NEO-ARLIMUSC

 

Neo-Arlimusc (December 1926-1929) (Pronounced “Neo-Ar-Li-Muze) This group of writers, musicians, poets, artists and intelligentsia was created when Rudolph Weisenborn had a falling out with the members of the No-Jury Society of Artists over a living artists gallery. So named to bring AR (Art) LI (Literature) MU (Music) and SC (Science) together under one forum the club, with a small headquarters on LaSalle Street (Weisenborn’s studio), continued until 1929. The club used as their official emblem a painting by Weisenborn entitled Construction. Some non-artist members included: Llewelyn Jones, book editor of the Chicago Evening Post; poet Maxwell Bodenheim; musicians Leon Benditsky and Bitali Schnee; sociologist Louis Wirth; psychiatrist Dr. Mandel Sherman and even Carl Sandburg. In March 1927, they announced a series of monthly exhibitions surrounding a particular theme, the nude being the first theme. The first show of nudes was skewered by critic Samuel Putnam as being too “tame.” The exhibits never materialized to such a frequency although quarterly shows were organized that year and the next, including a summer exhibition by its members, and a fall exhibition of Chicago scenes, open to any artist, although members were given first opportunity for limited space. Interestingly enough, the fall show was subject to a jury for non-members. The fall show later merged into a bidding sale which opened on November 29th. For the beginning of 1928, Weisenborn remodeled his studio/gallery where the organization had been meeting and exhibiting. The modernistic space of his design was then featured in the newspapers. The group also held occasional one man exhibitions such as that of the works of A. L. Pollack in 1927. In 1928, they organized an exhibit honoring the visit of critic Julius Meier-Graeffe to Chicago consisting of “the best work of Chicago ‘modernists’ since the armory show in 1913.” Meier-Graeffe had just published his triumphant text analyzing Cezanne and was much heralded at the time. Meier-Graefe left Chicago after visiting the now renowned Birch-Bartlett collection [Art Institute of Chicago] and the Neo-Arlimusc show. His reaction to everything was described as somewhat “reticent.” The critic could find nothing of interest to him created past the death date of his own hero Cezanne. Considering the his Meier-Graeffe’s tastes, which C. J. Bulliet saw as uneven, Bulliet stated: “Neo Arlimusc, therefore, needn’t feel so bad that the critic failed to detect anything significant in their ‘Modern’ show.” Noting further that Modernism in Chicago hadn’t begun until seven years after the death of Cezanne, (who died in 1906), at the time of the Armory Show. Around the same time, Weisenborn organized a life sketch class where he gave the criticisms. They met two evenings per week , at the Neo-Arlimusc in his studio. [extensive footnotes on the organization exist with the Illinois Historical Art Project]