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Chicago | Photography and the Black Arts Movement in Chicago

February 6, 2020 | 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Image: Billy Abernathy, Mother’s Day, 1962. Gelatin silver print. The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of the Illinois Arts Council, 110.1976.

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Michal Raz-Russo Associate Curator of Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, will give a behind-the-scenes look at selections from the Art Institute’s collection that represent photography’s important role within the Black Arts Movement in Chicago.

In the mid-1960s, as the Black Arts Movement was gaining momentum in Chicago, an informal network of street photographers and independent photojournalists formed in the city’s South and West Sides. Included among them are works by Darryl Cowherd, Bob Crawford, Roy Lewis, and Robert A. Sengstacke produced in connection with Wall of Respect (1967–71), a revolutionary outdoor mural; and projects such as Mikki Ferrill’s decade-long documentation of an improvised South Side club, The Garage (1970/80). Through intimate images of their communities in the city’s South and West Sides, these artists explored ideas about black identity, aesthetics, and visibility that have far-reaching influence and implications.

Michal Raz-Russo is the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Associate Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. Among her exhibitions at the Art Institute are Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980 (2018); Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem (2016); Sharp, Clear Pictures: Edward Steichen’s World War I and Condé Nast Years (2014); Dayanita Singh (2014); and The Three Graces (2011). She is also the curator of the biennial Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series, which has presented solo exhibitions of new work by artists such as Sara Deraedt (2019), Leigh Ledare (The Plot, 2017), and Deana Lawson (2015).

ArtTable Chicago’s executive committee will be meeting for drinks and lite bites at the Gage restaurant following the program, please join us if you’re able!

The Gage Restaurant
24 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

from 7 – 8:30 p.m.


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February 6, 2020
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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ArtTable Chicago


The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603 United States
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