHICAGO, January 22, 2014  The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) presents two comprehensive exhibitions displaying the work of writer and artist Edward Gorey from February 15 to June 15, 2014. This combined exhibition will be the first major exhibition of Gorey’s work in his hometown of Chicago.

Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey and G is for GoreyC is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak both provide an in-depth look at this artist whose work was known for cautionary tales, dry wit, and characters costumed in the Edwardian style. Gorey’s legacy is shown through the hundreds of original drawings, works, and illustrations, and ephemera of popular culture included in the two exhibitions.

Gorey is well-known for the opening animated credits of the PBS television series Mystery! (now Masterpiece Mystery). His influence on other artists, illustrators, and sub-cultures is significant as well. Film director, producer, and artist Tim Burton, and writer Daniel Handler, most famously known as Lemony Snicket, have all been influenced by Gorey’s unique style and dark humor.

Gorey (1925–2000) was born and spent his early years in Chicago attending Francis W. Parker School and, for a short time, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He came from an artistic background with his father as a Chicago newsman and writer and his maternal grandmother as a greeting card designer and illustrator.

Elegant Enigmas was organized by the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with the cooperation of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, and has been traveling throughout the United States with great success. Previous cities include: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and West Palm Beach, Florida.

G is for Gorey is a companion exhibition from the Thomas Michalak Collection, which was recently given to the Loyola University Chicago Libraries. Thomas Michalak (BS ’63), a retired Harvard librarian and member of the board of directors of the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, has been collecting Gorey materials for more than 35 years.

Since Gorey’s major writings and art are well documented inElegant Enigmas, the G is for Gorey exhibition will focus on Gorey as a person and his extensive work designing books, creating illustrations for book jackets,  illustrations for magazine articles, illustrations for children’s books, and his life and work on Cape Cod. Specific themes include:

  • Gorey’s early art in middle school and later as a high school student at Chicago’s Parker School
  • The importance of his typography work and book design, especially with Anchor books
  • The role of the Gotham Book Mart in his career
  • His illustrations for children’s books
  • His work in the theatre on Cape Cod
  • The Edward Gorey House Museum on Cape Cod and its role in fostering Gorey’s legacy

The exhibitions are co-presented by Loyola University Chicago Libraries and LUMA with the cooperation of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. The exhibitions are generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. For more information, visit LUC.edu/luma orLUC.edu/gorey.

Public Programming

All events take place at LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, unless otherwise noted in the description. RSVP to luma@luc.edu or 312.915.7608.

The Vinegar Works
Every Saturday, February 15 – June 14, 2 p.m.

LUMA will host a toy theater staging of The Vinegar Works created by Blair Thomas & Company, which is known for combining puppets and visual theater. There are three 30-minute performances of Gorey stories, The Gashlycrumb TiniesThe Insect God, and The West Wing. The program is free with museum admission. This program is supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Meet the Collector
Tuesday, February 18, 6 p.m. 

Thomas Michalak began collecting Gorey works in the 1970s. He was drawn to the artist by his sense of humor and wit. Now he shares that passion with his alma mater by donating his collection to Loyola. Michalak will give an informal walk-thru of his collection. The program is free with museum admission.

The Edward Gorey Birthday Bash: Revelry from A to Z
Saturday, February 22, 6:30 p.m.

Attendees will enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner in celebration of Gorey’s birthday (February 22) and the opening of the exhibitions Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey and G is for Gorey—C is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak. Proceeds benefit the Loyola University Chicago Libraries and LUMA. Tickets are $250.

Meet the Artist
Tuesday, March 11, 6 p.m.

Chicago artist and writer Kenneth Gerleve will present Summerland: A Ghost Story, the tale of a family of spiritualist mediums who live inside a house built for otherworldly communication. This installation is inspired by Gorey’s sensibilities and dark humor, and will appear in the space adjacent to the gallery containing Gorey’s work. The mixed-media installation incorporates traditional sequential narrative storytelling, fiber arts, and an original score by collaborator Ross Crean. The artist will discuss Summerland and the influence of comics, illustration, spiritualism, and the Gothic on his art and writing. Admission is $4 for the public and free for LUMA members and the Loyola community.

From Grimm to Gorey: The Scary Character of Children’s Literature
Tuesday, April 1, 6 p.m.

Edwin Frank, editor of the New York Review of Books Classics, will look at children’s books as literature and in relation to other kinds of genre literature—such as crime, detective, and ghost stories; fantasy, romance; and science fiction. Admission is $4 for the public and free for LUMA members and the Loyola community.

A Fanciful High Tea
Friday, April 4, 3 p.m.

This afternoon tea will feature actors from the Dead Writers Theatre Collective who will present readings by Gorey that are darkly humorous—The Gashlycrumb TiniesThe Epileptic Bicycle;The Disrespectful SummonsThe Wuggly UmpThe Doubtful GuestThe Evil Garden; and The Salt Herring. Admission is $45 for the public and $40 for LUMA members and the Loyola community.

An Evening in London: A Talk about How the Greatest City in the Western World Got to be That Way
Tuesday, April 8, 6 p.m.

Dr. Robert Bucholz, professor of history at Loyola University Chicago and co-author of London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550–1750, will speak about London’s rise to world prominence. Admission is $4 for the public and free for LUMA members and the Loyola community.

Third Annual Gregory and Rosalind Terry Lecture
Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey and His Sources (an exercise in presumption)
Wednesday, April 9, 7 p.m.

The Loyola University Chicago Libraries host Karen Wilkin, an expert on and friend of Edward Gorey. Wilkin will be joined by Michalak and Andreas Brown, who is credited with building Gorey’s career by promoting his work at Brown’s Gotham Book Mart. This event will take place at the Crown Center Auditorium on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, located at 1001–25 W. Loyola Avenue.Admission is free.

Goreyesque: A Tribute to Edward Gorey in Words and Images
Tuesday, April 29, 6 p.m.

Contributors to Goreyesque, an online literary journal featuring work inspired by Gorey’s storytelling and visual aesthetic, will present an evening of readings. The journal includes fiction, essays, poetry, and artwork, and features, among others, darkly humorous short stories and poems in verse. The program is free with museum admission.

The Hidden Truths of Lincoln Park
Saturday, May 10, 11 a.m.

To highlight the dark side of Gorey’s work, LUMA will host a tour featuring a talk on the cemetery that used to be in what is now Lincoln Park and its only remaining grave—the Couch Mausoleum. The talk will feature artist Pamela Bannos from Northwestern University. We will meet at 10:45 a.m. inside the Chicago History Museum at the North & Clark Café. The address is 1601 N. Clark Street. Admission for the public is $8 with pre-payment only and $5 for LUMA members and the Loyola community.

Stories of the Nonsensical, Macabre, and Playful
Saturday, May 24, 1 p.m. 

Bren Ortega Murphy will conduct an interactive storytelling session. She will help participants—young and old—invent and share their own tales…stories that have never been heard before. The program is free with museum admission.

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!