Fair housing in Chicago explored in Elmhurst Art Museum’s new exhibition
In Focus: The Chicago Freedom Movement and The Fight for Fair Housing
March 4 – June 20, 2021
Contemporary responses combine with soul-stirring photos and local history about fair housing
Preview programs and exhibitions include:
· There is Black Housing in the Future: Equitable Public Housing as Memorial open December 3, 2020 – May 8, 2021 in the Museum’s McCormick House
· Virtual discussion: Chicago Freedom Movement features participants from 1966 marches, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18, 2021
(October 28, 2020) As the U.S. faces a historic moment of social justice reawakening, the Elmhurst Art Museum announces a new exhibition that reflects on historical and contemporary responses to fair housing in the Chicagoland area, In Focus: The Chicago Freedom Movement and The Fight for Fair Housing, on view at the Museum March 4 through June 20, 2021. Related programming will begin in December 2020 and continue through spring of 2021, including the opening of the complementary new exhibition, There is Black Housing in the Future: Equitable Public Housing as Memorial, in the historic McCormick House, adjacent to the Museum, December 3, 2020 through May 8, 2021, and a virtual discussion about the Chicago Freedom Movement to be held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18, 2021.
In Focus features some of the first-ever color documentary photographs taken of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as other Chicago civil rights leadership and organized public marches. All thirty-two photos were taken by 85-year-old photographer, activist and Wheaton resident Bernard Kleina, and provide context for the 1965-67 movement led by King, James Bevel, and Al Raby, who fought against systemic racism and segregation of the Chicagoland area, and inspired the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
In Focus is sponsored by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation.
“We believe that art is a powerful tool for change, and our mission as an art museum is always to inspire people to see and think differently through art,” said John McKinnon, Executive Director of Elmhurst Art Museum. “We are proud to launch a number of events and exhibitions that further important conversations about inequities of the past leading up to today.”
A complementary exhibition and related programming will expand on the work of the Chicago Freedom Movement, continued fights for fair housing and racial equity:
There is Black Housing in the Future: Equitable Public Housing as Memorial
December 3, 2020-May 8, 2021
The Museum’s Mies van der Rohe McCormick House will feature Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer Alisha Wormsley and conceptual artist Ayanah Moor, professor of print-media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wormsley and Moor will create an installation in the McCormick House as a means of activism and education to support mothers fighting for the future of Black housing. The exhibition references national, community, and grassroots organizations—like Moms 4 Housing—that advocate for affordable, dignified housing for all. There is Black Housing in the Future is inspired by Afro-Futurist artists and writers who affirm the visibility and well-being of Black communities across notions of space and time. An artist activity video for youth will compliment Wormsley and Moor’s artwork. Using everyday household items, the artists will guide viewers in the production of message-based posters, yard signs, and even kites to support communities’ voices.
There is Black Housing in the Future is supported by the Goethe-Institut and Wunderbar Together.
Virtual MLK Day Discussion: Chicago Freedom Movement
January 18, 2021, Time TBD
Martin Luther King Day will be celebrated with pause, reflection, and opportunities to learn more about the Chicago Freedom Movement and continued fights for fair housing in the Chicagoland area. The group discussion will include participants from the 1966 marches and other experts in the field. The virtual event is free and can be accessed on www.elmhurstartmuseum.org
Additional public programming will be announced after the first of the year.
The Museum encourages non-members to purchase tickets online in advance of visiting the Museum. Members, children, and students may check-in without an advance ticket purchase. All visitors must wear a face mask and are asked to review the Museum’s COVID-19 protocols before visiting at www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/visit/covid/.
The Museum’s galleries are open in accordance with the Restore Illinois Plan to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Current hours: Monday – Wednesday (closed), Thursday – Sunday (12 p.m. – 5 p.m.). Members only hours Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.). The first Friday of every month is free.
About the McCormick House
In 1952, the renowned modern architect Mies van der Rohe designed a home for Robert Hall McCormick III, a member of Chicago’s most prominent families, and his wife, the poet Isabella Gardner. The home is a rare and important example of Mies van der Rohe’s mature style, incorporating elements of his celebrated designs for the Farnsworth House (1951) and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive (1951). The McCormick House—one of only three single-family homes designed by Mies in the United States—originally served two purposes: it was a home for the McCormick family and a prototype for a proposed group of smaller, affordable mass-produced modular homes in the western Chicago suburbs that McCormick and co-developer Herbert S. Greenwald were hoping to build. However, the cutting-edge, high-end buildings were not met with enough buyers to begin construction.
About the Elmhurst Art Museum
The Museum is located at 150 South Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst (IL), 25 minutes from downtown Chicago by car or public transportation (Metra). The Museum is both an international destination for Mies van der Rohe scholars and fans and a regional center where people from Chicago and the western suburbs learn to see and think differently through the study of the art, architecture and design of our time. The Museum is one block from the Elmhurst Metra station. Admission is $15 ($12 for seniors) and free for students and children under 18.
For more information, visit elmhurstartmuseum.org.