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Sports & Recreation

Par Excellence Redux: The Front 9

In a unique collision of recreation and art, the Museum has commissioned a two-part miniature golf course of playable works of art by local and national artists. This course is a reimagining of the wildly popular 1988 exhibition Par Excellence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A public call for proposals for area artists, designers, and architects attracted diverse artists who designed holes of varying difficulty, including the museum’s Teen Art Council. The custom-built playable miniature golf course will be split into two exhibits: The Front 9 (Summer) and The Back 9 (Fall). Designed to use the museum’s galleries with COVID protocols, the two 9-hole courses promise an unusual twist on a familiar pastime. From social justice to the occult, the course includes a surprisingly varied collection of themes and forms, including a fortune-telling hole that has the power to dramatically change scores as well as a hole that challenges players with an optical illusion.

The Front 9 Designs and Artists:

Greens of Cabrini, Julie Cowan, Benjamin Good, Neil Good & John Serafin
Straight Shot, Current Projects
Razzle Dazzle, Andrea Jablonski & Stolatis Fab LLC
Determine Your Fate, Annalee Koehn
Just Dessert, Latent Design
Participation Trophy, Jesse Meredith
Chairy Who?, Gautam Rao
Cross-Section Castle, Robin Schwartzman & Tom Loftus (aka A Couple of Putts)
Tricki Minaj, Elmhurst Art Museum’s Teen Art Council.

The course opens July 7th with advanced Tee Times starting June 1st. Members get 25% off mini-golf reservations whether with friends, family, or a favorite foursome. Not a member? Join/renew today

Advanced registration is available for private event rentals. This is the perfect setting for kids’ birthday parties, company retreats, weddings, and more. For a limited time, private rentals receive a $50 gift card for Brewpoint Coffee. Learn more here and send inquiries to events@elmhurstartmuseum.org

The exhibit will pay homage to Par Excellence (1988) conceived by Chicago artist Mike O’Brien with a special display of ephemera, newspaper clippings, photos, and a recreated hole by designer Annalee Koehn. The original exhibit sold out daily and found its way to the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune among others. The course went on tour to downstate Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial miniature golf course called ArtGolf.

Artist-designed golf courses are now a popular addition to many Midwest museums such as the Walker Art Center, The Sheldon, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but Par Excellence is widely believed to be the first.

Par Excellence Redux is curated by Colossal’s founder & editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson.



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