Hebru Brantley: Forced Field

September 9 – January 7

The Elmhurst Art Museum is excited to announce a solo show of new work by the Chicago artist Hebru Brantley. A native of the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Brantley is known for his public art commissions such as Chi Boy on S. Wabash and an eight-panel mural at the McCormick Place CTA Green Line station. His work is influenced by an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime, and street art pioneers Jean-Michel Basquiat, KAWS and Keith Haring. His signature characters, Flyboy and Lil Mama, began as references to the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II but now soar through a wide array of their own narratives.  

For his 2016 collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Angels, Brantley provided animation and art direction for the video. The Chicago Tribune hailed it as “the ultimate love letter to Chicago.” Brantley’s recent exhibition in Miami Beach (2016) Theories From the Low End reinterpreted modern folklore by inserting black superheroes into American comic history. His 2014 solo show at the Chicago Cultural Center Parade Day Rain explored celebration and disappointment through large-scale sculptural installations such as a full-sized parade float and huge sculptures suspended from the ceiling.

Brantley was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40." He has exhibited in London, Switzerland, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York at venues such as Art Basel Switzerland, Art Basel Miami, Frieze London, and the American Embassy in Sweden. His work has been featured in Crain’s Chicago, Billboard Magazine, The New York Post, The Seattle Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Hi Fructose and the Chicago Reader. He was selected as a "Breakout Artist" by Newcity and a featured artist during Chicago Artist Month. Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Pritzker family, LeBron James, and George Lucas are among his fans and collectors.

Guest curated by Jenny Gibbs


Exhibition generously sponsored by the Explore Elmhurst Grant Program.

Related Programs

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 1:30pm

Exhibition Tour

Join us for an in-depth look at the current exhibition, Hebru Brantley: Forced Field.
Free with museum admission or current membership.

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 2:30pm

Artist Talk: Hebru Brantley

Come hear the artist Hebru Brantley speak about his newest body of work created for his exhibition at the Elmhurst Art Museum.
Free with museum admission and for members.

Friday, December 8, 2017 - 5:00pm

Movies at the Museum | Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)

In conjunction with his exhibition, Hebru Brantley selected a series of films including “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.” This film chronicles the life and work of the artist Basquiat, who became an art world phenomenon in the 1980s for his graffiti and neo-expressionistic painting style.
Free with museum admission and for members.
Parents, please note that “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” is an R-rated film.

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 1:00pm

Cartooning Family Day at the Elmhurst Art Museum

Come join teaching artist Vincent Lotesto for a cartooning activity based on our current exhibition, Hebru Brantley: Forced Field. Kids and adults will be participating in a fun "character design challenge" that will help them to create their own unique superheroes, villains or anime-inspired characters! Demonstrations will be given and all materials will be supplied.

Free with museum admission or current membership.

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 12:00pm

Family Holiday Party

Join us for our annual Family Holiday Party. Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and art activities along with a surprise visit from Santa at 2 pm.

Free with museum admission or current membership.