Text provided by Gallery 400:
our duty to fight is a call to join the rebellion being waged. Organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago (BLMChi) and allied movement organizations and projects, this exhibition both holds space for survivors and families bereft of justice and healing under anti-Black state violence and offers a living testament to the specific and shared struggles that have been at the core of radical, visionary world-making in Chicago organizing.
For the exhibition, new artworks by artists Jireh L. Drake, Itunuoluwa Ebijimi, Makeba Kedem-DuBose, La Keisha Leek and Bryant Cross, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Sherwin Ovid, Ariel Perkins-Fenwick, Shelby Stone, Ethos Viets-VanLear, Rhonda Wheatley, and Avery R. Young are being created in collaboration with families and survivors waging struggles for accountability and respect for their fallen. Participating are the families of Rekia Boyd, Dakota Bright, Dominique “Damo” Franklin Jr., Justus Howell, Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson, Flint Farmer, Darius Pinex, and Stephon Watts.
Accompanying these works will be artworks and ephemera highlighting the paths to recent intersectional movement victories such as the Level I Adult Trauma Center being developed in Hyde Park and the 2013 Reparations Ordinance for Chicago Police Torture Survivors. Also included is a new digital artwork by artist James T. Green referencing the Movement for Black Lives as made manifest in social media. Moreover, to enable multiple platforms for coming together, the exhibition will include an artist-designed space by Cairá Lee Conner for large and small-scale performances, workshops, and knowledge-sharing.
A series of exhibition programs aims to highlight trending questions and provocations raised by #BlackLivesMatter movement work: How are we to honor what survivors, families, and communities have lost—and what expectations for protection and representation they have abandoned—to envision and bring about grief, safety, and healing? How do we transform violence and oppression into self-defense and community autonomy? How do we envision a reality where Black Lives not only matter, but are liberated? our duty to fight spurs dialogue and action toward realizing liberation, abolishing oppressive systems, and maximizing opportunities to practice justice. Most directly, our duty to fight invites exhibition visitors to join the struggle against state repression and terror while working to build collective power.
Gallery 400 our duty to fight Programs:
Wednesday, April 27, 5-8pm—Opening Reception: our duty to fight
Dates and Times TBD—
“La Candela” Beyond Borders, May Day presentation and panel discussion, celebrating bomba as a bridge to cultural coordinates found between Puerto Rican and African diasporas that also maps entrenched anti-Black violence endured by Black migrants and laborers.
Black Trans Lives, performances and presentations on recent movement victories toward Black Trans Liberation.
Black Skin/Blue Masks zine release
#WhereYoMagicAt? Authoring Black Feminist Futures Online, panel discussion on Black Woman digital culture-making
Saturday, June 11, Time TBD—Closing Reception: Featuring a presentation of work by movement performers and a panel discussion with our duty to fight artists.
Additional program details forthcoming.
Gallery 400 offers guided tours for groups of all ages. Tours are free of charge but require reservation. Public tours of our duty to fight will begin at May 17, 2016. For more information, or to discuss the specific needs and interests of your group, please contact us at 312 996 6114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the Liminal Space design residency, this symposium seeks to explore the how and why of content creation and how they are correlated.
Designer in residence Cameron Ralston invites participants and attendees to think:
How do we as graphic designers, writers, artists (etc.) create content beyond often arbitrary definitions of practice. Do our definitions (designer, writer, artist etc.) affect the way we create work? What does actively situating oneself in a spectrum of practice do to the work created? Can we identify with a body of thinking?
Is there a designerly way of creating? That responds to the tools, software, history, business models, aesthetics, language, politics et cetera of graphic design practice. What of non-designers who create what might be identifiable as designerly work?
You are invited to speculate on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of content creation. And if these are correlated somehow.
The audience is invited to bring their thoughts and discuss with the panellists. Following the discussions and short talks there will be snacks and drinks provided to be followed by a presentation by Ralston on his thoughts surrounding the topic.
This video program highlights Chicago-based makers utilizing digital media and net-based content to explore politicized notions of gender. These works break down the construction of the masculine/feminine and its implications today in the intimate, public, and digital arenas.
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 6:00 - 8:00pm
That pesky space between art and design
For almost a century, Chicago has been perfectly positioned as the geographic and arguably cultural net in a volleyball game.
It is in this city that the (commercial) artist emerged from the back rooms of the nation’s premier printers. Typographers, illustrators, layout artists, photographers, retouchers, linoleum cutters lived within proximity of the press rooms, and as a result their works were distributed everywhere the Chicago rail system stretched.
Just before the the Great Depression, a handful of commercial artists, led by R. Hunter Middleton, came together in 1927 under a quasi-professional moniker — the Society of Typographic Arts (STA). A few years later in 1933 the key design figures of the Bauhaus, among them Laszlo Moholy Nagy and Mies Van der Rohe, took exile in Chicago bringing with them an unyielding, future-leaning, expressive presence. Their residency must have impacted the local status quo like a cinder block slamming into a puddle of mud.
Three years later, frustrated with anonymity and a dearth of visible outlets for their personal expressions, 27 of these more restless entrepreneurial commercial talents banded together as the Chicago 27. This act of camaraderie marked a moment in time as the depression was coming to an end when the Chicago ‘designer’ positioned themselves along the sightline of the more visible creative class — the artists.
Even though some of today’s post-Great Depression Chicago designers are no longer making their marks with the tools of the trade locally, they remain internet close WHEREVER. And once again that restless artist spirit and unbridled curiosity can no longer be sequestered in the back room.
The distrust for all design promises still bulges at the seams.
Group exhibition curated by Hamza Walker
Opening Reception: Friday, July 10, 2015, 6:00 - 8:00pm
This exhibition takes its title from a 1974 blaxploitation classic in which three action heroes, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and Jim Brown must save the race from a neo-Nazi organization bent on black genocide. The exhibition features the 2014/2015 Arts + Public Life/Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture artists-in-residence Ayana Contreras, James T. Green, and David Leggett, all squarely post-Civil Rights children born after Williamson, Kelly, and Brown saved the world. Although we may breathe a collective sigh of relief, the work of these artists suggests there is much to account for since then culturally, politically, and socially. The exhibit begs us to consider how we square nostalgia for a Black Nationalist period with recent events.
Guest curated by Hamza Walker.
Presented by Arts + Public Life, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, and Logan Center Exhibitions.