Damien Hirst paints with butterflies at Soho House Chicago

Art Midwest On View
Damien Hirst's piece for Soho House Chicago.

Damien Hirst’s piece for Soho House Chicago.

In August the London creative club Soho House set up shop in Chicago, carving out a chic space for itself amid the city’s hotel, dining and cocktail scenes by retrofitting an industrial building in the Fulton Market District.

Designers touted the balance of “grit and glamor” in the new Soho House at the time, beckoning self-identifying creative types to the former belting factory at 113-125 North Green Street. With the launch of its first annual “art week” in January, Soho House announced itself as somewhat of a gallery, as well, unveiling a site-specific installation by Damien Hirst.

Hirst, the wildly successful London artist and development dabbler, created for Soho House Chicago a “painting” made of butterflies, mounted behind frosted glass that outlines the word “CHICAGO”. It hangs 15 feet or so above the heads of guests sipping cocktails or checking into Soho House’s hotel.

Hirst’s previous work with butterflies—famously letting them live their lives inside an art gallery—has garnered international attention, as well as a fair share of criticism from animal rights advocates.

Museum of Contemporary Art Associate Curator Julie Rodriguez Widholm welcomed the piece, noting that Soho House and MCA shared an appetite for modern and contemporary art, having both previously shown work by artists like Rashid Johnson and Angel Otero.

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