Jack Baker, design for plantings, Erlanger House. University Archives.
Jack Baker Loft. Photo: Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
A. Richard Williams, plan for Williams Studio/Residence. University Archives.
Dot Replinger’s Studio in the Replinger House. Photo: Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.
Front Stage in the Williams Studio/Residence. University Archives.
Exhibition
On View
Jan 30, 2025–Jul 12, 2025
Main Level, West and Light Court Galleries

The exhibition explores four houses, all designed for performance, by and for people in a circle associated with the University of Illinois and the production of modernist culture in Champaign-Urbana from the 1940s through the 1980s. The project frames these houses as crucibles for producing and performing culture and that defined their residents as distinctively modern artists.

Supported in part by the Sandra L. Batzli Fund and the Kim and Peter Fox Exhibition Support Endowment. Co-sponsored by the School of Architecture.

The four case studies—the Erlanger House, designed with and for the dancer Margaret Erlanger, and the homes of the architects Jack Baker, John Replinger, and Richard Williams—were created to stage music, dance, theater, poetry, and conversation in domestic settings, a unique characteristic of avant-garde culture in and around the University of Illinois. The architects have long been understood regionally as influential teachers and refined, modernist architects. Their greater impact, we propose, stems from their role as incubators of midcentury, avant-garde American culture.

This exhibition—including site-specific works of art by Dot Replinger and Shozo Sato—is explicitly a catalyst for future research. It presents a series of propositions that we expect students, artists, and scholars to interrogate and build upon. In this way, the exhibition is intended to gather new research during its run at Krannert Art Museum rather than present firm conclusions.

Curated by David Hays, Professor and Brenton H. and Jean B. Wadsworth Head, Department of Landscape Architecture; Kathryn Holliday, Randall J. Biallas Professor, School of Architecture; Phillip Kalantzis-Cope; Jeffery S. Poss, Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture; and Jon L. Seydl, KAM Director