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updated: 6/23/2014 1:41 PM

New center honors late Chicago artist Ed Paschke

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  • Vesna K. Stelcer, board chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation, explains a painting titled "American Sueno" by Ed Paschke that's on display at the Ed Paschke Art Center.

      Vesna K. Stelcer, board chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation, explains a painting titled "American Sueno" by Ed Paschke that's on display at the Ed Paschke Art Center.
    Associated Press

  • Vesna K. Stelcer, board chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation, looks at an Ed Paschke painting titled "Accordian Man" that's on display at the Ed Paschke Art Center.

      Vesna K. Stelcer, board chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation, looks at an Ed Paschke painting titled "Accordian Man" that's on display at the Ed Paschke Art Center.
    Associated Press

 
By Caryn Rousseau, Associated Press

CHICAGO -- A neighborhood art center opened Sunday in Chicago to honor late artist Ed Paschke, whose colorful work is part of museum collections in New York, Washington and Paris.

The location, in a northwest Chicago neighborhood, perfectly fits the goal of opening a permanent place to showcase Paschke's pieces and create a venue to support upcoming artists, said daughter Sharon Paschke said.

"My dad believed that art should be accessible to everybody, art lovers and more importantly those who have never been exposed to art," she said.

Paschke was the son of a bakery truck driver. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and emerged as an artist in the early 1960s as leader of a new school called the Chicago Imagists. His work is known for its bright, almost phosphorescent colors.

Vesna Stelcer, chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation, said Paschke was a visionary and forward-thinking. His art is "visceral and it's shocking and it speaks to you and if you look closer there's more layers," she said.

Organizers of the art center, say Paschke once said people either loved or hated his work, but rarely were indifferent about it.

Paschke died a decade ago, in 2004, and would have been 75 on Sunday. He was one of the city's best-known artists during the second half of the 20th century.

In addition to his prolific painting career, Paschke also taught art for more than 30 years at such schools as Barat College, the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College and Northwestern University. Jeff Koons, considered one of the most influential living contemporary artists, got his start in Chicago working under Paschke.

The storefront Ed Paschke Art Center will have between 30 and 40 of his works, a re-creation of his studio and a place for guest artists.

Sharon Paschke said her father would be honored to have a namesake art center.

"He was a hardworking regular guy despite what people may guess a famous artist would be like," she said. "He was a Chicagoan who loved the pulse of the city and the diversity of its people."

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