By TONIA HILL
The city is nearly two weeks into the second edition of the Chicago Architectural Biennial (CAB).
The CAB is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America and this year it will feature 140 participants from 20 countries addressing the theme “Make New History.”
The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC), 5020 S. Cornell Ave., and the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, were both named as community anchor sites for the CAB this year.
“It’s an honor to be a part of [CAB] because it brings so many different groups of people to Chicago and from other countries,” said Allison Peters Quinn, director of exhibitions and residency programs at HPAC. “It brings an international audience to the art center, which is one that we don’t normally have.”
As community anchor sites, HPAC and the DuSable will host will Biennial-related programming that will encourage visitors to explore the city and its museums.
“The story of architecture in Chicago extends far beyond downtown,” said Lee Bey, vice president of planning, education, and museum experience at the DuSable.
“The anchor institutions are playing that role as ambassadors where you can see exhibits dealing with architecture through the programming and have a discussion about architecture out in the neighborhoods.”
This month the HPAC unveiled one of three exhibitions supported by the CAB, a mural project entitled, The Wall of Now: Children of the Wall.
The Wall of Now is featured on the south side of the building facing South Cornell Avenue, and two other walls on the outside of the building.
The idea for a mural was inspired by the upcoming 50th anniversary of the “Wall of Respect” and from conversations had with street artists who said there is a lack of permission walls in the city of Chicago, according to Quinn.
The “Wall of Respect,” erected on 43rd Street and Langley Avenue, was an outdoor mural project on the south side that was created in 1967 by visual artists. The artists were from a group called the Organization of Black American Culture.
Other sections of the wall were repainted and showcased images from the Civil Rights movement.
In 1971, the wall was damaged by fire and later demolished.
Materials Decoded is another exhibition at HPAC that is in partnership with the CAB.
It will run under the direction of visual artist and trained architect Amanda Williams who will lead an Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Undergraduate Studio class.
The class will address social, cultural and economic value of their materials that are used to create buildings.
“The architectural objects in the exhibition will evolve and rotate as the research into materials digs deeper throughout the run of the show,” according to the Art Center. The exhibit will also provide a “South Side platform to highlight emerging practices in art, architecture, and design.”
The third exhibit will feature a large-scale installation by Chicago-based artist Sara Black and New Zealand artist Raewyn Martyn.
The pair will reconstruct lumber byproducts into a built environment that connects the history of building with wood to demonstrate the city’s industrial past and the local impact of global deforestation.
Materials Decoded will run through the duration of the CAB that will end on Jan. 7, 2018.
The bulk of programming for the CAB at HPAC will occur over the next few months which includes exhibits, free family art-making events, and film screenings that explore architecture.
At DuSable, Bey said visitors will have the opportunity to see contributions made by African Americans in Chicago Architecture.
His new exhibit, Chicago: A Southern Exposure examines architecture on the city’s south side in places “that have been overlooked and undocumented due to racism, classism and preconceived notions about the area,” according to the museum.
“It tells the story that there are black people who designed things on the south side but also these are neighborhoods where this architecture is known and appreciated and taken care of often against strong odds,” Bey said.
The exhibit is in partnership with the CAB and features the work of pioneering Black architectures including John Moutoussamy and Ryder, Morrison and Margerum and others such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Eero Saarinen.
Programming around the exhibit is still in development Bey said. He hopes the show will start a dialogue on resources that are needed to sustain neighborhoods and to uplift them.
Chicago: A Southern Exposure, will open to the public on Friday, Sept. 22.
The DuSable’s Roundhouse is also the venue for a large-scale exhibition project curated by the Palais de Tokyo’s Katell Jaffrè called Singing Stones. It includes 11 emerging artists from France and Chicago in conjunction with Institut Français’ first off-site exhibition in the United States.
The exhibit debuted on Sept. 12 and is in partnership with EXPO Chicago and the CAB.
The main exhibition for CAB is located at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., is free and open to the public from Sept. 16 through Jan. 7, 2018.
The CAB launched nearly two weeks ago in conjunction with EXPO Chicago, and Navy Pier’s annual art and design convention.
Other community anchor sites include the Beverly Arts Center in the Beverly community, the DePaul Art Museum in Lincoln Park, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Humboldt Park.