October 15th & 16th

John Pitman Weber

38. John Pitman Weber

Biography

Best known as a public artist, John Pitman Weber has also been active in the studio for decades, painting, drawing and making prints.  He has had 30 solo shows, including 5 in New York City.  Recent solo exhibits were at Carlos & Dominguez, Chicago;  St. Xavier University,  ARC Gallery and at A Sheynerer Velt gallery in Los Angeles.  Valparaiso University gave him a mid-career retrospective in 1991 and in 1998 Taller Mestizarte, Chicago, hosted a 10 year review of his prints.  He has participated in numerous group shows, including national and international travelling exhibits such as MOMA’s “Committed to Print” and the Jewish Museum’s “Bridges and Boundries.”  He  is a member of Piece Process, a joint Palestinian and Jewish art group.

In 1984, Weber began a decade long series of exhibitions in worship spaces.  Each “exhibit” was based on the liturgical themes of the chosen season, seen through the prism of current events.  His own religious background is mixed: a Baptist father and a secular Jewish mother.   He married into a family of  UCC ministers.  He has found interpreting the themes of the liturgical year an inspiring challenge.

Weber’s public work has also involved him in “cultural translation.” Last summer he enjoyed a residency with La Ciudad Pintada in Vitoria, Spain, a midsized Basque city, sponsored as a Cultural Envoy by the US. Embassy.  In Vitoria, he led volunteers in creating 500 sqft of mosaic on two buildings. This fall, Weber led students in a major mosaic project for Elmhurst College, where he has taught for four decades.  The mosaics on the Counseling Center of LakeView resulted from another collaboration with a student.  In 2009, Weber co-led a 3000 sq.ft. “bricolage” mosaic on 47th St., Chicago, with Carolyn Elaine and completed mosaics for four Broward County libraries, with Nina Smoot Cain.  In 2000, he and Ms. Cain led the Iowa project for “Artists and Communities, America Creates for the Millennium.”  With hundreds of local volunteers, they created “The Gathering” a mosaic plaza with columns and curving walls, for the main park in Spencer, IA..  Mr. Weber has also created public works in New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, North Dakota, Georgia, England, France and Nicaragua.

Weber co-founded the Chicago Mural Group (now Chicago Public Art Group) with William Walker in 1970.  He continues active with CPAG.  He co-authored, with Eva and James Cockcroft, Toward A People’s Art, the classic account of the early years of the contemporary mural movement, reissued in 1998, in an expanded edition by U. of New Mexico Press.

Mr. Weber studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, and Harvard University.  He learned intaglio printmaking with S.W. Hayter at Atelier 17 and lithography with Ray Martin and Mark Pascale at the School of the Art Institute.  He teaches at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst IL, He lives in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.  He has four sons.

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