Hammy Wammy raises the bar for postmodern revival in Chicago

Hammy Wammy is an art space and photography studio in North Side Chicago. After it opened last year in Uptown, the space began attracting fashionistas whose personal aesthetics are in line with Hammy Wammy’s artistic vision: a strange brew of Grace Jones, David Lynch, and Andrea Branzi. It isn’t named after a wealthy benefactor or a verbose post-structuralist philosophical concept. But, rather, its moniker comes from the 11-year-old stepson of Meg Gustafson, Hammy Wammy’s curator and creative director.

The gallery is sponsored by Jonathan Solomon, an architect and faculty member at SAIC and Gustafson’s partner. Hammy Wammy’s jovial name is fitting given the postmodern lacquer Meg Gustafson and co-designer Amber Mortensen applied in its staging when it opened in 2023. The great practitioners of postmodernism—whether they be architects Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, the Memphis School, or artist Antoni Meraldi—were known for collapsing high-brow and low-brow into singular ensembles that double as tongue-in-cheek criticism of the modern movement’s seriousness. Hammy Wammy’s architects should be understood in this lineage of prior interlocutors who took having fun seriously.
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