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Exhibition: Past Turn the LightJan 17–Mar 07, 2020

Herman Aguirre, La corona de Goyito, 2017, Óleo y pieles de aceite/acrílica sobre lienzo, 60” x 48” | Goyita’s corona, 2017, oil and oil/acrylic skins on canvas, 60” x 48”. Courtesy the artist


Social justice and radical imagination have long legacies in Chicago, from Ida B. Wells to Jamila Woods, from Gwendolyn Brooks to Rudy Lozano. What might be deemed a Chicago sensibility has grown from that legacy, a tradition of solidarity, protest, resistance, and nourishment.

In the long arc of the entwined Chicago legacies of social justice and art, artists and activists have both imagined radically. Today, as all Chicagoans—like others around the world—confront our many social, political, and environmental challenges, a question of direction arises. We have looked forward; we have looked back. But in 2019 and 2020, there are Chicago artists who are compelled to examine our histories more closely. What has been historicized, what has been chronicled deserves further scrutiny. The past has structured our today; to reckon with its details feels necessary. These artists bring to life histories so crucially present in our current lives.

Turn the Light highlights how artists at this present moment are representing, historicizing, and materializing the evolution of Chicago’s revolutionary ideology. The works presented—though thoughtful, nuanced, and multi-faceted—derive from a sense of urgency to set distinct cross hairs on the socio-political tension we are now in.


Jin Lee, Huong Ngo, Herman Aguirre, Floating Museum, Derrick Woods-Morrow, Jefferson Pinder