In this, our third annual Arts Issue, we explore bridges of all kinds: between the past and the present, between languages, between communities, and, as Jordan Jackson’s cover art illustrates, between individuals. Comedians and muralists, filmmakers and actors, writers, designers, and conceptual artists come together here to offer you a bridge to many distinctive creative practices from around the South Side.
Alberto Aguilar opens the issue with some strong language: his bilingual signs alter the visual landscape of Pilsen, a neighborhood that many of our readers call home. These mysterious signs are reproduced throughout the issue in a similar way, serving to disrupt, startle, and provide intriguing interludes. They bridge the space between stories covering a mural whitewashing, the rise of South Side sewing groups, and a who’s who of Hyde Park artisans. You’ll be introduced to a number of small and (until now) semi-secret South Side cinema clubs, and you’ll end with a promising lead on Timothy Stewart-Winter’s new book, which uses Chicago’s past and present politics as a jumping-off point for conversations on community action and activism. In the second half of this issue, we offer a print gallery featuring work from a number of local artists, linking the reading experience with the experience of viewing a gallery or a mural. In the same way, we hope this issue can serve as a link from your own interests, talents, hobbies, and concerns to those of the many others around you.
The Past Keeps Happening: Suspending disbelief with filmmaker Christopher Harris | By Christopher Good
Pulling at the Thread: Local sewing and design groups rise in popularity | By Anne Li
Two Art Hubs Win MacArthur Grants | By Clyde Schwab
Room for Indeterminacy: Talking sales, weddings, and pizza with Alberto Aguilar | By Christopher Good
Past into Future: Sanford Biggers on history at work | By Sara Cohen
Making Their Way: A stroll through the Hyde Park Handmade Artisans’ Bazaar | By Baci Weiler and Anne Li
Film Clubs: A sampling of the South Side film clubs | Austin Brown, Jake Bittle, Clyde Schwab, and Olivia Stovicek
A Whitewashing : William Walker’s mural All of Mankind painted over | By Darren Wan
Turning the Spotlight Toward Engagement : A new three-year grant is helping the Court in its continued efforts for diversification | By Emiliano Burr Di Mauro
The Future of Black History : Black World Cinema celebrates Black History Month in Chatham | By Lewis Page
A Musical History of the Black Metropolis : Chicago’s Bronzeville: The Musical stages a one-night performance at the Chicago Theatre| By Mari Cohen
A Second City for Black Comedy : All Jokes Aside by Raymond Lambert | By C.J. Fraley
Gay in the Midwest : Queer Clout sheds light on the forgotten history of Chicago’s political alliance between blacks and gays | By Sarah Claypoole
The Agreement, the Arrangement, and the Betrayal : The dangerous false logic in political messaging about public pensions (and how to defeat it) | By Troy LaRaviere
A Digital Gallery
Rahmaan Statik Barnes grew up on the South Side of Chicago surrounded by murals and urban graffiti. “An arrest for ‘vandalism,’” his artist bio says, “put [Barnes] on a mission to legitimize the production of aerosol murals. He trained at the American Academy of Art and later worked with Gallery 37 to teach mural creation to children. He currently works out of a studio in Pilsen.
Yemonja Smalls is a Master’s student in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to her individual work with acrylic paint, she also maintains a clothing and apparel company called Just Human, which she founded “with the intention of bringing the fine art of the living form to the apparel industry.”
NYCH Gallery is an art gallery in Pilsen that aims to “promote a level of comfort and understandable simplicity not usually known through the complexity of art.” Jason Patterson, whose works have been on view at NYCH this month, is an artist whose paintings, which are largely based on photographs and videos, explore “the historical timeline of the Afro-American condition, experience, and narrative.” He lives in Urbana, Illinois.
Project Onward is an art gallery and studio for professional artists with mental and developmental disabilities. After an apprenticeship at Gallery 37, artist Andrew Hall joined Project Onward, where he has been more than a decade. His detailed ink drawings on architectural themes feature Chicago landmarks as well as forgotten corners of neighborhood life.