Commissioned for Knight’s 1983 solo exhibition at the Renaissance Society, Museotypes was acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1984.
To celebrate the long history between the two institutions and the Renaissance Society’s Centennial, the Art Institute displays this work in its Modern Wing. Visitors can find it in the main corridor on the second floor (Gallery 288 on the Art Institute’s guide). For information about the Art Institute, please visit their website.
From the 1983 exhibition text by Anne Rorimer:
Each of John Knight’s works assumes a different form, although all have been the result of consistent ideas and goals. Museotypes, the work conceived for his Renaissance Society exhibition, is comprised of sixty bone-china dinner plates. Presented like a series of limited edition commemorative plates, standard china, gold-trim, 10 1/2 inch, eggshell-colored plates serve as the background for regal purple-blue images of architectural floor plans. Each floor plan, silk-screened and overglazed in the center of the plate, belongs to a different museum. The plans of each museum convey individual, formal eccentricities, but as a group they present a generalized appearance.
Knight has not represented the particular museums by their most familiar image—a literal rendition of the facade of each one, for example—as might appear on actual commemorative plates. Instead, the abstract configuration of the floor plan serves as a ready-made code or symbol whose concentrated form also identifies it with the contemporary emblematic trademark design, or corporate logotype. Over the last several decades, the corporate trademark has become a commonplace of industry, an aggressive marketing strategy aimed at instant product visibility. In Museotypes Knight fuses various visual but specifically non-art traditions in order to question and revalidate contemporary art practice.
This exhibition is part of the Renaissance Society’s Centennial program. Read more.