Join us in celebrating the opening of Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today at Gallery 400.
Orient yourself to the gallery with a social story.
Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today explores how Chicago artists and designers with disabilities were integral to the development of a local and national disability rights movement, creating radical change for more than one fifth of the US population, as well as for all of American society, and influencing lasting transformation in the visual art and design fields. At its heart a research project and inviting new contributions, the exhibition focuses on the history of the disability arts movement in the late 20th century, the role artists played in that activism, and the development of a disability aesthetics, as evidenced in work artists are making today.
Through artworks (paintings, drawings, sculpture, installation and video), graphic design, architectural documents, oral histories, archival documents, and other ephemera, the exhibition will tell the stories of how Chicagoans with disabilities and their allies broke barriers, created change in policy and federal law, and changed culture at a time when the reality of life for many people with disabilities was the restrictions imposed by institutionalization and segregation. People with disabilities in Chicago changed the cultural agenda, challenged the medical model of disability, and told the world that ‘disability’ wasn’t a people with disabilities' problem; it was society’s problem for having disenfranchised people by creating barriers to full participation and engagement. Artists with disabilities have played—and are playing—a central in that activism and have created work that formulates a disability aesthetics, an aesthetics that challenges traditional modes while exploring conflicting categories and definitions.
At 6:30pm, movement artist Barak adé Soleil presents a performance within the exhibition space. from here to there is a live art installation with a performance component, presented as part of the opening and closing of the exhibition at Gallery 400. "Archive" from Barak's lived experience will also be on display as a performative installation throughout the run of the exhibition, including a film of the opening performance.