Oct 15, 2021 - Things to Do

Tony Fitzpatrick's last museum show ever

Tony Fitzpatrick sits in front of his painting.

Scrub Jay is a drawing and collage by Tony Fitzpatrick pictured (right). Photo by Ray Vegter. Collage courtesy of Tony Fitzpatrick.

This Saturday artist Tony Fitzpatrick opens "Jesus of Western Avenue," his last-museum show ever.

Why it matters: Fitzpatrick is one of Chicago's most celebrated visual artists, not to mention an actor, poet and writer. His decision has also sparked big questions about the role of art and museums.

Context: Fitzpatrick broke the news this summer to the Tribune but reiterated to Axios that he wants to make room "for the work of people who don't look like me."

What they're saying: Fitzpatrick's latest work was inspired by urban nature. He says visits to Humboldt Park during the pandemic kept him sane as he fed the birds and "listened to the water, branches and the wind, and music of the natural world."

  • "We have this illusion that nature is 1000 miles away, but you step outside your door in the city and you're in a complex ecosystem of literally millions of other creatures," Fitzpatrick says.

Not fading away: Fitzpatrick may ditch museum shows but says he's still up for gallery shows open to the public.

  • "In fact, I have four European offers that I'll do when we're allowed in again."

Details: "Jesus of Western Avenue" opens Saturday and runs through Jan 31, 2022 at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art at the College of DuPage. Tickets are free but require registration.

Looking ahead: Axios will tour the show with Fitzpatrick later this month and tell you more about it.


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