Famed artist and COD alumnus Tony Fitzpatrick exhibition to open in museum at COD in Glen Ellyn

Tony Fitz

Tony Fitzpatrick’s “The Scavenger Searching for Jesus of Western Avenue” (2020, mixed media). (Image provided)

GLEN ELLYN – The Cleve Carney Museum of Art on the College of DuPage campus in Glen Ellyn will open its inaugural season with “Tony Fitzpatrick: Jesus of Western Avenue.” This will be the final museum exhibition by world-renowned multimedia artist Tony Fitzpatrick of Chicago, who grew up in the western suburbs and attended COD.

Fitzpatrick works are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, and he also created album art for music icons including Lou Reed, Steve Earle and The Neville Brothers. Fitzpatrick is best known for his multimedia collages, printmaking, paintings and drawings.

Free and open to the public, the exhibition will run from Oct. 16 to Jan. 31 in the museum on the COD campus at 425 Fawell Blvd. There will be a private press preview and opening reception Oct. 16. The exhibition will feature over 60 mixed media works. The graphically rich and inventive works deliver messages and stories that reflect on the artist’s connection to Chicago, his social and political concerns, and our shared changing reality, a news release stated.

“While Tony’s artwork is deeply influenced by the Chicago area, it is recognized around the world,” Cleve Carney Museum of Art Curator Justin Witte stated in the release. “Tony is one of the most well-known artists working in Chicago today, and we are thrilled to be able to feature him as we launch our first full season at Cleve Carney Museum of Art.”

“We couldn’t think of a better artist than Tony to celebrate the start of the 2021-2022 season,” McAninch Arts Center Director Diana Martinez said in the release. “He is an actor, a writer, an alum of the College of DuPage, a world-renowned artist and was a close friend of the late Cleve Carney, who is CCMA’s namesake. We are honored to welcome him home for the exhibition.”

“It’s fitting that I have my final museum exhibition not far from where my work started,” Fitzpatrick said in the release. “It’s fitting that it happens in a museum named for my dear friend and supporter Cleve Carney; he was a grand guy whom I met while caddying for his father, Marv Carney. I chose to make art, not for a living, but for a life. Cleve chose to create opportunity and possibility for artists – myself being one of them.

“So much of my creative life began at the College of DuPage,” Fitzpatrick said. “I did my first acting here. I started to seriously write poetry here. I made artmaking my life here. This place has grown amazingly since I left. Mostly because of the great Hal McAninch, another grand presence who led by example and with great integrity. My fondest hope for my final museum show is that it honors these men. My city. And all who have passed through these doors.”

“Tony Fitzpatrick: Jesus of Western Avenue” may be viewed from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The museum will be closed Nov. 25 and from Dec. 24 to Jan. 5. The exhibition additionally may be viewed one hour prior to McAninch Arts Center performances and during intermission. For more information, visit TheCCMA.org.


About Tony Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick’s work is inspired by Chicago street culture, cities he has traveled to, children’s books, tattoo designs, and folk art. Fitzpatrick has authored or illustrated eight books of art and poetry, and, for the last two years, has written a column for Newcity.

Fitzpatrick’s art appears in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington. The Neville Brothers’ album “Yellow Moon” and the Steve Earle albums “El Corazon” and “The Revolution Starts Now” also feature Fitzpatrick’s art.

In 2015, Fitzpatrick opened The Dime, an exhibition space in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Before making a living as an artist, Fitzpatrick worked as a radio host, bartender, boxer, construction worker, and film and stage actor.


Related special event

At 11 a.m. Nov. 16, the Cleve Carney Museum of Art will host a Visiting Artist Series lecture with Tony Fitzpatrick. The event is free and open to the public.


About the Cleve Carney Museum of Art

The late Cleve Carney provided a significant legacy gift to establish the Cleve Carney Art Gallery at College of DuPage. The gallery opened in February 2014, with its inaugural exhibition, “Selections From Cleve Carney’s Art Collection.” In fall 2020, the gallery was expanded to a 2,500-square-foot museum. The Cleve Carney Museum of Art opened in June 2021 with the “Frida Kahlo: Timeless” exhibition. More information can be found at TheCCMA.org.

Funding is provided by the Cleve Carney Endowment Fund, which supports programming including artist engagement opportunities for community members and students, gallery exhibitions, artist commissions, new acquisitions and other teaching and learning tools that foster cultural enrichment in the community.