Jun 03, 2015

The Ren is 100 today

Faded typewritten letter signed by University of Chicago faculty members

1915 invitation to the first public meeting of the Renaissance Society. Courtesy the Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

A hundred years ago today, on June 3, 1915, University of Chicago faculty members met to establish “a society to stimulate the love of the beautiful and to enrich the life of the community through the cultivation of the arts.”

Little did they know that the institution would go on to become one of the leading international platforms for contemporary art. We hosted one of the first exhibitions of Alexander Calder’s mobiles in 1934; the Chicago debuts of Bruce Nauman, Joseph Kosuth, and Jenny Holzer in the 1970s and 80s; key solo exhibitions by Mike Kelley (1988), Isa Genzken (1992), Felix Gonzales-Torres (1994), Kara Walker (1997), Kerry James Marshall (1998), Joan Jonas (2004), Danh Vō (2012), and Nora Schultz (2014). As we enter our second century, we continue to support ambitious artistic experimentation and to produce programs and publications that spur rigorous, interdisciplinary dialogue.

To mark our 100th birthday, we are announcing our Centennial program of exhibitions and events, which runs from September 2015 to January 2016. You can read all about it here.

Throughout the summer—from our 100th birthday on June 3 to the launch of the Centennial program on September 10—follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram pages where we’ll be sharing 100 days of archive materials under the tag #Ren100.

We look forward to celebrating our remarkable past and exciting future with you in the fall!