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In 1995, William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For the next seven years, Utermohlen continued to make art as the disease progressed. LUMA’s exhibition of over 100 works of art shows the impact of this debilating disease on the artist’s creative output.

During this last period of his life, although feeling increasingly isolated in verbal communication, Utermohlen continued to produce meaningful images of himself and his surroundings. Indeed, if one was not aware of the artist’s declining memory, one might perceive him as moving into a new body of work of increasing abstraction.

Significant research has been done on the impact of the visual and musical arts to improve self-esteem, increase attention span and reduce the feeling of isolation that is a normal occurrence as the disease progresses. The part of the brain responsible for creativity is one of the last affected despite the earlier loss of verbal communication.

William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory (Late Portraits, Masks), 2016, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA.

The exhibition William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory is held in conjunction with LUMA’s ilLUMAnations program that uses the arts to engage Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. The program is offered in partnership with Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzhiemer’s Disease Center. Established as a pilot program in 2013, LUMA runs nine sessions a year in workshops that combine art, dance, or music with a social hour in which the participants discuss what they experienced.

William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory (Mummers, Late Self Portraits), 2016, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA.William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory (Conversation Pieces), 2016, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA.

The opening reception was held in 19 and 20 February 2016 at LUMA’s art space.
Chris Boïcos, Pat Utermohlen and Pam Ambrose - LUMA director of Cultural Affairs-
guided the "walk through" of the exhibition.

Pat Utermohlen and Chris Boïcos outside Loyola University of Art, Chicago, 18 Feb 2016. Pat Utermohlen lecturing on "De Niro Comic Club" series at LUMA, 19 Feb 2016.
Pat Utermohlen and Chris Boïcos outside Loyola University of Art, Chicago, 18 Feb 2016. Pat Utermohlen lecturing on "De Niro Comic Club" series at LUMA, 19 Feb 2016.
Pam Ambrose, director of Cultural Affairs (center) and Pat Utermohlen (right) at LUMA art space, 19 Feb 2016.
Pam Ambrose, director of Cultural Affairs (center) and Pat Utermohlen (right) at LUMA art space.
Chris Boïcos lecturing on "Snow", LUMA, Chicago, 20 Feb 2016.
Chris Boïcos lecturing on "Snow", LUMA, Chicago, 20 Feb 2016.
Chris Boicos presentation of William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory, 20 Feb 2016, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA. Pat Utermohlen, Chris Boïcos and Pam Ambrose at LUMA, 19 Feb 2016.
Chris Boïcos presenting Utermohlen exhibition. Pat Utermohlen, Chris Boïcos and Pam Ambrose at LUMA, 19 Feb 2016.

William Utermohlen: A Persistence of Memory will be on untill 23 July 2016 at Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA.

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