Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today

September 14 - October 20, 2018

Artists: Arts of Life, Todd Bauer, Dawoud Bey, Winnifred Birts and Kenneth Williams, Matt Bodett, Bodies of Work, Jack Catlin Carol Cleigh, Jude Conlon Martin, Mary Ellen Croteau, Sky Cubacub, Veronica “Ronnie” Cuculich, Susan Dupor Mike Ervin, Terrence Karpowicz, Riva Lehrer, Tim Lowly, LCM Architects, Susan Nussbaum, Tom Olin, Kerry Richardson, Bill Shannon, Hollis Sigler, Andy Slater Barak adé Soleil, Anna Stonum, Allison Wade and Susan Pasowicz, and Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi

  1. Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today, 2018 (installation view)
    (left to right) Dawoud Bey The Empowered FeFes Portrait Project, four digital photographs, courtesy Access Living
    Hollis Sigler, The Queen of Love, 2000, pastel on paper, 18 x 24 in., courtesy Access Living
    Riva Lehrer, Circle Stories: Bill Shannon, 1997, mixed media on paper
, 38 x 24 in., courtesy M. N. Kennedy
  2. Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today, 2018 (installation view)
    (left to right) Allison Wade and Susan Pascowicz, All the different shapes, 2017, color pencil on paper, courtesy Arts of Life
    Veronica “Ronnie” Cuculich, Babydoll, 2007, mixed media, courtesy Arts of Life
    Portrait of Veronica “Ronnie” Cuculich, courtesy Arts of Life
    Hollis Sigler, The Queen of Love, 2000, pastel on paper, 18 x 24 in., courtesy Access Living

This exhibition focuses on the history of Chicago’s disability community and its intertwined activism and culture, as well as its development of disability aesthetics, an aesthetics that challenges traditional modes while exploring conflicting categories and definitions.

Networked with others around the US, 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 role in that activism. Over the last 40 years, disability culture has moved from establishing identity to consciousness raising to—now its later stages— formulating an aesthetics informed by disability experience.

Presented in the exhibition are the current results of ongoing research collected in collaboration with Chicago artists with disabilities and activists. We invite further contributions to flesh out this history and its continuing legacy. Do you have experience working at the intersection of disability activism, art, or design in Chicago? What is the most important story to tell?

To share your story, call our 24/7 response line 262-586-9257 or use the form on the website bit.ly/g400disabilityproject. Contributions will be added to the exhibition on an ongoing basis.

 

sdfds

Major funding for Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today is provided by The Chicago Community Trust. The exhibition is additionally supported by the UIC School of Art & Art History; the UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; the University of Illinois at Chicago; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

 

Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today is proudly presented part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.