Although Ludwig Mies van der Rohe received the commission for this building (really one of a group of buildings that together make up the Federal Center complex) in 1959, the iconic Post Office on the corner of West Adams and South Clark Streets was only finished in 1974, a full five years after the modernist master’s death. It looks an awful lot like the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, where Goshka first showed the glass works that were on view at the MCA on the occasion of her survey show here in the early months of 2013. These works, originally made for the fifth Berlin Biennial in 2008, reflected upon the relationship (private and professional) between Mies van der Rohe and the German exhibition & interior design pioneer Lilly Reich, who died an impoverished death in relative obscurity in 1947.
The post office contains a New Deal-era painting by Swedish-born muralist Gustaf Dalstrom depicting the “Great Indian Council of 1833”, a pivotal moment in the settling of the Midwest. The painting was initially made for a post office on Chestnut Street that was converted into a movie theater in the 1980s; we do not know whether Mies ever saw Dalstrom’s canvas in its original setting, nor is it entirely clear what happened to the aforementioned movie theater.