The Addams-Dewey Gymnasium

  • Originally published on the site on Wednesday, 24th December 2014

Artist Pablo Helguera’s Addams-Dewey Gymnasium was part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s recent exhibition, titled A Proximity of Consciousness:

The gymnasium invites visitors to engage in turn-of-the-century exercises designed to promote health and foster a connection between the mind and the body. In the piece, Helguera transports the educational philosophies of activist Jane Addams and educational reformer John Dewey into a contemporary art exhibition, inviting participants to reflect on the impact of two of the most influential thinkers on education.

The exhibition featured practical classes in circa 1900 physical culture exercises and also an array of antique exercise paraphernalia, including an exercise bike, rowing machine and a woman’s gymnastics dress borrowed from the Forteza Gymuseum collection.

The balustrades shown above (with cutout Indian club motifs) were donated to the Forteza gym after the exhibition closed.
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