Revving Up Art: John Himmelfarb's ‘How Things Stack Up’ Rolls into Oakton

“KB-3,” a sculpture by John Himmelfarb.
Des Plaines, Ill. (June 25, 2024) - Gear up for the artistic big rig! Oakton College Koehnline Museum of Art is thrilled to announce the arrival of “John Himmelfarb: How Things Stack Up,” an electrifying exhibition celebrating the iconic image of the truck, July 11 - Sept. 20.

Meet the artist and admire the art at the free and open-to-public reception, July 11, from 5 - 8 p.m. The “How Things Stack Up” exhibit drives into the heart of Himmelfarb’s creative journey, transforming everyday vehicles into extraordinary works of art.

“John Himmelfarb has been an integral part of Oakton’s visual art program since its inception,” said Nathan Harpaz, Ph.D., Oakton’s Koehnline Museum of Art manager and curator. “The new exhibition highlights John’s artistic journey through the motif of trucks. Though present in his early works, trucks became a focal point in his two- and three-dimensional creations starting in 2003.”

How Things Stack Up: Trucks as Art
In "How Things Stack Up," Himmelfarb’s romanticism for urban artifacts is evident through his exploration of trucks. The exhibition delves into how Himmelfarb uses visual language to transform chaos into order, meaning and beauty. Trucks are portrayed not just as vehicles but as symbols of societal and individual narratives. The selection of work showcases Himmelfarb’s ability to render complexity through his unique artistic lens.

About John Himmelfarb
Born in 1946 in Chicago, Himmelfarb grew up surrounded by art, with both parents being accomplished painters. He studied architectural sciences at Harvard College and has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. His art is featured in over 80 prestigious collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and The British Museum. Himmelfarb’s work blends postwar expressionism and surrealism, influenced by Jackson Pollock’s abstractionism and Jean Dubuffet’s art brut. His career has seen various phases, from black and white ink drawings to his current fascination with trucks, employing multiple media, including prints, paintings, ceramics and found objects.

A Longstanding Relationship with Oakton
Himmelfarb’s lithographs, including "Physical" and "Isn’t Life Wonderful," have been part of the Koehnline Museum’s collection since the 1980s. Over 20 of Himmelfarb’s works, including the iconic "Red Line" truck image, are housed in the Museum’s permanent collection. Himmelfarb’s 2001 exhibition, "Inland Romance," explored his deep connection to Chicago’s urban landscape. The show marked a pivotal moment in his career, with one of its large canvases now displayed at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus library.

Exhibition Details
  • Dates: July 11 - Sept. 20.
  • Location: Oakton College Koehnline Museum of Art, 1600 E Golf Road
  • Opening Reception: July 11, from 5 - 8 p.m.