In support of Par Excellence Redux: The Back 9—an exhibition where recreation and art collide—the Elmhurst Art Museum proudly announces a series of fall and winter programming. Par Excellence Redux is on view from October 13, 2021 – January 2, 2022 and is a fully playable course designed by artists and architects from the Midwest and beyond. The exhibition pays homage to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s wildly popular 1988 exhibition, Par Excellence.
During the exhibition’s opening weekend, Colossal founder and Par Excellence Redux curator Christopher Jobson hosts a talk about the inspiration and rich history behind the original Par Excellence exhibition on Saturday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m. Programs are free with Museum admission and tee times can be reserved at an additional cost at elmhurstartmuseum.org/golf.
As the temperature begins to drop, we're thrilled to offer a fun, group-friendly activity within the museum's indoor gallery spaces that both art lovers and families will enjoy," said Jobson. "The artists who designed this second round of mini golf greens cleverly touched on a variety of themes, with holes that feature optical illusions, an exploration of the cosmos, commentary on social and environmental issues, and much more.”
Exhibition-related fall and winter programming is free with museum admission and includes:
● Conversation with the Curator
Saturday, October 16, at 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Christopher Jobson, Colossal editor-in-chief and curator for Par Excellence Redux, leads a conversation about the inspiration and history behind the exhibition. This conversation will include participating artists of Par Excellence’s original run at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1988.
Free program. Mini golf not included.
● Soirée 2021: Par-Tee at the Museum!
Saturday, October 23, at 6:00 pm – midnight
This golf-themed fundraiser features a cocktail reception, multi-course dinner, auctions with fabulous prizes, and evening miniature golf. Limited tickets will be available. Funds raised during this event will support an expansion of education programs during the museum’s 25th anniversary in 2022.
● Thanksgiving Food Drive
November 1-7 during Museum hours
As a gesture of thanks and giving, the Elmhurst Art Museum will hold its first annual non-perishable food drive to benefit the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry, an organization dedicated to providing food, compassion, and hope to its neighbors and children in need. All individuals who bring two or more pantry items will receive a coupon for a discounted tee time valid for a Tee-rific Thank You Night on Friday, November 12.
● Ugly Sweater Night
Friday, December 10, 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Visitors are encouraged to wear their ugliest holiday sweater for a festive night at the Museum featuring holiday décor, music, dimmed lighting and glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
Tee times for mini golf must be purchased and reserved in advance.
● Family Holiday Party
Saturday, December 18, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Free to the public
The Elmhurst Art Museum invites families to celebrate the holidays with a “ho-ho-hole in one.” In addition to playing mini golf, families can visit the special holiday display in the Museum’s historic McCormick House, enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and hands-on art activities along with a visit from Santa at 2 pm.
Free program. Mini golf not included.
The Back 9, on display throughout the Museum’s main galleries, includes:
● “Pinball Golf: An American Life” by Wes Baker (Valparaiso, Indiana) merges the format of pinball including flippers, pins, and targets with classic elements of mini golf for a new imaginative game.
● “The Idol” by KT Duffy (Nichols Hill, Oklahoma) is intended as a feminist futurist idol of the mini golf universe, rendered in neon patterns and slick acrylic surfaces.
● “Infinity Putt,” by Eve Fineman (Chicago, Illinois) takes a straightforward green and adds complexity through suspended golf balls and the use of reflection to create a unique spatial experience where the only obstacle is visual illusion.
● “Mission: Mars” by Vincent Lotesto (Chicago, Illinois) is inspired by the topography of Mars. To achieve a hole-in-one, the player must aim the golf ball up a ramp located on the southern side of Olympus Mons, the highest volcano in our solar system. The ball eventually falls into the collapsed crater on the summit and exits on the eastern side of the mountain.
● “A Level Playing Field,” by Joshua Lowe (Bloomington, Illinois) is a kinetic sculpture that demands a response to a question that local, national and global citizens are increasingly faced with, “Will we work together towards a common goal, or will we sabotage each other?”
● “Timing is Everything” by James Merz (Fort Wayne, Indiana) uses several moving elements to illustrate that timing is everything, in life and in sports. The player must navigate through the slowly rotating second hand of the clock and avoid the swinging pendulum to arrive at the hole.
● “Toad Tunnel” by David Quednau (Chicago, Illinois) illustrates the true-life difficulties faced by the American toad, an animal currently at risk of extinction. This hole illustrates the toad’s struggle to get back to its breeding pond, facing obstacles like gas stations, drainage ditches and farms.
● “A Place to Play Fairly” by Liam Wilson and Anna Gershoni (Columbia City, Indiana), is an explicit environment to express moral integrity, even during a game so often cheated as mini golf. The course is a large oval with starting and ending points placed back-to-back. The player can play completely around the circle or decide to cheat and putt the ball directly backward for a hole-in-one.
● “Hole 9 Yards” by Donna Piacienza (Elmhurst) includes pathways of nine painted yardsticks that must be calculated for challenging play. After the course ends, the materials that will be repurposed to create three Elmhurst community garden beds.
The original 1988 Par Excellence exhibition at the School of the Art Institute was the brainchild of Chicago sculptor Michael O'Brien and opened to queues down the block. The exhibition in Elmhurst will pay homage to the original course through ephemera, newspaper clippings, and photos. The designer Annalee Koehn, who was one of the organizers of the original 1988 exhibit, recreated her fortune-telling hole Determine Your Fate, which will serve as the practice hole for The Back 9. Par Excellence was likely the first artist-designed mini golf course ever created and paved the way for future artistic golf courses that would follow.
Colossal is an international platform for contemporary art and visual expression that celebrates a vast range of creative disciplines. Founded as a blog in 2010 by writer and curator Christopher Jobson, the site has over 6,500 published articles from contributors across the globe and reaches tens of millions of readers monthly on several online channels. Colossal is based in Chicago, and now works internationally to curate and produce large-scale art exhibitions and film events. Learn more at thisiscolossal.com/about and christopher.jobs/on/
About Elmhurst Art Museum / New Museum Hours
The Elmhurst Art Museum is located at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst (IL), 25 minutes from downtown Chicago by car or public transportation (Metra). On the museum’s campus is the McCormick House, a single-family home designed in 1952 by Mies van der Rohe, one of the great architects of the 20th Century. The McCormick House is one of only three residences designed and built by Mies in the United States – and one of only two open to the public.
As a unique arts complex, the Elmhurst Art Museum is deeply committed to three distinct areas of focus to inspire and enrich our community: art, education, and architecture. The Museum is one block from the Elmhurst Metra station and beginning July 7, 2021, the Museum will resume its new hours and will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and every second Friday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Golf prices are $10 for Adults (ages 16+), $8 for Seniors, $5 for Children (ages 5-15), and Free for Kiddies (under 5). For more information, please call 630.834.0202 or visit elmhurstartmuseum.org.