South Side Stories: Rethinking Chicago Art, 1960 to 1975

February 15–June 10, 2018

Carolyn Lawrence, Uphold Your Men, Unify Your Families, 1971

During the 1960s and 1970s, Chicago was shaped by art and ideas produced and circulated on the South Side. Yet the history of the period’s creative and social ferment has often remained segregated by the city’s social, political, and geographic divides.

This exhibition—co-organized by the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Smart Museum of Art and presented at both institutions concurrently—takes the first integrated look at the cultural history of Chicago’s South Side during this momentous era of change and conflict. It aims to upend dominant narratives of the period, and to unearth rich stories by examining watershed cultural moments from the Hairy Who to the Wall of Respect, from the Civil Rights movement to the Blackstone Rangers, from vivid protest posters to visionary outsider art, and from the Free University movement to the radical jazz of the American Association of Creative Musicians.


South Side Stories is curated by Charles Bethea, Chief Operating Officer and Curator, DuSable Museum of African American History; Jessica Moss, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Smart Museum of Art; and Rebeca Zorach, Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago.

Top: Carolyn Lawrence, Uphold Your Men, Unify Your Families, 1971, Screenprint on wove paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of David Lusenhop in honor of the artist, 2013.7. © Carolyn Lawrence.

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