Courtesy Mary Beth Sammons
Internationally-renowned artist Richard Hunt unveiled a sculpture and other art works May 8, 2013 during a reception at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School. They will be on permanent display at the West Side high school in the art room named in Hunt’s honor. Hunt is the first African-American artist to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1970’s.and is one of the first artists named to the governing board of the National Endowment for the Arts. His large-scale public art can be found at museums throughout the world.
At the ceremony, Hunt, who previously has invited CTK students to observe his art in action at his studio, spoke of how honored he was to have his work displayed in an art room named after him. His sculpture, “Flight Forms,” takes on special meaning as the artist hoped it will inspire CTK students to soar to great success in college and all their future endeavors. The sculpture, which is a model of one of his works on display at Midway International Airport, unites a variety of forms in an upward-sweeping composition that suggests the defiance of gravity and the dynamism and wonder of flight.
Hunt also donated several pictures of some of his other works including “Jacob’s Ladder,” which he connected to CTK students climbing the four rungs of success during their high school and in the future. The sculpture installation at CTK was made possible thanks to the generosity of Ken and Jo Merlau.
“God works in mysterious ways and something wonderful is at work here,” Hunt told those gathered. “A dear friend of mine – Eva-Maria Worthington, said to me the other day that she would like to do something special for the students here too.” He said Worthington, the Chicago art historian and owner of a Michigan Avenue gallery in her name, also donated two pieces of art from her Haitian art collection. “I am so proud to have a room named for me, but I hope that this generous contribution will also lend another dimension to the student’s art work here,” Hunt added.
“We are thrilled to have an artist of Richard’s caliber pay tribute to Christ the King,” said Rev. Christopher J. Devron, S.J., and President of CTK. “His images of strength and endurance each give a unique glimpse of the human spirit and are the perfect inspiration for our students.
Josh, a junior at CTK who met Mr. Hunt last summer at a gallery event, was one of the CTK students who has been inspired by Hunt’s encouragement and example. “Mr. Hunt told me: ‘Never focus on the mistakes of your art. Focus on how to improve that mistake to make your art better. Those words gave me inspiration.” Josh hopes to pursue a career as an animator or graphic designer, and added: “Mr. Hunt is motivating me and my peers to push forward and make our aspirations real.”
About Richard Hunt
As the first African-American artist to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (in 1971), Richard Hunt is best known for his public sculptures. His works use an abstract expressionist style fusing art, architecture and the environment to create sculptures that suggest organic forms and humanistic qualities.
Hunt’s career in sculpture began in 1955. It was then, while still a student at The Art Institute of Chicago, that he began to exhibit sculpture around Chicago in all sorts of places-art fairs, small galleries and local art centers. Hunt continuously and consistently makes history. In the 1970’s, he was the youngest artist selected to exhibit at the Seattle World’s Fair. His artwork can be seen all across the country including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery, Washington, DC; and the Museum of the Twentieth Century, Vienna, Austria. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees. He recently had a retrospective at the Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as concurrent exhibitions at the Museum of African-American History and the G.R. N’Namdi Gallery in the Detroit area. An exhibition of his work has also traveled in Africa through the auspices of the United States Information Service. More information about Hunt can be found on his Web site at: http://www.richardhunt.us/pages/mainpage.html
About Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School
Founded in 2008, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School is a Catholic Jesuit, independent, coeducational, college preparatory school for students from families on Chicago’s West Side who would otherwise not have access to a private high school education. Sponsored by the Chicago Detroit Society of Jesus, Christ the King offers students a strong academic and spiritual foundation integrated with a Corporate Work Study Program in a safe, disciplined, faith-based and nurturing environment. To learn more about Christ the King Jesuit Prep, please visit www.ctkjesuit.org.