Barbara Kruger – Chicago

Barbara Kruger – Chicago

These projections on The Merchandise Mart, are part of the exhibition THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU at The Art Institute of Chicago, on view through January 24, 2022. The projections run through November 25, 2021.

Whose Hopes?  Whose Fears?

Whose Laughter?  Whose Tears?

Whose Values?  Whose Justice?

 

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like – National Rally For Reproductive Rights

This Is What Democracy Looks Like – National Rally For Reproductive Rights

Women’s March National Rally – Reproductive Rights.

Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Tacoma, Seattle, joined hundreds of cities across the U.S to rally with tens of thousands of people for support of Reproductive Rights – here we gathered at the State Capitol on October 2, 2021.

It was exciting to see people converging, carrying signs, gathering in groups as we approached the capitol. The crowd grew denser the closer we got. The rally began with a march from the Capitol Campus into town, returning to the Capitol where people lined the steps of the legislative building and the organizers set up the P.A. system. Many previous rallies that we attended featured well known speakers; in contrast, the speakers at this rally were often first-time public speakers, some were attending their first rally – they ranged in age from 15-75, they shared their personal histories and reasons for joining together to support reproductive rights.

Older participants know how hard it has been to change the anti-choice culture, how the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision meant that – finally – women could have access to safe and legal abortions. Their children and grandchildren join in the current fight, because, sadly, reproductive rights are again being challenged, and the hardships caused by limiting abortion access continue to disproportionately impact the BIPOC communities.

I was already an adult in 1973 and remember well the horror stories of what it was like before that historic date. When I was growing up there was a “home for un-wed mothers” in our neighborhood; it was shrouded in mystery. I remember the stigma and the danger for women who had no choices for safely, legally, terminating a pregnancy.

When I saw the young girls, marching with their mothers and big sisters, as one sign said, I’m Marching for My Future – I was proud to be standing and marching with them, marching to assure we won’t go back, back to barbaric times; and as a man, I march against toxic masculinity and an outdated patriarchy.

 

On a related note, I want to mention a new book that has just been released. This project by photographer Roslyn Banish, Focus on Abortion, is a continuation of her ongoing exploration of social dynamics through photography and text that began with her 1976 publication of City Families: Chicago and London.

 

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EMERGENCE – E

EMERGENCE – E

…how relatively empty the streets were in Chicago, as they have been in many cities and communities.

When we returned to the northwest, we saw the pandemic numbers rising again with the newer Delta variant emerging. Like most people, we wanted to put our masks away and return to the life we knew before the pandemic. We know the world has changed, changed in so many ways. We remain cautious and optimistic and know that we can’t just abandon all the effort we have put into being sensible, cautious, and responsible or let these efforts of the past year go to waste. We bought a new series of masks and continue to exercise caution and care when around others.

We spent the summer in the Pacific Northwest; unlike the previous eighteen months, we could be outside even more and visit with vaccinated friends indoors.

We began planning a return to Chicago for September where I have been writing and editing several photos in these posts. We’ve seen new shows in spaces awakening from the past year and the beginning of a new season. Visits to some galleries take more planning with advance appointments necessary. Major institutions are open except for refreshments.

I’m including another gallery of selected photos from the past 18 months; some may be familiar to you if you look at my Flickr or Instagram accounts. Some of the photos document the changes of season and others mark my experiences specific to the pandemic.  With my next post I’ll share some new Chicago photos and images from exhibitions we’re seeing.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our activities and thoughts about this past year. We are blessed to have close friends and family who care about each other, and about the common good. Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

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EMERGENCE – D

EMERGENCE – D

…its traditions, beauty, and our expectations of Democracy.

When, about a month after we had our second vaccination shot, and the country was beginning to see advances in defeating the pandemic, we ventured out, first, to La Conner, Wa. which was in the early stages of emerging from a year of isolation. We went north to see a show by Louise Kikuchi in nearby  Edison; in addition to her beautiful Sumi-e paintings she was showing a group of traditional Kokeshi dolls she painted to reflect events of January 6, 2021. The Kokeshi wore masks and the pedestals were arranged following social distancing guidelines.

In June we cautiously took a flight, masked, to visit family in Chicago. We arrived just as the city was lifting the mask mandate and some were anxious to have their faces exposed. There was such a sense of hope in the air, though my feeling was that many people (the majority) weren’t ready to go mask-less in public. On our first visit to a museum in over a year, The Art Institute had just adopted optional mask wearing for vaccinated visitors though it was evident that most of the visitors chose to continue masking-up, especially noticeable in the popular exhibition of Monet that was just ending. The following week, on June 18th, the celebrated Obama Portraits, Barack by Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle by Amy Sherald, opened to enthusiastic  audiences. We joined others in a responsibly masked and socially distanced line as we advanced to the gallery to see these two beautiful paintings.

We went to the opening of Chicago Comics at the Museum of Contemporary Art, surveying Chicago based cartoonists and artists working in this genre since the 1960s. It is always refreshing to see works in person, especially those of Lynda Barry, and to discover a different aspect of Kerry James Marshall’s creative output.

A visit to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a visit to former Seattle gallerist Mariane Ibrahim’s new gallery. A compelling show of works on paper by Philadelphia based artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze was showing in this elegant space.

We took advantage of the beautiful late spring weather to explore some parts of the city on foot. One such walk along the lagoons south of the Museum of Science and Industry took us through restored prairie to a Japanese garden and Yoko Ono’s only public sculpture, Skylanding. Another walk that has become a favorite is through Ping Tom Memorial Park, with native prairie and wetlands along the Chicago River.

That was our first time out in public, in a major city, one that had seen upheaval the previous summer. Even though we felt we were emerging from the changes of the past year, it was very noticeable, how many businesses remained shuttered, and how relatively empty the streets were, especially in a major American city.

 

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EMERGENCE – C

EMERGENCE – C

…In addition to leafing through sequences of images, and our front row seats, media immersion, and books, we did venture outdoors from time to time.

During the tumultuous times of recent years, we continued our efforts at participating in local and national protests. I contributed my efforts to photographically document numerous events sponsored by Indivisible, League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, Women’s March, for issues ranging from voting rights, saving our democracy, March for Our Lives, Moms for Portland, and to a rally honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Following the events of January 6, 2021 it has become even more apparent how important it is for all of us to do what we can, to participate in, and do our part to contribute to our culture and society.

Many of the events I attended were masked and socially distanced, held on a heavily trafficked street with most drivers showing their approval; other rallies were at our state capitol with notable speakers. At these rallies I have been impressed with the dedication of friends, neighbors, youth, and senior citizens, all coming together to standup for Democracy, to demonstrate that we care. We care about one another, our communities, our rich, multi-faceted, diverse culture. Click this link to my Flickr account to view many of these photographs.

Our capitol campus, as traditional as it is, is a place of beauty, symbolizing all we hold dear with the expectation that it is and will be there for each of us. This campus, where people with differing ideas come to debate and form laws that govern our society, is a place to behold in all its traditions, beauty, and our expectations of Democracy.

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