Beyond Temporary: Art Ephemera and the Design of the Exhibition Announcement

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Beyond Temporary Sign

Exhibition announcement for Jan Håfström, Nattens Industri, December 14, 2002–March 9, 2003, Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, Sweden, featuring Jan Håfström after Wilson McCoy, Walkers Flykt (detail), 2002.


The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries have been collecting ephemera—objects that, as one dictionary definition puts it, “last but a day”—for more than 100 years, focusing particularly on art-related pieces such as postcards, artist statements, and exhibition announcements. The latter comprises the bulk of this display.

In years past, galleries routinely mailed announcements to a long list of interested parties in order to advertise an exhibition and its opening. Despite being designed for transience, some of these objects are artworks in themselves. This exhibition celebrates a recent substantial gift of books and art ephemera from Terry R. Myers, an art critic, independent curator, and former chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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