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In the early 1920s artists in Chicago were clamoring for democratic, independent exhibitions. The No-Jury Society, founded in 1922, was one of the longest-lasting answers to this need. Unlike exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago, where a jury would decide which artworks from the submissions pool were worthy, any artist was guaranteed inclusion in the Society’s exhibits for a $4 fee. In their first catalog, they explain the impetus for their democratic approach: “it is…a historical fact that these juries have created and maintained a high standard of mediocrity and have, without exception, almost suppressed genius.”
This advertisement for a costume ball hosted by the No-Jury Society was designed by society member Emil Armin and shows a who’s-who of the Chicago art world at the time.