Chicago photo collection turns into exhibit

Chicago photo collection turns into exhibit

By Luke Nozicka


The SIU University Museum hosted guest speaker John E. Hollister Friday to kick off several new exhibits on display.

The event was held to showcase exhibits such as Wham! The Comic Book Exhibit, Conflict Zone, the Combined Faculty and Master of Fine Arts Candidate’s Art Shows, and the exhibit of the night, Hollister’s Chicago Prints.


Director of the University Museum and Museum Studies program Doctor Dona Bachman said Hollister’s collection is astounding and the presentation shows the different ways the city has been portrayed in art throughout history.

“It’s a collection of prints tracing 150 years of Chicago from before the great Chicago Fire to 2004 with the opening of Millennium Park,” Bachman said.

John E. Hollister, an SIU alumnus who majored in Asian Studies, detailed the history of Chicago and the artists that demonstrated the city to the world.

Hollister said the collection began back when he and his wife owned a business and City of Chicago was one of their major customers. So, they decorated their office with Chicago pictures and it started to grow.

“Well about five years ago we sat down and I said man we got a lot of pictures on Chicago,” Hollister said. “And we started looking at it more intellectually than just ‘oh there’s a picture of the city.'”

Hollister said he has chosen pictures that tell the story of Chicago, although at the time these prints were being made, artists aimed them to upper middle class Chicagoans.

“When you look at these you see things showing the positive aspects of Chicago. You don’t see the ghettos, you don’t see the stockyards,” Hollister said.


Hollister’s son Mario Martinez said growing up collecting these images was always a family hobby, but viewing them in order to display history brought a new light to them.

“Seeing them presented like the pieces that I’ve seen many times, takes on a completely different feel,” Martinez said.

Hollister said overall he has maybe 1,000 prints of Chicago that have accumulated over the years, and only 10 percent of his collection is featured at the museum. The prints will be displayed throughout the rest of the semester.

Also, Friday was the first time displaying the MFA Pieces Preview show, and exhibited artwork of third year graduate students, where the students chose one piece of work to showcase.

Elizabeth Klingler, a graduate student studying art and design whose art was displayed Friday, said the event was a preview for the actual MFA Thesis Show, which is April 18 through the 26.

“My concept has to do with creation and existence, so I used symbolism like circles, ovular shapes and creating an environment out of that,” Klinger said about her piece, “The Happening”.

Bachman said the pieces from all exhibits will remain for viewing until the end of the semester, and encourages students and faculty to come see them.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected]

or 536-3311 ext 254.