Publication

  • Street Teachings: Art, Youth, and Politics in Black Chicago around 1968
    Rebecca Zorach
    Author
    Duke University Press, 2016
  • GRANTEE
    Rebecca Zorach
    GRANT YEAR
    2015

Art & Soul exterior with rainbow mural by Sachio Yamashita, 1969, Chicago. Mural artwork copyright: Eileen Petersen Yamashita. Photograph copyright: Ann Zelle.

This book examines artists' collaborations across class, race, and geography in and around Chicago's Black Arts Movement (c. 1966–73), demonstrating the richness of the visual arts in this period of Chicago history and tracing the origins of today's "relational aesthetics" and "social practice" to the work of socially and politically engaged artists of the 1960s. Street Teachings: Art, Experiment, and Politics in Black Chicago around 1968 takes as its starting point a community art center called Art & Soul, a collaboration begun in 1968 between Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL, Inc.), a former street gang reinvented as a community organization. This unusual collaboration provides an unexpectedly powerful vantage from which to examine the Black Arts Movement, demonstrating the commitment of African American artists of this period to engaging in a two-way dialogue with the "street"—marginalized youth and youth gangs in particular.

Rebecca Zorach is currently professor of art history, romance languages and literatures, and the college at the University of Chicago. As of July 2015, she will be Crowe Professor of Art History at Northwestern University. She teaches and writes on medieval and Renaissance art, contemporary activist art, and art of the 1960s and ’70s (particularly African American artists in Chicago). Recent articles have addressed AfriCOBRA's gender and family politics; Claes Oldenburg's lawsuit challenging the copyright of the Chicago Picasso; and the experimental art center Art & Soul. Her forthcoming edited volume Art Against the Law addresses activist art in Chicago since the 1960s. She supervises a research project at the South Side Community Art Center, cataloging, presenting, and interpreting the Center's permanent collection. She has curated exhibitions on early modern European prints and printed books, and most recently AFRICOBRA: Philosophy at the Logan Center for the Arts.