P. 1
Producing Local Color: Art Networks in Ethnic Chicago

Producing Local Color: Art Networks in Ethnic Chicago

|Views: 188|Likes:
Published by University of Chicago Press an imprint of UChicagoPress

In big cities, major museums and elite galleries tend to dominate our idea of the art world. But beyond the cultural core ruled by these moneyed institutions and their patrons are vibrant, local communities of artists and art lovers operating beneath the high-culture radar. Producing Local Color is a guided tour of three such alternative worlds that thrive in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.

These three neighborhoods are, respectively, historically African American, predominantly Mexican American, and proudly ethnically mixed. Drawing on her ethnographic research in each place, Diane Grams presents and analyzes the different kinds of networks of interest and support that sustain the making of art outside of the limelight. And she introduces us to the various individuals—from cutting-edge artists to collectors to municipal planners—who work together to develop their communities, honor their history, and enrich the experiences of their neighbors through art. Along with its novel insights into these little examined art worlds, Producing Local Color also provides a thought-provoking account of how urban neighborhoods change and grow.

In big cities, major museums and elite galleries tend to dominate our idea of the art world. But beyond the cultural core ruled by these moneyed institutions and their patrons are vibrant, local communities of artists and art lovers operating beneath the high-culture radar. Producing Local Color is a guided tour of three such alternative worlds that thrive in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.

These three neighborhoods are, respectively, historically African American, predominantly Mexican American, and proudly ethnically mixed. Drawing on her ethnographic research in each place, Diane Grams presents and analyzes the different kinds of networks of interest and support that sustain the making of art outside of the limelight. And she introduces us to the various individuals—from cutting-edge artists to collectors to municipal planners—who work together to develop their communities, honor their history, and enrich the experiences of their neighbors through art. Along with its novel insights into these little examined art worlds, Producing Local Color also provides a thought-provoking account of how urban neighborhoods change and grow.

More info:

Publish date: Nov 15, 2010
Added to Scribd: Nov 22, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780226305233
List Price: $48.00

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Full version available to members
See more
See less

02/09/2016

298

9780226305233

Producing Local Color

Producing Local Color
Art Networks in Ethnic Chicago
DI ANE GRAMS
University of Chicago Press
Chicago and London
Diane Grams is assistant professor of sociology at Tulane University. She
is the co-editor of Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the
Nonprofit Arts.
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637
The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London
©
2010 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2010
Printed in the United States of America
20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 1 2 3 4 5
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-30517-2 (cloth)
ISBN-10: 0-226-30517-1 (cloth)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Grams, Diane, 1957–
Producing local color: art networks in ethnic Chicago / Diane Grams.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-30517-2 (cloth: alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-226-30517-1 (cloth: alk. paper) 1. Art and society—Illinois—
Chicago. 2. Artists—Social networks—Illinois—Chicago. 3. Artists—
Illinois—Chicago—Social conditions. 4. Ethnic art—Illinois—Chicago.
5. Marginality, Social—Illinois—Chicago. 6. Sociology, Urban—Illinois—
Chicago. 7. Social sciences—Network analysis. 8. Pilsen (Chicago, Ill.)—
Social life and customs. 9. Bronzeville (Chicago, Ill.)—Social life and
customs. 10. Rogers Park (Chicago, Ill.)—Social life and customs. I. Title.
N72.S6G69 2010
306.4'70977311—dc22 2010005957
a The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the
American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper
for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
CONTENTS
List of Figures and Tables / ix
Preface / xi
Introduction / 1
From the Blues to Black Chicago / 1
Art and Urban Places in the Twenty-First Century / 4
Design of the Study / 6
Finding a Research Method / 8
Structure of the Book / 12
ONE / Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 17
From Individual to Network Perspectives / 17
Production of Culture as a Research Perspective / 19
Types of Local Art Production Networks / 25
Conclusions / 29
TWO / Local Places / 31
Chicago as a Model of a City / 31
Revalorizing the City Center and Surrounding Locales / 35
Local People and Local Color / 36
Change after the Modern Industrial Era / 46
Conclusions / 51
THREE / Community-Based Art and Ideologies of
Local Participation / 53
Mid-Century Arts Activism in Chicago / 53
A Museum to Represent “a Community” / 54
Community-Based as Activating a Community / 56
Formalization of the Community-Based Approach / 59
Pursuit of Institutional Legitimacy / 59
Intersection of Political and Cultural Capital / 64
Conclusions / 68
F OUR / Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 71
Sociology and Aesthetics / 71
Participants and Resources / 73
Distinction of the Black Middle Class / 81
How Collections Manage the Uncertainty of Subjective Judgment / 87
Men’s Work versus Women’s Work / 92
Formal Art Organizations and Art Markets in Bronzeville / 95
Conclusions / 96
FI VE / Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 99
Cutting-Edge Artists in Podville / 102
Transnational: Freedom from Ethnicity / 114
A Network of Museum-Quality Artists / 117
Conclusions / 123
S I X / Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 127
A Context of Cultural Diversity and Progressive Politics / 127
Facing a Mile-Long Cement Wall / 133
Problem-Solving Ethos in Rogers Park / 139
Using Murals to Redefine Space / 144
Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking Group / 148
Conclusions / 153
SEVEN / Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 157
Gentrification and Urban Transformation / 157
Theories of Gentrification / 158
Gentrification in Chicago / 159
Gentrification: Establishment of Arbitrary Privileges / 161
Exclusive Spaces for Elite-Culture Consumers / 170
The Ethnically Driven Stability Machine / 180
Conclusions / 183
EI GHT / Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of
Local Culture / 187
A Place That History Passed By / 189
An Empowerment Network / 190
Contradiction and Innovation Surrounding the Bronzeville Landmarks / 192
Local Investment Circuit / 198
Advocates for a Fair Share of the Public Goods / 200
Circuit of Artists and Administrators / 202
Bronzeville as a Symbol of History and the Locale / 213
Conclusions / 216
NI NE / Post-Urban Culture? / 221
Researching Art in the Twenty-First Century / 221
Importance of a New Framework / 222
The Future of Race and Ethnicity / 227
Unanswered Questions / 229
Interviews / 231
Notes / 235
References / 247
Index / 259
FI GURES AND TABLES
F I GURES
1. Bronzeville home of blues musician Muddy Waters, 1953–74 / xvi
2. Comparison of the racial composition of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park to
Chicago / 6
3. Comparison of number of sites of publicized arts activities in Bronzeville, Pilsen,
and Rogers Park / 9
4. Comparison of number of sites of publicized arts activities to sites for informal
activities and public art in three locales / 10
5. Map of Chicago’s seventy-seven community areas district / 32
6. Comparison of number and size of nonprofit art organizations by location in Chi-
cago (2007) / 34
7. Comparison of income range in Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park / 47
8. Bronzeville household income 1989 and 1999 / 48
PLATES
Plates follow page 112.
1. Increibles Las Cosas Q’ Se Ven (2001) mural by Jeff Zimmerman and youth at Casa
San Diego of St. Pius V Parish in Pilsen
2. Mosaic mural made of Venetian glass tile installed on the front of the Orozco
Community Academy in Pilsen
3. Collaborative drawing by the author and Gerald Sanders
4. A gathering at the Wall of Respect, photograph by Robert Sengstacke (1967)
5. Patric McCoy in his kitchen
6. Daniel Texidor Parker’s living room
7. Carol Briggs in her living room
8. Collages by Kevin Lee
9. Black Face paintings by Julian Williams
10. Dixon Elementary School principal Joan Dameron Crisler with Ye Ye Oba, a paint-
ing by Dayo
11. Sign placed in front of Kimberly Aubuchon’s Pilsen apartment building directing
people to her monthly “production”
12. Life-Sized Mouse Trap Game at Drivethru Studios by Eric Medine and Thomas Waters
13. Halfway Home installation by Emily Counts (2003) at the Bucket Rider Gallery in
Pilsen
14. Attendees and performers in Rogers Park at the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival
15. Art Is for All mural on Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park
16. Art Is for All as a backdrop for the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival in Rogers Park
17. Monument to the Great Northern Migration by Alison Saar
18. Map of historic Bronzeville embedded in median of Martin Luther King Drive as
part of the Public Art of Bronzeville
19. Time to Unite mural shown during restoration in 2003
TABLES
1. Comparison of markets, institutions, and networks / 24
2. Typology of local art production networks / 26
x / Figures and Tables
PREF ACE
For more than three decades, sociologists interested in how culture is fab-
ricated have produced a rich body of research that Richard Peterson coined
“the production of culture perspective” (1976a, 672). This fruitful line of
inquiry includes studies of artists’ careers, reputations, art worlds, genres,
and occupations, while also investigating the organizational forms, indus-
tries, and networks through which art is produced. More recently, a cadre
of books by urban sociologists focused on art and contested urban spaces
through studies of gentrification, urban renewal, and tourism, among oth-
ers. Little has been done to synthesize these two perspectives. This examina-
tion of the networks of art producers in urban racial and ethnic locales, who
in the twenty-first century inhabit this increasingly contested urban space,
does just that.
By providing first a social history of three of Chicago’s once-segregated
locales, then examining the development of the community-based art
movement and of community-based cultural institutions, Producing Local
Color provides the historical and contextual foundation to understand the
fluid activities of urban art production networks operating outside the city
center and its institutions of art. The processes discussed in this book dem-
onstrate how networks of people at work in these places are reframing the
center/margin dichotomy that once trivialized the processes that produced
local culture while privileging art in a downtown institutional setting. These
once-isolated producers are moving beyond the myths of the socially inept
artists, and instead operating through networks of shared local interests,
engaging politicians, community leaders, administrators, social servants,
residents, students, and youth; and they are efficiently mobilizing local and
extra-local resources for cultural enrichment and enfranchisement through
art projects large and small. This in-depth ethnographic investigation pro-
vides a portal into local places, local cultures, and local identities that rep-
resent a future in which the symbol systems that produce locality are not
invisible but, instead, assertively present both locally and within networks
of global cultural production.
The ideas contained in this book first began to emerge through “Leveraging
Assets: How Small Budget Art Activities Benefit Neighborhoods” (Grams
and Warr 2003), a survey of ten of Chicago’s seventy-seven community ar-
eas, in which Michael Warr and I investigated art produced outside the city
center. With a focus on small nonprofit arts organizations, we outlined the
ways that arts activities provide access to resources, enable problem solv-
ing, and build social relationships. This research led me to want to further
investigate the evanescent character of art production in areas dominated by
African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic groups.
I thank Sunny Fischer, executive director, and Peter Handler, program
officer for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Nick Rabkin and Susan
Lloyd, former program officers for community development at the John D.
and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, for funding the early research that
led to the core ideas of this book. I also thank the Richard H. Driehaus
Foundation for their additional support of the final publication of this book.
And I thank Michael Warr—a poet, writer, and a valued research partner—
for his insight, collaboration, and enduring friendship.
Early guidance on how to frame an in-depth, comparative investigation
came from my dissertation chair, Judith Wittner, who wisely helped me de-
velop skill as an ethnographer. I also thank my other dissertation advisers,
Peter Whalley, Fred Kniss, Lauren Langman, and Phil Nyden, who shared
their knowledge about organizations, culture, theory, and urban sociology.
They all provided insight and guidance necessary to complete the difficult
task of writing a dissertation. I also thank the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation
for their support; the dissertation fellowship I received in the final year of
writing the dissertation was integral to its completion. The dissertation told
only part of the story, yet it formed the foundation for a larger research
agenda that became the substance of this book.
I am grateful to Carroll Joynes, executive director of the Cultural Policy
Center (CPC) at the University of Chicago. Through my work with him
at the center, I was immersed in an invigorating and intellectually chal-
lenging research environment that provided access to the many significant
scholars working in the sociology of art. Among these great people, I thank
Howard S. Becker, Diana Crane, Paul DiMaggio, Richard A. Peterson, Vera
xii / Preface
Zolberg, Gary Alan Fine, Harrison C. White, Katherine A. Giuffre, David
Halle, and Harvey Molotch for their questions and recommendations, as
I developed my ideas about locality and art production networks. Among
the faculty at the University of Chicago, Dean Danielle Allen, Saskia Sas-
sen, Robert LaLonde, Omar McRoberts, Terry Nichols Clark, and Lawrence
Rothfield challenged me in ways that not only helped me survive, but also
to grow within the competitive Chicago environment. Others I met through
CPC whose insights I valued included Steven Rathgeb Smith, Margaret J.
Wyszomirski, Ann Markusen, Stephen J. Tepper, David Grazian, Richard
Lloyd, Dorian Warren, and Rosemary Polanco.
The friendship of two women, whom I also met at the University of
Chicago, will always remain invaluable. Betty Farrell’s personal support
provided the basis for our professional partnership as authors and co-
editors of Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit
Arts (Grams and Farrell 2008). During the final phases of that project, I met
Susan Allan, the managing editor of the American Journal of Sociology, whose
knowledge and editing skill I valued, but not as much as the friendship that
developed through our work together. These two women, who have be-
come friends and valued colleagues, provided regular encouragement when
it was needed most.
I am also grateful to have worked with the University of Chicago Press
and Douglas Mitchell, who provided valued support and unwavering in-
terest in this project. Timothy McGovern and Perry Cartwright, also at the
Press, provided advice and technical assistance when it was needed most.
I also thank the faculty board of the Press for their support. Specifically, I
thank Rebecca Zorach for her thoughtful and insightful comments during
the final stages of the manuscript. And it was a pleasure to work with Erin
DeWitt, whose skillful copyediting helped to move the project across the
finish line.
I thank the residents in Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park—the three
locales that became the focus of research for this book—who set aside time
to speak with me. I deeply value their trust and the time they spent shar-
ing details from their daily lives. Few researchers have the opportunity to
present their work to their research subjects. But as word of mouth spread
throughout Bronzeville of a public workshop hosted by the Cultural Policy
Center in early 2004, to my surprise my interviewees turned out in force
and dominated this University of Chicago event. This led to a second
workshop held later that year as part of Chicago Artists’ Month, hosted by
Diasporal Rhythms at the South Shore Cultural Center. These audience
members listened, asked questions, and made insightful comments on my
Preface / xiii
interpretations of their social worlds. Most rewarding were their thanks.
One particular comment captured what many expressed: “I came ready to
be pissed off at the University of Chicago all over again, but I really learned
something about myself and my community.” Through sharing their stories
and critiquing my interpretations, these people also became valued research
partners. Our interaction at these events reinforced why I chose to do this
work, which is that the myths of what art producers do are not nearly as
interesting as the social reality in which they negotiate their work and their
lives.
Before I could turn in the final manuscript for this book, I left Chicago
for a faculty position at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. I am
sad to have left Chicago, a place that has been my home for more than two
decades. Few places can claim to be more fertile ground for cultural creators
than Chicago. Yet in New Orleans I have seen a glimpse of another such
place, one providing the musical and literary foundation for artistic tradi-
tions everywhere. This move has led to new influences. Carl Bankston III,
George Bernstein, Martha Huggins, Malcolm Willison, Joel Devine, Michele
Adams, Shayne Lee, April Brayfield, Mimi Shippers, Kevin Gotham, and
Richard Duque welcomed me as a colleague and helped me get my feet
on the ground as I started a new life in a new city. I especially thank Dean
Carole Haber and the executive committee of the School of Liberal Arts at
Tulane University for their financial support of this book.
Several people read the complete manuscript and provided detailed
notes and suggestions. Among these people were the two anonymous read-
ers—whoever you are, thank you for your thoughtful and detailed com-
ments. In addition to theses unknown commentators, I thank Diana Crane,
Harvey L. Molotch, Malcolm Willison, Kevin Gotham, Susan Allan, Neil
Versel, Vy Dao, Patric McCoy, Daniel Parker, Michael Warr, D. Carroll
Joynes, Timothy Samuelson, Barbara Koenen, Lawrence McEnerney, and
Rebecca Zorach, who each provided detailed comments on various versions
of the manuscript. Their insights and corrections were invaluable to the
writing process.
Although my old and new colleagues and friends are important, none of
these people have had done more than my partner and husband, Timothy
D. Lace. Through our daily collaboration in life, we have shared a wonderful
journey. For this book, he provided valuable insights from his daily inter-
actions with artists in Chicago, where he worked as a craftsman producing
displays and exhibitions for some of the city’s art stars. Moreover, he has
also provided the loving personal support necessary to pursue an extended
project such as this.
xiv / Preface
The years of work that have led to this book, and the moments I shared
with the people named and with those I may have inadvertently left out,
have been the most insightful, interesting, and pleasurable experiences of
my life. Once, I anxiously anticipated the moment when the revising and
re-visioning of the contents of this book would be complete. I recognized
my own growth when the urgency of completing the manuscript changed.
I stopped feeling pressured to bring it to completion; rather, I became pro-
pelled by the desire to share its contents with others who may find it useful
and even valuable. And, as one of my research subjects urged, “Get it done!
I want a copy of this book in my hand next time this issue comes up!”
Preface / xv
Figure 1. Bronzeville home of blues musician Muddy Waters, 1953–74.
Photograph by the author (2008).
Introduction
From the Blues to Black Chicago
Just how much the local color of Chicago’s South Side was changing at the
beginning of the twenty-first century was evident by the “Tribute Marker”
1

perched between the vacant lot and the brick two-flat, once home to blues
guitarist Muddy Waters (fig. 1). I had ventured this night into the heart of
black Chicago to attend an art party at the invitation of a local collector. Pat-
ric McCoy lived in a newly constructed, four-story condominium complex
across the street from Waters’s old house—a seemingly neglected landmark,
which, according to the marker, “for twenty years was a gathering place for
the greatest figures in the Chicago Blues and on warm summer evenings
they would play on the front lawn.” The culture of the street was once de-
fined by the wail of Waters’s blues guitar and by the music that flowed freely
from some of the most famous figures in rhythm and blues: Junior Wells,
Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, B.B.
King, Howlin’ Wolf, and members of the Rolling Stones.
But on this night, the street was quiet and dark. And a different sort of
party was under way among a different set of art producers. Patric had in-
vited me and a number of friends to his home on South Lake Park Avenue
near Forty-Third Street to see his art collection. A University of Chicago
graduate, the soft-spoken, middle-aged environmental engineer was “one
of the bad guys,” as he described it, at the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency; it was his job to hold large corporations accountable for their pol-
lutants. But as a Bronzeville art collector and a co-founder of Diasporal
Rhythms—a network of collectors of art by artists of the African Diaspora—
he was also at the center of art production on Chicago’s South Side.
As I pulled up to the curb across from Patric’s place, three men stood
talking on the sidewalk a few paces up the street. Although their calm
2 / Introduction
interaction seemed intent on presenting little danger, I called Patric to alert
him of my arrival. Unlike Muddy Waters, who is said to have brandished a
gun on his own front porch to protect his friends and property, Patric waved
from his second-story picture window, watching me as I pulled my com-
puter, camera, and recording equipment from the trunk of my rusty old
1995 Honda Civic. The grinding of pebbles into pavement as I walked down
the center of the street drowned out the whispers of the threesome now
thirty paces away. Before I reached the stoop, a piercing shriek unlatched
the door, allowing me without pause to enter the building and climb to the
top of two flights of stairs, where Patric waited. Tension from entering an
unfamiliar world dissipated as my eyes were riveted to the lavish interior in
which artworks covered every square inch of wall and table surface like a
seamless tapestry adorning the inside of a life-size jewel box.
It should have come as no surprise for me to enter such a private world.
Throughout my twenty-year career as an artist and arts administrator in Chi-
cago, I had gone to hundreds of art parties. I went to fulfill social obligations
to friends and to find out about professional opportunities for myself and
for the nonprofit art organizations I cared about. But the activities of the art
producers I investigated over nearly a decade of research existed outside the
familiar contexts of institutionalized and commercialized culture; they chal-
lenged not only the practices of elite art networks that structured the activity
of nonprofit art organizations, but also conceptions of race and ethnicity as
an inherent human quality that produced cultural difference. And they were
redefining the character and sense of place of the areas in which they lived.
This “local color” was central to local claims of ownership of the increas-
ingly contested urban space they inhabited.
As I relinquished my coat and bags, I heard conversations buzzing in
the living room among a group of men who were talking and occasionally
laughing in a party-like atmosphere. Their animated chatter stopped mo-
mentarily as they acknowledged my presence with a wave or a nod. Patric
skipped the typical introductions among people who have never met, invit-
ing me instead to wander freely though his home to look at the hundreds
of art pieces he owned. I proceeded down a hall, away from the living-room
crowd, past a menagerie of black faces, Afros, dancing figures, saxophone
players, singers, trumpeters, and even a collage of O.J. Simpson splitting in
two; they were all images mounted on the walls, set on tables, or arranged
neatly along the baseboard to represent Patric’s vision of black
2
art at the
end of the twentieth century.
The middle-class art collectors whom I met through Patric were unlike
Frazier’s “black bourgeois” (1957) and Moulin’s “magnificent millionaires”
Introduction / 3
or “prestige purchasers” ([1967] 1987). These collectors—each of whom
shared Patric’s taste for overabundance—were part of a new category of
middle class and of art collector. Their excessive accumulation was an ex-
tension of the movement politics that pervaded black professional life in
Chicago. As art collectors, theirs was not the “disinterested pleasure” that
aestheticians (Kant [1790] 1963) and sociologists (Bourdieu [1979] 1984;
Zolberg 1994; Crane 1992) maintained was typical of fine art appreciators.
Rather, theirs was a passionate pursuit, explained by Patric and others, as
“necessary” to counteract what they saw as “the negativity of images of black
culture” that proliferated in public. As their activities happened almost en-
tirely through informal networks, little was known of their existence outside
their own social worlds. But as a result of activities such as these, localized
art production became a source of power for black Chicagoans, just as it
had for others throughout the city; moreover, it was redefining culture in
the twenty-first century.
When Patric invited me to his home where his art collection was on
display, I went apprehensively into this historically black part of Chicago,
where I had never before gone, armed with only a sense of social obliga-
tion and professional interest. I was taken aback by Patric’s sumptuous art
collection and by the vigorous conversation of these aesthetes, but I was
even more surprised by the contrast of this interior landscape to what was
outside.
Vacant land was everywhere.
Yes, there were some high-rise apartment buildings to the north, a sta-
ble and wealthy section to the south, and some rehabbed mansions lining
the historic boulevards between the two. But beyond them, on block after
block throughout the center of Bronzeville, there was more vacant land than
anything else. There were no boarded-up buildings, no groups of kids or
unemployed men hanging out on street corners. From its heyday as a segre-
gated “city within a city” (Drake and Cayton [1945] 1962) to a place aban-
doned by anyone with the means to escape, Bronzeville was the kind of
place found on the fringe of an urban center; it was what once distinguished
“the urban” from other municipal forms. And as Patric recalled, until the
1990s few people he knew “would have been caught dead anywhere near
here” (McCoy interview 2003).
With all of the neglected properties torn down—including nearly every
one of the federal housing projects—emptiness distinguished this place
from others equally distant to the north and west of the city center. How
did so much vacant urban land—a valuable commodity nearly anywhere
else—remain vacant during the land grab and building boom under way
4 / Introduction
in Chicago since the 1980s? The emptiness was not the result of an act of
terrorism, a natural disaster, or a toxic waste dump. Was it the stigma of a
place? The stain of the locale’s history as one of Chicago’s most neglected
and segregated urban ghettos? Or was this how the century of disinvestment
ended?
In spite of the desolation of the public landscape, local claims of
Bronzeville as the heart and soul of black culture persisted. Since the early
1980s, black middle-class professionals had been moving back to the South
Side of Chicago just as their white counterparts did to the north. But as
the swaths of vacant land throughout Bronzeville remained undeveloped,
urban areas north and northwest of the city center completed a full-scale
transition from poor and working-class white ethnics to middle- and upper-
class gentry. The disparity of development in this historically black locale
warranted at least some reconsideration of the definition of gentrification
as a class-based transition (Zukin 1982). Following in the footsteps of so-
ciologists working within “the production of culture perspective” (Peterson
1976a, 672), I sought to better understand how the symbol systems that
marked a place as black, Latino, diverse, or white were fabricated, and what
were the consequences of these symbols in local life.
Art and Urban Places in the Twenty-First Century
This study begins with a longitudinal view of three places that are both geo-
graphically and historically situated within a larger urban area. Building off
a century of research on cities and the construction of places (Gotham 2007;
Hayden 1995; Zukin 1991; Logan and Molotch 1987; Wirth and Furez
1938; Park, Burgess, and McKenzie 1925), I investigated how these three
places came to be what they were at the beginning of the new millennium. I
then take an in-depth look at the kinds of networks of art producers in exis-
tence at this pinnacle time. While a number of recent books (Lloyd 2005; Hyra
2008; Boyd 2008) extend key principals of class transition in the urban gen-
trification literature and others have focused on urban tourism (Clark 2003;
Grazian 2003; Gotham 2007), this study—like Dávila’s (2004) study of the
Puerto Rican barrio of East Harlem—seeks to move beyond the dominant
thinking in urban research that frames race and ethnicity as a black/white
issue to reveal the complexity of interests at work in multiracial, pan-ethnic
cities today. The result is both historical sociology and contemporary eth-
nography. I use the strategy of comparing art from three places that have
been historically segregated as “black” or “ethnic” in an effort to understand
cultural change in an era when the boundaries that have divided people
Introduction / 5
into racial and ethnic categories are increasingly blurred, but the boundaries
producing the segregated places of where they live are not (Lee and Bean
2003; Grieco and Cassidy 2001; Massey and Denton 1993).
Among the three urban places explored in this study, Bronzeville is
located on Chicago’s South Side between Hyde Park (home of the Uni-
versity of Chicago) and the downtown Loop business district. When this
research began, Barack Obama was still an Illinois state senator represent-
ing Bronzeville and the other South Side lakefront community areas.
3
The
majority of Bronzeville’s residents, long identified with the racial category
“black,” have increasingly asserted ethnic identities linked to a variety
of African countries and cultural groups that together constitute a pan-
ethnic identity of African American. Through comparison of art production
networks in Bronzeville to those in Pilsen (a place in which the majority
of its residents are of Mexican ethnicity but embrace a pan-ethnic iden-
tity of Latino) and to Rogers Park (claimed by residents to be home to the
greatest diversity of races and ethnicities anywhere), this is a study of the
changing meaning of “local color,” as is evident by how it is produced.
Comparison of these three places situated on the margins of an urban cul-
tural center provides the opportunity to develop a new theory of urban art
networks.
These three places exist within the larger context of a city, Chicago,
4
hav-
ing a population that in 2000
5
was divided nearly in thirds between blacks
(36%), whites (31%), and Latinos
6
(26%) (fig. 2). Across these categories,
22 percent of Chicago’s population was foreign born. Although race has
long been conceptualized as physical characteristics and ethnicity as nation
of origin, in a postmodern
7
cultural context, racial and ethnic boundaries
are blurred and categories overlap into pan-ethnic multiracial categories.
Still, as the vast majority of people (98%) self-report to the U.S. Census as
being of a single race, the concepts of “a race” or “an ethnicity” remain as
powerful vestiges of a past social and cultural order; moreover, they are
significant of a historically situated but contemporaneously outmoded sub-
ordinate cultural status (King 1996; Hall 1997).
Chicago’s cultural context in the twenty-first century can be understood
by looking at the changes that have taken place as Chicago transformed
from a modern, industrial city in which the hierarchies of race and ethnicity
were structured as ascribed, subordinate statuses and maintained through
industrial labor practices, to a postmodern, post-industrial one, in which
identity and cultural meanings are no longer “fixed,” but are instead self-
identifications that are asserted and then mobilized as a collective resource.
In this context, where culture can be understood as “strategies of action”
8

6 / Introduction
(Swidler 1986, 1), race and ethnicity are collective resources for financial,
political, and now cultural enfranchisement.
The asserting, tabulating, and mobilizing of race and ethnic identity as a
resource have produced an environment of cultural competition within a city
in which there is relatively equal proportions of blacks, Latinos, and whites;
this competition has produced robust local, ethnic cultures
9
that are recast-
ing traditional dichotomous understandings of black versus white, citizen
versus immigrant, culture versus art, public versus private, center versus
margins, dominant versus subordinate, and global versus local. As an inves-
tigation of local art production, this study enables further consideration of
why “places” continue to be constructed within a global society rather than
abandoned as relics of a past gemeinschaft social order (Tonnies [1887]
1957). Just as Sassen ([1991] 2001, [1994] 2006) considers a city as an in-
tersection of the local and global networks, this investigation offers a vision
in which urban culture might be best understood through the networks of
local art producers living in places that are rich in local cultures.
Design of the Study
This study was designed to look beyond the typical subjects of sociological
studies of art—that is, the relatively small group of centralized producers
that have dominated the urban arts for most of the last century—to develop
88%
8%
32%
1%
89%
30%
36%
2%
31%
6%
26%
28%
3%
0.3%
7%
4%
2%
0.7%
4%
2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Bronzeville Pilsen Rogers Park Chicago
Black (non-Hisp.) White (non-Hisp.) Hispanic Asian/ Pac. Is. Other Races
Figure 2. Comparison of the racial composition of Bronzeville, Pilsen,
and Rogers Park to Chicago. Source: U.S. Census 2000.
Introduction / 7
a theory of art that includes a wider array of people than is usually consid-
ered in its production and deployment. In large cities such as Chicago, the
business of art—its production, distribution, and presentation—has been
centralized through the efforts of a small group of people whose interac-
tion has produced a powerful institutional field involving both nonprofit
and commercial businesses (DiMaggio [1982] 1991; Bourdieu 1983; Crane
1992; Zolberg 1994; Fine 2004). And in Chicago, this centralization is also
geographic (Zukin 1991): it is centered in the downtown Loop
10
business
district, through the city’s dominant organizations, such as the Art Institute
of Chicago, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orches-
tra. Their influence extends into parts of the city’s North Side and wealthy
northern suburbs
11
through the direct patronage of residents from these
distant areas, but also through an array of smaller but well-funded non-
profit organizations that operate according to the same institutional model
(DiMaggio [1982] 1991; Bourdieu [1979] 1984; Kriedler 1996; LaLonde et
al. 2006). In Chicago this institutionalized form of culture functions as a
cultural core
12
with its satellites; it focuses on a very select subset of all the
artworks available, and pretty much ignores the others. Among those others
are works produced in the context of local urban places by people having
social and cultural histories distinct from that of wealthy elites (Hayden
1995). And they are produced through social networks involving black,
Latino, or bohemian artists of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds
who have rejected or have been rejected by the cultural core.
This book tells the stories of how in several such other places in Chi-
cago people, such as the Bronzeville art collectors discussed in the opening
pages of this book, got together and cooperated to create alternatives to this
cultural core—alternative museums, collections, events, distribution sys-
tems, communities of meaning, taste, and appreciation—and did for artists
in such contexts what the cultural core did for those whom it incorporated.
In so doing, they created alternate art worlds. More importantly, these al-
ternate art worlds functioned according to different rules and for distinctly
different—and locally relevant—purposes than those of the cultural core.
This book describes art in Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park, and uses
these examples to present and analyze several kinds of networks that support
the making of art while seeking localized purposes that are often contrary
to downtown pursuits. Among these are aesthetic networks that focus on
meanings, preferences, and evaluation of the arts; autonomy networks that
are intent on limiting any form of social or economic control of artistic pro-
duction; problem-solving networks that use art to maintain social stability;
gentrification networks that seek to increase the value of local resources;
8 / Introduction
and empowerment networks that seek to replenish the cultural reserves of
particular ethnic or racial groups. What is distinct about this approach is
that I have explored networks occurring in local places that are dominated
by African Americans, Mexican Americans, and other ethnic minorities. And
I investigate how these networks operate in ways similar to or different from
global markets or institutional networks centered in the urban core.
What is consistent across all places, though, is that artists of all kinds
need to be part of networks of interest and support to get their work done
and to help them with all the tasks an artist needs to do in order to be able
to make art. These networks are formed out of local conditions that give
rise to and support them, each resulting in different consequences for the
artist, the locale, and the art itself. As “networks,” these are not bounded
entities with explicitly stated goals or purposes, as formally organized non-
profits or commercial businesses might be. Rather, they exist through con-
nections among individuals and can be understood by the shared interests
that produce these connections. These networks of shared interest are pre-
sented through a typology similar to what Weber ([1915] 1958) might have
considered to be “ideal types”
13
because they are a constructed analytical
scheme that offers a means of orientation and makes it possible to pro-
vide a sociological analysis of such historically and geographically situated
phenomena.
Finding a Research Method
To undertake a study of local art producers in places as different as
Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park presents particular problems: like other
forms of private social activity, it was difficult at first to find out if and where
this activity might exist. I defined the boundaries of my study to be three
places and sought to understand how art was produced in each of them. As
an outsider in these locales, I searched available public records and publica-
tions to identify sites where art producers might gather, including nonprofit
art organizations, art businesses, art programs in parks or social service
agencies, and university sites. Through this process, Rogers Park appeared to
have substantially more of the traditional arts venues, that is, the nonprofit
art organizations and businesses featuring art (fig. 3). However, as I drove
around and hung out, I identified substantially more sites of “informal” art
activities and public art, which changed my overall impression of art in a
locale (fig. 4). In Pilsen particularly, there were many regular events held in
artists’ apartments or studios that were highly publicized and open to the
public, but were not listed in nonprofit or commercial listings; and in both
Introduction / 9
Bronzeville and Pilsen, there was a substantial number of public murals,
more than in any other Chicago locale. This variation in the public presence
of art in these three locales led me to want to investigate further how this
difference came to be.
I undertook a research process typical of urban ethnography and chose
a site in each locale where art producers seemed to regularly gather. In
Bronzeville, I began at the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC), a
nonprofit art center founded in 1941 as a Works Progress Administration
(WPA) project; in Pilsen, I began at Pros Arts Studio, a nonprofit art organi-
zation founded in 1978; in Rogers Park, I started at the Heartland Café, a
commercial restaurant established in 1976, which sponsored music, poetry,
and exhibitions in its facility. And I investigated a single research question:
How do art producers pursue their work in local places?
In my early interactions with people at these three sites, I sought to under-
stand what types of art activities were under way, how people were involved,
and what they did. Yet neither the sites nor the specific activities taking place
at the sites became the primary subject of the ethnography. Because I was
interested in identifying the full range of activity under way in a locale, I
followed referrals beyond these sites. The resulting sample of interviews
conducted and events observed was built through snowball sampling, in
which one research subject gave referrals leading to the next. As I proceeded,
7
4
9
5
4
10
3 3
1
3
2
1
2
0
1
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Bronzeville (20) Pilsen (13) Rogers Park (22)
Nonprofit Art Organization Art Businesses Soc. Service Art in Park University
Figure 3. Comparison of number of sites of publicized arts activities
in Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park (2003).
10 / Introduction
each subject helped to build the theory of how art producers pursued their
work in local places. My initial involvement in these organizational activi-
ties provided access to broad networks of people involved in the arts, many
of whom were not part of or directly accessed through these sites.
Once I had entered into what I now refer to as a “local art production
network,” the topic of the research became the relationships among people,
what brought them together to produce and support art, their roles in art
production processes, and the contrasting networks of connections that ex-
isted among them. As “production of culture” researchers before me have
found (Peterson 1976a; Becker [1982] 2008; Crane 1992; Fine 2004), the
range of people whose involvement was of consequence to art production
transcended the common categories of artist, actor, performer, arts admin-
istrator, apprentice, assistant, technician, curator, or director to include a
wide range of local residents, business owners, social service agency admin-
istrators, and workers.
Through in-depth interviews with sixty-eight key informants, participant
observation at hundreds of private parties and public events, and exploration
of public art, I learned the local definitions of art and of the social networks
responsible for production. I came to understand a person’s role not only
through informative conversations, but also by his or her presence at both
7
5
3 3
2
20
2
21
4 4
3
2
0
16
10
1 1 1
22
8
4
13
28
9
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Nonprofit For Profit Soc.
Service
Art in Park University Total
Publicized
Art
Activities
Informal Public Art
Bronzeville Pilsen Rogers Park
Figure 4. Comparison of number of sites of publicized arts activities to sites
for informal activities and public art in three locales (2003).
Introduction / 11
private and public events. Many of my informants were known to other art
producers and also knew other people I had interviewed. As such, they were
what network theorists considered to be “strategically located” people in a
network since they provided bridges among people and between multiple
networks of art production; they even acted at times as brokers for the flow
of information between people (Burt 1992, 2000). Moreover, they freely
moved among various networks of interest, as one might expect someone
to do who is skilled in impression management (Goffman 1959) or who
enjoys art through a variety of cultural tastes as cultural omnivores might do
(Peterson and Rossman 2005). But what I observed was how their interac-
tion bespoke of the differing local interests embedded in the relationships
of producers. These contrasting interests created small social worlds that
became visible through private art parties or public art events or in the larger
territorial places of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.
The characteristics distinguishing these networks provided the concep-
tual framework for study: networks were formed by people brought together
through local shared interests; territorial places were created when art and
local places were consciously linked by art producers and their work; and
the variety of local purposes that brought people together created an op-
portunity to understand art production as types of networks that might exist
anywhere.
Some of my informants are quoted using the word “community” to de-
scribe a group of people, a place, as well as the affective meanings of what
it is they value in local art and in their everyday lives. Yet in an analysis that
crosses group boundaries and the boundaries that define local places, the
changing meaning of the word can be confusing. Therefore, I use the word
for limited purposes. For example, “community area” is used to refer to one
of the seventy-seven designated geographic units of local places in Chicago.
When I am referring to some other geographic urban space, such as the
five-square-mile area of Bronzeville, comprised of four “community areas,”
I use the word “place” or “locale.” I use the word “people” or “population”
to refer to a group of African Americans, Latinos, or other ethnic group;
and I use the word “network” to refer to the kind of social organization
formed by the shared interests of its participants. The topics of “community-
oriented” action in Chicago and art created as “community-based art” are
discussed in terms of their important history as the work of local art produc-
tion networks. I discuss the activities of “community improvers,” who are a
particular type of network participant, and “community-building” activities
intended to bridge differences among different kinds of people.
12 / Introduction
Evident through this study is that local environments encourage artistic
innovation without applying ideologies of labor, professionalism, or capi-
talism to control its development, but they may employ other controls. In
such local sites, art production is an important vehicle for people to build
satisfying social lives and to assert cultural ownership of space. This book
provides a glimpse of how much and what kind of activity exist outside the
cultural core of the city. And these activities of art production networks are
asserting themselves into the global organization of cultural production as
an alternative to the kind of homogenization that is often a by-product of
global art markets and institutions.
Structure of the Book
“Producing local color” is not about handmade tchotchkes available in
tourist resort towns, but about art produced outside of the cultural core of
an urban metropolis and its increasing importance as twenty-first-century
urban areas seek to distinguish themselves within a globally networked so-
ciety. Through examination of how local art is produced and organized, this
study bears witness to the fact that art exists in local settings where the entry
is not as clear as a sign for an admission fee at the front desk of a museum,
concert hall, or art center.
Chapter 1 develops the theoretical basis of local art production by exam-
ining a number of network theories and their relevance for cultural produc-
tion. I move from an individual to a network perspective of art production,
first exploring networks of individual artists, and then how such networks
are formed. Networks are not bounded entities but structured through ex-
changes between participants; shared interests give shape to the relationships
that produce contrasting types of networks. By approaching art through an
analysis of the shared interests embedded in the networks, one can also see
the intersection of traditional aesthetic preferences and more contemporary
instrumental uses of local art to stimulate and/or control urban develop-
ment. Local networks exist in contrast to global networks, which are struc-
tured through institutions or markets; they exist among people who know
each other and are often directly relevant to the geographic place in which
they exist. The structuring of networks by shared local interests yields this
typology of local art production introduced in this book.
Chapter 2 provides a snapshot of each of the three places studied and
locates them within Chicago’s history and their own development as ur-
ban places for artistic production. These places—once considered ghettos,
settlements, enclaves, or havens for the poor, new immigrants, and racial
Introduction / 13
and ethnic minorities (Addams [1910] 1938; Park, Burgess, and McKenzie
1925)—have local histories and cultural practices that have been shaped
in part by segregation and isolation. Mid-twentieth-century urban renewal
programs further isolated two of these locales: Bronzeville and Pilsen were
set apart and circumscribed by expressways, industrial train tracks, and
canals, which all provided limited entry and exit points via bridges and
underpasses. More significantly, these places were isolated by the stigma
of local cultural difference evident among the segregated blacks and immi-
grants who lived there. By contrast, Rogers Park, the community area far-
thest north but still in Chicago, was not partitioned off from its neighbors
by such rigid barriers and has been well served by public rail transporta-
tion since the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, its distance
from the city center enabled its growth as place for middle-class leisure and
entertainment and as a haven for congregations of religious minorities. By
the end of the century, this distance produced the kind of relative isolation
characteristic of mid-century suburbs; it exists in a liminal urban space on
the fringes of the city, far from the increasingly attractive urban core, yet not
among the wealthy northern suburbs.
Through this study, one can see how the cultures of such places—often
characterized as ethnocentric and lacking cultural development—were as
much or more products of the built environment (Lefebvre [1974] 1991)
and the politically influenced distribution of resources as they were of dis-
tinct cultural practices of a particular group (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977]
1990). Although the identities of these places emerged from their charac-
terizations as the ghettos or ethnic enclaves that surround an urban core,
they have come to represent vast ethnic populations within a global city
14

in the twenty-first century. As a result, “local color” represents a synthesis of
literature on art production, race, ethnicity, and place-making.
Chapter 3 examines the history of community-based art as a precur-
sor to the variety of networks examined later in this book. Significantly,
since its incorporation as a city in 1835, Chicago has been known for its
community-oriented activism. From the labor movements of the later nine-
teenth century, through research conducted by the Chicago School of So-
cial Science Research in the early twentieth century, and then the political
activism of the 1960s, including protests led by Martin Luther King Jr. and
clashes at the 1968 Democratic Convention, and, most recently, for the
election of a local resident, Barack Obama, as president of the United States,
involvement and mobilization of people in local places has counter-
balanced the domination of elite interests represented by the institutions of
the downtown city center.
14 / Introduction
Community-based art emerged around various ideologies of local partic-
ipation, and it called for recognition and support for art that took place in a
community, represented a community, or engaged a community. Accounts
of the creation of murals, of performances, and of ethnic cultural facilities
over the period 1961 to 1986 show how spaces and places for local culture
were first established in areas of urban poverty by extending civil rights ad-
vocacy into the realm of institutional culture. Art producers have shaped the
cultural identities of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park as places whose art
contrasted with the elitist and often predictable market-driven offerings of
the downtown city center and its cultural institutions.
A primary argument throughout this book is that art producers partic-
ipating in localized networks have developed and used this community-
oriented strategy to establish the cultural significance of the “local” within a
global context. Their efforts have aided development of locally based, pub-
licly supported art infrastructures, while abating the re-segregation of these
increasingly valued places into white middle- or upper-middle-class locales.
My approach to studying localized art production offers a theory as to why
this might be so.
The heart of the book, then, is the following five chapters, each devoted
to one particular kind of network, and consisting of a detailed analysis of
just what each of these contemporary networks do, what activities are un-
dertaken, who is involved, and the meanings of their activities. The stories
are built around detailed accounts of people who were interviewed and
whose activities I witnessed and joined over the seven-year period of this
study (2001–2008). Comparing smaller and more private activities with
large-scale public projects, this study shows how art can be the product of
non-elite, locally based networks that can exist in places found outside the
urban cultural core. Public activity can involve a host of groups and individ-
uals, each with their own interests to satisfy, who out of necessity find ways
to work together to complete some sizable projects, whereas private activity
may seek to develop a relevant and meaningful context through which local
culture can be created, nurtured, experienced, owned, and preserved—all
with the aim of creating a world of art in no way dependent upon or related
to the white-dominated downtown cultural core.
These chapters provide in-depth investigations of five different types of
networks—aesthetic, autonomy, problem-solving, gentrification, and em-
powerment networks—distinguished by the fact that they operate outside
the mechanisms of the urban cultural core and are defined by nuanced
differences in the shared interests they represent. These networks become
repositories of information and resources relevant to the production of art. I
Introduction / 15
use Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “cultural capital”
15
to refer to this reserve of
information and resources drawn upon as needed by network participants
to carry out projects and ideas. These networks involved black, Latino, and
white ethnic art producers who gained access to resources—outside the tra-
ditional institutional and market systems—for art that defined local culture
and local places.
Each of these chapters tells how people in one or another of these places
mobilized and deployed its resources, whatever they were, to make some-
thing artistic happen that would not otherwise have happened. The prod-
ucts, including the racial and ethnic distinction (Bourdieu [1979] 1984),
16

are evidence of the artistic range that might exist in settings of all kinds.
Although a number of scholars have focused on the construction of “place”
or place-making as the object of study (Zukin 1991; Hayden 1995), the lens
of this book is focused on networks of producers to better understand this
as a contemporary organizational form. Indeed, in some cases, what they
did resulted in the construction of a place; in others cases, there were other
results, including the production of knowledge and cultural capital, or the
production of transitory spaces within which autonomous artworks could
exist. With this variety of results, the accounts assembled are as important
for social historians and urban sociologists as they are for sociologists inter-
ested in artistic or cultural practice.
The final chapter revisits the theory of local art production developed
in this book. The framework constructed by network types found within
urban locales yields a comprehensive picture of cultural variation beyond
the limits of art markets or institutional culture. This study shows the array
of activities that can take place within urban locales and make them attrac-
tive places to live for a variety of people with a variety of shared interests.
Moreover, this study—located at the intersection of sociology of art, cultural
sociology, historical sociology, and urban sociology—offers new insight
into formerly uncharted ethnic and racial cultural production. It shows
how, in a post-industrial society, art producers are challenging the historic
processes through which a dominant culture has secured a disproportionate
share of cultural power. As such, art production is playing an increasingly
important role in efforts for cultural equity, to establish collective owner-
ship of a place, and to create new meanings and histories in the twenty-first
century. As an exploration of the social worlds located outside the cultural
centers of global cities (Sassen [1991] 2001; King 1996), this study reveals
the increasing importance of locality and ethnicity—local color—in the
twenty-first century.
ONE
Theory of Local Art Production Networks
From Individual to Network Perspectives
I am kind of like a cowboy, riding the Wild West in my car, hustling for work.
Sometimes my pockets are fat. Sometimes they are slim. (Jess interview 2002)
Myths and metaphors are often used to explain how artists survive as people
and as artists. These literary devices give a sense of what goes on, but they
exclude the underlying mechanisms that help to explain how a life is main-
tained and art is produced. When I asked the poet Tyehimba Jess how he
gets work, he turned to the metaphor of the cowboy to explain the lack of
stability yet the excitement he has had for nearly a decade of rustling up pay-
ing gigs as a poet. The metaphor of the cowboy explains one thing for sure:
Jess was not sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Yet the detail of
a poet’s hustle revealed a more vivid picture:
A lot of people do it better than I do. But I am pretty good. I always have
business cards. At every event there is a potential for business. You know, up
front near the stage is where the poetry happens. But in back there is a group
of people making connections, finding out what’s happening, finding out
about opportunities—what organizations have grants and need artists, who
is looking for teaching artists, what deadlines are coming up, who is editing a
publication. That’s not cynical. It’s just the way it is. I learned that many artists
go to events to make connections. There might be a teacher there who is look-
ing for someone to work with their class or someone from an organization.
(Jess interview 2002)
Just as Jess explained how he got gigs, he told me the expectations artists
have for each other and for the organizations they encounter. According to
18 / Chapter One
Jess, working for free was not necessarily the antithesis of paid employment.
“There are all types of intangibles attached,” he said, including “good vibes.”
To explain the meaning of “good vibes,” he rhetorically asked: “What’s the
difference between an organization that pays $100 and does not give good
vibes and one that pays $50 and gives good vibes? Good vibes might mean
they provide a community, a network for me. They might also provide re-
spect” (2002). Jess pointed out that sometimes, for some organizations,
he will work for free because he knows that he is high on the list of artists
when paid work is available. At the same time, he has ended relationships
with paying organizations that do not offer “good vibes.” These vibes rep-
resent the reciprocity between the artist and the organization; the exchange
includes more than money paid for services rendered. Among the kind of
intangibles are making and giving referrals, the promotion of the artist’s
work, and recruiting those who show up to the artist’s events.
One incident recounted by Jess exemplified the difference between an
organization with good vibes and one with not-so-good vibes:
I invited people to my last gig in Chicago before heading for New York. This
gig was also [where I award] a poetry prize to a teenage poet. This is important
to me. Four people from one of my summer gigs showed up . . . and no one
showed up from the other one. I wondered why no one came and no one
even mentioned it. It occurred to me, do they fucking respect what I do? I’ve
supported that organization. I’ve gone to their gigs for years. So I said to [the
staff ], “I want you to be hip to the fact that this concerns me—that no one
came to the event, that no one said anything, and no one recruited kids to ap-
ply for the contest.” They said, “Oh, OK ” [pause]. No apologies, no promises,
nothing. It made me think about the relationship. It’s a kind of quid pro quo.
Missing the event is one thing; not mentioning it is another thing. (2002)
In this excerpt, Jess articulated how “showing up”—or at least apologiz-
ing for not showing up—was part of the bundle of goods and services that
are exchanged in the reciprocal relationships among artists and art organi-
zations. The reputations of both artists and organizations are stored within
these networks and accessed when needed, as Becker has pointed out (1982
[2008], 86–87). Moreover, when work is plentiful, artists can choose which
organization has the most tangibles and intangibles to offer for their work.
Without the kind of control exerted by the institution of culture or ac-
cess to the more consistent resources of national or global art markets, art
producers rely on reciprocal exchange in order to attract participants and
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 19
sustain art production activity. Through what appear as friendships and
cliques, art producers engage in a variety of exchanges for carrying out art
production, giving legitimacy to their activities, and gaining access to re-
sources. This begins to paint the picture from an artist’s perspective of how
artists function within networks. By weaving themselves into a network,
artists maximize their access to information and opportunity with minimal
effort. But what exactly is a network, and how do different networks lead to
different kinds of results for artists?
Production of Culture as a Research Perspective
The idea of an art production network first entered into research on culture
in 1976 through what Richard A. Peterson called “the production of culture
perspective” (1976a, 672). Sociologists set a research agenda to examine
“the processes by which elements of culture are fabricated” (672). Expand-
ing upon research of artists’ careers (Becker 1963b; White and White 1965),
they explored art worlds and social types (Becker 1976), reward systems
(Crane 1976), organizations (DiMaggio and Hirsh 1976), networks and
circles (Kadushin 1976), and government patronage (Useem 1976), with
each of these elements addressing an aspect of the multi-directional flow
of information, materials, and resources through the networks of produc-
tion and consumption of culture and its objects. These ideas were expanded
upon by Crane (1992), who examined the dichotomy between recorded
and urban cultures,
1
drawing important distinctions among various culture
industries and a range of urban cultures; in an edited volume on culture-
producing occupations (Zollars and Goldsman Cantor 1993); and by Peter-
son (1997), who demonstrated the social construction of “authenticity” as
a product of the culture industries.
In Art Worlds ([1982] 2008), Howard S. Becker provided a definitive
exploration of art production as an occupational field in which participants
were linked through network relationships. By viewing the basic social ar-
rangement of art production as a network, Becker showed the creation and
distribution of an artwork as the work of a collectivity of producers, each in-
tegral to a process leading to the creation of something understood by net-
work participants to be “art.” His view throws a broad net, which includes
everyone whose participation in the occupation is consequential for the
existence of an artwork. For example, Becker included guards and janitors
in museums and other art production facilities as among the producers of
what was understood to be “art.” He provides a useful perspective because
20 / Chapter One
he located and localized the knowledge and material resources necessary to
produce art within the network of participants involved in that activity. Al-
though he did not examine art production in local places, or how race and
ethnicity allow and even require different sorts of resource mobilization to
produce art than do national and international systems, his focus on the
limits imposed on materials and personnel available through a distribution
system sheds light on the resources that are mobilized through the produc-
tion process.
Shared Knowledge versus Shared Acquaintances
Becker’s ([1982] 2008) use of the term “network” makes evident that art
production is not the same type of production found in an automobile
production plant, nor is it like a textbook flow chart of institutional order
within a museum, nor does it follow a logical progression of time as pre-
sented in art history. If art production is not explained in these ways, what
does it mean to say that art is produced through a network? Becker provided
at least two images of what networks are and how they operate.
On the one hand, he used the term to describe how people are linked
through shared knowledge. He proposed that an art world is “the network
of people whose cooperative activity organized via their joint knowledge of
conventional means of doing things produced the kind of art works that the
art world is noted for” ([1982] 2008, x). In art worlds constructed by net-
works of shared knowledge, participants may or may not know each other.
They are not necessarily in the same locality, city, region, or nation; they just
know how to do things in the same way.
Similar to the account by Jess of the exchanges and expectations among
artists, in Becker’s second image, networks accomplish instrumental pur-
poses, such as providing access to jobs, gigs, money, respect, and other
resources. These networks are built through interpersonal “connections.”
According to Becker, in addition to ability,
successful free-lancers also need a network of connections, so that a large
number of people who might need their services have them in mind, and in
their telephone book, to be called when the occasion arises. . . . A network of
connections consists of a number of people who know you and your work
well enough to trust the well-being of some portion of their project to you.
The key element of the network is trust. . . . Through interlocking trust and
recommendations, workers develop stable networks, which furnish them
with more or less steady work. ([1982] 2008, 86–87)
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 21
In this image, network participants must at least know one another: there
are specific connections between people, but it is left unclear how these
connections occur. And of course, there is also something accomplished
through the network—in this case, income without the formal arrange-
ments of employment. Moreover, “trust” is a key element in the creation of
network connections.
Becker’s two images of networks are potentially confusing because they
lead to contradictory definitions of a network: in the first, a network of con-
nections is produced through shared knowledge, no matter how tightly con-
tained, regulated, or distantly diffused; in the other, the network is produced
through shared acquaintances who exchange labor, money, and trust.
These two images can lead to divergent methods of study and even reli-
ance upon different academic disciplines. First is the study of culture as
knowledge networks and the production of symbols and shared meanings.
This is an approach typical of cultural studies, anthropology, and the so-
ciology of culture. Symbols are produced through shared values, beliefs,
and ways of doing things. Individuals who belong to the same group or
classification reproduce the understandings that perpetuate the existence
of that group. Thus, a researcher can identify members and classify them in
the same group based on how they create and use knowledge and therefore
are part of or reproduce the same social and cultural practices. Members
can identify others of the same group by recognizing common sets of prac-
tices and ideas. Such groups may be occupational, such as illustrated in
Kadushin’s 1974 study of American intellectuals. They may also be class-
based, as illustrated by three studies: Rosenzweig’s ([1983] 1991) study of
the emergence of the saloon as the center of working-class men’s social life;
Radway’s (1984) study of working-class women who read romance nov-
els to escape and resist their ascribed roles; and Bourdieu’s ([1979] 1984)
study of status and mobility among middle- and upper-class museum-goers.
Such studies show how shared cultural practices create aspects of an art
world, a social world, and a worldview while expressing a class-based group
identity.
In Becker’s second image, acquaintance networks involve participants in
instrumental activities. This image links Becker’s work to business school
analysts studying the functions and purposes of business and technology
networks and their connections to formal organizations. This may include,
for example, job seekers’ networks (Granovetter 1973, 1974), the network
form of management in technology businesses (Burns and Stalker 1961),
networks of nonprofit organizations within a discipline or with a shared
purpose (Galaskiewicz and Bielefeld 1998), and network relationships
22 / Chapter One
among businesses (Podolny and Page 1998). Such studies show how net-
work structures can be functional and effective in situations where hier-
archical, rational structures of formal organizations or the competitive
structures of market competition would both fail. For example, researchers
studying business innovation (Burns and Stalker 1961) and cultural trends
(Fine and Kleinman 1979) have shown that networks are the most effective
structures in changing unstable conditions or where rapid transmission of
information is necessary for problem solving and creativity. And as Podolny
and Page argue: “Network forms of organization foster learning, represent
a mechanism for the attainment of status or legitimacy, provide a variety
of economic benefits, facilitate the management of resource dependencies,
and provide considerable autonomy for employees” (1998, 57). Applying
this approach to the study of art production, Gilmore (1993) and Giuffre
(1999) both showed how a producer’s reliance on network relationships is
functional because it provides stability in an unstable work environment
and provides access to opportunities necessary for success.
Although Kadushin (1976) likened networks to informal organizations,
because they often represent micro-social systems that are invisible in their
totality and are often “draped over” other more formal relationships (172),
scholars of business practice have begun to recognize the network within
post-industrial economies as a form of organization and as a legitimate
business arrangement. Podolny and Page (1998) examine how global busi-
ness networks function on a variety of levels to facilitate and enhance busi-
ness practice. They define a network as the unit from which the other forms
of organization emerge and have thereby replaced the evolutionary theory
of the relationship between networks, organizations, and markets with one
in which a network is a broader form of the other two, distinguished by
their form of governance.
[From] a structural perspective, every form of organization is a network, and
market and hierarchy are simply two manifestations of the broader type.
However, when considered as a form of governance, the network form can
be distinctly characterized. We define a network form of organization as any
collection of actors (N
>_
2) that pursue repeated, enduring exchange rela-
tions with one another and, at the same time, lack a legitimate organiza-
tional authority to arbitrate and resolve disputes that may arise during the
exchange.(Podolny and Page 1998, 59)
This definition is useful because it offers the theory of “network” as the broad
type and organization and market as narrower forms of this broad type,
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 23
and helps to explain how networks can be understood in post-industrial
society as a legitimate social arrangement operating without the hierarchical
structure of authority or the ideologies of profit to resolve disputes.
Through existing theory, we can understand much about this form of
social arrangement. First, interactions that produce networks occur more
often than chance meetings; they are repeated and enduring relationships.
Network relationships exist as horizontal relationships characterized as eq-
uitable and reciprocal (Karraker and Grams 2008), rather than either the
vertically arranged authority relationships typical of formal organizations
or the competitive relationships typical of markets. For order and predict-
ability, then, networks must rely on something other than authority or
competition: some network researchers, including Becker, have focused the
governing principle on trust (Becker [1982] 2008; Powell 1990; Schuler
1996): that is, people enter into network relationships and maintain equa-
nimity because the relationship is based upon the trust that others will do
what is right and expected. Others have focused on acts of reciprocity; that
is, that networks exist when there is a give-and-take involved in an exchange
(Powell 1990; Putnam 2000), often giving more than taking so that the net-
work becomes a repository of abundance (Putnam 2000). Still others have
focused on the potential for mutual benefits, as opposed to desire for in-
dividual gain, as the attraction of network relationships (Burns and Stalker
1961; Putnam 2000). Each of these principals—trust, reciprocity, mutual
gain—represents the “glue” that binds people together. That researchers
have identified governing principles of networks is evidence that networks
are social facts that can be understood in and of themselves. Yet further in-
vestigation of the context and content of exchanges among art producers is
necessary to understand how and why people are brought together.
Art Networks, Art Markets, Art Institutions
By adopting the theory that art networks, art markets, and art institutions
are distinguished by the differing form of their governing principles, one
can begin to better understand the full range of interactions typical in an art
world (table 1). Art networks exist when people or organizations are linked
in an art activity. A network becomes an art market when the purpose of
its members’ activities is to set in motion economic interactions, that is, an
exchange of money for artworks or art experiences (Grams 2008). At the
most basic level, markets are governed by competition over supply and de-
mand. Producers distinguish and align themselves by their particular claims
to value, yet market value is established only when there is an exchange of
24 / Chapter One
money for goods. Within a market, businesses such as galleries, art schools,
or supply manufacturers align themselves, and each makes claims to the
distinct values of its goods (Velthuis 2003; White 2005).
2
What kinds of
businesses dominate and profit can be understood by either cyclical ac-
counts or open-system accounts in which production is either centralized
or decentralized (Dowd 2004). Market activity is geared toward establish-
ing values that can be repeatedly recognized with the market not only by
documented sales but also by comparison of similar products. Once market
values are established, the task then is to increase those values.
Conversely, art institutions are hierarchically organized around experts
whose authority governs their activity (Grams 2008). This activity is geared
toward setting in motion aesthetic interaction, which is, on the most basic
level, an exchange of appreciation for an art object. Within the art institu-
tional sector, people and organizations are linked in a broad network of ac-
tivities geared toward increasing the appreciation or aesthetic value of an art
object. Aesthetic value is not equal to or one in the same as financial value.
Aesthetic value is established through debates over quality, materials, and
rarity, all characteristics used to categorize art. Borders between categories
have been constructed over time to classify objects into genres (DiMaggio
1987) and canons (Dowd et al. 2002). As border debates ensue—not the
least of these is a debate over what is and what is not art—judgments of qual-
ity by institutional experts, however subjective they may be, are the basis of
this value. Institutional arrangements further produce ideologies of labor,
professionalism, and even aesthetic quality; they also enable salaried careers
dependent upon a labor market in which most participants—including art-
ists, nonprofit staff, volunteers, and board members—work for free or for a
fraction of the compensation of their peers in other fields (Grams 2005).
Markets and institutions are both forms of networks, and they may in-
teract yet are not one and the same. And although there is pressure for a net-
work to align itself with either market or institutional activity, some never
Table 1. Comparison of markets, institutions, and networks
Type Purpose Governance
Market To establish and increase financial values Competition
Institution To establish and maintain legitimate
authority over aesthetic values
Authority
Network To pursue shared interests through
repeated activities
Reciprocity/trust/
mutual benefit
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 25
do, as is shown in this study. Both markets and institutions consolidate re-
sources from those available through their respective activities. For example,
as Simpson (1981) has argued, museum collections represent a consolida-
tion of the objects available to the institution and relevant to the expertise
of the curators. Gallery owners, as operators in art markets, are directly
linked to and even serve as “gate keepers” or “pickers” (Simpson 1981, 33)
for the art world, at large, and for institutional experts, in particular. Because
consolidation means choosing from that which is available, both markets
and institutions exclude much artistic activity. If networks exist that are not
part of this process, what do they look like?
By framing a study of art networks found within geographically defined
places rather within specific markets or institutions, I sought to create a
framework incorporating the full range of art activity that can exist within
an urban city. Furthermore, by beginning with place-based urban networks,
there was an added benefit of such a study for urban sociology: this study
provides insight into the dynamic role of art production to the construction
of local places and local economies.
Types of Local Art Production Networks
Like Howard Becker, I argue that an art production network is a set of so-
cial relationships involved in producing art. Accounts from participants in
local art production networks provide insight into how and why networks
were formed. Shared local interests bring different types of people together,
providing differing access to the resources necessary to produce art. This
variation in who is involved and what is made can be understood as a
typology of local art production networks (table 2). Like Max Weber, I de-
fine “ideal types” of networks as analytic categories to orient organizational
forms within social contexts; similarly, “ideal types” of participants are not
presented to evaluate one lifestyle over another, but to orient individual
action within local events.
The kinds of shared interests that produce network activity include par-
ticipants interested in (1) developing shared preferences, values, and mean-
ing about cultural objects; (2) limiting social or economic control of artistic
production; (3) maintaining social stability; (4) increasing the value of lo-
cal resources; (5) replenishing cultural reserves of racial or ethnic groups.
Among the resources accessed and mobilized were financial resources, which
ranged from large grants from federal, state, and municipal agencies for
economic and infrastructure development, to small grants from art agen-
cies for art programs and the subsidies, purchases, and donations from
T
a
b
l
e

2
.

T
y
p
o
l
o
g
y

o
f

l
o
c
a
l

a
r
t

p
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n

n
e
t
w
o
r
k
s
N
e
t
w
o
r
k

T
y
p
e

P
a
r
t
i
c
i
p
a
n
t

T
y
p
e
S
h
a
r
e
d

I
n
t
e
r
e
s
t
F
i
n
a
n
c
i
a
l

R
e
s
o
u
r
c
e
s

T
e
c
h
n
i
c
a
l

R
e
s
o
u
r
c
e
s
H
u
m
a
n

R
e
s
o
u
r
c
e
s

A
e
s
t
h
e
t
i
c
C
o
l
l
e
c
t
o
r
s

a
n
d

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
T
o

d
e
v
e
l
o
p

s
h
a
r
e
d

m
e
a
n
i
n
g
s
,

p
r
e
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
s
,

a
n
d

e
v
a
l
u
a
t
i
o
n

o
f

a
r
t
P
e
r
s
o
n
a
l

f
u
n
d
s

o
f

m
i
d
d
l
e
-

a
n
d

u
p
p
e
r
-
c
l
a
s
s

a
r
t

b
u
y
e
r
s
P
r
i
v
a
t
e

s
p
a
c
e

t
o

h
o
s
t

e
v
e
n
t
s
,

d
i
s
p
l
a
y
,

a
n
d

d
i
s
c
u
s
s

a
r
t
;

w
r
i
t
-
i
n
g

a
n
d

p
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n

s
k
i
l
l
s

t
o

d
i
s
s
e
m
i
n
a
t
e

i
n
f
o
r
m
a
t
i
o
n
K
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e

a
b
o
u
t

a
r
t

m
a
t
e
r
i
a
l
s
,

s
t
y
l
e
s
,

a
n
d

h
i
s
t
o
r
i
c
a
l

m
o
v
e
-
m
e
n
t
s
A
u
t
o
n
o
m
y
C
u
t
t
i
n
g
-
e
d
g
e

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
,

t
r
a
n
s
-
n
a
t
i
o
n
a
l

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
,

m
u
s
e
u
m
-
q
u
a
l
i
t
y

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
T
o

l
i
m
i
t

s
o
c
i
a
l

o
r

e
c
o
-
n
o
m
i
c

c
o
n
t
r
o
l

o
f

a
r
t
i
s
t
i
c

p
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
o
n

P
e
r
s
o
n
a
l

f
u
n
d
s

o
f

e
n
t
r
e
p
r
e
-
n
e
u
r
s
,

p
u
b
l
i
c

f
u
n
d
s

a
d
m
i
n
-
i
s
t
e
r
e
d

t
h
r
o
u
g
h

a
r
t
s

g
r
a
n
t
i
n
g

p
r
o
g
r
a
m
s

a
n
d

a
g
e
n
c
i
e
s
C
o
m
p
u
t
e
r

L
i
s
t
s
e
r
v
s
,

w
e
b
s
i
t
e
s
,

g
r
a
p
h
i
c

l
a
y
o
u
t

a
n
d

p
r
o
d
u
c
-
t
i
o
n
;

l
i
v
e
/
w
o
r
k

s
p
a
c
e
s

f
o
r

m
a
k
i
n
g

a
r
t
;

s
p
a
c
e
s

s
u
i
t
a
b
l
e

f
o
r

e
v
e
n
t
s

a
n
d

e
x
h
i
b
i
t
i
o
n
s
S
k
i
l
l
s

t
o

d
e
s
i
g
n

p
u
b
l
i
c
i
t
y

m
a
t
e
r
i
a
l
s
,

m
a
n
a
g
e

L
i
s
t
s
e
r
v
s
,

r
u
n

s
m
a
l
l

b
u
s
i
n
e
s
s
e
s
,

w
r
i
t
e

g
r
a
n
t
s
,

m
a
i
n
t
a
i
n

r
e
c
o
r
d
s
,

w
r
i
t
e

a
r
t

c
r
i
t
i
c
i
s
m
;

k
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e

o
f

c
o
n
t
e
m
p
o
r
a
r
y

a
r
t

a
n
d

c
u
l
t
u
r
e
P
r
o
b
l
e
m


S
o
l
v
i
n
g
S
o
c
i
a
l

a
c
t
i
v
i
s
t
s
,

c
o
m
-
m
u
n
i
t
y

i
m
p
r
o
v
e
r
s
,

a
n
d

c
u
l
t
u
r
a
l

e
n
t
r
e
p
r
e
n
e
u
r
s
T
o

m
a
i
n
t
a
i
n

s
o
c
i
a
l

s
t
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
D
o
n
a
t
i
o
n
s
,

s
m
a
l
l

s
o
c
i
a
l

s
e
r
v
i
c
e

g
r
a
n
t
s
P
u
b
l
i
c

s
p
a
c
e
s

f
o
r

p
e
o
p
l
e

t
o

g
a
t
h
e
r

o
r

t
h
a
t

c
a
n

b
e

i
m
p
r
o
v
e
d

w
i
t
h

a
r
t

o
r

e
v
e
n
t
s
;

a
c
c
e
s
s

t
o

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
c
a
t
i
o
n

t
e
c
h
n
o
l
o
g
y

t
o

d
i
s
t
r
i
b
u
t
e

i
n
f
o
r
m
a
t
i
o
n
S
k
i
l
l
s

f
o
r

o
r
g
a
n
i
z
i
n
g

v
o
l
u
n
-
t
e
e
r
s
,

s
t
a
g
i
n
g

p
u
b
l
i
c

e
v
e
n
t
s
,

c
o
n

i
c
t

r
e
s
o
l
u
t
i
o
n
,

d
e
s
i
g
n
i
n
g

p
u
b
l
i
c
i
t
y

m
a
t
e
r
i
a
l
s
,

m
a
i
n
t
a
i
n
-
i
n
g

w
e
b
s
i
t
e
s

a
n
d

L
i
s
t
s
e
r
v
s
G
e
n
t
r
i

c
a
t
i
o
n
C
i
t
y

b
u
r
e
a
u
c
r
a
t
s
,

r
e
a
l

e
s
-
t
a
t
e

d
e
v
e
l
o
p
e
r
s

a
n
d

a
g
e
n
t
s
,

b
u
s
i
n
e
s
s

o
w
n
e
r
s
,

p
r
o
p
e
r
t
y

o
w
n
e
r
s
,

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
T
o

i
n
c
r
e
a
s
e

v
a
l
u
e

o
f

l
o
c
a
l

r
e
s
o
u
r
c
e
s
P
e
r
s
o
n
a
l

a
n
d

e
x
t
e
r
n
a
l

c
a
p
i
t
a
l

i
n
v
e
s
t
m
e
n
t
s
,

p
u
b
l
i
c

i
n
f
r
a
s
t
r
u
c
-
t
u
r
e

f
u
n
d
s
P
r
i
v
a
t
e

p
r
o
p
e
r
t
y

a
n
d

b
u
s
i
n
e
s
s
e
s
,

c
o
n
s
t
r
u
c
t
i
o
n
,

e
q
u
i
p
m
e
n
t
,

a
n
d

p
e
r
s
o
n
n
e
l

t
o

m
a
n
a
g
e

a
n
d

i
m
p
r
o
v
e

c
a
p
i
t
a
l

a
s
s
e
t
s
S
k
i
l
l
s

f
o
r

l
a
r
g
e
-

a
n
d

s
m
a
l
l
-
s
c
a
l
e

c
o
n
s
t
r
u
c
t
i
o
n
,

c
r
e
a
t
i
o
n

a
n
d

n
e
g
o
t
i
a
t
i
o
n

o
f

c
o
n
t
r
a
c
t
s

a
n
d

p
e
r
m
i
t
s
,

p
r
o
p
e
r
t
y

m
a
n
a
g
e
-
m
e
n
t
,

b
u
s
i
n
e
s
s

d
e
v
e
l
o
p
m
e
n
t
,

k
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e

o
f

e
l
i
t
e

a
r
t

f
o
r
m
s

a
n
d

p
r
a
c
t
i
c
e
s
E
m
p
o
w
e
r
m
e
n
t
E
l
e
c
t
e
d

a
n
d

a
p
p
o
i
n
t
e
d

p
o
l
i
t
i
c
a
l

o
f

c
i
a
l
s
,

a
r
t
s

a
d
m
i
n
i
s
t
r
a
t
o
r
s

a
n
d

a
r
t
i
s
t
s
,

c
i
t
i
z
e
n

v
o
l
u
n
t
e
e
r
s
,

a
n
d

c
o
n
t
r
a
c
t
e
d

w
o
r
k
e
r
s

o
f

a
l
l

t
y
p
e
s
T
o

r
e
p
l
e
n
i
s
h

c
u
l
t
u
r
a
l

r
e
s
e
r
v
e
s

o
f

r
a
c
i
a
l

o
r

e
t
h
n
i
c

g
r
o
u
p
s

P
u
b
l
i
c

f
u
n
d
s

t
h
r
o
u
g
h

l
a
r
g
e

a
n
d

s
m
a
l
l

g
r
a
n
t
s

f
o
r

e
c
o
n
o
m
i
c

d
e
v
e
l
o
p
m
e
n
t
,

f
a
c
i
l
i
t
i
e
s
,

a
n
d

p
u
b
l
i
c

a
r
t
T
o
o
l
s

a
n
d

m
a
c
h
i
n
e
r
y

a
v
a
i
l
a
b
l
e

t
o

c
i
t
y
,

s
t
a
t
e
,

a
n
d

f
e
d
e
r
a
l

a
g
e
n
-
c
i
e
s

f
o
r

l
a
r
g
e
-
s
c
a
l
e

c
o
n
s
t
r
u
c
-
t
i
o
n

a
n
d

i
n
f
r
a
s
t
r
u
c
t
u
r
e

d
e
v
e
l
o
p
m
e
n
t
S
k
i
l
l
s

f
o
r

b
o
t
h

l
a
r
g
e
-

a
n
d

s
m
a
l
l
-
s
c
a
l
e

c
o
n
s
t
r
u
c
t
i
o
n
,

c
r
e
a
t
i
o
n

a
n
d

n
e
g
o
t
i
a
t
i
o
n

o
f

c
o
n
t
r
a
c
t
s

a
n
d

p
e
r
m
i
t
s
,

p
r
o
p
e
r
t
y

m
a
n
a
g
e
-
m
e
n
t
,

b
u
s
i
n
e
s
s

d
e
v
e
l
o
p
m
e
n
t
,

k
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e

o
f

e
t
h
n
i
c

a
r
t

f
o
r
m
s

a
n
d

p
r
a
c
t
i
c
e
s
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 27
personal income of people involved in art production; technical resources,
including varied access to technical infrastructures and communications
hardware and software for communication, office and meeting space for
administering grants and programs, live/work space for making art, and
public, cultural facilities or private, commercial, or public space appropriate
for art presentations such as exhibitions, festivals, plays, concerts, parades,
and murals; and human resources, including the skills, knowledge, and in-
dividual histories of people from varied training and backgrounds, such
as artists, administrators, political and local leaders, adults, families, and
children, and their varied levels of involvement. Training of artists in each
of the locales ranged from those who were self-taught or were skilled crafts-
people of working-class trades, to those trained through academic or fine
art trade schools having bachelor of fine arts (BFA) and master of fine arts
(MFA) programs. The typology of local art production networks enumer-
ates the kinds of interests shared by participants and the kinds of resources
mobilized. Ideal types of networks become visible through comparing and
contrasting these interests and resources.
(1) Aesthetic networks sought to cultivate shared preferences, values, and
meanings about cultural objects. These networks were constituted through
social events, parties, and private exhibitions in collectors’ or artists’ homes.
Among the three locales in this study, aesthetic networks were most vis-
ible in Bronzeville and involved middle-class black professionals actively
constructing knowledge and reserving it within the network of activity
to constitute black cultural capital. Investigation of activities of these art
collectors revealed their shared interest in creating a social environment in
which black culture and locally made and locally owned art objects were at
the center of this activity. These networks created links between collectors,
artists, and a limited number of local nonprofit and commercial art gal-
leries. By comparison, art purchases in Rogers Park and Pilsen were often
intended to remove the artwork from any local context and relocate it into
the market in which the gallery, art consultant, or collector operated, or
into the extended network of nonprofit institutions through display first at
small, localized nonprofit organizations, then at larger nonprofit institu-
tions of culture.
(2) Autonomy networks provided a contemporary snapshot of what living
artists do to sustain and create visibility for their work while maintaining a
commitment to the traditional aesthetic ideal of artistic autonomy. The art-
ists involved in such networks in Pilsen are further distinguished as cutting-
edge artists, transnational artists, and museum-quality artists; all are highly
educated as it was their academic training that seeded the intentions and
28 / Chapter One
language of artistic autonomy in their activities. Such networks exist as
practical activity necessary for artists to pursue artistic goals. The interper-
sonal interactions and their connections to local places were short term and
even transitory. Through such networks, producers cooperated with each
other to assert and support what these individual artists perceived as artistic
autonomy over what was produced. Such producers sought circumstances
that increased their own artistic control over their work. Their cooperation
was geared to increase the visibility of their artworks and to access profes-
sional opportunities. Meaning construction in these networks is limited to
the meaning of activities that supported artistic autonomy, such as with
the collaborative opening nights of Pilsen’s independent local galleries.
In contrast to aesthetic networks, the activities of these networks were not
constructed to shape or critique the meaning in the artworks themselves.
Autonomy networks existed through the work of highly motivated artists,
yet also required the complicity of an extended network of family and
friends, landlords, administrators, and small business suppliers and techni-
cians for their survival.
(3) Problem-solving networks involved social activists, community im-
provers, and cultural entrepreneurs who were not concerned with particular
meanings of artworks or cultural meanings, but instead used art production
as a way to act on specific problems, such as neighborhood deterioration
and vandalism and other criminal activity prevalent in vacant lots, aban-
doned buildings, or low-traffic areas, as well as to attract business to restau-
rants, bars, and coffeehouses. Their activities sought to replace symbols of
structural decay, social disorder, and local destabilization with symbols of
creativity, harmony, and stability. In Rogers Park, local activists, residents,
and artists all cooperated in instrumental activities designed to address
problems within the community area. Their activities resulted in, for exam-
ple, the creation of parks or gardens in vacant lots; murals on walls that had
been tagged by gang members or sprayed by graffiti artists; revitalization of
obsolete and abandoned buildings for use as artist studios; and conversion
of vacant storefronts for art activities such as exhibitions, classes, or events.
In most places, problem-solving networks were short-lived; they were either
dismantled after a specific event or when a formal organization or market
took over their functions. Yet in Rogers Park, such activity has existed for
nearly three decades and has been a mechanism to address post-industrial
change in this racially changing but stable locale.
(4) Gentrification networks sought to increase the value of local resources
by homogenizing local culture and creating exclusive spaces through spon-
sorship of exclusive forms of art. These networks involved a range of actors,
Theory of Local Art Production Networks / 29
including property owners interested in seeing property values increase and
local business owners interested in attracting higher-paying customers. The
rhetoric used by these participants revealed how local values were increased
but also the mechanisms that have for years led to the devaluation of prop-
erty in black and ethnic locales. Participants in gentrification networks
could act at times against and at times in consort with artistic autonomy
and problem-solving networks, but are distinguished by their privileging
of exclusive, institutional practices that I label as the “whitewashing” of
culture. While local ethnic residents, who wanted to see their own property
values increase, supported a variety of investment interests, they also stood
against efforts to whitewash or homogenize culture and resisted the piling
up of the largely white gentry that had the potential to displace ethnic cul-
ture and ethnic residents of their locale.
(5) Empowerment networks mobilized resources to invest in public art and
cultural facilities following traditional civil rights activism calling for “our
fair share of the public resources and public goods.” Activities of these net-
works represented a break from the institutional practices of the cultural core
that empowered sanctioned experts with decision-making power. In this
case, the public good was ownership of its institutions and its geographic
space, as well as ownership of culture and its associated status attainment.
By the end of the twentieth century, these networks had accessed hundreds
of millions of dollars in federal, state, and municipal funds earmarked for
social services and economic development, and deployed these funds to-
ward cultural restoration, revitalization, and development. The result of
their work was also seen in numerous physical improvements to the neigh-
borhoods and through production of public art, historic monuments, and
cultural facilities that identified and marked local territory. Empowerment
networks addressed the long-term cultural processes that devalued property
and other resources in black and ethnic locales by accessing resources that
led to legitimate financial and aesthetic valuation of culture. These networks
involved political figures and citizens who sought investments into the cul-
ture of a racial or ethnic group to increase its reserve of information and
resources that represent the history and practices of the group.
Conclusions
This typology provides a framework for the network-based theory of art pro-
duction in locales outside the city center. It shows that the shared interests
occurring in localized networks are distinct from assertions of artistic au-
thority maintained through formal institutions (DiMaggio [1982] 1991) or
30 / Chapter One
the competition that defines art markets (White 2005). The explanation of
art production as network-based resource mobilization also runs contrary
to the art-historical approach, which focuses on analysis of artistic form and
symbols, with innovation explained by seminal figures of genius (Panofsky
1939; Shapiro [1952] 1953; Panofsky [1955] 1974; Danto 1967; Chipp
1968; Panofsky 1991). A by-product of the art-historical approach has been
a hierarchical categorization of art production types in which “culture” is
the subordinated product of ethnic and other minority groups, and “art”
is the privileged product of the refined, pristine, dominant groups of a city,
region, or nation (Bourdieu [1979] 1984). Instead, this study focuses on
local art production networks as the social arrangement that enables art
producers to pursue their work by establishing a shared interest in the local
place and by mobilizing available resources. These shared interests produce
distinctions among networks types and have the variety of “cultural” effects
that create local places.
My emphasis on the “shared interest” of art producers, rather than the
“shared meanings” of artworks, places art producers in an active position ca-
pable of producing social and political results for the locality. Efforts ignited
through shared interests follow the logic of the consensus model of the
elite-driven “growth machine” (Molotch 1976) that drove change in many
urban areas during the last half of the twentieth century. The “growth ma-
chine” operated upon an often unspoken consensus that growth was good.
Yet the cases featured in this book could be better understood as part of an
“ethnically driven stability machine” composed of networks of people who
mobilized resources to secure cultural representation and ownership while
thwarting gentrification and appropriation by the white elite. This “stability
machine” was powered by historically subordinate groups that had gained
political power and social influence but had yet to secure ownership of local
space or recognition for their cultural production in the broader meaning-
making structures of society. As an investigation of such effort, this study of-
fers a contemporary explanation as to why and how urban cultures (Crane
1992) vary by locality—particularly those inhabited by racial and ethnic
middle classes—and how culture became a tool to stake claim to local space
and secure cultural equity within a global context.
TWO
Local Places
Chicago as a Model of a City
Chicago provides a convenient exemplar to study how the shifts in physi-
cal and social orders that came with post-industrial society (Clark 2004;
Lloyd 2005; Pattillo 2007) occurred in tandem with shifts in cultural order.
Located in a city in which cultural power and status has been concentrated
within the city center, Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park are places rich
with ethnic cultures having qualities that have been both stigmatized and
romanticized; their local cultures have been structured around the historic
and cultural identities of its people rather than by the policies and the cul-
tural focus of art institutions. Ethnic art producers in this context stood
against demographic, economic, and cultural change that have often been
characterized as “gentrification,” but were the result of a revalorization pro-
cess implemented as a policy direction long before there was any “gentry”
moving in. Dominated by blacks, Latinos, and white ethnics, these places
were once relegated to the status of ghettos or ethnic enclaves where seg-
ments of Chicago’s poor, minority, and immigrant populations lived, yet
they have come to represent population groups that have grown to sizes
equal to or surpassing the size of the dominant culture group, and now span
beyond the city borders.
Historic Construction of Local Places in Chicago
Since the early twentieth century, when sociologist Robert E. Park ([1925]
1952) used the case of Chicago to develop a theory of a city organized as
concentric circles around a central core, Chicago’s downtown “Loop” has
been the city’s physical and cultural center amid seventy-seven “commu-
nity areas” (fig. 5). Park saw the industrial city as a social entity organized
32 / Chapter Two
around an urban center that was surrounded first by slums and then by
succeeding concentric circles of increasing social integration and order. This
image captured the reality that wealth from the city’s industrial production
was consolidated in the city center, then exported, in the form of salaries,
benefits, and profits, to the outlying areas:
Within the area bounded on the one hand by the central business district and
on the other hand by the suburbs, the city tends to take the form of a series
of concentric circles. These different regions, located at different relative dis-
tances from the center, are characterized by different degrees of mobility of
the population. . . .
Figure 5. Map of Chicago’s seventy-
seven community areas with shaded
areas illustrating the geographic
proximity of Rogers Park, Pilsen, and
Bronzeville to Chicago’s downtown
Loop business district. Map created
by the author (2003).
Local Places / 33
The area of greatest mobility, i.e., of movement and change of population,
is naturally the business center itself. Here are the hotels, the dwelling-places
of the transients. Except for the few permanent dwellers in these hotels, the
business center, which is the city par excellence, empties itself every night and
fills itself every morning. Outside the city center, in this narrower sense of
the term, are the slums, the dwelling places of the casuals. On the edge of the
slums there are likely to be regions already in the process of being submerged,
characterized as the “rooming-house areas,” the dwelling-places of bohemi-
ans, transient adventurers of all sorts, and the unsettled young of both sexes.
Beyond these are the apartment-house areas, the region of small families and
delicatessen shops. Finally, out beyond all else, are the regions of duplex apart-
ments and of single dwellings where people still own their homes and raise
children, as they do, to be sure, in the slums. (Park [1925] 1952, 171–72)
For Park and other Chicago school sociologists, local places existed be-
tween the city center and wealthier periphery. These were industrial and
manufacturing sites as well as places to live. And, according to Park, the
character of these places was one of social and cultural difference deter-
mined by the mobility of its residents.

Although a number of scholars have
disputed the neat geometry of Park’s concentric circles (Logan and Molotch 1
987)—particularly when they are applied to other urban areas (Zukin 1991;
Massy and Denton 1993) or when considered in light of the suburban
growth and sprawl that transformed cities into metropolitan areas (Teaford
2006)—in Chicago the dichotomy of cultural power and status between
the city center and local places remained intact for much of the twentieth
century.
By 2008, with its substantial decline of manufacturing and increases in
post-industrial finance, communication, and tourist economies (Sassen
[1991] 2001, [1994] 2006; Clark 2004), Chicago’s city center was still the lo-
cation of the city’s largest and most powerful institutions: City Hall, the Chi-
cago Board of Trade, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Lyric Opera
of Chicago and its Civic Opera House, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
and Orchestra Hall, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Loop was there-
fore still an important reference point for understanding nearly all activity
of the city’s wealthy elites and for understanding the physical and symbolic
locations of its surrounding community areas. With this physical location
of elite cultural production in the downtown Loop mirroring the symbolic
location of the elites at the center of cultural production, the physical and
the symbolic order of cultural production in Chicago was one and the same.
The tension between the cultural core and its margins continued to be
34 / Chapter Two
concretely manifested through the unequal distribution of nonprofit cul-
tural facilities—as is evident in both the number of nonprofit organizations
(NPOs) and their budget sizes (fig. 6)—and in the unequal participation in
the downtown arts by residents throughout the city (LaLonde et al. 2006).
For urban theorists, the center/place dichotomy exemplifies one type
of urban power structure (Zukin 1991). Within the urban cultural center,
elites control cultural resources and the production of symbols through
its institutions of culture (DiMaggio [1982] 1991; Bourdieu [1979] 1984;
Zolberg 1994). Through consolidation from all of the artworks available, a
small group of elites have overseen the production of canons, repertoires,
and masterpieces; their power is sustained and reified through their con-
trol of the institutions of culture (Simpson 1981; DiMaggio [1982] 1991;
Zukin 1982; Dowd et al. 2002). Within this center-dominant ordering, lo-
cal and ethnic cultures are considered parochial and vernacular (Hayden
1995) and left outside the institutional framework or subordinated within;
moreover, local places have been left with limited resources to carry out the
kind of valuation of cultural objects and activities that have empowered
elite groups.
162
75
8
0
2 2 2
1
2
0
1
4 4
1
0 0 0 0 0
1
3
1
0 0 0 0
51
14 14
11 11
27
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
North N. Loop Loop S. Loop W. Loop Pilsen Bronzeville Rogers
Park
N
u
m
b
e
r

o
f

N
o
n
p
r
o
f
i
t

O
r
g
a
n
i
z
a
t
i
o
n
s

$1-1M $1M-10M $10M-20M $over 20M
Figure 6. Comparison of number and size of nonprofit art organizations (budget in
millions) by location in Chicago (2007). Data source: Guidestar.org.
Local Places / 35
Revalorizing the City Center and Surrounding Locales
They tell us that Dearborn Park will not displace people or disrupt neighborhoods
because it is to be built on vacant land. But the truth about Dearborn Park is that
it is a part of the Chicago 21 plan to drive blacks, Latinos, and poor people from
the cities. If it is built, it will begin displacement of poor communities through-
out Chicago—first the construction of Dearborn Park, and then revitalization of
downtown—Chinatown, Pilsen, the Near West Side. . . . It’s like a big stone thrown
into the middle of the pond, the waves spread quickly. (Marion Stamps, spokes-
person for the Coalition to Stop the Chicago 21 Plan, on May 7, 1977; quoted in
Adelman [1979] 1983, 54)
In Chicago as early as 1973, with their Chicago 21 Plan to redevelop the in-
ner city (City of Chicago 1973; Gapp 1973; Rast 2001), Chicago’s wealthy
elites envisioned the post-industrial city transformed from an industrial one
in which the city center was an island surrounded by a moat of poverty and
squalor, to one in which the center would rise like a summit amidst a moun-
tain range of economic, cultural, political, and social activity. Although the
Chicago 21 Plan initially focused on the redevelopment of the South Loop
into “a suburb within the city” (Gapp 1973), it recommended a number of
policy changes necessary for the city’s survival into the twenty-first century.
Among these policy recommendations was the end of inner-city high-rise
public housing. Activists in Bronzeville, Pilsen, Rogers Park, and elsewhere
condemned the plan before any funding or implementation began. Marion
Stamps—an activist then in her late twenties, a public housing resident, and
a spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the Chicago 21 Plan—fought ef-
forts to dismantle public housing until her death in 1995.
1
Yet by 2000,
although both the goals of redevelopment of the South Loop and the end
of inner-city high-rise public housing had been realized, blacks and Lati-
nos had not been removed from the neighborhoods surrounding the city
core. This was in part because behind the highly visible efforts of the elite to
redefine the city center, Chicago’s substantial black and Latino popula-
tion began to focus on securing what Bourdieu termed “legitimate” forms
of political and cultural power (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990)
through establishment of ethnic cultural institutions and ethnic accounts of
history.
In effect, Chicago 21 provided a call to action for African Americans,
Latinos, and the white ethnic working classes in the areas surrounding the
city center. As the policy direction that would be labeled “gentrification”
came to light, residents of the three locales mobilized resources to resist
36 / Chapter Two
this new urban succession pattern: one in which a white urban elite sought
to reclaim urban space by displacing long-present racial and ethnic groups.
Although each locale initially had relatively limited arts infrastructures, lo-
cal art producers mobilized resources to build locally based cultural institu-
tions, and they were increasingly vocal and visible, claiming these locales to
be culturally significant places existing as an important contrast to the elitist
downtown city center and its cultural institutions.
As the vision behind Chicago 21 was becoming a reality, the city’s trans-
formation was characterized by a redistribution of wealth into the central
business district and its adjoining concentric circles rather than out of the
center city into the wealthy suburban areas as it had been for most of the
twentieth century. The consequence of Bronzeville’s and Pilsen’s proximity
to the city center became nearly inverted from what it was in the beginning
of the previous century. Once considered to be a liability because of the
slums and transient populations that encircled the city center (Park [1925]
1952), this proximity to the city center had come to be viewed as attractive
to growth machine coalitions (Molotch 1976) of downtown business own-
ers, investors, developers, city planners, and government officials seeking
not only to revalorize property and re-energize the downtown economy,
but to expand its growth to much of the inner city (Rast 2001). In contrast,
the distance from the city center for once-exclusive, middle-class places such
as Rogers Park was increasingly viewed as a liability. In the three locales un-
der investigation here, art production became the instrument of choice to
both promote and stand against the revalorization of property, to promote
and resist cultural change, and to solve local problems.
Local People and Local Color
Bronzeville: The Soul of Black Chicago
Bronzeville
2
begins just three miles south of the Loop at Twenty-Sixth Street,
extending south to Hyde Park at Fifty-First Street. It is set apart from the
South Loop and from Pilsen by a complex web of industrial and commer-
cial transportation lines, including the Chicago River, the Dan Ryan and
Adlai E. Stevenson expressways, and multiple train lines, all of which have
served to isolate the locale for most of the century. Bronzeville includes
much of the historic Black Belt, the port of entry for southern blacks migrat-
ing to Chicago in the early twentieth century via rail lines from the southern
United States. Once considered the “Black Metropolis” and a thriving “city
within a city” (Drake and Cayton [1945] 1962), the area was the center of
Local Places / 37
black commerce and black life in the Midwest. With the concentration of
poverty that came with the mid-century construction of high-rise public
housing, it became one of Chicago’s most neglected ghettos.
Contemporary Bronzeville was conceived as a redevelopment project in
the early 1990s with the intention of restoring the historic early twentieth-
century metropolis that once dominated Chicago’s Mid-South region.
The name is derived from the term “bronzeville,” a generic reference to
any segregated, predominantly black town or place in the post–Civil War
United States. Yet it frames the narrative driving redevelopment: Chicago’s
Bronzeville was the place where a racially segregated, clearly circumscribed,
but economically diverse and culturally rich black population was con-
tained; it was a place where poor blacks, middle-class blacks, black pro-
fessionals, and black entrepreneurs all lived together because restrictive
covenants barred them from living anywhere else in Chicago; in the twenty-
first century, Bronzeville would be restored as a culturally rich, economi-
cally diverse, and primarily black Chicago locale.
The historic Bronzeville narrative is drawn predominantly from two
sources: St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton’s sociological study, Black
Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, ([1945] 1962), and Blacks
([1945] 1987), a book of poetry by Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and past
Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks. According to Drake and Cayton,
in the mid-nineteenth century
the Negro community in Chicago began as a haven or refuge for escaped
slaves. It emerged a century later as Black Metropolis inhabited by the grand-
children and great-grandchildren of slaves. In the years between, it had be-
come a citadel of economic and political power in the midst of Midwest
Metropolis—an integral part of the city political machine and a reservoir for
industrial labor and personal and domestic servants. (755)
Bronzeville never was a city with corporate boundaries but was referred
to as “a city within a city” that functioned almost autonomously from the
rest of Chicago. It was a place on Chicago’s South Side created from two
Great Migrations of blacks from the southern United States. The first wave
came during World War I, from 1914 to 1918, to fill industrial jobs avail-
able in part due to limits on foreign immigration during the war. A second
migration took place during and after World War II. Over a forty-four-year
period (1900–1944), Chicago’s black population, then contained largely
in Bronzeville, increased elevenfold from 30,150 to 337,000 (Drake and
Cayton [1945] 1962, 8). Availability of all sorts of jobs meant economic
38 / Chapter Two
and educational opportunities, expansion of a black middle class, and crea-
tion of the cultural consciousness that would symbolize Bronzeville begin-
ning in the early twentieth century. According to Drake and Cayton, “The
middle class way of life is perhaps the most significant pattern of living
in Bronzeville. . . . [A middle-class black person is] usually a fairly well-
educated working man or woman who knows the ropes of the urban world,
wants to get ahead, and is determined to be ‘decent’ ” (714–15).
In a series of poems in Blacks ([1945] 1987) titled “A Street in Bronzeville,”
Gwendolyn Brooks described the lives of everyday people living in
Bronzeville. Through subjects such as “Bessie of Bronzeville Visits Mary and
Norman at a Beach-House in New Buffalo,” the old marrieds, kitchenettes,
domestic workers, murderers, a Negro hero, and Sadie and Maud, she subtly
distinguished black life and culture from that of the white elite through the
everyday lives and aspirations of her characters. Of Maud Martha, she wrote:
She would have liked a lotus, or China asters or the Japanese Iris, or meadow
lilies—yes, she would have like meadow lilies, because the very word meadow
made her breathe more deeply, and either fling her arms or want to fling her
arms, depending on who was by, rapturously up to whatever was watching in
the sky. But dandelions were what she chiefly saw. Yellow jewels for everyday,
studding the patched green dress of her back yard. She liked their demure
prettiness second to their everydayness; for in that latter quality she thought
she saw a picture of herself, and it was comforting to find that what was com-
mon could also be a flower. (143–44)
Just as “China asters” and “Japanese Iris” might be a specific reference to the
exotic or to Chicago’s North Side elite on Aster Street, “meadow lilies” and
“dandelions” capture the working-class, practical, yet distinctive character
of a life in historic Bronzeville. The heyday of Black Metropolis in the 1920s
was followed by disaster that hit during the Depression and years of decline
as the Chicago Housing Authority built high-rise public housing along South
State Street and South Lake Shore Drive. Although the public housing policy
intended to provide quality housing, its effect, according to historian Timuel
Black (1999), was to “warehouse the poor,” surrounding the commercial
businesses and middle-class residential districts of a black metropolis with
poverty. An editorial from a black traveler website highlights how the once-
controversial idea of dismantling public housing became commonplace:
The 6-mile-long Godzilla of [high-rise public housing], Robert Taylor Homes,
was built adjacent to the west side of Bronzeville. A few years later, more high-
Local Places / 39
rise housing projects [the Clarence Darrow projects] were built on the eastern
side of Bronzeville. This sandwiching effect devastated a community that pre-
viously had a well-functioning mix of working poor to middle-class residents.
The super-warehousing of poor people triggered Black middle-class flight out
of Bronzeville, thereby crippling businesses, schools and churches. . . . Even
though the region has many years ahead to reabsorb thousands of people from
the Godzilla-like housing projects being torn down, entrepreneurial activity
and sensible public works are yielding numerous visible results in Bronzeville.
Assuming the pace of renovation increases over this decade, Bronzeville will
likely experience a second Black Renaissance. (Dorsey 2004)
Like the Emerald City or Mecca, the name “Bronzeville” became a symbol of
a place; it referred to a specific place where black life, culture, business, and
politics thrived as if it were its own city; and it represented black cultural
distinction.
In 2000 Bronzeville was still predominantly black/African American
ethnicity (86%) as it had been for much of the previous century, with only
a small population (4%) being foreign-born. Although households living
in extreme poverty still predominated in 2000, household incomes began
shifting upward. The demolition of public housing and the voucher-based
redistribution of its residents led to a reduction in the number and con-
centration of those living in extreme poverty and a return of middle- and
upper-middle-class African Americans to the area. The influx of higher-
income and highly educated African Americans fueled hopes for a local Black
Renaissance. Yet the large tracts of vacant land—although intermingled with
stately brick and gray stone mansions, two-flats, occasional multi-unit apart-
ments, and condominium complexes—required substantial building to
transform Bronzeville from one of low population density (78,959 people
lived in the 5.1-square-mile area) back to a thriving black metropolis.
Pilsen: A Center of Mexican Culture
Pilsen
3
is located south and west of the downtown Loop and among the
three locales studied is closest to the city center. Although not included in
the earliest plans for the city, the floodplain that made up much of Pilsen
was included in the platting for Chicago when the city was incorporated in
1837. Planners and industrialists anticipated benefits once the Illinois and
Michigan Canal was complete, making the South Branch of the Chicago
River navigable to the Mississippi River. Although flooding and bad drain-
age has plagued Pilsen since its earliest settlements, the waterway attracted
40 / Chapter Two
both the nineteenth-century industrialists who built factories and the labor-
ers who built the canal and then manned the factories spawned by the
waterway.
Its first settlement in 1857 established Pilsen as port of entry for
foreign-born; first among these were Eastern Europeans. The name “Pilsen”
was adopted by the Eastern European immigrants from Bohemia,
4
Poland,
Yugoslavia, Germany, and Austria who settled in the area. “Pilsen” refers to
Plzenˇ , the capital city of West Bohemia, a western region of the present-day
Czech Republic. The place on Chicago’s Lower West Side acquired its name
when a Bohemian immigrant opened the Pilsen Café at 2110 South Halsted
Street in 1871. Although the surrounding areas at the time were rich with
European ethnic diversity, Bohemians were the largest group in Pilsen and
in “Praha,” the neighboring settlement named for Prague and located just
north of Pilsen in the area now dominated by the University of Illinois at
Chicago (UIC) campus. Jane Addams ([1910] 1938) described the Bohe-
mian settlement as “so vast that Chicago ranks as the third Bohemian city
in the world” (98–99).
5
The area would remain predominantly Bohemian
ethnic through World War I, while just south and east across the river bend
was the settlement of Chinese businessmen and laborers that would be-
come Chicago’s Chinatown.
Pilsen prospered after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as industrialists
and businesses relocated lumber yards, factories, and suppliers to this area
left untouched by the fire. Among them, Cyrus McCormick built a reaper
plant on a 24-acre plot on the South Branch of the Chicago River at West-
ern Avenue, for the company that would become International Harvester.
When it opened in 1873, McCormick’s reaper plant was one of the largest
factories in the United States and would be the only International Harvester
factory until 1910 (Adelman [1979] 1983, 6). The prosperity of local indus-
try, coupled with the relative deprivation in the lives of workers, stimulated
unionization. Newspaper reports on the violent clashes between police and
laborers branded Pilsen as “a hot-bed of Communism” and its militant Bo-
hemians as “mean . . . rash . . . bigoted” (Chicago Tribune, July 27, 1877, in
Adelman [1979] 1983, 55). Implication of the police in the violence came
after a series of events begun when 1,482 workers, who were locked out
of the McCormick plant in February 1886, clashed with officers. Violence
came to a head in the infamous May 1886 riot at Haymarket Square. Union
halls, ethnic churches, and the eight-hour workday are all testaments to the
powerful labor movement that emerged from nineteenth-century Pilsen,
but few of these labor activists would could have foreseen its transformation
a century later.
Local Places / 41
Pilsen is to [its western neighbor] Little Village as Chicago is to the suburbs.
Pilsen is the downtown; it represents the community, the Mexican people.
It is where the art is; it’s where you want to be. Little Village is the suburb;
it’s where the people live. There are a lot of parents and students [out] there.
Things close up early. People don’t go out at night. Buses end at 6 or 7 p.m.
(Estrada interview 2001)
As a twenty-first-century place, Pilsen has many of the nineteenth-century
characteristics of a historic working-class, ethnic enclave. Among these: mul-
tiple generations of working-class families can be seen gathering around the
one- and two-flat wood-frame homes; delivery trucks block streets as workers
load and unload merchandise for the many ethnic small businesses; foreign
language and iconography predominate on murals and signage for ethnic
restaurants, stores, social service agencies, and churches (plates 1 and 2);
and, on a limited number of highly publicized dates, parades celebrate
ethnic heritage and empowerment, with festivals around churches, parks,
schools, and art centers. Yet in the twenty-first century, the ethnicity is no
longer European, but predominantly Latino, of Mexican descent.
The name “Pilsen” was retained by Mexican Americans, who became the
dominant demographic category there by the last quarter of the twentieth
century. In 2000, within twelve of fifteen census tracts that make up Pilsen,
90 percent or more of the residents were of Mexican ethnicity. Residential
uses have not overtaken areas zoned as industrial along the southern border
of Pilsen, but in its easternmost census tracts, obsolete industrial structures
along the river provide studio and living spaces for artists. Within the artists’
section in eastern Pilsen was the greatest concentration of non-Latinos in
Pilsen, yet they represented only a third of the population in these census
tracts in 2000.
In spite of its historic characteristics as an industrial and residential locale
for ethnic immigrants, a number of facts challenged the notion of Pilsen as
an ethnic enclave in this century. First and foremost, Pilsen was not the only
place in Chicago where Mexican ethnics live; Chicago’s Mexican population
extends far beyond the community area of Pilsen. In 2000 Pilsen’s popula-
tion of 39,144 represented only 5 percent of Chicago’s 753,644 Latinos.
Other concentrations of Latino ethnics are found in adjoining areas west of
Pilsen, including Heart of Chicago and in La Villita, otherwise known as Lit-
tle Village, a residential section of South Lawndale; in Clearing and Back of
the Yards, both near Midway Airport; in the western areas of Humboldt Park
and Logan Square; in the far northern community areas of Edgewater and
Rogers Park; and in the near western suburbs of Cicero and Berwyn. Whereas
42 / Chapter Two
Pilsen, Little Village, and the adjoining suburbs are predominantly Mexican
American, other community areas that have substantial Latino populations
are less homogenously Mexican. They include or are dominated by Puerto
Ricans, Cubans, Jamaicans, Spaniards, and Central and South Americans.
Although Mexican ethnics have a long history in Chicago, they have more
recently benefited from the 1965 federal law the Hart-Cellar Act, which re-
moved the quota preference for European immigrants and opened the door
for increased immigration from elsewhere including Latin America.
For Mexican Americans like William Estrada, quoted earlier, the symbolic
order of Pilsen mirrors the center/place dichotomy, except that a local place
like Pilsen is the cultural center for a large population of Mexicans and Mex-
ican Americans that spans the city and suburbs. It functions as the cultural
center, not only because Pilsen was one of the most culturally active of the
Mexican locales, but because it is also home to the largest ethnic cultural
institution in the city dedicated to a Latino culture, the Mexican Fine Arts
Center Museum (MFACM), which opened in 1986 and was renamed the
National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in 2006. With the emergence
of an institutional core of Latino culture, Pilsen was becoming a pan-ethnic
cultural center for the variety of Latino ethnicities that live throughout the
city and the Midwest.
Further challenging the notion of Pilsen as an ethnic enclave is the variety
of ways that art producers pursued artistic autonomy from not only insti-
tutional and market controls, but also from expectations of ethnic culture.
Networks of cutting-edge, transnational, and museum-quality artists exist
between two competing local interests: one interested in the institutional
legitimacy of Mexican culture and another interested in homogenizing local
culture as part of a gentrification process.
Finally, there is the cultural competition from non-Latinos, including
descendants of Bohemian, Polish, and other Eastern European immigrants
whose families settled in Pilsen in the nineteenth and early twentieth centu-
ries. Among them was the Podmajersky family, whose early descendants first
moved to the area in 1917. John Podmajersky II began purchasing property
in the eastern section of Pilsen in the 1950s. The family owns much of the
property in “Pilsen East,” as the family called the area until the Podmajersky
real estate corporation rebranded the area in 2002 the “Chicago Arts District.”
Other independent artists also purchased property and were accompanied
by renters who were attracted by the increasingly cutting-edge, hyper-
progressive, chic aura found among within this easternmost industrial edge
of Pilsen.
Local Places / 43
Rogers Park: The Most Culturally Diverse Place in Chicago
Rogers Park,
6
located ten miles north of the Loop, is the farthest north of
any of Chicago’s community areas and is adjacent to the northern suburb of
Evanston. Established on land first owned by an Irish settler, Phillip Rogers,
Rogers Park was incorporated as a village in 1878, then annexed by Chicago
in 1893 (Mooney-Melvin 1993). Among the factors that established Rog-
ers Park as a middle-class place predating mid-century suburbs were access
by rail lines such as those connecting Chicago to Milwaukee (1860) and
the Northwestern Elevated commuter line (1908); influence of religious
and scholarly elites through the establishment of Loyola University (1906)
and Mundelein College (1930); and construction of middle-class amenities
such as lakefront beaches, entertainment centers such as the Marx Brothers’
flagship theater—the Granada Theatre—and high-quality brick-and-stone
multi-unit dwellings.
Its population grew as immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Luxem-
bourg settled in Rogers Park and the surrounding locales, bringing with
them distinct ethnic cultural practices of Jewish, Roman Catholic, and
Protestant faiths. The foundation for the cultural diversity of present-day
Rogers Park was established upon the principal of religious tolerance by
the religious institutions and organizations built there after World War I.
Among the wide range of religious organizations still existing in Rogers Park
and its neighboring West Ridge (often referred to as West Rogers Park) in
2001 were
thirty Jewish congregations, twenty-seven Protestant churches, six mosques,
five Roman Catholic parishes, the Croatian Catholic Mission, an Assyrian
Catholic church, four Buddhist temples or meditation centers, a Hindu
temple, a Sikh gurdwa¯ra¯ and five or more New Age meditation and worship
centers. Of the Jewish congregations, twenty-one were Orthodox, three Tra-
ditional, four Conservative, one Reform, and one Lubavitcher. Of the Protes-
tant churches, five were mainline denominations, the remaining seventeen
included Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and various pentecostal,
evangelical, and sectarian groups—many with names indicating an ethnic or
national identity. (Livezey 2001, 48)
Equally significant to the concentration of traditional and Orthodox re-
ligious centers was the hundreds of Indian and Pakistani restaurants and
businesses along Devon Avenue, a commercial corridor bordering several
community areas.
44 / Chapter Two
Religious diversity planted the seeds for tolerance of cultural diversity to-
day. With the in-migration of Latino and Asian groups in the last half of the
twentieth century, this historically white, ethnic, working-/middle-class place
became linguistically and racially diverse. In 2000 Rogers Park was home to
nearly equal proportions of people who self-identified as white (32%), black
(30%), or Latino (28%), with lower percentages of Asian/Pacific islanders
(6%) or other races (4%). As 34 percent of its population was foreign-born—
including an array of Eastern Europeans, North, Central, and South Africans,
South and Central Americans, and South and East Asians—the traditional
classifications of ethnics as Americans, such as African Americans, Mexican
Americans, or Asian Americans, could not be readily applied.
By the end of the twentieth century, Rogers Park was known for its diver-
sity; and it was promoted as a neighborhood asset, as is seen in this state-
ment by the local city council representative Alderman Joe Moore:
The 49th Ward is one of the most diverse and vibrant communities to be
found anywhere in the world. Our community is a model for the rest of the
city and nation, truly showing that a racially and economically diverse com-
munity can thrive and grow. (Moore 2007)
This description of Rogers Park pervaded accounts of the locale on websites
and flyers. And just as the identities of “black” or “Latino” were constructed
and reproduced through localized cultural representations in Pilsen and
Bronzeville, so was this concept of “diversity.” In Rogers Park, diversity was
represented as a collective cultural identity of the total variety of residents.
Diversity meant a multiplicity of identities; it was an identity in which no
single group of a particular racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, income, or status
was to dominate. For individuals, this meant people like Al Goldberg, a real
estate broker of Jewish ancestry, could organize public drumming circles
that included both men and women from an array of racial, ethnic, social,
or economic backgrounds, who all joined the circle with drums from a va-
riety of cultural traditions. This contrasted with some Afrocentric traditions
in which only men are allowed to drum and the instruments have to appear
handmade and of African origin.
With its 2000 population of more than 60,000 within a 1.8-square-mile
area, Rogers Park had the highest population density of the three locales in
this study. In Rogers Park—more than in Pilsen or Bronzeville—there were
families that had lived in the neighborhood for nearly a hundred years in
the brick-and-gray-stone two-flats and single-family homes whose values
Local Places / 45
had appreciated at a pace slower than those farther south near the Loop or
farther north in the suburbs. But high-rise apartment buildings with studio
and one-bedroom apartments built before the mid-century had more than
half of the rental units available in Rogers Park, and these attracted a more
transient population, including students at Loyola University Chicago and
Northwestern University in the bordering suburb of Evanston. Although
larger rental units were still available, between 1997 and 2000 more than a
thousand of those units were converted to condominiums. Long-term resi-
dency, more so than membership in a particular racial or ethnic group or
class, was a marker of local status. Tom Peterson (pseudonym), a voter reg-
istrar, explained this to me as he filled out my registration form.
“Did you just move to the neighborhood?” he asked.
“No, I’ve been here for some time,” I responded.
“Oh, how long?” he inquired.
“A year and a half,” I said.
He laughed.
“At Community Council meetings, when residents stand to speak, they
preface what they are to say by stating how long they have been in the neigh-
borhood. I have been here eleven years and people look at me like I am a
newcomer,” he said. (Peterson interview 2002)
This helped to explain, for example, why Peter Wolf, the host of the “In One
Ear” weekly open-mic poetry event at the Heartland Café, each week intro-
duced himself as a “third-generation resident of Rogers Park.” Such claims
were regularly asserted to bolster an individual’s status. Long-term residency
in Rogers Park provided a marker of a trusted voice in public debate about
the future of the locale and of the political issues of the day, and residents
were expected to be part of these debates through the many local activist
networks.
Within the political environment in Rogers Park, it was difficult to be too
committed to a cause. Residents of the Far North Side community area openly
criticized their city council representative, Alderman Joe Moore, for his gener-
ally weak stance on just about everything. “Less is Moore” was the dismissive
phrase regularly used to condemn his general lack of effectiveness and convic-
tion, according to just about any standard held by his constituents.
But a change occurred in 2006 when he authored a citywide ordinance
banning all Chicago restaurants from serving foie gras (or “fatty liver” pâté).
When the ban passed, he became endeared to his constituents who were
46 / Chapter Two
morally opposed to the animal cruelty involved in force-feeding ducks and
geese for foie gras and who regularly stood to the political left of both the
downtown and global elitist interests on just about every issue, including
world peace, worker rights, farmer rights, gay rights, animal rights, and the
environment.
With the city’s political history as a working-class city, it’s not hard to
imagine how a ban on selling foie gras passed the Chicago City Council.
Mayor Richard M. Daley was elected in 1989 as a representative of Chicago’s
white “dees, dem, and does” working class. And, as the son of the mythic mid-
century “Boss,” Richard J. Daley, it’s not hard to imagine the mayor steam-
rolling over his political opposition. But it is hard to imagine this mayor
steamrolling over his opposition for the right to buy foie gras in a Chicago
restaurant. But that is exactly what he did two years after the ban took effect.
He claimed the ordinance “made Chicago an international laughingstock”
(Spielman 2008). His actions are described as “a legislative end-run that
set a new standard for violating protocol and rolling over the opposition”
(Spielman 2008). As Alderman Moore shouted to be heard in the city coun-
cil chambers, Mayor Daley slammed the gavel on a 37–6 vote to repeal the
ban, declaring, “Thank you, Joe ‘foie gras’ Moore” (Spielman 2008). In spite
of the repeal, it was a moral victory for the alderman and for Rogers Park.
The ban represented Rogers Park as a place of compassionate activism and
Alderman Moore as a committed, proactive, and forward-thinking leader.
This was the cultural, social, and political context in which Rogers Park
residents claimed a place in Chicago. The northern fringe of the city was not
a place for middle-of-the-road, mainstream, conservative political views; it
was assertively, if not radically, left-leaning. And just as preserving ethnic
and racial presence and ownership has been a rallying point for residents
in Pilsen and Bronzeville, preserving diversity in what some local advocates
refer to as “the most diverse place in the world” had been a rallying point for
nearly forty years. Diversity advocates operated through a problem-solving
network involving both civic and cultural interests to maintain diversity as a
steady state, rather than a transitional phase in an urban succession pattern
headed for either decline or gentrification.
Change after the Modern Industrial Era
In spite of the persistence of some historical characteristics, each of these
three places was a site of change resulting in part from larger economic and
cultural forces operating well beyond these locales and out of the control of
local leaders and residents.
Local Places / 47
Their economic location as working-class places was at first evident by
median household income (in 2000), which in each of the three locales
was below the median of $38,625 for Chicago (Bronzeville $22,021, Pilsen
$26,975, Rogers Park $32,444). Yet their ranges of local household income
provided a more nuanced picture of their contemporary socioeconomic lo-
cation (fig. 7). The dominant income category in Pilsen (38%) and Rogers
Park (32%) was comprised of households with incomes between $20,000
and $39,999, providing a picture consistent with their median figures and
representing working-class to lower-middle-class majorities. Yet Bronzeville
in 2000 still had a “double peak” even after much of the public housing had
been dismantled; the dominant group (31%) was with households living
in extreme poverty (under $10,000 annually), and a second group (19%)
of its households had incomes between $20,000 and $39,000. Its median
income ($22,021) trended toward poverty but was counterbalanced by
the proportion of upper-middle- and upper-income households. Each of
the three locales had about 5 percent of their population in the category
of the upper-middle class (household income $100,000–$199,999), yet
Bronzeville had a greater proportion of wealthy households, with 559 (2%)
of its households earning more than $200,000, compared to 57 (0.45%) in
Pilsen and 261 (1%) in Rogers Park.
31%
19%
5%
34%
16%
1%
19%
5%
1%
2%
12%
13%
16%
21%
4%
14%
10%
12%
32%
17%
14%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
< $10,000 $10,000 -
$19,999
$20,000 -
$39,999
$40,000 -
$59,999
$60,000 -
$99,999
$100,000 -
$199,999
$200,000 >
Bronzeville Pilsen Rogers Park
Figure 7. Comparison of income range in Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.
Source: U.S. Census 2000.
48 / Chapter Two
The dramatic change seen in the physical, social, and cultural aspects of
Bronzeville was also visible in its economic statistics. In the 1970s, nearly three-
quarters of Bronzeville’s population were living in extreme poverty, a figure
that had diminished to 48 percent by 1990 and 31 percent by 2000 (fig. 8).
The reduction was the direct result of the dismantling of high-rise public
housing. The more recent poverty rates will likely be reduced even more by the
2010 census, as the dismantling of public housing continued. In 2000 pov-
erty still engulfed the largest proportion of people in Bronzeville, and it was
in fact double that of either Pilsen or Rogers Park. Although the proportion of
people in the working/middle class (household income $20,000–$39,000)
in Bronzeville showed little change from 1990 to 2000, the remaining upper-
middle- to upper-class categories showed substantial increases, as black
professionals began to move back to the area beginning in the 1980s. By
comparison, median income groups in both Pilsen and Rogers Park showed
small changes.
Race and Ethnicity as a Collective Resource
These three places under discussion are all in a former industrial city in
which the hierarchies of race and ethnicity were once structured as ascribed,
subordinate statuses and maintained largely through the structure of labor
17%
19%
9%
4%
2%
31%
16%
19%
13%
12%
7%
48%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Lessthan
$10,000
$10,000-
$19,999
$20,000-
$39,999
$40,000-
$59,999
$60,000-
$99,999
$100,000or
more
1989(1990U.S.Census) 1999(2000U.S.Census)
Figure 8. Bronzeville household income 1989 and 1999.
Source: U.S. Census 1990 and 2000.
Local Places / 49
production practices. Yet within a post-industrial economy in a postmodern
culture, identity and cultural meanings are no longer “fixed” but can shift
within different contexts. Racial and ethnic identities were no longer infor-
mal, casually performed reinforcements of hierarchical social structures of
inequality—in effect, “doing” race and ethnicity, as West and Zimmerman
argued, we might “do gender” (1987); nor were they unconscious moni-
kers of elite or subordinate cultural status (Bourdieu [1979] 1984; Halle
1993); nor was racial and ethnic identity abandoned as members of mi-
nority populations attained middle-class status (Frazier 1957; Evans [1992]
1995; Schwartzman 2007). Rather, as this study demonstrates, race and
ethnicity were self-identifications that were individually asserted and then
mobilized as a collective resource for financial, political, and now cultural
enfranchisement.
This relationship between individual and collective identity and its im-
portance to the empowerment of historically “minority” groups became
apparent as I conducted research simultaneously in black, Mexican, and
multi-ethnic locales. My relatively dark complexion and curly hair allowed
me to “pass” as any number of racial or ethnic identities. This confounded
some efforts by onlookers to categorize my race or ethnicity by my ap-
pearance alone. The first time I was directly confronted with the topic was
with Handley (pseudonym), an older black man with whom I had casually
conversed on several occasions. One day when no one was around, he po-
litely said, “May I ask you what race you identify with?” My response was a
lengthy account of ancestors whose race was not documented. Some rela-
tives were from Canada, and there were family rumors of black and Native
American ancestry in that lineage; however, racial identification was not on
any official documents such as my family members’ birth certificates nor in
census records from the area in Canada where at least some of my relatives
once lived. So I explained to him that because I could not claim a racial or
an ethnic ancestry for certain, I didn’t.
This was not what Handley wanted to hear. In fact, it was an unaccept-
able response. Rather than pursuing the issue by asking what other members
of my family looked like or where else they lived besides Canada—as some
other people had responded to my story—he became angry. He abruptly
retorted, “Stupid little bitch,” as he turned to walk away.
On a separate occasion, Paula Robinson was more insistent. After speak-
ing to my students at the University of Chicago about her leadership and
activism in Bronzeville, she accepted an invitation for a soda in my office.
She sat down and firmly placed her hands on the armrests of the chair and
said, “A few of us have been talking. And well, Tyrone [pseudonym] is
50 / Chapter Two
convinced you are biracial and from South Africa. Others have thought
[abrupt pause], well, I am not leaving until you tell me what race you are.”
Unlike Handley, Paula smiled and accepted the ambiguity of my response
and said, “Oh, I see, this is about searching for your roots.”
When I shared these experiences with Gregg Spears, an artist from Bronze-
ville, he admitted that he too had wondered. He further questioned what
I knew about my family tree and then affirmed “a lot of slaves escaped to
Canada. It was a haven for blacks seeking freedom.”
What these and other experiences highlighted was that I was expected to
assert an identity as white, black, biracial, French, German, Polish, Puerto
Rican, Brazilian, South African—all interpretations of my identity offered
directly or indirectly to me during this study. Furthermore, I was expected
to assert a status position, referring to the wealth, education, and social
standing of my family within a racial and ethnic group. This was something
I sought not to do as I straddled these multiple groups in multiple places.
Rather, the ambiguity of my identity served my purposes as an ethnogra-
pher as I straddled the kind of insider and outsider status that is necessary
for ethnographic research.
My appearance and my ancestry were not the only aspects of my identity
that were challenged as part of this research. Gerald Sanders, an artist who
taught art out of a home/studio publicized as “Studio Bronzeville,” permit-
ted me to observe an art class if I agreed to participate, by drawing along with
the rest of the class. He gave me a magazine clipping of a white woman and
required me to draw the left half of her face, while indicating he would draw
the right half. Although his side of the drawing demonstrated more finesse
as a portrait artist and illustrator than my side of the drawing, both he and
the class were mildly impressed that I actually could draw a relatively accu-
rate reproduction of the photograph. But what was more surprising to all of
us was that on Sanders’s side of the picture the woman looked black, while
on my side she looked white. We figured out that it was minor adjustments
of contrast between highlights and shadows that we both intuitively em-
ployed in our drawing technique. These contrasts, between the whites of the
eye and the surrounding skin, between the edge of the nose and the face, and
between strands of hair gave the impression of black or white (plate 3).
Postmodern Places
Within each of these locales, race and ethnicity were collective resources
useful for attracting both public and private investment and for building
locally based cultures. In Bronzeville and Pilsen, “black” and “Latino” iden-
Local Places / 51
tities were linked to voting blocs and to people, places, and events in the
United States, as well as various national cultures in Africa, Mexico, the
Caribbean, and Central and South America. Ethnic cultural identity was
expressed through ethnic hair and clothing style, art objects, and events.
In Rogers Park, diversity was expressed through representation of the full
variety of cultures living in the place; to be a member of a “diverse commu-
nity” meant one was literate about cultural differences, but not bound by
allegiance to a single national, historical, sexual, or economic status. Rather
than experiencing aesthetic pleasure through the limits of cultural refine-
ment, pleasure was experienced through what Herb Gans described as “taste
cultures” ([1974] 1999) allowing people to experience many cultures. “Cul-
tural omnivores” (Peterson and Rossman 2005) living in a diverse place
moved freely among and across such culturally defined borders without
swearing allegiance to any. Yet just like race in Bronzeville and ethnicity in
Pilsen, diversity in Rogers Park was an identity of a place that was expected
to be asserted and was also used to mobilize resources. As a result, these
three locales distinguished themselves by their claims to the cultural signifi-
cance of racial or ethnic identity and their diversity.
Within the competition for local ownership and control, individuals
were expected to assert a cultural identity that was in line with the dominant
group of that locale. In Bronzeville, where blacks were dominant, light-
skinned blacks, who looked white but self-identified as black or African
American, were regularly defended as being “black” by other local residents.
In Pilsen, “Latino” rather than “Hispanic” (a Eurocentric reference to Spain)
was the generalized self-referent. Latinos who were not of Mexican ances-
try but were from Venezuela, Panama, or Puerto Rico, for example, were
included as members of the dominant ethnicity in Pilsen—a pan-ethnic
category of Latino—but their different national origins were not. And in
Rogers Park, where diversity was the dominant ethnicity, one was expected
to participate in a range of cultural and ethnic heritages as an important part
of the local cultural mix.
Conclusions
In this chapter, I have provided snapshots of the historic and contempo-
rary contexts of three local places—Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park—to
demonstrate that locality was not only socially situated but had geographic
and historic components. Both the historic and the physical placement of
these locales within the city have distinct consequences for the lives of resi-
dents and for the knowledge and the art they produce.
52 / Chapter Two
For the cases of Bronzeville, an economic and cultural center for black
Chicagoans, and Pilsen, once home to a large Bohemian population and to-
day a cultural center for Mexican Americans in Chicago, the terms “ghetto”
or “enclave” do not describe the locales or their culture. Rather, these are
concepts that locate race and ethnicity in places removed from the cultural
core.
The histories and demographics of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park
might predict particular forms of class-based aesthetics and art production.
The predominance of working-class residents in both Pilsen and Rogers
Park hints at a predominance of family- and education-based art produc-
tion within these locales. By contrast, the presence of a substantial popula-
tion living in extreme poverty in Bronzeville coupled with the population
increases in the upper-middle classes provide clues to why elite forms of art
production were, until recently, confined to private interaction.
In contemporary Chicago, the relatively balanced proportion of blacks,
whites, and Latinos, the increasing size of their populations, and the rela-
tively recent political empowerment of blacks and Latinos have created a
context for challenging the disproportionate distribution of cultural power.
Further exploration of the activities of local art production networks pro-
vides insight into how such groups sought cultural power proportionate to
the size of their population and political influence.
THREE
Community-Based Art and Ideologies
of Local Participation
Mid-Century Arts Activism in Chicago
The local art networks as discussed in this book emerged through a
community-oriented form of art production in mid-century Chicago. Blacks,
Latinos, and other white ethnics found ways to validate and legitimize local
cultural practices in ways that would ultimately position their work and lo-
cal places within the struggle and competition over urban space. Art that was
“made in a community,” “represented a community,” or was “community-
based” distinguished local art from the downtown institutional culture and
expanded the range of participants who would be involved or likely to be
involved in art activity. Expanded involvement in local art production net-
works, along with newly formed ethnic institutions, provided members of
racial and ethnic minority groups with opportunities to align their interests
and assert rights to representation in both public and private space.
The accounts in this chapter contribute to the development of a theory of
local art networks by showing how cultural empowerment efforts emerged
through two distinct groups of art producers: one that sought institution-
alization of ethnic culture as a means to represent a minority group as “a
community,” the other that incorporated the ideas of local residents into
the production process of art as a way to redefine the territory of local cul-
tural production. Together they created a dialogue critical of exclusive forms
of production and changed who was involved and how they were involved
or expected to be involved in the making and preserving of art.
Both of these developments—of institutions representing racially and
ethnically defined cultures and of the “community-based” approach involv-
ing black, Latino, and other residents of ethnic locales in mural making—
challenged commonly held theories of culture as a broadly shared “human
54 / Chapter Three
trait” (Park ([1931] 1964, 4). Even though theories attributing social or
cultural order to natural causes have been debunked by contemporary so-
cial theorists, they remain within the commonsense explanations for local
cultural differences. These accounts of the creation of institutions for ethnic
culture and of the emergence of the community-based art-making practices
provide further contemporary evidence of how cultural differences are con-
structed. As two separate efforts, they are both important to understanding
the networks of local art production discussed in later chapters. By mobiliz-
ing the resources to embed knowledge within legitimate forms of political
and cultural power, these art producers provided the foundation for locally
based knowledge to become what Bourdieu considered to be a form of cul-
tural capital (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990).
A Museum to Represent “a Community”
The process to establish formally organized ethnic institutions outside the
city center relied on a community-oriented programming framework by
which nonprofit organizations directed their service and cultural program-
ming to racially or ethnically defined populations. This process—beginning
with the founding of the Ebony Museum in 1961 (becoming the DuSable
Museum of African American History in 1973) and followed by the estab-
lishment of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in 1986 (becoming the
National Museum of Mexican Art in 2006)—led to recognition of the insti-
tutional status of racially and ethnically defined culture in Chicago. It was
part of a larger civil rights strategy calling for representation and inclusion
of blacks, Latinos, Asians, and other ethnic groups in the city’s institutions,
and for equitable access to the services in locales throughout the city.
Margaret Burroughs’s account of the 1961 founding of a museum in her
Bronzeville home highlights how a network of teachers, artists, and activ-
ists with a shared interest in black accounts of history used a combination
of entrepreneurial and social movement tactics to gain legitimacy of these
accounts and establish the first major cultural institution of black history
in Chicago. In this context, “community” referred to a large demographic
group in Chicago comprised of people who shared an identity—whether it
was ascribed or self-asserted—within the fixed racial category of “black” or
“African American.”
Burroughs envisioned a museum from the standpoint of a teacher, artist,
and a self-described “Griot,” or tribal elder in African life, whose job it was
to “preserve the achievements, exploits, and legends of a tribe and pass
them down from one generation to the next” (Burroughs 1991, 1). She
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 55
viewed the museum as necessary to connect contemporary blacks to their
history and heritage:
The other museums did not put any emphasis on African American history,
Africa, or anything like that. There wasn’t anything existing. Being a teacher, I
just felt there should be something. Then of course when I got to the point of
realizing that it was purposely kept away from you—“to know where you are
going you must know from whence you came.” History books did not have
anything positive about the accomplishments of black people. Pick up your
dictionary and look up the word “white” and look up the word “black.” You’ll
see. (Burroughs interview 2003)
Participants in Burroughs’s network were predominantly middle-class
activist educators who sought to build upon and institutionalize black
consciousness by constructing alternative accounts of history. An artist, a
graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, a teacher in the Chicago Public
Schools and at a local community college, a founding member of the South
Side Community Art Center, and a founder of the Lake Meadows Art Fair,
Burroughs was in a strategic network position to access the people and re-
sources necessary to establish a museum. In addition to her master’s degree
in art education, she was awarded an honorary PhD from the School of
the Art Institute of Chicago. Over the course of her thirty-year career as a
teacher, she had network connections to literally thousands of students,
teachers, and artists:
Some of us were developing this interest in black history. I think I had read
a book by Booker T. Washington in which he said, setting up Tuskegee Insti-
tute, “Put down your buckets where you are.” We were sitting up in the living
room in 3806 South Michigan Avenue [in Bronzeville]. “Put your buckets
where you are.” We were in the living room. Good advice.
We decided to take his advice. We didn’t have anybody to build any build-
ing or anything like that. [This was in] 1961. And so we took the foyer [and
it became] the entrance hall, the first room, which was the parlor; the sec-
ond room, which is generally the library; the third room, which is the dining
room; and we cleared any furniture out of there. And we put whatever we had
up on the walls. We put a sign up, “Ebony Museum. Admission Free.” (Bur-
roughs interview 2003)
As the first step toward institutional legitimization, Burroughs filed for
501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, forming a nonprofit organization with an
56 / Chapter Three
educational focus on black history by 1963. The nonprofit formalization
of this home-based museum further supported a black cultural network by
creating a recognized public space for imagery representing the history of
black accomplishment. For Margaret Burroughs the artist, this meant that
she created artwork on the topic of black leadership.
“I was particularly interested in doing the historical figures because
we were developing the museum and [because of] the fact that there was
very little illustrative material like that,” she said. In the 1960s, she pro-
duced a series of linocuts on women leaders, including Harriet Tubman
and Emma Lazarus. Burroughs and other artists produced print editions
depicting Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. DuBois.
Early exhibitions in the museum included prints and artworks produced by
Burroughs and the network of teachers involved in the museum.
Community-Based as Activating a Community
As Burroughs built support for the museum, in 1967 she met William
Walker, a muralist working on what she described as “an outdoor museum”
(Huebner 1997). Walker and a network of black artists, intellectuals, and
activists changed how artists and non-artists interacted through the pro-
duction of a mural in the heart of Chicago’s South Side black ghetto. Their
activation of “a community” meant involvement of a broader network of
participants beyond artists, administrators, and traditional patrons in the
art-making process. This process would become an indelible part of black
aesthetics. This kind of exchange between artists and non-artists became
recognized as a form of knowledge, or cultural capital, important and nec-
essary to the production of art among black art producers; it is a founda-
tion for black aesthetic production as it represents art production “from the
ground up, rather than the top down” (McCoy interview 2008).
In the mid-1960s, Walker, a sign painter and trained muralist, had the
idea of mural painting in public with local residents as a way to address the
inhumane conditions of black life in this urban ghetto.
1
By 1967 Walker
identified a wall on a building at the corner of Forty-Third Street and Langley
Avenue, just blocks from where Patric McCoy would move forty years later.
He brought the idea to one of the first meetings of the Visual Artists Work-
shop of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), a collective
of writers, artists, and musicians forming on Chicago’s Far South Side. In
agreeing to produce a two-story mural honoring black heroes, naming it
the Wall of Respect, and planning it with the involvement of local residents,
neighborhood organizations, political representatives, and gangs, Walker
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 57
and fourteen other artists of OBAC initiated the process that became associ-
ated with community-based murals. In short, this meant the artwork was
developed with input and involvement from local residents, before, during,
and after the project; in effect, local residents became part of the network of
producers who created and shared ownership of the work.
Walker secured the permission and involvement from the 43rd Street
Community Organization, the business owners in the building, and local
gangs. Not among the consenting parties were the building’s absentee land-
lords (Huebner 1997). The network of artists pooled their own money to
rent scaffolding and buy paint. Their interaction with local residents in-
cluded both formal and informal exchanges to plan and create the imagery;
hands-on participation by artists and non-artists in the painting process;
protection of the mural by local residents and gangs; and ongoing use of
the mural site for educational purposes and as a meeting place for local
organizing (plate 4).
The subject of the Wall of Respect was “black heroes,” as defined by the
OBAC artists:
. . . any Black person who:
Honestly reflects the beauty of Black life and genius in his or her style.
Does not forget his Black brothers and sisters who are less fortunate.
Does what he does in such an outstanding manner that he or she cannot
be imitated or replaced.
2
The mural features fifty images of notable African Americans who were
not recognized as heroes or leaders within the Chicago Public School cur-
riculum, nor were they part of official accounts of accomplishment in main-
stream history. Among the heroes represented are slave revolt leader Nat
Turner; activists H. Rap Brown (later known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin),
Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Marcus Garvey; Congressman Adam
Clayton Powell Jr.; athletes Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell; dancer Darlene Blackburn; actors
Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, and Dick Gregory;
religious leaders Wyatt Tee Walker and Elijah Muhammad; musicians Nina
Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Oscar
Brown Jr., and Thelonious Monk; and writers Gwendolyn Brooks, James
Baldwin, LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka), and W. E. B. DuBois.
The spectacle of larger-than-life black heroes reportedly generated more
interaction and exchange between the artists and local residents than an-
ticipated. Although the process enabled local residents to assert cultural
1.
2.
3.
58 / Chapter Three
ownership of the mural in their neighborhood, “community-based” did
not mean arising from within the local place. In fact, this collective of in-
tellectuals, artists, and activists were outsiders to the ghetto neighborhood
where they painted the mural. OBAC was co-founded by three artists: Jeff
Donaldson, a teacher at Northeastern Illinois University and a PhD candi-
date at Northwestern University who would later become an art professor
and dean at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Gerald McWorter,
a University of Chicago sociologist; and Hoyt Fuller, Negro Digest editor
(Huebner 1997). Also involved was Robert Sengstacke, a photographer
whose family founded Bronzeville’s most prominent newspaper, the Chi-
cago Defender. They were the offspring of a generation of the black working
and middle class that had left Bronzeville as segregation laws were disman-
tled and the area’s concentration of poor increased due to the construction
of public housing projects. Yet they saw it as their responsibility to return to
the ghetto “as average people relating to the masses,” according to Eugene
Wade (2000). But they brought with them the critical insight to the prob-
lems that created the ghetto. They used art as a means to be reengaged in
the area and to reengage the neighborhood population in black culture. The
idea that artists should talk to and interact with local residents and leaders
was both revolutionary and innovative, particularly in the context of the
then-current academic production of art that privileged the artist and the
artist’s perspective.
3
Production of the mural was part of growing interest among black intel-
lectuals to affirm black accomplishments and the intrinsic beauty of black-
ness while producing art that spoke to the needs and aspirations of black
Americans. The mural process and the final product were seen and intended
as tools for social change and local empowerment. Moreover, according to
Donaldson, the mural was an “aesthetic extension of the turf-identifying
graffiti scrawled on neighborhood buildings. . . . [It was an] instantaneous
shrine to black creativity, a rallying point for revolutionary rhetoric and calls
to action, and a national symbol of the heroic black struggle for liberation
in America” (Huebner 1997). Yet several conflicts led to the disbanding
of the Visual Artists Workshop after completion of the mural. Among these
were ideological conflict over civil rights versus black power and disagree-
ments about permanent versus changing imagery, whether non-black artists
could be part of the art-making collaboration, and even what constituted
“a community.”
Their reputation for activating local residents through the production
of art led to invitations and commissions in other cities and to recognition
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 59
by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), a then-young museum estab-
lished among the downtown institutions in 1967, around the same time
as the Wall of Respect was painted on the South Side. Murals for the People,
an exhibition that opened in February 1971 at the MCA, declared that the
growing number of murals represented a “movement.”
Formalization of the Community-Based Approach
The community-based process led to innovation in art making and expan-
sion of who was involved in a network of producers; local residents increas-
ingly expected to be included in art projects in their locales. The process that
began with the Wall of Respect led to the further development of the idea
and its recognition as a legitimate artistic approach among black, white, and
Latino muralists and among locals residents throughout Chicago. As an ap-
proach to art making, it was framed by an expectation of a dialogue between
the artist and a broader network of participants; the process decentralized
the primacy of artists to favor exchange and interaction between artists and
“a community,” which the art producers themselves constituted through
inviting and allowing involvement in the production process and in the
selection of imagery. This approach, initiated by Walker and other activ-
ist muralists operating on Chicago’s South Side, provided the procedural
foundation for art produced outside of the cultural core and representing
the interests of people other than those of the cultural core. For black art
producers in particular, it provided the representational foundation for fur-
ther development of black aesthetics and black cultural capital, as discussed
more fully in chapter 4.
Pursuit of Institutional Legitimacy
Margaret Burroughs saw the mural movement and specifically the Wall of
Respect as part of a vibrant cultural world that “encouraged development
and interest” in her black history museum (Huebner 1997). These shared
interests could have remained in relative obscurity within the small, home-
based museum. What the next part of the story shows is how the museum’s
legitimacy as an institution was not the climax of a broad-based movement,
nor was it earned through gradual growth of its member roster or through
visitation; instead, its legitimacy as a cultural institution was conferred
through its eventual location on public parkland, among other private cul-
tural institutions similarly situated on public property. Burroughs gained
60 / Chapter Three
knowledge and access to this public support through an internship at one of
the downtown institutions, and then won a place among these institutions
through issue-focused, movement-style politics.
Through her work as an intern at the Field Museum of Natural History,
Burroughs learned of a state law granting park districts the authority to levy
taxes for funding capital expenditures and general operations of park-based
museums and aquariums:
A good white person told me this. I was an intern at the Field Museum in 1968
and this person told me. He said, “Go down to the state building and look up
the statutes related to museums,” which I did. [It said], “Any group of Illinois
citizens who start a museum, which is located on state [park] land, is entitled
to support from the tax levy that is for capital expansion and operational
expenses” [Illinois Statute 70 ILS 1290]. So I found that all our museums on
parkland—the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and
Industry, and so forth, so on, so on, all share in this money. And so that’s why
when we got in that particular site [in Washington Park], we were able share
in that too. (Burroughs interview 2003)
Through the internship, Burroughs got access to valuable information
that had the potential to expand her network to museum professionals,
government officials, and park commissioners who had access to public fi-
nancial resources. In Illinois, parks are considered “special districts” as are
counties or municipalities. Special districts include airports and civic cen-
ters, including, for example, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
(McPier) referred to later in this book. According to the Illinois statute, tax
was levied by the Chicago Park District as property taxes on Chicago prop-
erty and collected by Cook County (Illinois Statute 70 ILS 1205). Each of the
museums on parkland in Chicago—the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field
Museum, Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Plan-
etarium, and the Chicago History Museum—received between 5 and 25 per-
cent of their general operating budgets from the Chicago Park District. The
museums could tap additional tax funds for capital improvements.
This knowledge of how the downtown museums sustained their core
funding did not mean Burroughs and the Ebony Museum were simply in-
vited to join this exclusive group. Rather, Burroughs used issue-focused so-
cial movement tactics to exert political pressure on then-mayor Richard J.
Daley. They identified the problem: lack of equitable and appropriate rep-
resentation of black contributions to the history of Chicago. Burroughs
explained:
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 61
Every so often the black people in Chicago would contact Mayor Daley, the first
Mayor Daley, asking that we have a proper memorial to Jean Bapiste Point DuSable,
who was the first permanent settler in the area that became Chicago. Every so of-
ten, he would be deluged with letters [her emphasis], so that at one point the mayor
called a meeting of people who were interested in this—corporations and people
like that—to a breakfast meeting to discuss the matter of a proper monument to
DuSable. I was on the site committee. [He] invited me, Daley did. So [we] had the
meeting and talked. People talked and gave suggestions and all that, and nothing
happened. (Burroughs interview 2003)
Even though “nothing happened” as a result of the breakfast meeting,
Burroughs and her network of teachers and artists found themselves among
high-ranking bureaucrats from public agencies and businessmen from area
corporations all sitting together with the mayor of Chicago discussing “the
problem” of a proper memorial to DuSable. The call for a DuSable memo-
rial was not a new idea. It had actually begun in 1928, when two educators
founded the DuSable League. The league succeeded in having a Chicago
public school renamed for DuSable in 1935—the school where Burroughs
taught art for twenty-eight years. The founding of the museum in Bur-
roughs’s home by teachers from the DuSable High School was a separate
effort directed toward the creation of an institution to legitimize black ac-
complishment as history; the need for a proper memorial to DuSable was
adopted when it proved to be effective for mobilizing the range of resources
needed for the museum. With the knowledge of a potential funding mecha-
nism available through the Park District, it took the network just five more
years to secure a building on park property. Burroughs credited one of her
students with identifying the Washington Park Administration Building as
a possible site for the expansion of the museum out of her home:
At one point, the building in Washington Park, where we are now, was originally
an administration building for Washington Park. . . . My students at Wilson Junior
College, where I was teaching at the time, noticed that it was boarded up, empty.
The idea occurred to some of them, one of them, why don’t we ask the city, since
we have outgrown the space here at the house where we were, why don’t we ask the
city or the Park District to let us have the building and move into this building? It
would be an educational institution in Washington Park, which Washington Park
did not have anything like that. All they had was baseball and basketball, stuff
like that. So not only did we think about it; we did a campaign on it. (Burroughs
interview 2003)
62 / Chapter Three
The brilliant focus on a need for a proper memorial to DuSable pro-
vided the momentum necessary to mobilize a constituency that could exert
political pressure on the white political machine by advocating for greater
recognition of historic accomplishments of blacks. In order to secure a park
building, the effort expanded to include the equitable provision of educa-
tional activities in the park. A political constituency skilled at leveraging
pressure mobilized to back the proposal. Burroughs explained:
We got together letters and petitions to the mayor and to the super-men
[superintendents] of the Park District, asking that we be given this build-
ing to expand the museum into. I guess, happily, election time was coming
up. The mayor, getting all these letters and all, probably saw the wisdom of
presenting—having his picture in the Defender—presenting me the key to the
building. [This was in] 1973. So in our petition to the mayor, we said that if
given the building, it would be named as a memorial and monument to Jean
Baptiste Point DuSable, so it sort of solved this other problem where he was
always getting pressure from people to have the proper memorial to DuSable.
And so apparently he must have called up the superintendent of the Park Dis-
trict and said, “OK, let ’em have it.” (Burroughs interview 2003)
Burroughs chuckled as she recounted this moment, more than thirty
years ago—when she imagined Richard J. Daley saying, “OK, let ’em have
it”—an account that amounts to outmaneuvering “The Boss” of Chicago’s
machine politics. The exchange was one between a broad, powerful network
of property-owning, middle-class black voters and Chicago’s political ma-
chine—exchanging an institution for the support of a political constituency.
And it was Burroughs who was instrumental in identifying the problem: the
absence of a proper memorial to the city’s first settler, DuSable, which was
significant of the larger problem of appropriate representation of blacks in
the city’s history. It was Burroughs who was also instrumental in finding a
solution to the problem: establishment of a black history museum on pub-
lic property to be named in his memory. As the museum site would also
be a monument to DuSable, the move from Burroughs’s South Michigan
Avenue home to Washington Park—which was just west of the University
of Chicago—would at least temporarily neutralize the pressure tactics used
against the mayor by the network of people mobilized around Burroughs
who had been at him for more than a decade.
Burroughs sealed the deal in a presentation to the Park District Board
of Commissioners by demonstrating that she had access to professional
expertise, financial resources, and a grassroots constituency, long associated
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 63
with Chicago’s community-based form of activism, but now applied to the
issue of cultural equity. As she told it:
They invited me down to the park commissioner meeting . . . to make a pre-
sentation. So I was able to get an architect over there to figure out how the
space would be arranged, and so forth and so on. I was able to get pledges,
pledge forms. I had a stack of them. People saying they would give $5, $10,
whatever, to help pay for the renovations, and so forth and so on. So when
I came before the park board, I presented these pledge forms—they came up
to over $100,000. I made my presentation. The architect had slides showing
how this would be this and that would be that, and so forth and so on.
The commission, this very commission I sit on now, said it was one of the
best presentations ever made, and we were the first community group they
ever gave a facility to when they gave us the administration building in
Washington Park. So we moved on in with whatever we had. We renovated
room by room by room. We got through with one and we’d go to the other.
Our program never ceased. Kids were still coming in, and so forth and so on.
(Burroughs interview 2003)
The move from Burroughs’s home into the Washington Park building
in 1973 in effect created a new museum, the DuSable Museum of African
American History,
4
and it was on public parkland, which provided access to
permanent sources of funds for both general operations and capital expen-
ditures. Such large caches of public funding were accessed through a grass-
roots campaign, described by Burroughs as involving thousands of small
donations. Such grassroots approaches prove to be not only a significant
form of fund-raising among Chicago’s African American institutions, but
significant to the legitimacy of such institutions among black people. Simi-
lar to the “milk pail campaign” described by Charles Bowen in the estab-
lishment of the first Armory for the Illinois Black National Guard (Bowen
interview 2005), or the broad network of small donations mobilized by
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, it is significant of the way African
Americans demonstrate their support for a person or cause.
It is unclear exactly when the museum secured a portion of the Park Dis-
trict tax levy to fund its general operations, although from Burroughs’s rec-
ollection, there was little delay. In addition, the museum staff wrote grants
and its board members hosted traditional charity fund-raisers to engage the
black elite as museum benefactors. Among these was Linda Johnson Rice,
vice president of Johnson Publishing Company, who, among other events,
sponsored a polo outing at the suburban Oak Brook Polo Club with Jamaican
64 / Chapter Three
polo players (Tucker 1985). However, the museum’s annual budget re-
mained under $1 million until the late 1980s; its membership roster was
estimated at approximately 2,000 members in 2005, a number substantially
less than that of the Art Institute of Chicago, estimated to be over 100,000.
Intersection of Political and Cultural Capital
Establishment of the black history museum demonstrated Burroughs’s
cultural and political finesse; the museum exists through the political and
cultural capital embedded in art networks in black Chicago. Burroughs
stepped down as director of the museum in 1984 when Chicago’s first
black mayor, Harold Washington, who was elected April 1983, named her
to the Park District Board of Commissioners, the very board that just ten
years earlier granted her use of the Park District building for the DuSable
Museum. Her appointment followed the mayoral victory, but also settle-
ment of a landmark discrimination case filed by the U.S. Department of
Justice against the Chicago Park District for operating inferior facilities in
black and Latino neighborhoods (New York Times 1982; Malcolm 1983).
The appointment came during the infamous council wars in the Chicago
City Council that gridlocked Mayor Washington’s administration. The wars
placed Burroughs among forty-five appointees barred from their seats for
nearly two years because the city council aldermen refused to act on their
nominations. Burroughs unsuccessfully sued the Chicago City Council to
act upon her appointment (Merriner 1985). She was at the center of a politi-
cal firestorm over control of the Park District, one that pitted a 1973 Daley
appointee, Superintendent Edmund Kelly, against mayoral appointees for
control over the “$320 million fiefdom” (Talbott 1986; Cronin and Spiel-
man 1986; Spielman 1986a, 1986b; Klose 1986). Burroughs finally was
seated in her Park District post more than two years after her nomination
(Chicago Sun-Times 1986b), casting her first vote on the board on May 29,
1986 (Spielman 1986b). On June 17, 1986, she was elected vice president
of the Chicago Park District board, as Walter Netsch, another controversial
appointment by Mayor Washington, was elected board president (Cronin
and Spielman 1986).
Within two days of taking office, the pair initiated a review of progress in
the settlement for the federal discrimination case against the Park District.
Burroughs argued that racism was behind the broken bottles, litter, and
poor maintenance of the parks in minority neighborhoods. “When blacks
and Hispanics move into a neighborhood the services are cut down. They
don’t say it, but that’s what is done,” she said (Cronin 1986). In their tour of
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 65
parks, Burroughs and Netsch invited local leaders to attend a meeting of the
board to confront the previous Park District board’s shortcomings.
At some point during these first days in office, another network of Chi-
cago Public School teachers—this one associated with Bowen High School
in the Far South community area of South Chicago and represented by
Carlos Tortolero and Helen Valdez—won park board approval to convert
another park facility for a museum in Pilsen (Chicago Sun-Times 1986a).
A Museum for Mexican Americans in Pilsen
A comparison of the processes involved in founding the DuSable Museum
of African American History to those in the establishment of the Mexican
Fine Arts Center Museum (MFACM) illustrates the varied access to resources
for African Americans and Mexican Americans. Both the DuSable and the
MFACM were similarly focused on service to and representation of an ethni-
cally defined community; both museums displayed historical artifacts and
art while providing direct educational services to area residents; both ad-
vocated for the legitimacy of the ethnic accounts of history—the DuSable
focused on the legitimacy of accounts of black history, and the MFACM
focused on “first voice” narratives, that is, narratives of Mexican American
history and art as told by Mexicans and their descendants. While initial
success of the DuSable was achieved through mobilizing a relatively large
grassroots campaign, establishment of the MFACM was enabled by op-
portune political timing and a growing political constituency of Mexican
Americans.
The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum was first established twenty years
after Burroughs opened the Ebony Museum in her home, yet it operated in
a “nomadic phase” from 1982 to 1986, according to newspaper accounts
citing Helen Valdez. It sponsored exhibitions through other institutions
until it signed an agreement with the Chicago Park District to convert the
Harrison Park Boat Craft Shop into a museum in 1986 (Rotenberk 1992).
Although Tortolero recalled that discussions began with Park District Super-
intendent Edmund Kelly as early as 1984, the combination of the federal
discrimination lawsuit, Burroughs’s appointment to the Park District board,
and the political environment resulting from the election of Harold Wash-
ington as mayor facilitated efforts by Carlos Tortolero and Helen Valdez to
secure the Park District facility.
When he and Valdez went before the Chicago Park District Board of
Commissioners to present their case in 1986 for the establishment of the
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Harrison Park, Burroughs had just
66 / Chapter Three
become a park commissioner. “The building was used by thirty-five men
who used it to store their boats. We called them ‘the boat people.’ We used
to say, ‘The boat people must go!’ ” And, Tortolero recalled, that unlike the
mobilization process employed by Burroughs, the founding of the MFACM
was “not a grassroots thing.”
We did not do petitions or anything like that. It was not grassroots. . . . We
had met with every alderman and every politician. We had letters of their sup-
port [to bring before the park board]. But it was [park board president] Walter
Netsch who supported the idea from the start. (Tortolero interview 2003)
At the meeting with the commissioners, Burroughs recalled clarifying that
the word “museum” was also part of the name, the Mexican Fine Arts Center,
to ensure the group would qualify for public Park District funding allotted
to museums. According to Tortolero, its identity as a “center” reinforced its
mission involving and serving a geographically defined ethnic population.
Left unsaid by Tortolero, however, was that a “community center” was freed
from the more stringent zoning requirements, particularly in regard to park-
ing, required for a museum’s business license. The MFACM opened its doors
on March 27, 1987, more than a decade after the DuSable opened in Wash-
ington Park. The Park District provided little of the original redevelopment
funds, and the museum did not secure a portion of the Park District opera-
tional funds for museums in its first years (Chicago Sun-Times 1986b).
Although Tortolero and others involved in the founding of the museum
were from a Mexican ethnic locale on the Far South Side of Chicago, their
establishment of the museum in Pilsen near the downtown Loop city center
was strategic for its long-term survival and expansion. Moreover, the visibly
dense population of first-, second-, and third-generation Mexican American
property owners and families living in Pilsen was important as a symbol of
Chicago’s Mexican ethnics. Ethnic art events already sponsored by nonprofit
organizations such as Pros Arts Studio (est. 1978) and an array of social
service organizations including Casa Aztlán (est. 1970 in a Bohemian Settle-
ment house originally built in 1896) and Instituto del Progreso Latino (est.
1977) laid the foundation for expansion of youth-centered art classes and
productions, family-based block parties, ethnic processions or parades, and
festivals celebrating a Mexican ethnic heritage, all designed to engage local
youth and their families. The museum was able to bring more permanent,
high-status jobs and contract work to the locale; a workforce of nearly one
hundred Mexican American artists and educators are employed in its mu-
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 67
seum facility, its satellite museum and youth-run radio station, performance
series, and the various festivals and school-based programs it sponsors.
“The community” as a place where art should exist was always central to
the case for the museum, according to Tortolero. “Art doesn’t just belong
downtown; it, too, belongs in the community” (Rotenberk 1992). Critical
of some downtown institutions trying to reframe their educational activities
as “community-based,” Tortolero argued, “You can’t be community-based
and be located downtown” (Tortolero interview 2003). “Community” was
also the social and cultural activity that should involve the museum. As he
put it, a museum should be “a part of the community, not apart from it”
(Grams and Farrell 2008, 2).
Although in its early days the MFACM’s approach was consistent with a
community-based, anti-elitist approach developed by activists in Bronzeville
and other ethnic locales, Tortolero and others at the MFACM sought to trans-
form these activist foundations into recognition and success in the realm
of museum institution. For Tortolero, gaining institutional legitimacy as a
formally accredited museum meant the art center would be taken seriously
as a museum. “We’re like the girl you don’t take home, the one-night stand.
We’re called when someone wants an ethnic touch. But I insist on more,”
Tortolero said. He recalled the time when Henry Fogel, longtime director of
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, invited the MFACM members to Orches-
tra Hall. “I wanted more,” Tortolero said. “I said, ‘Yes, but you have to come
here and play in our park.’ And they did, and it was great!” (Tortolero inter-
view 2006). In spite of their success among cultural institutions, the mu-
seum has been criticized by both local residents and institutional experts:
We always tried to do things right. We didn’t want people to think we couldn’t
do it. We always got printing in color, you know. We are not a gallery; we are
about education. We have to present the history of Mexican culture, from the
Aztecs to today. But from day one, in spite of our efforts, you know what it
was that people questioned? They question the management and they ques-
tion the quality of art. (Tortolero interview 2003)
Its successful accreditation by the American Association of Museums in
1997 made the MFACM the first Latino museum in the United States to dem-
onstrate mastery of institutional procedures in collections documentation,
management, educational and programmatic methods, and its board and
membership recruitment. Accreditation has been a marker of institutional
legitimacy that the DuSable has yet to achieve. And from its earliest years,
68 / Chapter Three
the Pilsen museum has been able to raise more funds than the DuSable
Museum and attract such high-profile figures as Mexico’s former president
Vicente Fox and audiences of more than fifty thousand with exhibitions of
international icons such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Effective fund-
raising from Latino businesses and corporations has built a budget averag-
ing 15 to 25 percent higher than the DuSable’s. The initial $300,000 reno-
vation of the park building was completed with a $140,000 community
development block grant from the Chicago Department of Public Works,
the rest reportedly from corporate and private donations (Chicago Sun-
Times 1986a). Ten years later in 1996, the museum secured $2 million in
Empowerment Zone funding to purchase another building and expand its
operations to an additional building to house the Yollocalli Youth Museum
and to purchase the broadcasting license and construct facilities for Radio
Arte, a youth-run radio station (Tortolero interview 2003). Its 2003 budget
was $5.5 million. In 2006, the year of its twentieth anniversary, it launched
a $25 million capital campaign and established national ambitions as a
preeminent Latino cultural institution by repackaging itself within a national
context as the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA).
Although institutional criticism has waned since its accreditation, criti-
cism from local artists has not. Both Tortolero and the museum have been
criticized by local artists for dominating cultural resources without provid-
ing more substantial support for the large number of independent Mexican
American artists living in Pilsen. Recalling one artist he ran into in the mu-
seum who expressed this complaint to him personally, Tortolero recalled
asking the artist how many times his art has been exhibited at the museum.
“Four times,” the artist responded. “What other artists can say that [about
their museums]?” Tortolero asked. Nonetheless, Tortolero acknowledged
that the museum’s advocacy for representation of Mexican history, art, and
culture and its recognition for excellence within this institutional realm
have not stimulated an increase in the value of Latino artists’ works, an
increase in number of collectors to buy local artists’ works, or helped to build
the museum’s own collections, nor have they led to an increase in the estab-
lishment of other nonprofit art organizations to support the work of local
Mexican and Mexican American artists, all examples of results attributed to
the institutionalization of high culture (DiMaggio [1982] 1991).
Conclusions
Early activism and advocacy for community-based art in the 1960s and
1970s arose out of the exclusion and subordination of artists whose training
Community-Based Art and Ideologies of Local Participation / 69
in professional art schools and art departments of universities provided
them with insight into the centralization of cultural power in downtown
elite institutions. Through community-based art and advocacy for its public
support, local art producers contested not only inhuman conditions and
poor public services, but also laid the groundwork to contest the concentra-
tion of cultural resources and power within the downtown cultural core.
Their advocacy laid the foundation for broader resource mobilization tactics
to attract the public and private investment necessary for the expansion of
local access to art activities and local art infrastructures. Among the results
were the establishment of the first museum of black history in Chicago,
the first Latino art museum to be accredited by the American Association
of Museums, and the community-based mural movement, all discussed in
this chapter.
Activist muralists in Bronzeville began producing murals as a way to be
engaged with and to involve poor residents in cultural production. Blend-
ing localized advocacy with cultural production, these artists engaged local
residents in the production of art that was interwoven with local life. A
similar interest in representation of blacks in history led a group of activist
educators with access to the right information and the ability to exert pres-
sure on public officials to mobilize a political constituency to advocate for
a museum facility that located black history in time and space in the center
of Chicago’s South Side. These educators adopted the institutional structure
long employed by the dominant culture, yet they presented art exhibitions
and events in their institutions as a form of cultural enfranchisement to the
people they served. Moreover, producers created local identities for places
where authentic cultures could flourish as something distinct from the elitist
and often predicable offerings of the downtown city center and its cultural
institutions. These efforts pioneered in Chicago’s black South Side were fol-
lowed by the National Museum of Mexican Art, an institution that has since
surpassed the DuSable Museum in budget size and national stature.
For some Chicago art organizations, the community-based approach
signified the active engagement, involvement, and representation of people
who were also participants in the making of art rather than as passive audi-
ences for a finished product; for others, this approach meant cultural rep-
resentation and enfranchisement within the institutional model. Although
efforts to involve or represent “a community” was a source for artistic and
institutional innovation that also expanded the range of participation in
the arts, it did so without the far-reaching networks of shared interest in
aesthetic meaning-making necessary for it to assert authority over aes-
thetic values. The variety of processes, makers, audiences, and meanings of
70 / Chapter Three
community-based art begins to demonstrate the fuzziness of the concept;
the range of interpretations at times undermined the very principle of shared
interests, which a community often seeks to promote. The ongoing contro-
versial practice of whitewashing some murals while others are preserved
and restored reveals that community is not so much about being a resident
of a locale, but being included in (or excluded from) the shared local interest
that was established among a network of people, and how a network can
exert power on a local level.
Through this chapter we can now begin to see the networks of producers
operating behind the magical curtain of community. These producers stra-
tegically used the concept of community to redefine the art-making process
and to mobilize resources in terms of people, votes, funds, space, and cul-
tural symbols. These were initiated through small social worlds that could
mobilize whatever was necessary to carry out their projects. These small so-
cial worlds were linked into broader networks that were effective at exerting
political pressure and could access the information and financial resources
necessary to create and maintain a cultural institution, but still had limited
power to claim aesthetic values—that is, value freed from any other purpose
but artistic expression—for the cultural objects they represent. Nonetheless,
the network processes of local art production that led to representation of
a community and engagement of a community through community-based
practices laid the foundation for both aesthetic and empowerment networks
in subsequent years. In addition to placing art in local neighborhoods, these
new efforts would nurture the building of local art collections as they chal-
lenged the exclusive operations of the cultural core, while laying the foun-
dations for cultural knowledge and cultural capital tied to and a product of
local territory and local cultural values.
F OUR
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital
I see this thing as interaction with other people. It’s very similar to an art-
ist showing work. Artists get the joy out of the creation. I get the joy out of
recognizing that my eye saw something in the piece, that I enjoyed it, and it
had meaning and an effect on me. When people are at my house looking at
artwork, I like to watch how they react to different pieces. I like to talk with
them about the art. When I see it had the same effect, that they are attracted
to one over another, it reinforced what I saw and the feelings I had about it
when I bought it. It is really, it’s very satisfying. It’s very satisfying. It makes me
look at the pieces again and again. You see things that you didn’t see before.
It will be something new. So it opens up new ideas and experiences. (McCoy
interview 2003)
Sociology and Aesthetics
When I first visited Patric McCoy’s house, I was enchanted by the sheer
abundance of art that covered every square inch of wall and table surface.
Yet it was the party—who was there and how they interacted—that captured
my sociological imagination. Through his parties, McCoy had developed
a network of friends interested in art collecting. At such parties, his guests
exchanged accounts of the kind of sensory and intellectual experience that
characterized aesthetic pleasure and informed the development of knowl-
edge and access to resources that produce cultural capital, but rarely have
been included in contemporary aesthetic discourse.
The problem of exploring and discussing aesthetic preferences in a place
like Bronzeville is multifaceted. Although there are several narratives that
connect art and social theory (Harrington 2004), the aesthetic grand narra-
tive is one that considers art in terms of “timeless norms of communication
72 / Chapter Four
valid for all history, for all societies” (Harrington 2004, 9). Marginalized
cultures in marginalized places such as those explored in this study are mar-
ginalized not only because of the structure of cities (Lefebvre [1974] 1991),
of institutions of culture (Danto 1967; DiMaggio [1982] 1991; Bourdieu
[1976] 1984; Danto 1987), but also because of the underlying construc-
tion of knowledge in which distinctions of subjective judgment are what
have structured aesthetic theory from Kant ([1790] 1963) to the present.
1

Even with the emergence of the institutional foundations for black culture
in academia and in the nonprofit cultural sector, the problem remained.
For a black artist, collector, or curator to declare an artwork as “beauti-
ful” would be to make a subjective judgment that claimed a decisive place
within both the urban and institutional processes from which blacks have
been excluded. This chapter examines how a network of black art collectors
mobilized and deployed social movement narratives to assert cultural au-
thority from outside of the institution of culture, and to claim such a place
from twenty-first-century Bronzeville.
Black Cultural Capital and the Aesthetics of Beauty
Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital provides the theoretical basis for un-
derstanding the intersection of culture and power. Bourdieu appropriated
the Marxist concept of capital to objectify power in all social relationships.
Capital for Marx described property and the associated power relationships
of property ownership. Bourdieu used it to describe all forms of power con-
tained in and associated with access to and possession of resources; capital
was both tangible and intangible goods; cultural capital was the posses-
sion of forms of knowledge and the associated resources, such as money,
institutional credentials, and network of relationships that legitimated this
knowledge. The decisions and endorsements of values and meanings that
produced this legitimacy were made by cultural arbiters, whose judgments
Bourdieu considered to be arbitrary as they were not derived from sources
inherent to the object, but were assigned through practices of groups or
classes
2
(Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990).
The aesthetic networks of Bronzeville established regular activities to
judge artworks and to legitimate these judgments. Responding to what they
perceived as institutionalized racism, these art collectors engaged in a post-
colonial critique of Western artistic canons and formed localized networks
of people interested in art objects representing African American culture,
values, and history. Of particular concern was the history of dismissive
judgments that decategorized the work of black artists as art. Relationships
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 73
among these collectors made up an aesthetic network because they were
concerned with the judgments of art produced by black artists. More specifi-
cally, they sought to create a cultural context through which the work of
black artists could first be judged fairly and critically by other black people
and, second, be seen in relation to a larger context of African American life,
all without the interest of institutions of the cultural core.
I adapt Bourdieu’s concept as “black cultural capital” to represent the
knowledge, experiences, and practices that produce cultural power relevant
to black people, their experiences, and to their social location in Bronzeville
on Chicago’s South Side. What distinguished black cultural capital from that
of Western or European culture was that it represented knowledge, objects,
and practices of black people who did not view themselves or their life ob-
jects as subordinate in a cultural hierarchy to objects created by non-blacks.
In Bronzeville, this group of art collectors began to reify knowledge though
their private art collections, their regular private parties, and an increas-
ing number of public activities. Passionate interest in art ownership distin-
guished these collectors from the grand narrative of disinterested pleasure.
3

The content within the artworks they collected spoke to the history of black
culture while placing it at the center of strategies of action (Swidler 1987) for
survival of a culture that was distinct by virtue of being African American—
that is, derived from the traditions and cultures of dark-skinned people
from the continents of both Africa and the Americas.
These networks sought to activate shared interests that fostered increased
knowledge and ownership of art objects. Informal activities, such as private
parties and private tours of collectors’ homes, provided the core interac-
tion that stimulated art collecting while fostering the creation of cultural
knowledge directed by and for its members. Through their network activi-
ties, these collectors sought to create a permanent local place symbolic of
the connection of art and life, history and the present; they in turn extended
historic narratives of the place into the private sphere through their art
collections.
Participants and Resources
The primary resource in Bronzeville’s aesthetic networks was the growing
population of educated, middle-class professional men and women who at-
tended parties and events built around the activity of collecting art. Among
the collectors to whom I was introduced, most had relatively stable, well-
paying positions in local, state, or federal government offices or in social
service agencies, or were administrators or teachers within the Chicago
74 / Chapter Four
Public School system, at area colleges, or at universities. A few were small
business entrepreneurs. I estimated their household income in 2000 to be
in the range of $60,000–$150,000 a year; that is, they were firmly lodged in
the middle classes but not at the highest income range found in this locale
(see figs. 7 and 8 in chapter 2). Whereas a number of people interviewed
made reference to several wealthier local collectors “who make a million
dollars a year” (Bowen interview 2005), I did not meet these people or see
such collections. No one I interviewed worked for national or international
corporations. Artists from whom they purchased works were both men and
women from twenty to seventy years of age, many of whom had college
degrees in art, art education, or graphic design, or a BFA or MFA from an art
institute or college.
These aesthetic networks involved predominantly African American par-
ticipants who were typically divided into two categories of participants: art-
ists or collectors. Collectors often purchased artworks directly from artists as
well as from the few galleries locally or nationally specializing in the work
of black artists. They purchased small, portable objects for display in their
private residences. Artists worked out of home-based workspaces and typi-
cally sold their works also out of their home galleries. Network participants
were interested in nurturing a social environment in which art objects cre-
ated by black artists were owned by black collectors. Largely absent from
these networks were the gallery owners, critics, art historians, art reporters,
and arts administrators who predominated in mainstream institutionally
based or market-based networks, or the politicians, businessmen, and ac-
tivists who dominated empowerment networks, as discussed elsewhere in
this book.
Collectors recognized both the importance of their financial support for
an artist’s work and their role in the ownership and care of art objects cre-
ated through their interest and support. The collectors I met were middle-
class professionals who could therefore afford to pay $100 to $7,000 for
artworks. This price range meant that individual artists could survive and
continue to make art, but that their household was usually supported by a
second income earned by the artist or by others in the household or from
inheritance.
The breadth of the network of Bronzeville collectors became apparent
over five years of referrals from a broad range of sources. Initially referrals
came through the network of artists and collectors Patric McCoy knew, later
from artists at art fairs and from committee members involved in the de-
velopment of public art. Finally, referrals also came from random contacts
such as a university administrator who purchased one of my pieces donated
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 75
to a student activity fund and said, “I don’t collect art, but my sister does.
She collects way too much art.”
Small social worlds were linked into a larger network that crossed geo-
graphic, gender, and education boundaries and included both men and
women. The broader network involved upward of 1,000 participants, while
the smaller circuits ranged from around 20 or so artists and collectors
who knew each other and regularly went to or participated in exhibitions
together, to the 400 or so artists and collectors who attended the South
Side Community Art Center’s Annual Auction and purchased art. In 2003
the auction brought in $40,000 in art sales; that figure grew to well over
$100,000 by 2006.
Black Cultural Capital
Adapting the Black Metropolis narrative of a “city within a city,” art collec-
tors like McCoy and Charles Bowen, the founder of the National African
American Military Museum, were intent on constructing what amounted to
a culture within a culture, that is, black culture and black aesthetics sepa-
rate from but located within Chicago’s larger cultural field. These collec-
tors, interested in nurturing a social environment where art objects could
be created by black artists and owned by black collectors, were producing
the knowledge and cultural base that constituted black cultural capital.
And they were not only amassing artifacts of a culture that was largely in-
visible to the rest of Chicago and the outside world, but as the primary
collectors of this artwork, they were central to the production process.
Their private worlds represented a facet of black cultural identity emerging
through contemporary Bronzeville. It was distinct from the dominant cul-
tural representations of black culture within the mass media, that is, of the
blues musicians who sang of poverty, love, and sex, or their contemporary
counterparts, the saggy-bottom hip-hoppers chanting of raw sex, gangsta
life, homies, and violence. And as educated, politically active, middle-class
professionals, they sought more than the status granted by the dominant
culture to a subculture.
Among the collectors interviewed, art collecting provided an aesthetic
dimension to the movement politics that pervaded black collective life in
Chicago (plate 5). Collectors talked about and promoted the art and the
living creators of the objects they collected. This promoted the existence
and importance of black culture—something they saw as distinct from the
white mainstream art world as well as from the mainstream commercial
view of black culture. What was markedly absent from their discourse was
76 / Chapter Four
speculation about the potential economic value of the artworks. Indeed, the
very nature of their purchases, often directly from artists, undermined the
establishment and tracking of any market values. Instead, art collecting was
viewed as a social good in its own right and as a vehicle for social change.
According to McCoy:
I’ve been collecting for twenty years. I like to interact with living artists, mainly
someone who is living and breathing in my local community. I learned about
collecting from people who have amassed collections that have become im-
portant, such as Vivian Hewitt. When you have pieces from artists who are
signing pieces to the collectors who buy them, you end up with a collection
of work that truly reflects a time period without all that hoopla of chasing the
“famous artists.” It really grabs what people were doing at that time. When it
comes to looking at the end of the twentieth century, I have a piece of that.
[Since] artists tend to know each other and interact with each other, [even]
without a clear statement of a movement we become a movement. (McCoy
interview 2003)
Collecting and owning black culture was a socially conscious activity. As
such, these collectors were not part of the networks frequenting West Loop
and River North commercial art galleries or supporting Chicago’s major
downtown cultural institutions; nor were they “magnificent millionaires”
who could buy whatever they wanted or collectors whose ostentatious con-
sumption was intended only to elevate their social status (Moulin [1967]
1987, 87); moreover, they were distinct from the speculators active in New
York art markets since the 1980s. They did, however, view themselves as in-
strumental in creating a new paradigm for selection of African American art
and its inclusion in “a new global aesthetic consciousness” (Montgomery
1998 [2005])
A Taste for Overwhelming Abundance
A number of practices distinguished these collectors from other kinds of
cultural consumers. Collectors assembled hundreds of handcrafted objects
for private display. Preference for overabundance among these black art
collectors contrasted with the more traditional spare display seen in main-
stream art museums, galleries, and homes. All the collectors who purchased
artworks directly from local artists were sidestepping formal downtown art
markets. The Bronzeville collectors did so with the desire to be part of the
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 77
cultural production process at the ground level and, as McCoy liked to point
out, “from the bottom up, rather than the top down” (McCoy interview
2008).
In Bronzeville, private parties offered opportunities for the kind of inter-
action that built knowledge and recruited new participants. Daniel Texidor
Parker introduced the idea of the private party and its importance in build-
ing knowledge of black culture and the network of artists and collectors in
Bronzeville. Parker was a retired counselor at a local community college who
had a PhD in education. While many people did not know Patric McCoy,
Charles Bowen, or their collections, everyone I met knew of Parker and his
collection. During the course of this research, he self-published a lavishly il-
lustrated coffee table book, African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond (2004), and
was featured in a number of television, magazine, and newspaper articles.
This recognition was the direct result of the size and scope of his private col-
lection and his long-term cultural leadership (plate 6). Parker was close to
the epicenter of the network of Bronzeville collectors and private art parties
that cultivated the network. His two-story condo was filled with more than
a thousand pieces of art. He recounted one of his recent house parties:
Before I moved, I had a party. I invited all the artists that I collected to come
[as well as] art entrepreneurs and people who had a sincere interest in the art.
And I had a party so that that level of people could interact. I [sometimes]
had other parties and talked about the art as I am talking to you. It was an
opportunity to kind of interact—artists with each other, artists with art entre-
preneurs as well as people who had a real interest in collecting art but maybe
had only collected one or two pieces. So you try to use your venue as a place
of motivation and inspiration. Hopefully, if someone comes here and sees all
this art, and we have [an artist like] Robert Johnson to talk about the art and
what it is like to do the art, and see something like this [pointing to one of
Johnson’s painted windows], and he talks about how he did it, why he did
it, it is an inspiration, motivation, to purchase the art. And then, when they
see it here, they might say, “Wow that’s really cool, I would really like to have
something like that in my home.” (Parker interview 2003)
A late-twentieth-century, middle-class incarnation of a rent party,
4
pri-
vate art parties provided participants with an alternative to the kind of
exchanges that take place through formal markets. The home provided a
venue, and the network provided the structure for collectors to become di-
rectly involved in art production, sharing the knowledge and being part of
78 / Chapter Four
the creation of local culture. The private interactions built an interdepen-
dent relationship between artists and collectors. Exchanges between col-
lector and artist were not sales of commodities isolated from their makers;
they were not “objective” sales typical of formal market interactions; they
were more than an exchange of money for art. The exchange represented the
interdependence between artists and collectors in the production of mean-
ings and who regularly bought, sold, bartered, and traded works outside of
a formally organized art market.
At art-centered parties, collectors assembled friends and acquaintances
interested in collecting art. This direct interpersonal interaction empowered
artists and buyers to control the details and the impact of their transactions.
Furthermore, it enabled local people to play an obvious and direct role in
the creation of meaning through cultural objects.
Local convention emphasized “passionate interest” rather than empha-
sis on the “disinterested pleasure” often associated with Kant’s analysis of
beauty. Yet collectors exchanged accounts of the kind of sensory and intel-
lectual experience and debate that have throughout modernity been char-
acterized as aesthetic pleasure. Indeed, the act of collecting art represented
a passionate pursuit involving everything possessive; activity at art parties
centered on collectors and their collections, extending their ideas of aes-
thetic production beyond the metaphysical into the material and the so-
cial.
5
As collectors’ and artists’ preferences became inextricably intertwined
in these aesthetic networks, so did the production and the tasting of art.
Among the collectors who spoke of their driving passion behind collect-
ing was Carol Briggs, whose collecting habit was developed long before her
role as a founder of Diasporal Rhythms (plate 7). The public school prin-
cipal’s small brick bungalow was packed with artwork in the same orderly
but obsessive way that McCoy’s was. Early in her career as a collector, Briggs
began to collect through her relationship with a Nigerian artist, Adedayo
“Dayo” Laoye, and her friendship with another principal, Joan Dameron
Crisler, with whom she co-sponsored a school-based art fair. As she walked
me through her two-story home, the burglar alarm chirped, alerting us to
her basement door opening and closing. It was a sound she dismissed as
she looked out the back window. Seeing her son leaving through the garden
entrance to her home, she looked back to me and she said, “Do you know
what I fear most?” I expected her to explain how a central station alarm pro-
vided her with some protection from theft or fire while giving her peace of
mind for the safety of her family and collection. Instead, her body dissolved
like a chocoholic confronted with her favorite candy. “My biggest fear is that
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 79
I will meet another artist whose work I will have to buy. I just don’t know
what I will do” (Briggs interview 2006).
Owning Art/Owning Oneself
Passion was transformed into activism when owning art became defined
within the network of collectors as a metaphor for owning one’s own cul-
ture and oneself. The prevalence of art production directed to private collec-
tors was fueled by and in turn fueled intensive interest in self-determination
by local residents. Collectors reported that ownership of art objects was an
expression of resistance to the history of white cultural domination. It was
defiance against the historic enslavement and ownership of black people
by whites in the United States. Parker emphasized how he collected art and
urged others to do so as a means of control and ownership of black culture.
Owning the original work by black artists, he explained,
is important to me because art of African people, people of the Diaspora,
has been so copied, and that most of the original art [is in] Europe. . . . So
it becomes very important to someone like me to have as much as possible
the original art, since very few black people have any original art. . . . The big
difference [between owning an original and a reproduction] is, if it’s art pro-
duced by your ancestry, art that reflects you, you would want that reflection to
be in your home. You would want the original, the essence of it, to be in your
home. And psychologically, it impacts upon you in some way when all you
can ever have is a copy of it and someone of another distraction [sic] [raises
his voice] has the original and the ownership. So yes, it becomes very impor-
tant. And yes, I am very emotional about it. (Parker interview 2003)
Ownership of original artworks for Parker was a metaphor for ownership
of the history and destiny of black people and for self-determination. More-
over, he argued that seeing art in public museums was not enough; rather,
art needed to be in private spaces where it can shape one’s own self-image
on a daily basis. “[African-America art] should not be housed exclusively in
museums; it is imperative that the cultural legacy created by our ancestors
be reflected in our home . . . for the images we live with on a daily basis as
children, and grow to love, will be the images we love as adults” (Parker
2004, 3). Citing the psychological evidence (Parham, White, and Ajamu
1999), Parker encourages African Americans to “use themselves, their cul-
ture, and their history as a primary referent” (Parker 2004, 4).
80 / Chapter Four
Similarly, for Patric McCoy, collecting was about preserving a culture
and the knowledge it contains, and having a strong self-identity. “If this
stuff is not preserved, it will just disappear,” he said. “Furthermore, it is
about strength on the inside, knowing who you are. We have to do some-
thing to hold on to that strength, because things aren’t so stable out there”
(McCoy interview 2003).
McCoy had numerous images of the historic struggles of black people
that he pointed out in a room containing predominantly black-and-white
artworks. The dominant image was a print of a finely rendered portrait of
the late Chicago mayor Harold Washington. There were other such pieces,
which he described as “common images that you can see in other people’s
homes.” Above these, McCoy pointed to an almost abstract image that he
had purchased in Africa and said:
Most of the pieces in this room do have a kind of familiar look, except this
one is kind of unusual. I got it in Lusaka, Zambia. It is a black-and-white
[woodcut] in almost a reverse sort of image [because of its black background
and white images of people] and there is a coffle. The people that were cap-
tured were put into sort of like harnesses and marched to the slave markets or
to the sea, and so forth. So, it’s almost like all you see is a silhouette in reverse
of people hunched over and walking in a line. This one [set the tone for the
room], because I was kinda doing this whole room in black-and-white im-
ages, and I said this one would go in there. (McCoy interview 2003)
As this picture was in the top corner of a wall surrounded by images of
contemporary black leaders, it set the tone for the room arranged to repre-
sent the history of black/white relations. The history of slavery and freedom
was one of the predominant narratives represented through art in this room
and among at least some of the artists McCoy collected.
But although both McCoy and Parker had pieces in their collections
framing “blackness” in relationship to “whiteness” or “white domination,”
not all of their pieces refer to black/white relationships. The range of ob-
jects they collected included abstractions and landscapes by black artists,
portraits of the collectors and their families, self-portraits of artists, images
of musicians, and pieces that describe or reflect the lives of black people as
humans or as residents of a place with a shared history. Through their indi-
vidual and joint efforts, the network of people involved in art collecting as-
serted their own subjectivity about the meaning of being African American.
This collective effort was a central part of events in their social lives, which
included going to exhibition openings, art fairs, private parties, and infor-
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 81
mal dinners where art was bought and sold. The social connections created
through the practice of art collecting helped to generate their thinking about
the connection of such objects to everyday life.
For these collectors, the objectification of life through art provided a
focal point for understanding their place in the larger world order. What is
“black,” according to these accounts, was distinct from what is European,
and often involved an explicit rejection of European perspectives, instead
focusing on particular ways of celebrating the importance of cultural life
among black people. Just as the gathering of materials and the assembly of
these materials on the part of artists were essential to the production pro-
cess, so was the production of meaning on the part of these collectors.
Distinction of the Black Middle Class
Local Leadership
Black collectors distinguished themselves through their collections. With-
out using the language of Bourdieu, they were aware of the power conferred
through control of aesthetic knowledge and practice. Distinction or the abil-
ity to be distinct was a key to the social function of art not only in creation
and maintenance of social difference but also in legitimizing it (Bourdieu
[1979] 1984).
6
Their efforts to distinguish themselves and their collections
were not to raise themselves up as distinguished from lower classes, but
from the dominant culture.
In Bronzeville, art production focused on the buying and selling of ob-
jects for private display. Collectors—rather than art administrators, art his-
torians, or politicians—led this social engagement. Art collecting provided
black middle-class professionals with a vehicle through which to exercise
local leadership for building cultural knowledge and ownership. Although
the white elite who collect art have also asserted leadership, particularly as
donors and trustees within arts institutions, there was no parallel among
the white middle classes.
The black middle class of Chicago had been criticized and even ostracized
for their wholesale exodus from the Mid-South region of the city after con-
struction of high-rise public housing projects and for allowing the locale to
be dominated by the poor. The labels “Uncle Tom”
7
and “boojie”
8
point to
their abandonment of race-based shared interests often articulated by activ-
ists for the poor. Yet the black art-collecting practices I observed were not car-
ried out as a mirror to white practice, as Frazier (1957) characterized many
decisions and practices of the black bourgeois as being. Yet it was in line with
82 / Chapter Four
much conventional interaction, in which successful blacks were expected
to display the attitude of the “race man” (Drake and Cayton [1945] 1962,
390–97). This expectation framed collective and individual action among
these collectors and was visible and transformed through a shared interest
in producing and maintaining a culture that speaks to the plight of black
people, yet created new opportunities for cultural self-determination.
These leaders sought to create a cultural context, beyond the walls of
the African-centered museums, within which an autonomous black cul-
ture could thrive. Leadership by collectors was based in the values of self-
sufficiency, black ownership, and black cultural expression drawn from,
among other sources, black nationalist ideology and literature. It was a con-
sciousness and self-identity that emerged amidst the poverty and destitution
that engulfed this area when it was considered to be Chicago’s most notori-
ous black ghetto.
For a number of these collectors, the criticism of the black middle class
who left this area when high-rise housing projects “warehoused” poor
blacks (Black 1999) was misdirected at the people who left, rather than
the public-housing policy. The identity asserted by these collectors was a
black identity cognizant of, yet resistant to, an ascribed subordinate status
by white society. Nowhere was this expressed more concretely than in the
poem “Property Values” by Sam Greenlee, which states in part: “I’m a cultur-
ally deprived member / of the indigenous population / of the inner city . . . /
which is enough to hangup anybody. Excuse me while I lower some prop-
erty values” (Greenlee 1975, 34). For Greenlee, deprivation of culture was at
the core of the problem. And as he stated, no other group was so stigmatized
that their mere presence had the capacity to “lower some property values.”
Greenlee, the heralded author of The Spook Who Sat by the Door, was
among the artists regularly featured at Bronzeville art events. I interviewed
him after an event celebrating Margaret Burroughs’s eighty-fourth birthday
held at the South Side Community Art Center. He had mistakenly taken my
parka, which looked surprisingly like his. When we met to exchange coats,
we had the opportunity to talk about what he had done since the 1970s
when a film based on The Spook—a fictional account loosely based on his
life—created controversy. According to Greenlee, the FBI pressured the Hol-
lywood film distribution company United Artists to stop its distribution
because it depicted a disgruntled former agent using tactics learned in the
CIA to lead an underground revolution, which was carried out by inner-city
forces masquerading as corner drug addicts. When asked what he thought
of the building of cultural institutions in Bronzeville, the longtime advocate
for the poor condemned the forced removal of 35,000 poor people from
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 83
public housing and said: “If you mean what do I think of a movement
for black ownership of property, of businesses, and of cultural institutions,
and what I think of the long-awaited celebration of black culture, in short,
I would say, what is happening in Bronzeville is a good thing” (Greenlee
interview 2003).
Reciprocity between Collectors and Artists
Collectors, who buy artists’ works, expect artists to continue to produce art
that is meaningful to them as individuals and to a larger population of
black people. This expectation of reciprocity that binds collectors and artists
was articulated by Joan Dameron Crisler, another one of the founders of
Diasporal Rhythms, at their 2008 artist awards ceremony:
Those of us who may not have the talent to create art, but certainly have the
wisdom and the passion to appreciate art, have an obligation and responsibil-
ity to support those of you who have been blessed with the gift. But the other
side to that coin is that those of you who have been blessed with the gift have
an obligation and responsibility to tell the story, to tell it openly, honestly,
and powerfully, so that no one can be in denial of the true history and culture
of African people . . . and now to cite August Wilson: “There are and have al-
ways been two distinct and parallel traditions in black art—that is, art that is
conceived and designed to entertain white society, and art that feeds the spirit
and celebrates the life of black America by designing its strategies for survival
and prosperity.”
9
That is our charge to you. (Crisler 2008)
Two artists who have been honorees of Diasporal Rhythms, Dale Wash-
ington and Marva Jolly, each acknowledge the importance of the bond be-
tween artists and collectors. For both artists, making art was about creating
objects that were meaningful to people they knew or encountered in their
everyday life. According to Washington, “If there’s no appreciation for your
gift and [if there are not] those who love it, then you aren’t doing it right. . . .
I’ve had people who I’ve given art to and they’ve cried” (Washington inter-
view 2003). For these artists, the artwork becomes a bond between the artist
and the collector. Yet these artists produce work not only for it to be appre-
ciated, but purchased. According to Jolly—a ceramicist, a tenured faculty
member at Chicago State University, and the founder of an occupational
network for women artists, Sapphire and Crystals—the purpose of making
and showing art is to sell it. “By selling our work, we know our work is val-
ued and has value” (Jolly interview 2005). Unlike some of the collectives of
84 / Chapter Four
artists described later in this book, artists throughout Bronzeville pursued
sales as part of the art-making process, a practice that links aesthetic value
to financial value.
Bronzeville was unique among the three places in this study for explicit
cooperation among artists and collectors, and for the leadership by collectors
in establishing a local culture that was distinct from white culture. In Pilsen’s
Podville area, artists intended their work to be autonomous from the locale,
the network, and economic concerns. Occasional buyers of such artworks
were not linked in a network of collectors through the locale or even to col-
lectors throughout the city, but instead sought out opportunities to purchase
works in these outlying areas as adventures in market speculation.
Diasporal Rhythms’ recognition dinner, its annual home tour of col-
lectors’ homes, and the informal collectors’ parties all have precedents in
Bronzeville artists’ open-studio events. Jolly hosted an annual open-studio
event to sell off works that have “stayed too long” in her studio; Nigerian
artist Dayo held regular open-studio events in addition to public exhibitions
in local restaurants, galleries, art centers, and schools.
Dayo was one of the most avidly collected artists in Bronzeville. This
was in part due to the fact that he was a highly productive artist. But, sec-
ondly, he generated visibility for his own work. His open-studio events were
to stimulate sales by allowing collectors to socialize, but also to compete
among themselves. From Dayo’s perspective, black people could afford to
buy art, but there was not a tradition of doing so. “It’s a black thing. Blacks
with money are more likely to spend it on something else, such as clothes,
cars, or electronics rather than art,” he said. Dayo saw his role in educating
potential collectors and providing regular opportunities for them to social-
ize as central to his survival as an artist. At his studio events, he encouraged
discussion among collectors and artists on what it meant to be a collector
of works by black artists:
Most every collector I have, they have become friends [with each other]. . . .
When someone buys one of my paintings, I say, “Thank you,” and I give
them a certificate of authenticity. I make them interact with other collectors
of my work. They have a “club” of sorts. They share their collections with each
other. That’s a kind of camaraderie I’m creating [through my work]. (Dayo
interview 2002)
Every one of the people I interviewed was a member of “Dayo’s Club.”
As a Yoruban prince, Dayo was esteemed as a representative of the African
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 85
homeland and was often called upon to speak of African traditions. Dayo
was one of the few artists I interviewed who lived off his sales. He sold on
average forty to sixty pieces a year at prices ranging from $100 to $10,000.
And he actively worked to make sales. “The artist is the person who has to
sell their work. Even when you have a gallery or agent, we are the ones who
have to make a sale. Until your name is a household name like Picasso—of
course then you don’t have to show up—but until then, we make the sale.”
Dayo reported that more than half of his annual sales happened out of his
open-studio events. Public exhibitions maintained visibility and interest in
his work. At a show at the South Side Community Art Center, where I first
saw Dayo’s work, he had sold twenty-three out of sixty-four pieces on dis-
play. He had become a master at creating the kind of competition among
collectors to generate this volume of sales, as he described here:
I always like to see one or two red dots [on the wall label indicating “sold”]
before I get to work because I know I will work that crowd. . . . Ninety percent
of the sales happen opening night; you’re lucky if you make 10 to 20 percent
after opening night. [I have learned] in my ten years of smooching and neck-
ing the collectors, the way you socialize will enhance your sales that opening
night in most cases. With each person, you talk, you smooch, photograph,
autograph, then you move on to the next person. It is both the muscle of the
work and the crowd that creates the excitement on opening night. You feel
hyped. Once the first person buys, once he buys it, he wants to flaunt it. Once
you see red dots flying, it is quite contagious. (Dayo interview 2002)
It is through the enthusiasm of the opening night that Dayo generated
an environment that transformed disinterested observers into passionate
buyers. He chose themes strategically and prepared his own labels and text
panels for his pieces around the theme. In one case it was “Divas and Legends,”
which centered on black musicians, but included local leaders and people
who shared common attributes, including the “uniqueness of their talents,
charm, their sense of freedom, perseverance, love for humanity and their an-
cestry.” He provided a special tribute to “our mothers.” In preparation for the
opening night, he sent out full-color cards of his work. “I found people save
these as if they are art,” he said. He also telephoned friends and collectors
to personally invite them to the opening; and he provided wine and food.
The steps leading up to opening night culminated with Dayo’s personal
interaction with all who came. The atmosphere transformed attendees into
collectors of Dayo’s work or, as Dayo referred to them, “my collectors.”
86 / Chapter Four
While Dayo had sold many pieces and was well known in Bronzeville, the
market that existed for his work remained intimately connected to him
just like the bonds among the participants in the collecting network. These
bonds revolved around meanings generated and exchanged through these
interpersonal interactions.
It is important to note that this is not typical of art sales made through a
gallery situated within a national or international art market. Rather, such
artworks enter into a market with values established and sustained separate
from the artist. Such values are at first arbitrarily established based on the
artist’s credentials, including degrees conferred, awards won, exhibitions
reviewed, and sales to other collectors and institutions. A River North gal-
lery owner once explained that he established starting sale prices for a new
artist’s works based on a standardized price per square inch multiplied by
a figure based on the artist’s credentials. Sales were then documented and
records maintained by the gallery owner, separate from the artist. The path
to skyrocketing market values for works by international art stars in the
1980s went from solo shows in SoHo, to works in noted private and public
collections, and then back on the market through fine art auctions, often
over the course of a few years.
One sale of my own artwork during this research in an open-studio event
held as part of an art festival in Rogers Park exemplified the relationships I
have had with buyers of my artworks. An accountant from Chicago’s West
Side attended the open-studio event in conjunction with the October 2004
Chicago Artists’ Month publicized in the Chicago Reader. After reviewing
my artwork hung uniformly on display in the hallway outside my studio,
he approached me to discuss the work and asked to see my résumé. He
noted that I had received my undergraduate degree from Indiana Univer-
sity, attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and studied
with Robert Barnes, an artist he had also collected. He asked who else I had
studied with at Indiana. I mentioned another professor whom I did not get
along with, who went by the pen name “Roland Markup.” The man laughed
and said, “The problem with him is that he knew that most of his students
were better artists than he.” With this endearing statement, he purchased
one of my pieces. He then called a few days later to see if he could come
back to buy another, but asked if I would reframe it to match the one he
had already purchased. When he came to pick it up, he brought with him
one of Barnes’s pieces he had purchased; it had a review of the Barnes show
attached to the back of the painting. We talked for a short time, and then he
paid for the second piece and left.
A week or so later I received a call from his number, which was pro-
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 87
grammed into my cell phone. He had not left a message, so I called him
back. He acknowledged that he had indeed dialed my number, but it was a
mistake; he did not call to talk to me. I said, “Oh, OK.” I thanked him for
purchasing the work and said I hoped he enjoyed it, and then we hung up.
We never saw each other or spoke again. He presented himself as a collec-
tor and seemed to purchase artwork he liked, but also seemed to speculate
on its potential for increasing in value. The relatively low price tag for the
work coupled with my history studying with other artists he had collected
apparently made it a good bet. Such practices of market speculation were
not visible by collectors in Bronzeville in any of the activities I witnessed
nor were they reported on by artists. Rather, the conventional discourse fo-
cused on the importance of building collections, expanding the network of
collectors who purchased black artists’ works, and preserving black culture
through black ownership.
How Collections Manage the Uncertainty of Subjective Judgment
Interpretations of “the Moment”
The hosting of events to expand the network of collectors meant collectors
had active social lives. But more importantly, the interactions helped col-
lectors like Patric McCoy to address the uncertainty that comes from the
subjective judgment of art. Observing, discussing, and being observed at
private parties were important to a collector’s understanding of the range of
aesthetic preferences that were shared. The knowledge created and shared
through this activity constructed knowledge of a culture, history, and iden-
tity that had at its core resistance to external domination.
Most of McCoy’s collection was contemporary work made by local artists
from the 1980s to the present. He said that he focused on artists who inter-
pret “this moment” in contemporary life. Few of the pieces he purchased
were literal representations of local life; but most represented, in his words,
“the thought of what art should be and could be in this environment in
these times.” His collection included works inspired by the Black Power
movement, abstracts, landscapes, portraits, Afrocentric designs, and art that
was a direct reflection of contemporary events, as illustrated through his
description of two collages by Kevin Lee (plate 8):
This artist did one show at the South Shore Cultural Center with these col-
lages, and then kind of disappeared off the scene. They are very, very interest-
ing collages. They tell the stories of the present culture. This [one] is of Mike
88 / Chapter Four
Tyson showing him being handcuffed by the dollar, Desiree [Washington]
running for the money, [here is] Justice with her boxing glove on, effectively
saying she knocked him out, and Robin [Givens] wearing the [boxing cham-
pionship] belt. And then here’s his image, wrapped up in the flag. I think it
is a wonderful encapsulation of the moment. [Over] here is O.J. [Simpson]
and the Bronco, the knife, the bloody glove, Nicole [Brown Simpson], Judge
Ito. The image is of O.J. the hero bursting out like he did on the Hertz ad,
yet here he is splitting [in two] and one image is replacing another. (McCoy
interview 2005)
McCoy stopped short of framing the plight of these two fallen men as
their own fault, the fault of the women in their lives, or the fault of the
larger society. Instead, he, like the artist, left the ultimate interpretation up
to the viewer and simply ended his story by stating, “The man is a genius.
We haven’t seen him since that first show.”
As a tour guide for me and several other of his guests through his two-
bedroom condo, McCoy told stories about unusual situations in which he
bought a piece. One piece was purchased at the Bud Billiken Parade
10
from
a “guy who said he was just out of prison.” He also shared stories about why
he hung a work where he did or what the piece meant to him. A polished
docent, McCoy guided conversation only to the point where others had
something to say. Then he stopped talking until the conversation ebbed.
The social connections among visitors to his home helped to generate
thinking about the connection of such objects to everyday life.
It did not take long for me to learn that private tours and private parties
were not unusual events, or something staged for me personally; rather, they
were typical of the kind of interactions that Bronzeville collectors sought out
and encouraged. This became apparent through an interview with Annette,
an artist who goes by the name of Malika, whom I met at the R.A.W. (Real
Art Work) show. She was an art teacher at Dixon Elementary. She had been
at McCoy’s just a few weeks before I interviewed her. She explained that
she had never before been to his place, although he had invited her often.
That evening she went with a friend, and while she was there, she also met
Bryant Johnson, the owner of Steele Life, a gallery that had just opened on
King Drive and Forty-Seventh Street. Malika explained:
[I went with] a friend of mine [named Sylvia]. . . . She’s a fine artist who does
textiles. She did his shower curtains and I think his couch covers. . . . So, he
had asked me several times to come on over, but I’d never gotten anybody to
go with me as an entrée. I didn’t want to just drop by, you know. So Sylvia
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 89
said, “Well, come on,” and she called him and said, “I’m going to bring Ma-
lika with me,” and he said, “OK,” and I finally got to go over there. So that’s
how that happened. So when I went there, the gallery owner Bryant and his
wife was there. (Malika interview 2003)
Malika shared a feeling of exuberance being surrounded by so much
art and by people who loved to talk about what it meant. Her experience
reinforced how the circuit of private connections was built through a cen-
tral figure like McCoy, who not only purchased a lot of artwork, but who
transformed his home into a meeting place for artists, collectors, and gallery
owners.
It’s a really positive energy. It makes you want to just create, you know. And
whenever I go out and I’m in a show or with some of my fellow artists, I can
go back and really create something. Being at Patric’s house, being exposed
to all his art, it rejuvenates, it energizes me. . . . And just being around them
helps me to vibe off of them, so to speak. Just being around a kind of person
that likes to create this positive energy helps me create. I think that’s [why] I
like to sit around with my students, and try to get them to use that muscle,
that creative muscle. It’s so wonderful; it’s just a high that I can’t figure out
how to describe it. (Malika interview 2003)
The Universal versus the Particular
At Daniel Parker’s home I was immediately drawn to a piece a few feet from
the door. The piece, according to Parker, pointed to the “particular” experi-
ences of black people in the United States. It was next to a group of works
all on the subject of “Black Face” by Julian Williams (plate 9). By Parker’s
account, this piece was a comment on “blackface minstrelsy,” which Parker
considered to be a racist representation of black people by white people and
the alienation that black people have experienced living without a cultural
milieu that celebrated their own ethnic and cultural heritage. The large piece
hung next to a number of other smaller paintings also by Williams that re-
vealed the more tragic side of having a black face, that is, one of lower status
and the associated feelings of being objectified as a clown and the subordina-
tion that comes with the racial territory of blackness. According to Parker:
There seem to be two schools of thought in terms of African American art or
“black art.” One is that art is directly related to the black experience or [the
second] that it is exterior to the black experience and perhaps more universal
90 / Chapter Four
in its presentation. This particular piece is very germane to the black experi-
ence. In the larger piece, you see the lips are exaggerated. [It] mimics black
people who are mimicking white people who are mimicking black people.
[We laugh] OK. And so that really is what it is. That shows a black man, as you
see, with blue eyes. And if you look at all of his tags [baggage tags attached
to the painting] from various places he has traveled, [you see] he has only
traveled to European places. And so he only sees the world from European
eyes, at the expense of his own blackness and who he is. That’s what that piece
is about. (Parker interview 2003)
The artist, Julian Williams, had created an artistic identity for his work
through interrogating and re-presenting stereotypes of blacks as Step’n
Fetchit comedians, over-performing sports figures, overly endowed sexual
beings, or violence-prone “gangstas.” Like many artists I interviewed, Wil-
liams, who has a MFA in painting and was an adjunct art professor, had to
work an additional day job to earn enough money to keep producing art.
His day job was as an airline baggage handler.
Gendered Practices, Gendered Circuits
The African American men and women art collectors that I came to know
moved in largely gender-specific circuits revealing gendered meanings and
approaches to collecting. According to Parker, “While there are more black
women who buy art, there are more black men who actually have amassed
collections,” leading him to observe that both are equally important to the
creation and preservation of black culture. Further difference was evident in
how they talked about the purpose of collecting: men bought art as reflec-
tions of their own identity, whereas for women art often played additional
practical or functional roles in their lives.
While both Parker and McCoy owned substantial numbers of artworks
by women, they owned more by men. They each reinforced my observa-
tions about this when asked. McCoy pointed out that, initially, his own
collecting network did not include women. “It just happened that way be-
cause most of our ideas come out of social situations and that’s the way we
typically socialize,” that is, with members of the same sex. He pointed out
other circuits dominated by women, among them the woman’s collective
Sapphire and Crystals and the show at Dixon Elementary School that has
led to the building of a collection of art for that particular Chicago public
school. “It’s a fabulous show, and the principal [Crisler] there is also a col-
lector,” he said.
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 91
When McCoy and Parker began to work to establish Diasporal Rhythms,
a formally organized nonprofit organization, the two public school princi-
pals Carol Briggs and Joan Dameron Crisler were among those first to be
invited to participate. By 2008 the network had thirty-five members who
had each paid $100–$200 to join, and the group had recognized fifteen
artists with awards, hosted an annual collectors’ home tour, and sponsored
a number of arts lectures and workshops. The long-term vision of the group
was to open a contemporary art museum.
Functional Purposes of Women’s Art Collecting
Women’s participation in art-collecting networks in Bronzeville filled mul-
tiple purposes. Yet there were many similarities and intersections across
gendered collecting circuits. Like the men’s, women’s collecting networks
operated through interpersonal contact. According to Ayana Karanja—a
Bronzeville resident, an artist, a faculty member at an area university, and
a collector of African-centered wearable art, including jewelry and hand-
woven textiles—information spreads through word of mouth: “Someone
will call and say, ‘Jimmy King is at Patrick [Woodtar’s] store Saturday and
Sunday,’ or, ‘Koswan has come up from the South,’ ” she said. “Blacks are
very African-centered in their dress. Artists come from all over. We hear
about it from our friends” (Karanja interview 2001).
Among the functional purposes of collected art, some women’s collec-
tions were built around wearable clothing and jewelry, art that worked as
a design element in the home, and art that served educational purposes,
as in the collection assembled for Dixon Elementary School. Crisler, the
principal at Dixon, appeared for her interview and tour of the school’s col-
lection wearing a one-of-a-kind artist-made outfit and a large stone hand-
crafted into a necklace. Together with Malika, the art teacher, they explained
how they had assembled the art objects displayed in the extensive collection
throughout the school with proceeds from the booth fees of the annual
art fair. Outside of her office was a piece by the Nigerian artist Dayo that
celebrated the women’s leadership. The work was mounted at the school
entrance outside the principal’s office (plate 10). Using Yoruba mythologiz-
ing, Crisler explained how the piece reflected both women’s roles in African
society and in the school:
Ye Ye Oba, this is Queen Mother. What Dayo was saying is that in [the Yoruba]
African tradition, the mother is the strength of the village. It’s the mother
who raises the child, the son, to eventually be the king. So that’s what this
92 / Chapter Four
represents. This was Queen Mother. You know. It wasn’t King Father who
was in charge of molding the next prince or king; it was the mother. That’s
kinda like what the school represents. We view ourselves, particularly since 99
percent of us are females, that we are that yardstick, that strength that molds
these children to be whatever they’re gonna be later on. (Crisler interview
2003)
At first it was a surprising to me that the collectors’ network linked into
this school not only involved the art teacher but also the principal. Further-
more, it was surprising to find that this school, too, had built a substan-
tial collection of art that not only created an aura of creativity and identity
within the school, but also that these works were presented as education
tools. “Every piece on display communicates some value that we feel is im-
portant that we are trying to teach our children. If we don’t, who will? You
certainly aren’t going to learn anything from all the billboards selling alco-
hol in our community,” explained Crisler. The school’s collection, the sup-
port of creativity it represented, and the networks of living artists connected
to the artworks created interaction among schoolchildren, parents, teachers,
artists, collectors, and other people who attended the fair held at this public
school. As work associated with building the collection was primarily car-
ried out by educators, the artworks and activities were also interpreted by
this circuit as an extension of their public educational mission.
The annual art fair at Dixon School served collecting, fund-raising, and
educational purposes. The show provided artists an opportunity to show
and collectors an opportunity to buy artworks. Funds raised through the
$75 booth fee allowed the school to buy art and build an art collection.
Exposure to the range of artworks at the show provided schoolchildren and
the more than a thousand visitors with access to works created by living
artists. The show also provided children with a firsthand opportunity to
participate in entrepreneurial activities. Consistent with long-held theories,
aesthetic preferences reflected the subjective view of the collector and the
context where the work was displayed.
Men’s Work versus Women’s Work
In addition to the differences among men’s and women’s collecting, the
everyday work of women artists was organized differently from men’s
everyday work as artists. This was highlighted by Marva Jolly, who pointed
out the disparity experienced by women artists. “Most of us women have
full-time jobs, so making art is our second full-time job.” Such was the
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 93
case with Malika, who taught at a public school, and with Joyce Owens
Anderson, who taught at Chicago State University. More male artists were
self-employed as artists. The outcome was that men were more available to
engage in the kind of socializing already discussed as so important to artists’
careers and to the production of local culture.
How this led to men having more access to opportunities was exempli-
fied by Gregg Spears, then a painter in his fifties who also managed the
South Side Community Art Center. In his effort to organize a meeting with
local artists and a representative of the Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs interested in their technical assistance needs, he said, “I can get all
kinds of guys. They are all available during the day. I am really trying hard
to get some women here, but it’s difficult because they all work” (Spears
interview 2003). Just as Jolly indicated, most of the women artists Spears
knew had day jobs at educational institutions. Because ideas come out of
such social events and artists’ careers are built through such social interac-
tion, it should come as no surprise that women were less visible than men
in collections and in shows and at events.
Expanding Beyond Local Places
The lack of free time, leading to the lack of exposure for women artists and
greater visibility for men, led to the establishment of Sapphire and Crys-
tals, an occupational network of women artists who regularly mounted for-
mal exhibitions of their work. While based in the Bronzeville area, black
women from throughout the city have joined this support group for African
American women artists. Jolly, a feminist and a ceramic sculptor, founded
Sapphire and Crystals in 1987 because she and other black women artists
needed a support structure to continue producing their work. She suggested
that the name include “sapphire,” which, in her words, referred to “women
with attitude.” Jolly said she wanted the group to support the kind of think-
ing she saw in such spirited women. The circuit built upon the leadership
roles black women have historically played. While this constituted femi-
nism among white women artists, it was not often characterized as femi-
nism among black women artists. According to Jolly, “You know, feminism
is not something that is necessarily supported in the black community or by
black women” because of its historic alignment with white women’s issues.
Moreover, “feminist” was interpreted as lesbian, as one male artist noted,
and gay or lesbian identity was cultural territory that was not publicly dis-
played or discussed with me during this research.
Sapphire and Crystals played a pivotal role for black women artists.
94 / Chapter Four
According to Ayana Karanja, “Most black women artists from the South
Side who have achieved some recognition for their work have at one time
or another have been involved with Sapphire and Crystals” (Karanja inter-
view 2001). The group was formed because there were rarely exhibitions of
African American women artists, as explained by Jolly:
Sapphire and Crystals provides a support system for their members. They pro-
vide connections between their members and other organizations. We build
careers for black women artists through mentoring young women who are
just beginning to talk about being an artist as well as mentoring each other
to improve our work. I am dogmatic about the quality of work. I have helped
people to understand that if they are going to exhibit, they are going to have
to do better work. It’s not just this “black women thing.” They have to pro-
duce art. (Jolly interview 2005)
Sapphire and Crystals events and exhibitions have taken place both in-
side and beyond Bronzeville, as the women are regularly involved in ac-
tivities sponsored by white women artists. Sapphire and Crystals has given
most of the group’s participants enough visibility for their work to be in-
cluded in private and corporate collections elsewhere, including the col-
lections of Diasporal Rhythms’ members. Participants worked together to
produce Sapphire and Crystals exhibitions; the loose-knit group only met
when it was necessary to plan and carry out an event. They divvied up the
costs and the work necessary to pull off the event. This has led to structured
exhibition opportunities for the women involved in the network.
Rather than focusing on exchanges to build social life, the women of
Sapphire and Crystals have focused on creating opportunities upon which
to build careers and support each other as leaders. According to Jolly:
Part of our mission is the goal of building leadership among African Ameri-
can women artists. These efforts have taken hold, with recent activities spear-
headed by Arlene Crawford, who organized Black Arts Week events, and Juarez
Hawkins, who narrated a public-access “video salon,” highlighting artists
featured in a 2001 Sapphire and Crystals exhibition at ARC Gallery [in River
West]. (Jolly interview 2004)
Black Arts Week events drew together black arts leaders from throughout
Chicago to the South Shore Cultural Center to celebrate the work of black
women and men from many generations.
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 95
Women played multiple roles in Bronzeville collecting circuits. Women
were artists, collectors, caregivers, and educators, as well as administrators
for local cultural organizations. What women lacked in time for socializing
at private parties hosted by collectors, they made up for through formal
exhibitions and through their local leadership. According to noted writer
and filmmaker Sam Greenlee, women typically provided administrative and
financial leadership wherever it existed in the arts in Bronzeville. “Raising
money has traditionally been the job of women in the black community.
You know, from bake sales to organizing fund-raisers to writing grants, they
are the ones that seem to do it” (Greenlee interview 2003). Indeed, most
of the large-budget organizations were founded under women’s leadership,
including the South Side Community Art Center, the DuSable Museum of
African American History, Little Black Pearl Workshop, Muntu Dance The-
atre, and the Harold Washington Cultural Center.
Formal Art Organizations and Art Markets in Bronzeville
Private interests and shared aesthetic preferences deployed through this net-
work fed back into the public sphere through an increasing number of local
art fairs, commercial art galleries, and a number of nonprofit arts organiza-
tions established in Bronzeville after the millennium. Revenues from the
annual art auction sponsored by the South Side Community Art Center (est.
1941) grew from less than $25,000 in the late 1990s to over $100,000 by
2006. Steele Life Gallery was opened on the corner of Forty-Seventh and
King Drive by photographer Bryant Johnson. This was a dramatic tradi-
tional gallery space found on the second floor of a newly remodeled build-
ing named the African Market Place. A trendy, upscale restaurant, Blu 47,
opened the following year across the hall from his gallery with a southern
menu and live jazz music. Gallery Guichard opened in 2005 in a gray stone
mansion on King Drive near Thirty-Fifth Street at the southern end of the
mile-long art piece, the Public Art of Bronzeville, installed in 1996 as part of a
streetscape project. Founded and managed by painter André Guichard and
at least one member of Diasporal Rhythms board as an investor, the gallery
filled three floors of the building and hosted regular exhibitions. Nicole Gal-
lery, which operated out of the River North gallery district for more than two
decades, opened a satellite space in the same building as Steele Life. Once
a month the three galleries and the South Side Community Art Center on
South Michigan Avenue near Thirty-Ninth Street sponsored a motorized trol-
ley to drive visitors to the gallery openings in Bronzeville. The commercial
96 / Chapter Four
ventures sought to build a formal market for the cultural products regularly
sold directly through artists’ home-based studios. Although the new galler-
ies were celebrated as part of Bronzeville’s cultural renaissance, by 2009 the
momentum they received as new businesses had slowed. Nicole closed her
Bronzeville space, and Steele Life Gallery closed its doors altogether.
Conclusions
Through examination of aesthetic networks in Bronzeville, this chapter pro-
vided insight into how cultural capital was created through the development
of shared artistic preferences and aesthetic judgments within a network of
activity. In this particular art world, members of the black middle class pro-
vided leadership for the range of activities necessary for art production; as
art collectors, they provided leadership and were the center of art produc-
tion networks predominantly concerned with aesthetic judgment and pref-
erences within a present-day black cultural milieu. Their private parties, like
historic rent parties, offered an alternative to the kind of exchanges that
take place through formal art markets and cultural institutions. These par-
ties provided a gathering place and structure through which a growing net-
work of African American people—including artists, bureaucrats, teachers,
and professionals—could become directly involved in art production and
the creation of local culture. Their private parties functioned to accomplish
both the production and distribution of art while fostering the creation of
knowledge about its existence. Through these parties, they nurtured others
into purposeful art collecting and advocated for cultural transformation.
Yet their advocacy was not to transform the illiterate masses into rational
citizens, as proponents of elite culture in France had argued for most of the
nineteenth and early twentieth century; rather, the activities of this new
class of art collectors was an extension of civil rights efforts that initially
focused on the problem of social and economic inequality, and now sought
to extend these concerns to addressing the disproportionate distribution of
power that had accumulated through the institutionalization of culture in
the twentieth century.
Cultural cohesion emerged from an ideal of ownership of self and the
establishment of a cultural legacy for people who were historically denied
ownership of their own person and whose culture had been dominated
by external interests. Through asserting their own shared interests in pro-
ducing, maintaining, and distributing culture, participants in this aesthetic
network created a local culture whose meanings were directly connected to
living artists and the living art appreciators.
Aesthetic Networks and Cultural Capital / 97
Black cultural capital created through such networks challenged grand
aesthetic narratives of Western civilization while reinforcing postmodern
epistemological pluralism—that is, that there was not a single form or struc-
ture through which knowledge was produced and diffused, but many. Such
gatherings nurtured and increasingly advocated for a cultural transforma-
tion—one that challenged the accumulation of power by the dominant
class through its cultural institutions. The activities of this new class of art
collector at first continued the civil rights efforts that focused on social and
economic inequality, but extended these concerns by challenging the dis-
proportionate distribution of power that continued to accumulate through
institutionalized cultural practice in the twenty-first century. As a result, lo-
calized art production was purposeful and became a source of power for
black people. Moreover, aesthetic preferences began to take on their own
logic—a logic based in subjective preferences extending beyond an indi-
vidual and not dependent upon some other external justification.
Twenty-first-century Bronzeville provided a unique context for the in-
creasing recognition of aesthetic preferences of black collectors as a valu-
able and even useful form of knowledge. This knowledge had been ignored
not only by the cultural arbiters of the downtown cultural core, but also
by traditional black leaders whose value systems, rooted in social justice
causes, rejected what appeared to them as extravagant displays of wealth by
petty bourgeois. Yet within the emerging territorial place of Bronzeville, this
aesthetic activity provided the knowledge necessary to mobilize resources
on a grand scale.
The particular facts of this case study can be generalized to other places:
that art producers with shared aesthetic interests can create art and collec-
tions that are meaningful to a larger network of people yet remain outside
of the realms of institutionalized and commercialized fine art objects. The
network form of organization provides a vehicle through which artists and
non-artists alike may cooperate to produce such art and establish signifi-
cant places; they may exert leadership through promoting and advocating
the benefits of art. Both religious and secular art collectors—from ancient
African shamans to the Catholic priests to wealthy businessmen such as the
Medici—have exerted such influence through their collections. However,
the subject of black aesthetic networks and identity within the contempo-
rary black middle class is a new subject within the sociology of art. As a
result, this investigation contributes new understanding of black aesthetics
and black cultural capital and their meanings within the changing social
location of black Americans.
FI VE
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control
The pure intention of the artist is that of producer who aims to be autono-
mous, that is, entirely the master of his product, who tends to reject not
only the “programmes” imposed a priori by scholars and scribes, but also—
following the old hierarchy of doing and saying—the interpretations super-
imposed a posteriori on his work. . . . To assert the autonomy of production is
to give primacy to that of which the artist is master, i.e., form, manner, style,
rather than the “subject,” the external referent, which involves subordination
to functions—even if only the most elementary one, that of representing,
signifying, saying something. (Bourdieu [1979] 1984, 3)
Art producers who place the highest value on artistic autonomy are focused
on producing artworks in relationship to a history of art that exists outside
of temporal space. Yet, to survive, such artists are engaged in a variety of re-
lationships necessary to sustain production and their own autonomy as art-
ists. The network relationships discussed in this case occurred in Pilsen but
were not bound to the place or its everyday life. Instead they existed as prac-
tical activity necessary for artists to pursue artistic goals. The interpersonal
interactions and their connections to local places were short term and even
transitory. As one artist put it, “Transience . . . is an accurate representation
of making art in the current society” (Ruby 2005). Although short-lived,
such activities were important to the existence of an artist’s career.
Both Becker (1963) and Giuffre (1999) recognized the contradiction
between the demands for autonomy and for activities that produced an
artist’s career. Becker
1
considered the careers of dance musicians as careers
in a “deviant occupational group” because of their interest in “maintain-
ing freedom from control over artistic behavior” (1963, 102). Giuffre
2
con-
ceived of a photographer’s career “as a sand pile, in which each actor’s
100 / Chapter Five
attempts to reach the top changes the shape of the climb” (1999, 815). Mir-
roring Bourdieu (1993), Giuffre viewed the career as the individual trajectory
through time and space; social space was the web of possible positions a
photographer could hold and the career was the trajectory through that
space (Giuffre 1999, 821). Activities of visual artists examined in this chap-
ter were conscientiously located outside of the boundaries of control and
authority of formal organizations or markets. Their place in a local network
was constructed through lateral connections within a network form of
organization (Podolny and Page 1998).
The interactions among artists were social arrangements designed to
sustain production and artistic autonomy by providing access to resources
including public visibility for artistic work; recognition through postcards
and other publicity pieces, newspaper and Web listings; articles or reviews;
occasional sales; and frequent access to short-term contract work. To sustain
such relationships through a network that prioritized autonomy, artists of-
ten chose against the development of the kind of career that was gauged by
movement through status positions in an organization, but their activities
produced a career nonetheless within a borderless social space defined by
the reach of the network. Just as business scholars have found, networked
businesses often had to forgo opportunities to make money in the short
term to sustain network relationships over the long term (Podolny and Page
1998). These artists were committed first to the pursuit of artistic autonomy,
second to the network of involvement that helped them to sustain produc-
tivity, and third to other interests such as those that might lead to paid work
or art sales.
Among the participants in the autonomy network discussed in this chap-
ter are three categories of artists that I define as cutting-edge artists, transna-
tional artists, and museum-quality artists. Among the cutting-edge artists
were recent art school graduates who formed a collective of artists’ spaces,
the ArtPilsen Collective. They rented space on Pilsen’s east side in an area
they nicknamed “Podville,” after their landlord, one of the locale’s longtime
landlords whose primary market was artists. They engaged in agreements
with each other for cooperative action designed to increase the public vis-
ibility of their work. They provided each other with referrals to events held
outside their collective that would build both individual and shared vis-
ibility of their artwork. Among their collaborative events were their “Second
Friday” monthly openings in their “domestic spaces,” and larger exhibitions
mounted as alternatives to the downtown art fair involving similarly inter-
ested artists from throughout the city and beyond.
The transnational artists shared the concerns and activities of Pilsen’s
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 101
cutting-edge artists and even participated in many of the same events. They
were also based in Pilsen but located along the Eighteenth Street commercial
corridor in the Mexican section of Pilsen. As transnational artists, their iden-
tity was not rooted within a single nation but across two or more nations.
The core members of this group were bicultural Latino/American artists,
who involved artists from throughout the world—including Mexico, the
Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Eastern Europe, South Af-
rica, China, and Japan—in their exhibitions. Like the cutting-edge artists,
the transnational artists were also mostly art school graduates, but they
reached beyond the borders of Pilsen, their Latino heritage, and their art
school education to challenge Eurocentric aesthetic hierarchy, assimilation,
gentrification, and mono-culturalism. Their activities were distinguished
from the other cutting-edge artists by their regular critiques of both tradi-
tional Eurocentric and ethnic art forms reminiscent of a world hierarchically
ordered by distinct nationalistic cultures.
The museum-quality artists were older and had established artistic
careers through exhibitions in nonprofit galleries and museums, reviews
of their works, and features in journals, catalogs, and books. From private
“bitch sessions” (Altman interview 2002) to public debate, these artists
provided each other with support and criticism of each others’ works in
progress and finished pieces. Just as was highlighted by the poet Tyehimba
Jess, these visual artists showed up to each other’s private events and to
public openings or lectures in commercial galleries and regional museums.
They also provided referrals that led to increased institutional legitimacy for
each other’s works.
What distinguished the museum-quality artists from the cutting-edge and
transnational artists were primarily generational differences that were evi-
dent through their methods and their opportunities for recognition. While
the older museum-quality artists might produce conceptual, installation art
and show works through older galleries participating in the Art Chicago in-
ternational art fair held each year at Navy Pier, the younger cutting-edge and
transnational artists participated in large-scale alternative exhibitions such
as the Stray Show 2002, described as including “emerging contemporary
art organizations . . . unconventional spaces, art collectives, and emerging
galleries” (Stray 2002) and mounted in a vacant 37,000-square-foot stor-
age facility on Kingsbury Place just north of the West Loop loft and gallery
district; Art Boat, an exhibition mounted in a rented tourist cruiser launched
from the docks of the downtown exhibition hall and tourist center at Navy
Pier,
3
where the Art Chicago international art fair took place (2003 and
2004); and the alternative “young” art fair Nova, originally an acronym for
102 / Chapter Five
“Network of Visual Art” (Workman 2005b), first mounted in 2005 in the
rooms of a North Side seedy hotel on Belmont Avenue rented entirely for
the purpose of the fair.
Just as the Art Chicago fair featured galleries displaying their artists’
works in conventional-styled booths that mimicked the white-box format
of contemporary museums and galleries, the alternative events followed
the approach of the Stray Show and involved Chicago’s “stray” art galler-
ies, that is, those not located in one of the city’s art districts. As noted by
Stray organizers, such events claimed a place in “Chicago’s avant-garde tra-
dition” while “asserting their vision for the global art community’s next
generation, forming a network of people, practices and philosophies.”
They shared what was acknowledged and even celebrated as a transitory
existence: “Most of the participants are accustomed to setting up wherever
and whenever possible, either exhibiting new talent out of their own ga-
rages [or] apartment galleries or as collaborative groups without a regular
venue. . . . Location may not be a primary concern for this rising community
of independents” (Stray 2002). Displays in these alternative exhibitions mim-
icked the gritty, even trashy aesthetic of their nonconventional exhibition
spaces.
Cutting-Edge Artists in Podville
The concentration of roughly two hundred artists within the eastern section
of Pilsen, or “Podville,” was built through a number of resources unique to
the area: obsolete factory buildings and wood-framed two-flats that once
provided housing for immigrant factory workers; a bohemian aura; a steady
stream of skilled art school graduates from nearby professional schools,
colleges, and universities ready to be entrepreneurial tenants; and a landlord
who was supportive of artistic practice.
Podville’s “open format” artists’ spaces created a hub for artistic auton-
omy. Artists at work in these specially designed spaces regularly presented
works to their friends and to the public from their living rooms or the gal-
lery spaces that existed in place of living rooms. The landlord/tenant rela-
tionship for these artists’ spaces was one that allowed artists to carry out
the kind of activity necessary for art production: making holes in the walls,
dropping paint on the floors, hammering, sanding, using paint and solvent
that create noxious fumes, and hosting art events far into the night. Such
freedoms allowed artists to pursue “serious” artistic goals within a support-
ive network, while existing outside of traditional nonprofit, institutional, or
market relationships. The exchanges among art producers were agreements
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 103
to act cooperatively, particularly in scheduling opening nights, promoting
their exhibitions, and participating in group exhibitions held both within
and outside the locale. By sharing audiences through such cooperation, this
network preserved the loose social connections that sustained their access to
opportunities, their productivity, and their artistic autonomy.
Irony, mixed with anarchy, undergirded the attitude of many of these
cutting-edge artists toward the corporate real estate firm that was their
landlord. The name “Podville” was a satiric reference to the mythic “Pot-
tersville,” the corporate incarnation of Bedford Falls when family-owned,
neighborhood businesses fell under control of the evil banker Mr. Potter
in Frank Capra’s classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The name “Podville”
was simultaneously an endearing reference to John Podmajersky II, whose
craftsman’s skill first imbued the obsolete industrial buildings with a sense
of place, and a criticism of the more recent corporate management style of
the real estate firm as it exerted a monopoly control of property in the area
he called “Pilsen East.” Moreover, the name captured the tension between
the wonderful life in a network established through creative interaction
among artists and the requirement of tolerating corporate intervention in
their lives.
Kimberly Aubuchon, a recent master of fine arts (MFA) graduate from
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the director of Unit B, a
basement gallery in a Podville residential unit. She collaborated with other
artists through the ArtPilsen Collective, staging monthly openings in their
“domestic spaces” to gain visibility and attract people to their quiet niche
of Pilsen. By adopting names for their spaces such as “Apt 1R” or “Unit
B” (the unit designation on a lease), by informally referring to the area as
“Podville,” and by acknowledging that they could do the kinds of quirky
things they did because they were “Pods and they live in Pod Places,” they
acknowledged the simultaneous control and freedom that was an under-
current to their network of cultural production and that had produced its
transience in this locale.
The ArtPilsen Collective involved ten artists living in the easternmost
fringes of Podville. Although it was the closest section of Pilsen to the
downtown Loop, it was in a nether land between the Interstate Highway 94
overpass, the Chicago River, and the highly commercial Chinatown. “Sec-
ond Friday” exhibitions were mounted in artists’ domestic spaces, which
included in 2002 Apt. 1R, Unit B, Bucket Rider, Drivethru Studios, Gallery
SixFourFive, and Dogmatic Gallery. These exhibitions crossed the public/
private boundary in that they were publicly announced but existed in art-
ists’ private domains or domestic spaces. Artists/gallery owners individually
104 / Chapter Five
promoted their openings through a citywide Internet listserv, ChicagoArt.
net; through their shared website, ArtPilsen.com; and through mailing lists
generated from past exhibition attendees and occasional buyers. Their ma-
jor source of income was through full- and part-time employment and free-
lance jobs in nearby Loop locations: they worked in arts administration,
graphic design, web design, exhibition preparation, and exhibition con-
struction. Art was sold to buyers or collectors coming from outside of Pilsen.
These outsiders were not involved in local social life as collectors were in
Bronzeville. Through use of technology and collaboration with other artists
hosting openings out of their domestic spaces, these art school–educated
artists sought public visibility for their work. As the artwork existed out-
side of any functional purpose—including educating people, earning an
income, or even making a statement—gathering people together to see the
art was the only activity that located it and its makers in time and space.
Unlike aesthetic networks in Bronzeville, there was no discussion of the
meanings of artwork or of culture within or beyond the network. Rather,
theirs was an occupational shared interest, rooted in the artists’ coopera-
tive efforts to support and maintain each other’s autonomy as independent
producers of art.
The concentration of domestic spaces and artist studios in Podville had
given such artists who wanted visibility and legitimacy for their work the op-
portunity to achieve these outside the traditional institutional structure of
nonprofit organizations and outside the commercial art market. Just as their
activities crossed the public/private divide that often separates work from
home life, it also crossed the nuanced conventions that distinguished their
arts events, parties, and productions from the activities of formal arts organi-
zations and markets, including the nonprofit arts organizations founded
in Chicago 1975–85, such as N.A.M.E, Artemisia Gallery, Randolph Street
Gallery, and MoMing, all of which had closed by the end of the century. Yet
the Podville domestic spaces operated as something close to a sole propri-
etorship as individual authority was retained by the artist-renter. Each artist
promoted his or her efforts as “a gallery” without any formal status—such
as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or 501(c)(3) nonprofit
status
4
—and without the separation between business and personal life,
such as separate phone lines or bank accounts, that had been a hallmark of
modernity. They each operated without a board of directors or paid staff.
Their primary agreement with each other as a collective was for them each
to carry out an event on the second Friday of the month to attract people to
openings and share audiences.
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 105
Routine Production
I want to continue doing this, first because it’s successful. But also I’ve met
so many wonderful people, just artists. It’s really keeping me in the game. I
really like the whole process of it—meeting artists. I have a passion to know
what people are thinking about. It keeps me social to plan—don’t want to
call it “a party”—well, “a production” every month. (Aubuchon interview
2003)
Like the Bronzeville collectors who hosted private parties to build a network
of collectors, Kimberly Aubuchon’s purpose as an artist hosting events out
of Unit B was largely social. Success for Aubuchon was gauged by the turn-
out of artists to her events, the access the social connections provided to her
and the artists exhibited at Unit B, and to the subsequent opportunities with
more visibility, such as through Art Boat and the Stray Show, both exclusive
“alternative” exhibition opportunities for galleries like Unit B.
Through her monthly “production” in Podville, Aubuchon featured art-
works of friends and associates in exhibitions mounted in the front room of
her basement apartment. It was a small room, approximately ten feet by ten
feet with black-and-white checked linoleum tile on the floor. In addition to
the ways already discussed, the production crossed the public/private bor-
der in other ways. To attract people to her events, she sent out cards and
e-mail notices announcing her production to friends and the public. Her
productions took on a more public form than Bronzeville collectors’ parties
because announcements were distributed through lists of people, some of
whom she did not know. On these nights, she put a sign out on the side-
walk, like other businesses might hang a shingle. It pointed to the gangway
entrance to her apartment/gallery, Unit B (plate 11).
Consistent with the professional conventions at work in many nonprofit
and commercial galleries, Aubuchon rarely showed her own paintings in
Unit B exhibitions. Yet they were on display in the rest of her apartment,
available for people to see, and were often featured in group shows that re-
sulted from her participation in the ArtPilsen Collective. Her paintings, first
drawn on computer and then painted on large canvases, appeared as crude
and mid-century computer renderings transformed into paintings. Just like
the crude aura of Unit B, her paintings belied her technical expertise. Her
knowledge of and adeptness with both gallery administration and compu-
ter technology were skills she exploited in promoting the gallery and the
collective as well as her work at a downtown museum.
106 / Chapter Five
Undermining Consumerism
The group’s website, ArtPilsen.com, was created and maintained by Eric
Medine, a thirty-something artist and professional web technician, who held
regular shows out of a studio/gallery space, Drivethru Studios, named for the
recycled McDonald’s “Drive-Thru” sign that adorned the front of his building.
However, the artwork produced within the studio was a conscious affront to
the consumerism represented by fast-food restaurants. In fact, Medine indi-
cated that he was not interested in selling work because he did not want to
have to “babysit” collectors. Rather, artists gathered at his space to collectively
reject the kind of rational, market-oriented or institution-oriented behavior
that often characterized activity in the gallery district or among nonprofit cul-
tural institutions. And the gallery, which was originally co-owned by Thomas
Waters, had a history of ratcheting up the environment, just as the language
of its manifesto posted on its website promised. In a combination of heavy-
metal and surfer jargon, it promised to “bring you the fastest, loudest and
crunchiest of all the fine arts . . . a wild and violent ride through the thorny
business of making art all day every day” (Drivethru 2003).
Medine rented a storefront space on the fringes of Podville because, as he
explained, “there were not many independent spaces available for the kind
of work I do” (Medine interview 2003). Medine was the main “authority” at
Drivethru. The studio’s primary purpose was centered on creating unique
social situations rather than making money. For Medine, making art that
could be sold was secondary to making art that celebrated the autonomy
of the artist:
There’s more independent space now than when I first started. I just really
needed a space where I could show installation work that is not really sellable
or, how you say, “hocked.” You know, most artists who probably do it for a liv-
ing like to make objects you can sell, you know, [art that] pays the bills. And I
like to make, like I said, installation, performance art, video art. There are certain
venues where that stuff is appropriate and you can [earn money to] pay your
bills, like through what my [new roommate Nathan Peck] over here does a lot,
through video mixing, doing eye-candy-type video stuff for clubs. I originally
found this space so I can show my work and not have to deal with someone tell-
ing me, “Oh, you can’t do that here.” (Medine interview 2003)
For Medine, autonomy over what he does was the primary value he acted
upon, but that did not mean he was alone in his art production activities.
He could afford to not focus on selling work for several reasons. First, he
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 107
was trained as a web designer and made a living off of a nine-to-five web
design job in the Loop and by teaching web design at night. Furthermore,
he lived in the back of the storefront, as he “has to live somewhere,” he ex-
plained. Third, Medine had Nathan Peck, whom he introduced as “my crazy
freak in residence.” Peck taught video and time arts at St. Xavier University,
hosted regular video-mixing events that attracted people to the venue, and
helped to cover some of the financial costs of the space.
In addition, Medine hired an intern through what he described as a semi-
formal exchange in which “each bills the other for services rendered. She’s
gonna help me with my openings and press releases. I charge seventy-five
bucks an hour for tutoring on web design. This is how it works: she helps
me with my thing, and when she’s done, she gets taught how to be a web
designer by somebody who does it for a living.” The exchange was explicit
because, according to Medine, “it’s got to be something [formal], otherwise
people don’t work well when they are working for free. I learned that with
my last intern” (Medine interview 2003). This internship worked out for
all involved. Medine needed help running the gallery. The intern was inter-
ested in learning the principles of running a gallery. Peck wasn’t interested
in running a gallery, but he was interested in having space to show his own
work and set up interactive events.
Furthermore, Medine acknowledged, “I can do the things I do because
I’m a Pod.” As a resident of Podville, he was part of a place built around
the kind of artistic autonomy he valued and that therefore tolerated and
encouraged the quirky things he did. The area was a magnet attracting artists
seeking this kind of interaction with other artists. Medine’s work focused on
events that he designed as unpredictable social situations. Yet similar to the
kind of satisfaction expressed by Patric McCoy, one of the Bronzeville col-
lectors, Medine explained that he made the kind of art that he did because
it was fun and provided opportunities for social interaction created by and
around the artwork:
A big aspect of it is just, you know, its fun. It’s fun to do stuff like a
body banquet [where people are invited to eat dinner served on a na-
ked body]. It’s fun to have stuff like the “Rube Goldberg Show,” where
I turned the whole house into a life-size mousetrap game (plate 12). That
stuff’s just fun, you know. It makes me laugh every time I think of it. You
know, it’s like some people collect postage stamps, I like to make really
big toys. Do you know what I mean? I could go on for hours about it
being more complicated than that, [but] to me it’s really pretty simple. It’s
about having fun and setting up situations. It’s interesting to see the way
108 / Chapter Five
people [respond]. . . . You learn by other people’s reaction to your work. One
of the reasons I like making interactive pieces is people will do something I
just don’t expect. (Medine interview 2003)
As “spontaneous play,” such activities were recognized as a form of creative
activity that, along with “charisma of ability” or “magic,” could be viewed
as harmonious to ascetic devotion and a rejection of worldly rationalism
that has characterized the impulse for artistic autonomy since its early
foundations in religious practice (Weber [1915] 1946, 341). While Medine
emphasized the “unpredictability” of his work, it was unpredictability that
he controlled within the conventions of what he described as “the dry, bor-
ing museum style” of presentation.
His events, according to one outsider, Robert Johnson, a painter from
Bronzeville who participated in a show at Drivethru, were indeed more like
“parties” than those in Bronzeville collectors’ homes that were intent on
linking buyers to artists. From Johnson’s perspective, the purpose of such
shows was to socialize with peers, not to sell art. He said:
I like places like Drivethru, even though I know that the majority of the crowd
probably didn’t come to spend any money and they’re probably all artists.
So you know [it is about] having that interaction and getting feedback from
more of a peer group at a show, versus going to a show for collecting purposes
or [having] the money-down group. [These are] two different experiences,
you know. (Johnson interview 2003)
Unlike Kimberly Aubuchon, Medine did not shy away from the term
“party” to describe what he did. Yet he pointed out that over the years he
sought more control of what occurred at these events. “I used to have parties
and kegs with every opening, but we’d have people throwing beers around
and stuff like that, so now we have parties once in a while that are a little more
controlled.” The unpredictability that he controlled was, nonetheless, a con-
frontation with everyday life. It also was a confrontation with the rationality
and predictability of modern business practices that have infiltrated much of
the gallery world, holding expectations for artists, like other makers of salable
products, to produce objects similar enough to each other to create a market.
The Bonds of Trust, Reciprocity, and Shared Interests
The interests shared among cutting-edge artists in Podville were not based
in an interest in the history of a people, justice, or “our fair share of the
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 109
public goods,” as it was in Bronzeville, but it was another kind of network
created by cooperative action and intended to support the autonomy of
artistic production. Their activities were based on trust that others would
act, that is, host an opening on the agreed night; shared interest in bring-
ing audiences to the area and in creating visibility for the artwork they
presented; and reciprocity, such as helping each other run their galleries
and exchanging resources like access to computer technology and mailing
lists.
Running a gallery was not like some other sorts of retail venture, such
as a clothing store, according to Andrew Rafacz, founder of another gallery
in the collective, Bucket Rider. “I didn’t plan this out exactly,” he said. “I
decided to hang some of my friends’ work, and I sort of then quickly figured
out that everyone else was hanging some work that month on a certain day.
I decided to latch on to that date. The whole idea was to hang it and tell
some people and see what happened.” As a poetry and philosophy student,
he did not know how to run a gallery and was not enrolled in a university
program designed to teach him to do so. Gallery owners from Unit B and
Apt. 1R up the street, who were Art Institute students and were also show-
ing work out of their domestic spaces, quickly embraced Rafacz and showed
him what he needed to do to be taken seriously by them and others who
came to the area. He explained:
I found out that there is a lot of behind-the-scene stuff that you have to do
before you get a show ready. Cards, publicity is the big issue to get people
down here. You know, getting up on certain websites and whatever, and all of
that came to me by the way of Kimberly [of Unit B], Van and Mat [of Apt 1R]
telling me what I should do. So they’re directing me in the right direction, [so
now] even the week before the show, we don’t have to interact. There’s a real
relationship among the people of this neighborhood running galleries, [and
who are] also friends. (Rafacz interview 2003)
Rafacz does not hide the fact that much of his early success with Bucket
Rider was the result of the interest in sharing audiences that was the basis of
their collaborative action.
My first show was sort of as a test run. It was a huge success. I never expected
it. And so much of that is because of the neighborhood. We all open at the
same time . . . and it kind of legitimizes what we are kind of doing down
here, too, on another level. . . . I would say, less than a year ago, even . . .
we were all drawing pretty distinct crowds. But then people would all sort
110 / Chapter Five
of circulate around the neighborhood that night, so, on a good night, it
wouldn’t be surprising to have two hundred people coming through [my gal-
lery], which is great. Maybe you might not even sell anything for the month.
Or you might show somebody that’s really [not interested in selling work],
but the people who come are really interesting. It’s a younger crowd in gen-
eral. We stay open a little bit later. For the most part, yeah, it’s fantastic. I
don’t know if I would be doing it if it wasn’t for the community here: it’s
hard for me to say. I’ve thought about that a lot lately, because when I first
started, I got so much support from Kimberly over at Unit B and, uh, Van
Harrison and Mat LaBlanc over at 1R. . . . I wouldn’t have been able to do
this the way that I have, at least initially, if it wasn’t for those folks and their
support. It’s pretty amazing. (Rafacz interview 2003)
Like Kimberly Aubuchon’s Unit B, Bucket Rider is also a basement gal-
lery. What it lacks in chic appeal is made up in the appeal of its weird, raw
space that is partitioned with a metal balcony and stairway—once provid-
ing access to a furnace or some other piece of industrial machinery—that
divided the wall space horizontally into two four-foot sections. The balcony
created the wacky, illogical kind of “low overhead,” as in the movie Being
John Malkovich, requiring viewers over four feet tall to cock their head or
hunch over to look closely at the work (plate 13). Rafacz described the work
on display as a combination of sculpture and installation. It included large
stuffed animals, pink walls, and gold dioramas containing narrative sto-
ries of animals set in compromising situations indicative of, among other
things, human uncertainty and human sexuality:
It is sculpture and installation [Halfway Home] by Emily Counts. She’s a Chi-
cago artist. This is similar to the work she’s been doing over the last year or
so. It is sculpture. She does a lot of diorama work. As you can see, there are
several large-scale dioramas [framed three-dimensional images of animals in
the forest standing on two feet and interacting as if they were human]. And
then it’s [also] installation [as the walls are painted bright pink and include
other furniture installed in the area]. It came about from her interest in this
particular space—the fact that there [are] two levels. The idea is that it’s sort of
a cross section of almost a dollhouse. (Rafacz interview 2003)
Halfway Home seems to fit the space as if the quirky balcony had been built
to accommodate it, rather than the reverse. While the space seemed most
suited for this innovative installation, Rafacz indicated that he typically
showed traditional forms of painting and drawing.
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 111
For Rafacz, the network provided an occupational support system. Gal-
lery owners helped each other mount shows and cooperatively promoted
their shows. According to Rafacz’s account, what kept the network of gal-
lery owners together was reciprocity, the give-and-take, the “I’ll help today
because I might need the help tomorrow” attitude that Putnam (2000) re-
ferred to as “social capital” but Rafacz attributed to the spirit of making art.
He elaborated:
Great example: Yesterday, we were open for a group from MCA [Museum
of Contemporary Art in Chicago]. I left the cups that I bought for the wine
down at work. We had all the wine and we were open. We had people com-
ing in. But we had no cups to put the wine in. So I called down to Gallery
SixFourFive, right on the corner, Dave Cuesta, and I asked if he had any cups,
and he said come on down and he gave me a bunch of cups. Maybe it’s trivial,
but it’s little things like that. I know that I could ask him for favors like that
at any moment; I could flood him with those, and he’s still going to support
me and help me out. I tried to even pay him for the cups, and he wouldn’t let
me. Of course he wouldn’t, which is the way that it should be, because again,
it’s art. (Rafacz interview 2003)
Rafacz’s view of art “as peripheral to just about everything, particularly
to survival,” makes it flexible, so flexible it can fit into just about any space,
including his double-decker basement. “It’s pretty magical. It’s not bureau-
cratic. I don’t know how to describe it. It can be in here and still be taken
seriously, I think. Art can fit inside your brain if you take it seriously. Or just
on paper,” he said. It was this magical realism that led him to name his gal-
lery Bucket Rider, after a Kafka story:
This story basically is about a chimney sweep who is so hungry and he’s not
getting any food and he hallucinates that he’s—well, depending on how you
interpret it—he’s either really flying down the streets of London or is halluci-
nating. But it’s a short piece by Kafka. . . . I’ve always loved the story. But I also
think it’s really appropriate to describing sort of that perpetual hunger that
one has to agree to, to be involved in the arts, you know. Or maybe, once you
agree to it, it’s probably the right way, as long as you continue to stay hungry,
maybe you stay sharp or something. (Rafacz interview 2003)
At this point, it was still relatively early on a Saturday morning, and Ra-
facz offered me a “glass of coffee” as I stepped over into his space to look at
Counts’s installation Halfway Home. Rafacz had to leave, as he was doing a
112 / Chapter Five
side job in the West Loop gallery district, preparing a gallery space for a Ger-
man dealer who rented it for a month during the upcoming international
art fair.
Innovation through Interaction
Pushing the limits of autonomy within a particular medium was Nathan
Peck, Medine’s “freak in residence” who regularly arranged video-mixing
events at Drivethru Studios. Referring to it as “a media scene,” Peck de-
scribed these events as “situations where we try to bring together people
who will bring some videotapes over and want to mix them on top of other
people’s [tapes].” Such events were focused less on the video production or
documentation than on the people who attend. “After the first event, we
tried to make it clear it’s not a film screening; it’s like a video journal where
we have a video mixer, DVD deck, VHS deck, digital video deck, and usually
some sort of a laptop or computer,” Peck said. “You bring your video into
the situation, and you can merge your video with other people’s to create
video collage and interactive art pieces” (Peck interview 2003).
This activity produced unique, autonomous situations for social interac-
tion. “A scene can begin developing out of media as easily as it can out of
a space. So all of a sudden you have a situation where you get a handful of
telephone calls where it’s like, ‘All right, well, we’ve set up another evening
where we can do this similar sort of thing.’ Now I can just take my things
and go with that situation,” he explained.
Both Medine and Peck said that the results sometimes are “just mud,”
but other times there is “synchronicity,” where two senses were triggered at
the same time to create a “memory set”—or where other artists simply say,
“It works.” Peck, who usually ran the events, explained, “You try to set up
a situations where an image becomes re-contextualized because it’s merged
with another image. You’ve got two powerful images, and all of a sudden
it becomes a third powerful image because it is moved back and forth be-
tween them” (Peck interview 2003).
Both men agreed that the experience was not “as satisfying” as watching
television, in which a single narrative progressed toward a single climax.
“At some point it just becomes pretty pictures,” Medine said. “It’s kind of
a weird thing. You get to play with technology, which is one of the reasons
I think you’d like it, because it’s all these expensive toys you get to play
with.” He acknowledged that the synchronicity was “somewhat scripted,” as
the product, which exists only as an experience, was the result of Peck and
Medine inviting particular people to the event.
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 113
“I intentionally stack the deck to a certain extent. I try to bring in at least
three people that I know whose work I know that I like and I’d like to see
mixed together,” acknowledged Peck. The emphasis was on the process of
interacting or collaborating with other people rather than on making a final
product, because, as Peck said, “We don’t even record it.” It is the unique-
ness and the lack of repeatability of the imagery that refocuses the activ-
ity on live interaction, bringing people together and getting them to come
back. He further explained the connection between the medium and the
network of artists involved:
My primary interest is to start dialogue, start conversation about this media. I
can sit and have a conversation with other people who are already doing this.
But, of course, as soon as I can introduce a new person, like Ann, this woman
who came in who had never touched this kind of stuff before, by the end of
the evening I can have a conversation with her that I couldn’t have at the be-
ginning of the evening. It’s because she starts playing with this kind of stuff;
starts to have an interaction; starts having the same sort of moments that I’ve
had, and so then we can now talk about it. (Peck interview 2003)
Such events lead to the kind of unexpected experiences that Medine and
Peck seek. As explained by Medine:
Let’s face it . . . a lot of those guys, man, I can’t tell their work apart. It all kind
of looks the same. Not that they don’t have skill or anything. They all kind of
talk to each other, they all come from the same place, they all switch footage
with one another. But then you get someone like this woman, she’ll bring
something to it. It’s a direction you never would have come from . . . and that
shit was really strong. And it’s like, “Oh wow, I never thought about doing
that.” (Medine interview 2003)
According to Peck, this kind of interaction “fed the scene.” “Each person
is coming into it with their own taste, their own expectation of the media,
so that by the time you’ve introduced a new person to that media, you
have a new possible set of results,” he said. Like the Bronzeville collectors,
Medine and Peck did it for social and artistic purposes: they used the me-
dium of video and the process of video mixing to attract more people to
their art form. The social interaction also brought them personal satis-
faction. But unlike the Bronzeville collectors, they were not interested in
building long-term, shared aesthetic preferences that could then be used to
contest broader political or cultural power relationships.
114 / Chapter Five
The autonomy afforded to artists and galleries by showing artwork out
of their domestic spaces was, for Rafacz, “brilliant.”
I think I can speak for the other galleries in this neighborhood, the other alter-
native spaces, when I say that we’re doing things just as broadly and deeply as
any professional gallery, or we hope to, you know. . . . The level of seriousness
is there. The only thing that’s different is the space, you know. For the time
being, it suits my economic situation, you know. If I don’t sell work, I still
just have to pay my rent. I think that is a really brilliant sort of relationship.
I don’t have to sell the work in this show. Last month I had an installation,
[but] nothing was actually for sale. And that was fine. I don’t have to always
sell work, because, again, you know, I’m still just really making my rent. The
costs for a show are pretty low. And they even split it—the artists help me [to
cover the costs]. (Rafacz interview 2003)
Cutting-edge artists involved in the ArtPilsen Collective placed the high-
est priority on artistic autonomy, but they created social and occupational
situations to support this autonomy and maintain art production. They did
not pursue art production for the income needed for human survival, but
instead pursued these network relationships to construct an identity as an
artist and to survive as an artist producing art. Their activities were points of
intersection and interaction with other artists, and it was these connections
that constituted their career and were included as “exhibitions” or “events”
on their résumés. These résumé listings did not produce a linear path to suc-
cess but were considered by many to be what distinguished a professional
from an amateur artist. As Aubuchon and Rafacz pointed out, events they
sponsored were successful because people showed up. Their careers then
were defined by a time and social space in which artistic autonomy was the
preeminent value; individuals became known through the art they produced
and the activities in which they participated. As the social space was defined
by the network of relationships that existed among the artists, it was a flexi-
ble space and could extend beyond a locale to events such as the Stray Show,
Art Boat, and Nova, but it was dependent upon the routine exhibition activi-
ties in Pilsen. Once the artists sponsoring the events moved from Pilsen, the
meanings generated by this network of interaction also came to an end.
Transnational: Freedom from Ethnicity
The network of transnational artists found farther west in the Mexican sec-
tion of Pilsen also placed the highest priority on artistic autonomy. Their in-
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 115
novation arose out of a multi-ethnic, transnational identity that undermined
the foundational structure of a culture rooted in a single national history.
They too were involved in the ArtPilsen Collective, but as young Latino/a
artists, they distinguished themselves from any legacy of a Eurocentric ap-
proach as well as Mexican ethnicity promoted by the National Museum of
Mexican Art (NMMA) and the older Latino artists of West Pilsen. They were
critical of Mexican ethnic practice as being nostalgic for something that did
not exist, and instead they pursued a kind of autonomy afforded by cross-
ing national, cultural, and stylistic boundaries and collaborating with artists
from throughout Chicago and the world.
Among the transnationals were the Polvo Art Studio founders—Jesus
Macarena-Avila, Miguel Cortez, and Elvia Rodriquez-Ochoa—who oper-
ated the gallery through a rental space among Mexican businesses on the
Eighteenth Street commercial corridor. Entered through a side entrance off
the main street, the space had a loft-like appearance but was a domestic
space where Cortez and his son lived. They promoted the space with a high-
tech, culture-savvy website.
Polvo’s inaugural exhibition, The Subaltern Show (2003), critiqued the
global hierarchy of cultures; it was followed by Terrorist Art: Protesting War,
a critique of global imperialism as the Bush administration invaded Iraq.
The exhibition featured fifteen artists who freely railed against the “War
on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq in a time when most people self-
censored out of a fear of governmental retaliation. For example, in a comic
book–style triptych, Juan Compean presented satiric images of President
Bush on an analog television screen with text bubbles such as “Hey! Who
sprinkled anthrax on my FREEDUMB fries?” Cortez fashioned a consumer-
line wallet in a box titled Homeland Security, Tri-fold wallet. The packaging
satirized propaganda circulated by the Bush administration as it prepared
to invade Iraq: “In this chaotic world you need a wallet that will withstand
any biological attack. Keep your valuables secure. Free Duct tape inside!!!”
I purchased the piece for the $14.99 sale price on the back of the box and
found inside a full-grain tri-fold wallet with a Homeland Security ID and
emergency duct tape.
Polvo and the galleries of the ArtPilsen Collective were among the “thirty
young galleries, collectives, project spaces and artists from Chicago and vari-
ous cities” on Art Boat (an alternative exhibition to the international art fair
held on a triple-decker, tourist cruiser) and at the land-based Stray Show.
Admission tickets for Art Boat, billed as “a three-hour tour” aboard the Anita
Dee on Lake Michigan, sold for $40 and included free food and drinks. The
boat left the Navy Pier dock, where the fair Art Chicago was under way.
116 / Chapter Five
On Art Boat, Unit B and Gallery SixFourFive mounted traditional exhibi-
tions displaying artworks on pedestals and easels. Drivethru brought a re-
furbished pinball machine that its owner, Eric Medine, had reprogrammed
with his own electronics. Andrew Rafacz and a number of artists from Bucket
Rider dressed in 1960s cruise wear and performed as characters from the TV
sitcom Gilligan’s Island. Another woman performance artist, who wore an
evening gown she had woven out of dollar bills, stood statuesque while
soliciting dollar donations for her next performance. Dolan Geiman and
Ali Walsh brought their Hockshop installation, a portable art machine with
Geiman inside spitting out handmade artworks through its various portals
according to the patrons’ selections on the vending machine selection panel.
Polvo sponsored a collaborative installation promoted as “simulta-
neously capturing the collective, multicultural artist identity fundamental to
Polvo while tapping the conceptual chords and aesthetic distinctions inher-
ent [in the artist’s] individual work” (Polvo 2003). The seventy boxes made
by participating artists were displayed on a table as the artists encouraged
“Art Boaters” to pick them up, move them around, open them, repackage
the art, and even take them home. The piece was intended to perpetuate
Polvo’s conviction “to remain outside highly commercialized artwork”
(Polvo 2003).
Polvo artists’ participation in such high-profile events led to invitations
by downtown galleries and institutes. The Glass Curtain Gallery at Colum-
bia College Chicago invited Polvo founder Jesus Macarena-Avila to curate an
exhibition in 2006 of young contemporary Latino artists for its South Loop
gallery. The exhibition, like Macarena-Avila’s own work, crossed the borders
between culture and art, urban and rural, by incorporating traditional urban
art forms, along with pop culture imagery, such as low-rider cars, graffiti,
large-scale digital photography alongside images of rural folklore, including
bandits, border guards, “taquería” food carts, and mariachis.
The transnational approach of Lo Romántico included a selection of Chi-
cago’s Latino/a artists from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South
America whose works produced a narrative that was playful while being
critical of immigrant status within the “high culture/low culture” paradigm.
For example, Robert Karimi’s photos of the U.S.-Mexican border asked the
question “If a Mexican crosses the border illegally but no one sees him, is
he still illegal?” while outside on the sidewalk was a performance featuring
Mexican American border guards killing those who illegally crossed a border
they were protecting. Also inside the gallery was Ornamentos 2004, an instal-
lation piece of small, embossed, commemorative sheets of metal pinned to
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 117
the wall by Puerto Rican artist Edra Soto. She adapted the Mexican folkloric
tradition of “Saints without Bodies,” but instead of commemorating dead
people, she embossed pictures of mundane daily events from newspapers
in Puerto Rico and Chicago. In a display recalling museum dioramas of
Mexican women cooking on open fires, Elvia Rodriquez-Ochoa produced
an installation of a contemporary Mexican kitchen that included a micro-
wave oven, packaged tortillas, and cornflakes boxes featuring Celia Cruz as
“The Queen of Salsa” and Cesar E. Chavez as “Civil rights and farm worker
leader.”
As if the intermixing of fine art, popular culture, and commercial culture
throughout the exhibition was not enough, Macarena-Avila further chal-
lenged those who perceived Latino aesthetics as “lowbrow” by including
a low-rider car parade outside the gallery on the street. Members of the
Amistad Car Club parked their large, mid-century American refurbished
low-rider cars on Wabash Street in front of the gallery and invited visitors
to inspect the engines, trunks, and leather interiors handmade in Mexico.
From inside the cars, owners activated the hydraulic suspension systems,
making the cars bounce.
Transnational artists were predominantly second- and third-generation
Latinos and Latinas who challenged both the romantic nostalgia of their
parents’ view of the homeland, as well as essentialist views of race and eth-
nicity. By interpreting autonomy as freedom from both Eurocentric and
ethnic cultural paradigms, these artists were part of a generation of artists
who envisioned transnational cultural production as one existing outside
national borders.
A Network of Museum-Quality Artists
Generally speaking, all fine art is considered to be appreciable. It has the po-
tential of becoming more valuable, depending upon the artist’s future reputa-
tion. However, it should be noted that works produced by unknown artists,
or by artists who are best described as being “non-museum-quality,” can be
expected to decrease in value when offered for resale since their secondary
market is extremely limited. [But this artist] is consistently described as a
“museum-quality” artist. (Jacob 2001, 12)
As stated by appraiser Jane C. H. Jacob (2001), the artworks of many artists
will never have values—whether aesthetic or financial—that appreciate over
time. But at work in Pilsen were also “museum-quality” artists whose focus
118 / Chapter Five
was establishing and increasing the aesthetic value of their artwork. These
artists produced artwork that was of the quality shown in Chicago’s com-
mercial galleries and its downtown, ethnic, and regional museums.
Central and western Pilsen was home to many independent artists who
shared a pan-ethnic identity of “Latino,” yet some did not celebrate or pro-
mote any sort of ethnic identity. They pursued traditional arts careers as art
educators and exhibitors. They were all part of what a Chicago Department
of Cultural Affairs (2002) report defined as an “informal arts district.” Oldest
among those were the Prospectus Art Gallery and studios in the Asociación
Pro-Derechos Obreros (APO Building) established in 1960. Colibri Gallery—
run by Montserrat Alsina, a Venezuelan artist, and Roberto Ferreyra, a Mexi-
can artist—sponsored exhibitions, taught printmaking workshops, and held
Aztec dance classes for youth and adults, out of the building they owned on
Eighteenth Street, just west of Damen Avenue.
To the east were artists who were middle-aged or older and were faculty at
the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago, or Columbia College, and whose works were among those mature
artists featured in highly regarded exhibitions at both the downtown and
regional museums. Among them were Fern Shaffer and Edith Altman, both
social activist artists who mobilized national and international involvement
in their work as strategies to build its recognition and aesthetic value. They
did this by involving the expert skills of art historians, critics, and curators
who recognized the historic significance of their work and included it in
museum exhibitions and published commentary and reviews of their work
in catalogs, journals, and books.
Shaffer, in her mid-fifties, had been the president of a nonprofit feminist
gallery, Artemisia, for more than a decade and had won $5,000–$7,000
grants to support her collaborations with an African American artist and
jazz musician, Othello Anderson, with whom she had collaborated since
the early 1980s. Together they produced a series of photos based on annual
performance rituals that took place throughout the world and were carried
out to honor the earth.
Othello and I have been doing a nine-year ritual project. It began in ’95 and
it will end in 2003. Every year we go and do a ritual; we pray for the earth.
There is no one who will pray for the earth. The Kochi in Peru pray for the
earth. They had it right. We, in Western civilization, have it wrong. Our last
ritual was in Newfoundland. That was for the oceans. We went to the food
belt in Wisconsin. We went to the headwaters of the Mississippi; that was [a
ritual] for the rivers. We went to the top of the mountain in Appalachia; that
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 119
was for all the mountains being carved out of the coal that is inside them. In
1999 we went to Death Valley. That was for the death of a millennium. (Shaf-
fer interview 2002)
Shaffer and Anderson conceive of their performances outside of con-
temporary time and place, linking ancient performance to daily caring and
healing of the earth in contemporary times:
The motivations for the rituals are to bring spirit back into the community
at large. Rituals are an action that speaks to the heart and soul but does not
necessarily make sense in a literal way. . . . We document the ancient practice
of ritual using technological methods as a way to record our contribution.
The photographs become a record, a memory of the ritual. (Shaffer quoted
in Gablik 2005)
The idea for a ritual always begins with the idea of healing, according to
Anderson. “You could probably think of it as an environmental umbrella of
healing. Everything we do comes under the umbrella of the environment.
We talk about water, air, forest, mountains, foliage, and the food basket of
the world. So everything is under the umbrella of any environmental con-
cerns” (Anderson quoted in Gablik 2005).
Their performances were featured by art historian Suzi Gablik on the
cover of her book Re-Enchantment of Art (1992) and discussed for their im-
portance to this period of art history in which “connective aesthetics” re-
placed the aesthetics of deconstruction and despair. According to Gablik, art
should heal. She has cited their work on several occasions because it exem-
plifies an aesthetic approach that is not “indifferent to the spiritual power
of beauty” (Gablik 2005). Their work has been included in exhibitions on
the topic of the environment and performance art traveling throughout the
United States and in South America, and on the online museum of en-
vironmental art, www.greenmuseum.org. Shaffer and Anderson were not
interested in having audiences at the performances but did make handmade
portfolios of photographs for sale.
We do not [involve] an audience [in] these rituals, because the audience be-
comes a distraction and we need all of our attention for the ritual at hand.
The photographic image is central to the outreach of our work, as it makes the
work accessible [and] to bring awareness . . . of the importance of protecting
the earth, its beauty, and the environment that needs to sustain itself. (Shaffer
in Gablik 2001)
120 / Chapter Five
Shaffer was not involved in the development or preservation of Pilsen,
and as she did not own any real estate and sold few art pieces, she was not
positioned in any way to benefit from direct interactions with Pilsen art-
ists. However, she liked living in Pilsen, where there was a concentration
of other artists living and producing art and a daily ethos that encouraged
art making.
Edith Altman, in her sixties and recently a widow, was a retired faculty
member at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a resident of
Pilsen for two decades. Considered by some critics and curators to be one
of the top installation artists in Chicago and Illinois, Altman built her career
as a social activist artist around large-scale art objects addressing the top-
ics of power, immigration, aging, symbols of good and evil, learning, and
building a better world. Early in her career, she exhibited through N.A.M.E.
Gallery, a nonprofit alternative space she helped found in the 1970s; she
was represented by two commercial galleries, Marianne Deson Gallery and
Fassbender Gallery, both of which were known for exhibiting conceptually
challenging work but not for sales. At this stage in her career, she exhibited
primarily in regional museums throughout the United States and in Europe;
she earned additional recognition through receipt of high-status grants in
amounts up to $25,000 from both the Illinois Arts Council and the Na-
tional Endowment for the Arts.
Altman owned half of a two-story loft building in Pilsen just north of
Podville. It was her living and working space. She had been a mother and
homemaker for the first half of her adult life. As she became known for her
conceptual and installation work, she had several short-term faculty posi-
tions but had been supported by her husband’s income. As a widow, she
now lived off of Social Security and her late husband’s pension.
During this research, I helped Altman assemble a catalog of her life’s
work for a retrospective show in Germany. Throughout this process, she
showed me how recognition of her work was a gradual process. She moved
from group shows where she was not “named” in publicity nor mentioned
in reviews, to being a featured artist. She secured increased recognition
through solo exhibitions at nonprofit galleries, then at university galleries
and regional and midsize museums.
When I asked Altman how she got specific shows, she repeatedly traced
access to one or another in her closest network of friends who produced
museum-quality artworks and exhibitions. Among these was a core group
of people she described as “mature artists who get together and bitch.” She
named six artists in their fifties, sixties, and seventies: a tenured professor
at the School of the Art Institute; an artist and regularly published critic; a
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 121
photographer married to a top administrator of a cultural institution; and
three other artists with national reputations and national representation in
galleries. Altman’s relationship with these museum-quality artists provided
her access to curators, gallery directors, critics, and others who made deci-
sions about the kinds of exhibitions that can confer status upon an artist
and their work.
Her most recent work, drawn from her history as a child survivor of
the Holocaust, was a large-scale installation filling a 3,000-square-foot mu-
seum that confronted the manipulation of symbols that enabled the Nazis
to gain power in Germany. In one room, she showed detailed drawings of
the many incarnations of the symbol that became widely recognized as the
Nazi swastika. On one wall, she placed a ten-foot “reverse” gold-colored,
swastika-like design that once was viewed as a symbol of life; opposite it on
the floor was a black “mirror” reflection of the symbol that ultimately rep-
resented Nazi terror. Other rooms were about immigration, learning, and
her father’s experiences in a concentration camp. She followed this piece
with a similar-sized installation focused on how children learn to hate. How
Shall We Teach Our Children? was comprised of fifty-four separate pieces—
photographs, text panels, signs, video, and sculptural objects, including a
handmade wagon, benches, and a freestanding goat—to address the topic
of how children are taught to hate.
While I was in her studio in 2002, she received a call that the lawsuit
she had filed against a museum that had lost or damaged numerous parts
of How Shall We Teach Our Children? had been settled, allowing her to talk
with me about it. As she had built her reputation by making conceptual
objects and installation pieces that existed outside a national art market, she
had sold few pieces. So when the museum lost and damaged parts of her
installation, and she wanted to be paid for the loss, the museum claimed
there was little evidence of the $12,000 value listed on the loan agreement
form they had signed when they accepted delivery of the piece. Altman filed
a lawsuit against the museum for the replacement value.
When the museum refused to pay, the lawsuit went to full trial. Ironi-
cally, while Altman’s entire career had been geared toward recognition
based outside of market values, she ultimately had to prove a market value
for recognition of the artistic value of her work and of the value of her
career as an artist. She accessed two attorneys through the citywide non-
profit group Lawyers for the Creative Arts, who agreed to represent her on a
contingency basis. She also hired an expert appraiser to establish a market
value for the conceptual piece.
According to the appraisal, replacement value is defined by the handbook
122 / Chapter Five
of the Appraisers Association of America (AAA) as “the amount it would
cost to replace an item with one of similar and like quality [such as similar
age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance, and condition] purchased in
the most appropriate marketplace and within a limited amount of time”
(Jacob 2001, 1). The appraiser used an approach recognized by the AAA to
establish a value for a unique conceptual piece:
General factors that can affect the determination of value include the state of
the artist’s reputation, the marketplace acceptance of the works of such size
and character, the relationship of the works to all the artist’s other works, the
number and the prices of the sales during the artist’s life, and accessibility of
the work of art as it relates to size, authenticity and condition. These factors
are typically reflected in the actual sale and auction prices when the sale has
taken place in the appropriate market and within a suitable amount of time.
The assignment of value . . . takes into account the specific factors that affect
the value of the work of art. (Jacob 2001, 2)
The appraiser compared the purchase prices of Altman’s work to two
other women who worked in similar genres, Jenny Holzer and Barbara
Kruger, both nationally known artists based in New York City. Both had
sold mixed-media graphic work like Altman’s work. Furthermore, both had
sold installation work, which Altman had not. Altman’s single-media works
initially sold for $500 to $6,000, whereas Holzer’s were reselling in 2002
auctions for up to $82,000 and Kruger’s for as much as $55,000. Both
Holzer and Kruger had sold mixed-media installations for higher prices
than single-media objects, indicating generally a higher value for installa-
tions. Altman had recently sold a sculpture for $6,000, and this price rep-
resented the highest sale price over a twenty-eight-year spread of gradually
escalating prices. By citing reviews from a variety of sources, including a gal-
lery dealer, a critic, and a former curator—all indicating that she was “one
of the top installation artists in Chicago and the state of Illinois”—Jacob
argued that Altman was at the “climax of her career” (2001, 12). Jacob
established an appreciated value over the initial value of $12,000 that was
documented in the museum contract, and then added the replacement cost
based on the estimated cost to repair or replace the damaged or missing
pieces and the appreciated value. She established the appreciated value in
this manner:
Comparables demonstrate that [Altman’s] work has appreciated in square-
inch value by 1.89 times since 1975, and the increase realized was .343 per-
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 123
cent each year. By calculating the number of years between 2001 and the year
the [museum] exhibited the artist’s work of art (1995), and by multiplying
that number (5.5) by .343, we were able to show the appreciated 2001 value
for How Shall We Teach Our Children? at $22,680. (Jacob 2001, 12)
Jacob determined a replacement value of $30,339.50, based on “cost
to replace or repair damaged or missing pieces ($5,139.50), diminution of
value because of loss of reputation ($16,200), and loss of income ($9,000),”
(15–16). There was a trial in which Altman, Jacob, and others testified. The
judge placed the case in arbitration. During my work in her studio, Altman
settled for $18,000. She was satisfied that she recovered some of her loss,
but with a third of the settlement going to the attorneys, $2,500 to the ap-
praiser, and $5,140 to repair the damaged pieces, the additional amount
that Altman got for all her trouble was $4,360.
Rather than address the subjective nature of aesthetic judgment, the ap-
praiser relied on making a simple distinction between “museum-quality”
art and art that is not of this quality. Citing reviews attesting to the quality
of Altman’s work, the appraiser pointed out that Altman was “consistently
described as a ‘museum-quality’ artist” (Jacob 2001, 12). But the strongest
evidence that Altman produced “museum-quality” work was the fact that it
was shown in museums.
The quote that opened this section was found in a footnote in the ap-
praisal to How Shall We Teach Our Children? It explained the phrase “appre-
ciated value” without distinguishing anything intrinsic to the art that made
one work more museum-quality than another. Rather it emphasized that
unknown artists and artists whose works are not shown in museums can be
expected to decrease in value. Through Shaffer’s performances and Altman’s
lawsuit, we can begin to see the network of people who are necessary for
artists to become known as “museum-quality artists” and, further, for the
aesthetic value of their work to become recognized by experts and for their
work to be shown in museums. The judgment of quality has more to do with
the network of people one is engaged with than other forms of demonstrable
value. What distinguished Altman and her work was that when challenged
to do so, she was able to mobilize a network of people who advocated on
her behalf, testifying of her worth as an artist and of the value of her art.
Conclusions
The first relationship of artists who prioritized artistic autonomy was with
art history. Therefore, in everyday life, they were focused on accessing
124 / Chapter Five
resources that supported their quest to make work relevant to art history
while limiting any form of social, economic, or cultural control of artistic
production. With the actions and language that bespoke of artistic auton-
omy woven through their activities, such producers sought circumstances
that increased their own artistic control over their work; they cooperated
with others to assert and support each other’s interest in autonomy over
what they produced. Their involvement in activities with artists, critics, art
historians, curators, and other experts created network connections that de-
fined the social space in which what they did as makers of autonomous
objects made sense. Once the connections and routines established by the
interactions of these artists ended, that which defined the social space in
which they operated also changed.
This was a transitory social space created through the interactions of
such artists. Motivation for artistic autonomy propelled many artists in
a direction that is not explained by use values or exchange values, or of
the logic of social or occupational opportunity. Yet it was one from which
other forms of commerce, such as commercial galleries, restaurants, bou-
tiques, and real estate entrepreneurs, could benefit. The fact that none of
the galleries or artists discussed in this chapter are still active in Pilsen high-
lights just how transient their place was. This was an art world in which art
school–educated artists were at the center of activities but were further de-
pendent upon a commercial real estate firm that supported artistic auton-
omy. This was a transient world in which a social space was established
through rental units leased by a single corporation. Vacancies were quickly
filled by an abundance of college art students and recent graduates available
to be tenants of the “open format” rental units, yet the meaning of social
space was redefined by the participants.
Localized activity of autonomy networks created some access to art mar-
kets and art institutions for those interested in such pursuits. Among the
galleries of the ArtPilsen Collective, Apt 1R moved to Brooklyn, New York,
and reopened the gallery only to permanently close it shortly thereafter.
Bucker Rider moved to the West Loop gallery district in Chicago. In 2009
the gallery was renamed the Andrew Rafacz Gallery, after its owner. Unit
B moved to Austin, Texas, and continued to operate as a domestic space.
The artist founders of Polvo closed their space, and each sought different
avenues to enter a global cultural arena with exhibitions in Europe, Mexico,
Central America, and Africa.
To achieve autonomy required that artists perform the kind of isolat-
ing social practices that signified autonomy while forgoing the power that
comes with other forms of civic engagement, such as property ownership
Autonomy Networks and Artistic Control / 125
or political mobilization. To be the master of one’s product required that
artists leave themselves untethered from the concerns necessary to establish
financial values and from the institutional programs imposed by “scholars
and scribes” (Bourdieu [1979] 1984), as well as landlords, museum admin-
istrators and curators, even politician and judges. They also acted without
an interest in developing market values for their work. The interests of this
network of artists in artistic autonomy contrasts with the interests of collec-
tors who sought to harness the cultural meaning as a form of solidarity.
The network relationships of these artists were sustained as long as their
shared interest was sustained. As such, relationships were transitory be-
cause the freedom associated with artistic autonomy was itself transitory.
Although artists discussed in this chapter included these activities on their
artist’s résumé or in a bio, such activities existed outside the boundaries of
organizations and markets with clearly defined positions, leaving such art-
ists little opportunity for a predictable outcome or “fate,” as Becker (1963,
101) once argued was characteristic of a career, other than moving on. To-
gether these events and activities constructed meanings that transcended
daily life. The idea that their social and cultural space within which they
existed was in a state of flux and that their connections with others created
the length and breadth of what was possible made their efforts satisfying
and worthwhile.
S I X
Problem-Solving Networks and
Social Stability
The Glenwood Avenue Arts District is in the heart of Rogers Park and features
numerous artist studios, music venues, theaters, and restaurants, and it is
fast becoming known as a vibrant arts destination. Rogers Park is the most
culturally and economically diverse neighborhood in Chicago. More than 80
languages are spoken among the community’s 63,000 residents. Rogers Park
celebrates diversity and harmonious living. (Text on the flyer for the Kick Off
Party for the 2008 Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival)
A Context of Cultural Diversity and Progressive Politics
On any given day, thousands of residents pass through the intersection of
Morse and Glenwood avenues on their daily rounds, yet few are aware of its
unofficial designation as an arts district. For most, its tattooed cement em-
bankments and air fragrant from simmering ethnic cuisine provide an in-
tersection with daily life in Rogers Park; it is a passageway for the pink hair,
dreadlocks, Afros, nose rings, saris and sarongs, trench coats and mix-and-
match thrift-shop fashions worn by bustling commuters, ordinary cooks, or
activists who call Rogers Park “home.” And as the heart of the Glenwood
Avenue Arts District, it became a conduit for solving local problems.
From the early twentieth century, when Rogers Park was a haven for
congregations of religious minorities, through the end of the century, which
brought racial, ethnic, and linguistic change, the place has been a labora-
tory for cultural convergence. White ethnics, who made up 99 percent of
its population through the mid-century, continued to dominate even as
their numbers diminished to less than a third of the population by 2000.
Still, the children and grandchildren of some of its earliest residents re-
mained even as it became a haven for new immigrants from Eastern Europe,
128 / Chapter Six
Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and East Asia. Although there were almost
equal proportions of white, black, and Latino residents in Rogers Park (32%
white, 30% black, and 28% Latino in 2000), its substantial Asian popula-
tion (10%), along with the linguistic and ethnic variety of its foreign-born
residents (34%), blurred these neat racial boundaries and made Rogers Park
a place where multiplicity, diversity, and difference would be represented
as its cultural ideal.
Rogers Park was not Berkeley, but it was the closest thing to it in Chi-
cago. Just as it was home to those longtime residents descended from its ear-
liest settlers and an increasingly broad array of new immigrants, it also was
home to a variety of older and younger bohemian leftists—Baby Boomers
once active in the 1960s anti-war, civil rights, and sexual liberation move-
ments, and Gen Xers redefining these issues for the new century. Their con-
cerns for human rights, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights, and global
warming were consistent with the pervasive slogan “Think Globally, Act
Locally”; it was a theme they acted upon in their daily lives. Amidst these
activist networks were people especially concerned with the future of the
locale and who mobilized to preserve its diversity.
Decline versus Gentrification
“Love of the place we call home” and “belief in the creative potential of
art” were just two explanations offered for why local advocates championed
diversity and why they did it through art events, festivals, and public art.
But behind these explanations was tension. Located on the northern fringe
of the city, Rogers Park could no longer attract middle-class families and
upper-income property owners as a “suburb within the city.” Conversions of
apartment buildings to condominiums, proposals for streetscape projects,
and tax increment financing (TIF) districts to support investment by outside
developers all symbolized gentrification, something only a small segment
of property owners and businesses supported.
But Rogers Park also had the potential for decline—a problem that few
places closer to the city center faced. Unlike the centrally located areas of
Pilsen and Bronzeville that were attractive for expansion of the central city,
Rogers Park was off the developers’ radar. Located ten miles north of the
city center and filled with solidly constructed but aging early and mid-
twentieth-century buildings, the area had little promise for the dramatic
revalorization of property seen in the inner city’s former ghettos and eth-
nic enclaves. Moreover, bordering the more expensive, exclusive northern
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 129
suburb of Evanston, it offered few of the quality-of-life amenities—such
as high-quality educational, civic, and commercial services—attractive to
those people who could afford to live a few miles farther north. With its
particular geographic location and within the larger socioeconomic changes
under way across Chicago, the question of its future—whether it was head-
ing for decline or gentrification—permeated the locale.
Consistent with mid-century activism to control racial change (Molotch
1969a), diversity advocates mobilized to address these threats. They oper-
ated through a problem-solving network, involving both civic and cultural
interests, seeking to maintain diversity as a steady state rather than just a
transitional phase in an urban succession pattern headed for either decline
or gentrification. Many of the descendants of its earliest residents recalled
the time when the area north of Howard Street was called the “Juneway Jun-
gle” because of the predominance of poor blacks living on Juneway Terrace
between Evanston and the rest of Rogers Park. Local leaders initially under-
took action to thwart the flight of the white working and middle classes in
the midst of tension from an increasing black and non-European immigrant
population, but by the 1990s they began to assertively advocate for “diver-
sity” as the local cultural identity.
Variety among Diversity Advocates
Diversity advocates dominated art production in Rogers Park. Their manner
of influence was different from the white, elitist hegemony that dominated
the downtown institutions or the expression of Afrocentric, Latino, or other
ethnocentric cultures elsewhere. What motivated diversity advocates could
be understood by three types
1
of activists—social activists, community im-
provers, and cultural entrepreneurs—each distinguished by the different
perceived threats that propelled them into action:
For social activists, its affordable housing and history of tolerance and politi-
cal activism made Rogers Park an attractive place. Many of its artists, human
rights workers, environmentalists, hippies, and bohemian leftists, both
young and old, had either been priced out of residential markets elsewhere
in the city or knew of others who were, and did not want it to happen in
Rogers Park. Social activists supported affordable housing, freedom of speech,
and social equality, while mobilizing against anything that could be inter-
preted as a sign of gentrification, including increased rents, condo conver-
sions, strip malls, streetscape projects, and tax increment financing (TIF)

130 / Chapter Six
districts. Acting more as activists for a broad range of social causes than as
community improvers or cultural entrepreneurs, these social activists spon-
sored political protests and free cultural events, featuring local youth and
artists from places often referred to as “oppressed,” “undeveloped,” “colo-
nized,” “poor,” or “third world,” with the intention of allowing immigrants
to Rogers Park to have a voice in its future.
Reports of criminal activity—from kids’ bikes stolen out of family garages to
“wilding youth” beating up strangers to gunshots—motivated all kinds of
property owners to join community improvement efforts. They mobilized
against symbols of decline, such as trash in vacant lots, garbage in alleys,
and graffiti on public walls, as much as they did for more serious crimes
involving drugs, prostitution, and theft. These community improvers were
focused on increasing local property ownership and small business activity,
and in the process they were more willing to support the very things social
activists resisted. As a result, their activities were regularly criticized as ef-
forts to gentrify Rogers Park. But their activities were more often than not
consciously anti-elitist, anti-individualist, anti-multinational capitalist, and
anti-interventionist. This ethos was exemplified by, for example, the Com-
munity Day Parade, which was produced by and for local residents, rather
than, as they pointed out, a parade of corporate and nonprofit sponsors.
Its late-night entertainment, lakefront beaches, and history as a place for
the cultural intelligentsia attracted cultural entrepreneurs. These café owners,
masseuses and masseurs, clothing designers, silk painters, feng shui practi-
tioners, spiritual companions, life coaches, web-page designers, art thera-
pists, organic gardeners, pet walkers, caregivers, home schoolers, pastry
chefs, hors d’oeuvres caterers, musicians, poets, and artists were not neces-
sarily those who mobilized specific actions per se, but they mobilized them-
selves daily to do the creative endeavors that produced an aura of profitable
creativity that could sustain an individual or family. They maintained the
casual bohemian environment with an entrepreneurial twist that was for
many the essence of Rogers Park. Yet how these cultural entrepreneurs actu-
ally earned enough money to live on was often a mystery.
These “ideal types” of diversity advocates are not outlined for the pur-
pose of evaluating one of them as a preferred lifestyle over the others, but are
analytic categories to orient individual actions within local events. Indeed,
these activists have even more in common than just their various efforts
to shape the future of the locale. For they were all utopians of sorts. With
ideas rooted in Marxism, various forms of secular spiritualism, and theories
of natural science—these diversity advocates envisioned a steady state of


Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 131
cultural variety. They were like the early ecologists (Cowles 1899; Warming
1909; Durkheim 1933; Park 1925, 1936; Jacobs [1961] 1992; Worster 1979)
who saw nature’s ideal as “nothing less than the most diverse, stable, well-
balanced, self-perpetuating society that can be devised to meet the require-
ments of each habitat” (Engel 1983, 140).
2
Rather than signaling decline or
the impending domination by a single group, diversity represented a form
of adaptation to the environment and part of the process of evolution of
communities toward life in equilibrium—a state in which the most diverse,
stable, and cooperative environment could exist. These utopians believed
that equilibrium could be established among the different kinds of people
and different cultures in their locale; they sponsored “community-building”
activities, which they designed to bring together people who otherwise
might not interact. These were strategic efforts to establish ties and shared
experiences among what could be a volatile mix of cultures and interests.
And it was these activities that anchored a problem-solving network within
what would become the Glenwood Avenue Arts District.
Problem Solving and Art Production
Diversity advocates maintained stability in the locale through the produc-
tion of regular events that celebrated not only racial and ethnic diversity in
Rogers Park, but also the creative expressions of artists and others who in-
dulged difference as a way of life. Moreover, they sponsored these activities
in areas considered to be “problem spots” where vandalism and property
crime were often the remnants of a variety of illicit activity. The activities
and exchanges in this network depended largely upon local volunteers who
donated their time, energy, and money to organize, promote, and attend
free festivals, activities, and events, as well as to engage youth in art activi-
ties for building cultural bridges over the kind of divisive tensions that arise
among such differing interests. Among their activities:
Obscenities and gang tagging on the Chicago Transit Authority embank-
ment were repainted as a mural by traditional muralists working in collabo-
ration with spray-can writers.
Harassment of Arab and South Asian residents and businesses after 9/11
was addressed by a neighborhood march and forum featuring poetry and
performances by South Asian and other local poets.
Teenage prostitutes were reengaged as “neighborhood citizens” through
work with an independent filmmaking organization to document the local
streets from their vantage point.



132 / Chapter Six
Graffiti on a Lake Michigan retaining wall was transformed through an an-
nual mural-painting festival on Father’s Day.
A crime-ridden corner around a vacant building became a place for art
events and artists in residence.
Nights of slow business at local cafés and restaurants were pepped up by
“open mic” poetry nights, art exhibitions, and music concerts.
Regular summer festivals that included mural painting, music, dance, art,
food, and drinks supported individual expression and brought families,
students, and professionals together from throughout the locale and beyond
(plate 14).
Network participants resisted all efforts to formalize their activities through
one of the existing nonprofit organizations or through some new organiza-
tion designed specifically for the purposes of creating and supporting the
arts district. And it was a problem-solving network, as neither aesthetics
nor individual autonomy could motivate involvement. Rather, people came
together to support activities that addressed a specific purpose, particularly
one that solved a problem among the diverse people, cultures, and inter-
ests of Rogers Park. This contrasted with the aesthetic activities that sought
shared meaning and cohesion through a particular kind of art or through
the reputations of individual artists, organizations, or businesses. It also
contrasted with the activities of autonomy networks designed to support
and increase individual artists’ control over what was produced.
This network of problem-solvers brought together the mixture of so-
cial activism, neighborhood improvement, and cultural entrepreneurship
pervasive in Rogers Park. They worked to transform areas of the neighbor-
hood into what Jane Jacobs ([1961] 1992) might have considered the ideal:
places with mixed uses both day and night for all different kinds of people.
Although similar activities elsewhere may have followed what are increas-
ingly rote accounts of gentrification—one in which art activity redefined a
place while revalorizing property, making way for a new class of people to
move in—this is instead a story of how a problem-solving network used
art to address the century-old problem of a cement wall while maintaining
stasis within a dense mixture of small businesses, residential diversity, and
vibrant cultural expression.
Among these problem-solvers were Al Goldberg, a musician and real
estate agent whose community-improvement efforts were often interpreted
as efforts to gentrify the neighborhood; Craig Harshaw, an artist and social
activist who was among those who stood against any effort to gentrify Rog-
ers Park; Dorothy Milne, cultural entrepreneur and artistic director of the




Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 133
Lifeline Theatre; Katy Hogan and Michael James, owners of the Heartland
Café; and the Lifeline Theatre, which combined the three types of diver-
sity activism through their extensive involvement in the locale. Heartland,
Lifeline, and Insight Arts were each active in Rogers Park before Goldberg
acquired the building that would become ArtSpace RP. They were reservoirs
for the cultural capital embedded in Rogers Park and the foundation of its
problem-solving ethos for art production.
Facing a Mile-Long Cement Wall
The Cause of Decline of a Street?
The cement embankment, built in the early twentieth century as a sup-
port structure for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train tracks, divided
Glenwood Avenue into separate and narrow northbound and southbound
streets, and created potential for division and class conflict in Rogers Park.
Most of the commercial properties that faced the mile-long cement wall
were vacant or largely unused. Whether or not there were obscenities and
gang tagging on the wall, or exchanges of sex or drugs for money along
the street—which there often were—the two-block stretch north and south
from the Morse elevated train stop was often avoided by residents and visi-
tors alike.
Al Goldberg acquired the nearly abandoned building on the busy corner
of Morse and Glenwood avenues through a building trade in 1999. As a
co-founder of the Rogers Park Builders Group and a member of the Rogers
Park Community Council, Goldberg was a community improver concerned
about the increasing number of vacant properties on Glenwood. The vice
president of a national real estate firm specializing in the sale of apartments
and commercial real estate, he had access to both the financial and con-
struction resources necessary to transform this commercial building, de-
signed as doctors’ offices in the early twentieth century, into ArtSpace RP.
Championed by Alderman Joe Moore’s staff as being “well connected in the
arts”—something he attributed to his aunt, who had founded the Chicago
Artists Coalition—Goldberg promoted the idea of the arts as an engine for
economic activity in the neighborhood.
Goldberg saw the two-block stretch in either direction from the Morse
elevated train stop as having a threatening atmosphere that further con-
tributed to the problem of vacant commercial space. He pointed out that
people would descend the train at the Lunt Street exit by the Heartland Café
or walk east or west on Morse—a block or more out of their way—to avoid
134 / Chapter Six
walking down Glenwood Avenue. From his perspective, what the train sta-
tion created in the form of access to local businesses and foot traffic for
street-level commercial property, the long, cement-covered hill supporting
the train tracks and lined by vacant storefronts took back.
His persistence and optimistic idealism made it difficult for most
people—except the most radical of the social activists—to paint him as an
evil real estate agent seeking to gentrify the neighborhood. A musician and
real estate broker who first moved to Rogers Park as an economics student
in 1968, Goldberg had ample time to sit around in coffee shops and restau-
rants to keep the pulse on what was happening. Although few people knew
him as a drummer who once played with Yama and the Karma Dusters or
as the founder of a sound engineering company he called “Euphoria Blimp”
that sponsored free concerts in Lincoln Park (Rogers Park [2000] 2003),
many people had seen his multi-racial drumming circles playing on Glen-
wood Avenue. With his insider knowledge of Rogers Park properties and his
connections to the arts, he brokered information among several local net-
works and committed energy to organizing meetings and events that created
bridges between his art, business, and real estate interests. More of a com-
munity improver than a cultural entrepreneur, he advocated that “diversity”
include more cultural entrepreneurs of all racial and ethnic varieties, more
owner-occupied buildings, and more sustainable small businesses.
Goldberg rehabbed the vacant building on the corner of Morse and
Glenwood with this vision in mind. However, the building did not have
the bohemian character of the other neglected properties converted for use
by artists on Glenwood Avenue. It was a solid brick structure built in 1919
for professional use by doctors seeing patients but no longer suitable for
contemporary health care. Goldberg did more than fix broken windows and
plumbing and throw a fresh coat of paint on rotted windowsills. He pre-
served the original entryway with its classic marble staircase and tile floors
laid when the building was first built and most of its plaster walls in the
hallways. But the individual spaces were reconstructed using drywall. He
installed new commercial-grade windows intended to muffle the street and
train noise that went on all night long; he installed an electronic intercom
and security system to control access to the building. He updated the elec-
tricity, installing individually metered rooftop heating and air-conditioning
for each unit, as well as wiring the building with both DSL and cable lines.
Two of the upstairs studios were live/work apartments each with a full bath-
room and kitchen. Three of the remaining six studios had kitchen fixtures
but shared a bathroom—a large modern room with lighted vanity, a shower,
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 135
and ample space for two people, such as a makeup artist and a model. His
dedication of the building for use by artists led many to applaud his efforts.
Of the rehab and redesign of the building, Katy Hogan, co-owner of the
Heartland Café, said, “He did it right. Someone should give him an award
for that” (Hogan interview 2001).
Based on a referral from Hogan, I met with Goldberg as part of this
research and ultimately rented one of his studios. The arts building fit my
research interests and its low rent fit my graduate school budget. I rented a
12-by-15-foot unit on the second floor in the center and back of the build-
ing, farthest from the train line and from both Morse and Glenwood av-
enues. It had new but cheap kitchen fixtures, such as a metal sink, a simple
white stove, and refrigerator; it also had direct access to the shared bath-
room. A wall of 3-by-8-foot windows opened onto a rooftop deck. The stu-
dio space could have functioned as a large office or small studio for any arty
professional. I paid $400 a month for three years to facilitate my research in
Rogers Park and the other two Chicago locales.
Within days of moving a table and chairs, a futon, some dishes, and
painting supplies into the studio, I became friends with Richard, a middle-
aged artist whose studio was across the hall from mine. He had graduated
with a degree in fine arts from Indiana University in Bloomington in the
early 1980s, as did I, but we never recalled meeting each other back then.
When Richard first heard me shuffling around inside my studio, he knocked
on the door and peeked in. Seeing nothing on the walls, he mumbled,
“Hmm, it takes a while to get things started in a new place, doesn’t it?” This
expectation from Richard and other artists in Rogers Park—that I needed to
make art in the studio I rented to earn any legitimacy among local artists—
propelled me to put together a new body of work. This was something I had
done each year since graduating from Indiana University in 1981 through
the mid-1990s.
3
Renting the Rogers Park studio allowed me to experience
again what it meant to produce art, and to do it within one of the locales I
was in fact studying.
Community Improver Uses Art to Clean Up the Corner
Goldberg’s efforts to clean up the corner, beginning with the creation of
ArtSpace RP, put him at odds with at least some social activists who consid-
ered him a gentrifier. Even though he was a longtime resident championed
by other community improvers and many cultural entrepreneurs because
of his efforts to promote the arts in Rogers Park, the building made him an
136 / Chapter Six
easy target for those activists who were critical of elitist art and virulently
opposed to gentrification. These activists stood against just about everything
ArtSpace RP stood for: art for art’s sake, the artist as an individual rather
than member of a group, and the artist working alone in a studio rather
than within a social context.
Goldberg’s own account of what happened after he took ownership of
the building on the corner of Morse and Glenwood in 1999 resembles ac-
counts of other urban industrial loft conversions revalorized by artists. He
took ownership of the two-story building in 1999 through a building trade
with another property owner and invested $1 million to rehab the 11,500-
square-foot building into eight street-level commercial spaces and nine
second-floor spaces for use predominately by artists. But in keeping with a
problem-solving ethos, his renovation of the largely abandoned building
on the busy neighborhood corner of Morse and Glenwood was done to
solve a number of local problems.
With artists, he could solve the problem of the vacant, obsolete structure,
built as doctors’ offices, with smallish rooms each having a sink but no
bathroom, and limited space for the equipment now used by doctors. The
artists and art organizations who were Goldberg’s preferred tenants could
put the building to new use while also bringing a host of beneficial activity
to an area. He was unabashed in his use of artists as tools to address a range
of local problems, not to mention creating new residential and commercial
real estate markets:
Artists bring people and money into a neighborhood. Artists often are pio-
neers. They will go into areas before the general market is ready for it. Artists
will assume a greater risk than the general market. [As renters] they create
stability and income in a building which otherwise would be vacant or rented
to undesirable tenants. . . . Artists create demand and business for other busi-
nesses. They attract people to the neighborhood who are coming to their
events. (Goldberg interview 2002)
Before he rehabbed the building, Goldberg described the building as
“a scene in NYPD Blue. There were squatters, crack addicts, hookers, and a
guy’s pit bull staying here. The windows were covered with plywood. People
would not walk down Glenwood. Now, there is lots of foot traffic by the
building” (Goldberg interview 2002).
The murder at the Morse el stop in front of his building in 2001 trans-
formed what many saw as a threatening environment into a dangerous one,
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 137
and clarified his view on the need for change. The murder, thought by po-
lice to be drug-related, led to an increased presence of undercover narcotics
officers and regular patrols by marked and unmarked police cars. Neither
represented the kind of change desired by Goldberg. He preferred to use his
building to change the mix of the people on the street and was unapologetic
about his use of artists as instruments to “clean up” the corner. Staff at the
local office of Ward 49 alderman Joe Moore pointed to the “multiplier ef-
fects” as the reason they continued to “do whatever they can” to support
him and other similar art-related projects.
Goldberg’s first offers to local artists for discounted space were ignored,
as they already maintained home-based studio spaces in relatively inexpen-
sive apartments. And his first two efforts to subsidize a gallery in one of his
street-level spaces also did not pan out. One locally based group of artists
could not generate enough interest to even move into the space. Inclusion
Arts Gallery and Education Foundation then successfully established a co-op
gallery but could not sustain interest to keep the lights on and promote
exhibitions after only two years in operation. These failed attempts led
Goldberg to actively recruit artists from the School of the Art Institute and
the University of Chicago, including the collective “Temporary Services,”
who established an art center of sorts in one of his street-level commercial
spaces on Glenwood Avenue rent free. Goldberg pursued a collective to be
his pro bono tenants—rather than the collective pursing him, or his pursu-
ing a third local group—because he thought “a collective of artists,” rather
than a co-op or even a nonprofit group, had a better chance of fitting into
Rogers Park, while sustaining the energy to maintain the space and host
events. The collective took over the gallery space established “Mess Hall,”
described on their website as “a place for visual culture, creative urbanism,
sustainable ecology, food democracy, radical politics, and cultural experi-
mentation” (Mess Hall 2009). Their nonstop array of events fulfilled Gold-
berg’s interest in attracting outsiders to Rogers Park but also fueled criticism
of his efforts.
Goldberg faced further resistance as he sought to extend his vision sev-
eral blocks in each direction from ArtSpace RP, first through his support
of a streetscape project, then by declaring it the “Glenwood Avenue Arts
District.” As he pointed out, the area already constituted what the Chicago
Department of Cultural Affairs considered to be “an informal arts district”
(Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs 2002); he sought to make it ex-
plicit. Without municipal or legislative support for such districts in Chi-
cago or Illinois,
4
Goldberg proceeded toward this goal through alliances he
138 / Chapter Six
formed among local businesses. He laid the groundwork for this through
the Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking Group, a monthly breakfast
meeting first held in May 2001.
Social Activists Protest Efforts to “Clean Up” Corner
The problem-solving arts activities did not always represent harmony and
consensus among Rogers Park residents. For example, among the social ac-
tivists interested in local problem solving but who resisted efforts by Gold-
berg were artists involved with Insight Arts, a nonprofit organization located
two blocks west on Morse Avenue in a former Catholic school and founded
in 1991 by Gen X artists/activists. Under the leadership of executive director
Craig Harshaw, it was self-described as an organization of “artists, com-
munity activists, and libratory educators” (Anderson 2002). It sponsored a
march and poetry forum in support of South Asian residents and businesses
harassed after 9/11 and was part of an activist coalition organized by the
Rogers Park Community Action Network (RPCAN) that staged noisy pro-
tests at Alderman Moore’s office against the Morse/Glenwood streetscape
projects and TIF districts, which Goldberg had supported.
The art produced by Insight Arts featured and attracted a young, racially
and ethnically diverse crowd, most of whom could not afford to own prop-
erty in Rogers Park. What distinguished their social activism from other
similar events in Rogers Park at the Heartland Café, for example, was that
admission to Insight’s events was usually free, and the sponsorship of the
activities was also free from attempts to produce income, such as through
food or beverage sales. Its free art classes planted the seeds of art and activ-
ism in local youth; its adult artistic events were simultaneously cutting-edge
art and political activism. For example, a multimedia performance on race
and incarceration, a blueprint for a bluegoose, by its artistic director karen g.
williams, featured three women each performing in separate “classrooms”—
partitioned spaces that opened into a central space where the audience sat.
Each woman’s isolation in a separate classroom was simultaneously visible
and portrayed for the audience the individual psychological impact of in-
carceration on family members. David Boykin’s multi-racial jazz trio play-
ing drums, upright bass, and clarinet in what seemed to be random patterns
provided an atonal backdrop to the performance.
Through art, Insight Arts took on other political topics such as tenant
rights, workers rights, and immigrant rights, through events such as “A
Speak Out Against the North American Free Trade Agreement,” featuring
poets from around the world; performance of The Housekeepers Diary in
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 139
which professional maid and artist Lisa Alvarado emerged from under dirty
laundry piled in the middle of the stage as the audience arrived; and Chang-
ing Worlds, an exhibition of photographs and oral histories of immigrant
families. They advocated for affordable housing and defended the human
rights of all, including the sex workers and disenfranchised youth who oc-
casionally worked on Morse and Glenwood avenues. As they were opposed
to gentrification and all forms of “racist and classist displacement” (Insight
Arts 2002), they saw development of the arts district as one more incursion
of gentrifiers into Rogers Park and resisted any effort to be involved with
it or the arts festival it sponsored. As a counterpoint to Goldberg’s efforts,
the artists of Insight Arts advocated for “diversity” to include the poor, new
immigrants, children, elderly, gay, lesbian, and transgendered as among
the valued residents of Rogers Park. So as other businesses, nonprofits, and
artists became part of the problem-solving network within the Glenwood
Avenue Arts District, Insight Arts did not. Instead, they represented a critical
view of the arts district and served as a moral barometer to gauge change in
Rogers Park by including the voices of those left out of more commercial
activity in their arts activities.
Problem-Solving Ethos in Rogers Park
The first meetings of the Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking Group
(RPBANG) were held at the Heartland Café or No Exit Café, both located a
block north of ArtSpace RP on Glenwood Avenue. The Heartland Café was
opened in 1976 by social activists Katy Hogan and Michael James, who set
the standard for blending art, business, and advocacy. And long before the
Heartland was established, the No Exit Café moved to Rogers Park from
Evanston in 1967. Whereas the Heartland Café modeled a post-hippie life-
style of political and cultural activism through small business entrepreneur-
ship, No Exit was a post-beatnik coffeehouse, originally founded in 1958
as an Evanston hangout for Northwestern University students. Through the
1990s, both Heartland and No Exit were Rogers Park venues for live music
and poetry; No Exit served a distinctively coffeehouse literati, with jazz and
folk music and a take-one, leave-one book-loaning library; the Heartland’s
cultural offerings were more amplified and pointedly political as were other
remnants of its founders’ anti-war involvements.
In 1999, when No Exit’s previous owners had decided to exit the café
business, James and Hogan purchased and sustained it as one of their own
competitors. Under Heartland’s ownership, No Exit remained a coffeehouse
with jazz, folk music, and poetry for intellectual literati, but it was also
140 / Chapter Six
marketed to gay and lesbian audiences. So, for example, while at the Heart-
land Café on Wednesday nights was “In One Ear, Open Mic Poetry,” hosted
by Peter Wolf, on Thursday nights it was followed by “Scott Free’s Grinder:
Queer Words and Music” at No Exit. As owners of substantial business,
property, and cultural capital, Hogan and James were involved in just about
every aspect of activism, community improvement, and cultural entrepre-
neurship in Rogers Park.
By the time Goldberg had finished rehabbing ArtSpace RP, the Heartland
Enterprise included nearly enough businesses to constitute an arts district
all by itself. It had long ago expanded the original Heartland Café—offer-
ing a full food and beverage service from early morning to late at night—to
include a Buffalo Bar specializing in high-end imported beers and local
microbrews; a General Store filled with pamphlets, books, and artisan works
from throughout the world; and art exhibitions and live music, featuring
both local and nationally known artists. In addition to No Exit, it had taken
over a number of other failing businesses on Glenwood Avenue. Next to the
Heartland Café, and accessible through its own kitchens, was the Red Line
Tap, a pool bar with live country music and slightly cheaper beer than its
own Buffalo Bar; and the Studio Theater, a black-box rental space next to the
Tap that was rented to small theater groups in which to produce their own
plays. It also published an annual political and literary journal and spon-
sored regular political and cultural forums and athletic events. Heartland
on the Lake was a food stand it operated in the summer months at Loy-
ola Beach on Lake Michigan. No Exit became a successful, award-winning
cabaret space with a 2009 production of Evita, produced by James and per-
formed by Theo Ubique Theatre Company, in which the audience and the
entire café were part of the set (Jones 2009).
Since the day they opened the Heartland, Hogan and James have worked
to make it easy for people to come into their restaurant. Bright-colored mu-
rals that greet people as they leave the Lunt Street exit of the Morse train
stop, sounds of music, and the sight of people sitting and talking on their
outdoor patio have all fostered the Heartland’s identity as “a stabilizing
feature in the neighborhood.” According to Hogan, this identity could, in
part, be attributed to the arts activities that take place there.
At first it was hard for me to believe that people saw us as a stabilizing feature
in the neighborhood. But landlords bring future tenants here to sign leases
and to show them what kind of community exists in Rogers Park. To many
people we are an immense safe haven. People hear the music and see the art
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 141
and the people in the place and it represents life to them. We are a haven for
the sense of community that exists in Rogers Park. (Hogan interview 2001)
Art and music “created a sense of life” and were, in Hogan’s view, part
of the package that “moved the drug deals farther down the block.” But she
acknowledged the attitudes of the partners and their staff—and how they all
addressed customers and potential problems on the street—were also part
of that package. “People’s sense of safety often takes precedence over the real
facts. So if something or someone made a customer fearful, we would say,
‘OK. Where are you going, we’ll walk you there’ ” (Hogan interview 2001).
The owners used art to draw people into the restaurant for purposes
beyond eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The dining-room walls were a
changing exhibition space for exhibitions of art by local artists or on pro-
gressive issues. Among the works exhibited were photographs by youth
in the Insight Arts education programs; paintings by Al Tyler and his wife
Anna, two Bronzeville artists living in Rogers Park; paintings by Diana Berek
and an art group called “Artists of Rogers Park”; exhibitions sponsored by
Lew Rosenbaum’s Labor and Arts Festival; and surrealist art by Penelope
and Franklin Rosemont, founders of the Chicago Surrealist Group. These
exhibitions often had national and international reach, such as Drawing
Resistance, organized as part of the Rogers Park–based Labor and Arts Festi-
val, with art by “40 North American Political Artists” (fall 2001); or Surreal-
ism Here and Now, an exhibition organized by the Chicago Surrealist Group
(summer 2002).
The Rosemonts—who had traveled to Paris to meet with Paris surrealists
and its famous founder, André Breton, in 1965—provided a unique bridge
between two historic and struggling movements: surrealism and revolution-
ary social activism rooted in the labor movement. They sponsored surreal-
ist art exhibitions, like those at the Heartland, “concerned with advancing
the critique of miserabilism, the liberation of wilderness, the triumph of
play over work, that is, in social revolution and the realization of poetry
in everyday life” (Franklin Rosemont 2002); they kept the literature from
both movements in print through the historic publishing house Charles H.
Kerr Publishing, which they ran from Rogers Park. Although Penelope was
known as a surrealist painter and Franklin was a surrealist poet and collage
artist, they maintained an international presence through their Black Swan
Press, a smaller imprint of Kerr Publishing that published surrealist poetry
and art. Kerr Publishing was founded in Chicago in 1886 just weeks before
the historic Haymarket Riot and remained “the oldest anti-establishment
142 / Chapter Six
publishing house in the world, but still as young as tomorrow,” according to
its own catalog. It was the notorious publisher of radical, socialist, and labor
history for which Franklin Rosemont served as the chief steward and editor
from 1983 until his death on April 15, 2009 (Chicago Tribune 2009).
The Heartland owners also sponsored live events. Among these were “In
One Ear: Open Mic Poetry,” a weekly event that had gone on at the Heart-
land for more than a decade. Every Wednesday night around 9 p.m., poets
and their friends began to gather just as its host, Peter Wolf, and his entou-
rage arrived and began converting the diner into a late-night poetry club and
collecting a $2 cover charge. Wolf, who always introduced himself as the
host of the event and “a third-generation Rogers Park resident,” trumpeted
the Heartland over every other venue in Rogers Park, because of its wide ap-
peal and its functionality as a diner and a bar with a sound system. “From
neighborhood youth, to the college set, to old-timers, it is a place where all
are welcome. They can sit and listen, have something to eat or drink—tea,
coffee, soda, water, or beer—or sign up for three minutes on stage” he said.
The open mic soapbox, announcement billboard, and poetry night were
just the kind of cultural activity that was easy for the Heartland owners to
support: it was self-sustaining, it brought business to the restaurant, and it
further linked the partners to locally based civic, cultural, and business net-
works. It allowed their reach to extend far beyond their own activism and
that of their forty employees, to any of their thousands of customers who
would pitch them an idea.
The Heartland Café made the most of the array of cultural capital rooted
deeply within Rogers Park’s activist networks. Moreover, the Heartland was
the kind of place—one of mixed uses at all times of day or night—to which
the Glenwood Avenue Arts District would aspire. The Heartland was the
product of the social activism of its owners, staff, and customers. According
to James:
[The] “wholesome foods” restaurant was part of what we envisioned as an
interconnecting network of businesses to serve the people, body and soul,
and build a progressive base in the community. We wanted to encourage a
vision that connected health, personal growth, and political consciousness.
We also wanted to provide workers with a positive work experience including
time to organize or do political work, including art, education, culture, and
family. (James 2001)
Hogan often attributed their business growth to her business partner,
James. “It’s my partner who is the capitalist,” she would say, while she was
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 143
a primary advocate of art as “community building.” This approach was
distinct from the community-based art projects that first emerged in the mu-
ral movement on Chicago’s South Side. According to Hogan, the business
partners viewed all aspects of their operations as community building:
We look at people’s work as their art and art as a community-building activity.
With this perspective, there are no boundaries to the scope of community
building and cultural activity people are involved in. It includes raising a
family as well as working on a job. Part of our mission as employers is to
support our employees, not only in their work here, but in their lives. Among
our forty employees are mothers and fathers, students, actors, artists, political
activists, and neighborhood residents. (Hogan interview 2001)
Their problem-solving approach engaged individuals while providing a
structure through which to think, act, and maintain a sense of shared in-
terest in the local place. So, for example, to solve the problem of parking for
customers, Hogan and James entered into an agreement with Trilogy, which
Hogan described as “an adult-support outfit” without referring to its clients
as mentally disabled adults. In exchange for allowing Heartland customers
use of the Trilogy parking lot during the evenings and weekends—when the
social service agency was closed—Heartland would feed a Trilogy group of
staff and clients, en masse, a few times a year. Moreover, rather than treat-
ing their clients as odd, she explained: “We would be nice to them, but join
in the behavior modification, such as take the sugar packets off the table,
so someone would not sit and open each and every one” (Hogan interview
2001).
Within what amounted to their corporate brand, Hogan and James advo-
cated for “diversity” to include a variety of people and activist causes, from
world peace, anti-racism, gay rights, and workers rights, to local community
building in Rogers Park. The Heartland was as much a place for cultural
entrepreneurs, like Pete Wolf, to carry out his own income-producing activi-
ties, as it was a place for current and future community improvers—land-
lords, real estate agents, prospective home buyers—to share in the “sense
of the community in Rogers Park”; or for social activists to promote their
visionary agendas for the future. These networks of activists fed the Heartland
businesses and were, in turn, fed by the restaurant. Moreover, the problem-
solving ethos of its business practices laid the foundation for how to get
things done in Rogers Park. So, when Lifeline Theatre moved to Rogers Park
and needed parking or wanted to deal with the graffiti on the cement em-
bankment in front of their theater, they followed in Heartland’s footsteps.
144 / Chapter Six
Or when the networking breakfast for artists and businesses needed a place
to meet, they turned to the Heartland for food and space.
Using Murals to Redefine Space
Art Is for All
Lifeline Theatre’s artistic director, Dorothy Milne, was among those who
were initially reluctant to be involved in the Glenwood Avenue Arts Dis-
trict. The nonprofit ensemble company had moved to Rogers Park in 1986,
before Goldberg took ownership of the corner building. The actors pur-
chased a former electric company substation, a large brick building located
on Glenwood Avenue a half block south of Morse Avenue, and converted it
into a 99-seat facility for their own MainStage productions. Lifeline brought
the nonprofit theater model—funded by a mix of charity donations and
ticket sales—to Glenwood Avenue. The ensemble augmented its MainStage
adult and family-friendly theater productions with a Kid Series featuring
classic children’s literature as well as an “Art for All” outreach program pro-
viding free and discounted tickets to the elderly and disadvantaged while
subsidizing tickets for its children’s programs.
When Lifeline Theatre purchased their building on Glenwood, three
blocks south of the Heartland Café, these cultural entrepreneurs adopted
Hogan and James’s problem-solving approach to dealing with neighbor-
hood problems. They too struck a deal with Trilogy to use its parking lot on
theater nights in exchange for free tickets for Trilogy clients. Driving older
model cars and wearing arty, thrift-shop clothes, ensemble members fit in on
the street. The lack of street traffic was an asset for the theater, as it allowed
for buses, cars, taxis, and Lifeline’s own free shuttle service to lock up the
street before and after performances. It also allowed Lifeline to host events
and an annual Summer KidFest on the street in front of their building.
Long before the Glenwood Avenue Arts District was established, Milne
was an anchor for problem-solving efforts on the street. She was among the
cultural entrepreneurs who did more than involve herself in producing art:
she participated in anti-racism and affordable housing efforts with social
activists, while assertively advocating for the concept of diversity to include
families and children. And in 1993, when the ensemble decided to take on
the problem of the obscenities and gang tagging on the CTA embankment
across the street from its theater building, they did it by commissioning a
mural to cover the entire 20-by-500-foot CTA embankment between Morse
and Farwell avenues.
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 145
Lifeline Theatre’s fund-raising and promotional material for the mural
project represented the theater as engaged in “the business of art, but also
in the business of our community”; it framed the locale as suffering from
“absentee landlords, dwindling city resources, tenant displacement due to
neighborhood ‘revitalization projects’ and hard times” (Lifeline 1992). It
presented itself as a local leader and a member of a “large community net-
work” that sought to improve the community by addressing such problems.
They were advocates “for better police patrol, removal of unwanted graf-
fiti on public and private property, increased garbage removal and street
cleaning efforts”; Lifeline Theatre’s motivation for producing the mural was
to “improve the . . . ambiance of the block and discourage vagrancy and
defacement of private and public property” (Lifeline 1992). It sought to
replace the obscenities and gang tagging that occasionally marked the em-
bankment with a mural representing “the ethnic and cultural diversity of . . .
Rogers Park” and wanted to do so in a manner that mixed traditional styles
with youthful hip-hop and street art. The theater raised the $6,000 necessary
for the mural project, which it claimed would “offer a shining example of a
successful collaboration between the arts, the community, and the private
sector, not only in beautifying the neighborhood, but in showing a sense of
community pride and ownership” (Lifeline 1992).
The Art Is for All mural (plate 15) mural, completed in 1993 and still
intact in 2008, included iconography from the fine arts intermixed with
that of popular and ethnic culture; its montage of faces, objects, and pat-
terns linked a traditional WPA-era style with the youthful graffiti gestures of
spray-can writers. Among the fifteen muralists were two well-known “spray-
can writers,” Dzine and Casper, who had co-founded the graffiti crew Aero-
soul in the 1980s. After completing several commissioned murals, including
Art Is for All, Dzine hit it big showing his work in art galleries in Chicago,
New York, Paris, and Tokyo. His notoriety surpassed that of the traditional
muralists involved with the project, who were longtime members of the
Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG), including Olivia Gude, Jon Pounds, and
Bernard Williams. The mural and its mix of iconography remained intact
and unblemished by unwanted vandalism to become the symbolic back-
drop of diversity for Lifeline’s annual Summer KidFest, and ten years later
for the activities of the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival.
Artists of the Wall
The same year, a different group of property owners adopted a similar
problem-solving strategy using mural painting to address another cement
146 / Chapter Six
structure. The first Artists of the Wall mural painting festival was held in
1993, as a way to address the problem of graffiti on the Loyola Beach re-
taining wall. The 3-by-600-foot retaining wall served as a beachfront park
bench between Pratt and Lunt streets in Loyola Park, part of the Chicago
Park District on Lake Michigan.
The festival was originally an idea of the Loyola Beach Neighbors Associ-
ation (LBNA), a nonprofit group of residents living in Rogers Park between
Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan who engaged the Loyola Beach Advisory
Council, the volunteer group for the park chaired by Hogan, the Heartland
co-owner. The LBNA members wanted the problems of nighttime brawling
to stop and the obscenities and gang tagging on the wall to be cleaned up.
They were community improvers who saw the graffiti as vandalism that cre-
ated a negative space and encouraged litter and neglect of the beach in the
vicinity of the wall. Hogan’s committee brought in the concerns of social
activists who sought to solve the problem in a way that would engage local
residents rather than police. Like Lifeline’s approach, they supported the
idea of a festival that would engage youth and adults in painting the wall
together. But rather than creating a permanent mural, they wanted to sup-
port an annual festival as a process that would build connections among
people and foster cultural ownership of the vandalized space, rather than
to celebrate the work of specific artists or perpetuate a cat-and-mouse game
between the taggers and police.
Hogan’s involvement in the Loyola Beach Advisory Council, the wall
painting, and the festival was an extension of the beach food concession
stand operated by the Heartland Café throughout the summer. The annual
themes initially were intended to stimulate fun, but many people took the
job of painting to the theme very seriously. For example, in 2001 the theme
“2001: A Neighborhood Odyssey Hullabaloo” sought to link Homer, The
Iliad, and the lake with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hogan said,
“We hope people paint according to the theme, but as ‘a hullabaloo,’ it is a
way to bring people together to have fun and build a sense of ownership of
the place and a sense of community connection around an annual event”
(Hogan interview 2001).
Among the painters that year was a professional artist, David Libman,
who painted the one-eyed Cyclops from The Iliad as gentrifiers invading
Rogers Park. And just as Odysseus and his crew triumphed by stabbing the
Cyclops in his eye, a multicultural mob was standing up against the hairy
beast advancing on their lakefront utopia with spears and pitchforks. “The
Cyclops . . . is a representation of gentrification in modern times. I think he’s
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 147
ruthless and bites the head off people without morality or regard to afford-
able housing,” Libman said (Kleine 2001).
Winning first place that year was commercial artist Stephen Titra, who
painted the elevated train being transformed through a wave of water into
Odysseus’s ship. “It’s about taking the Red Line all the way to the end of the
line. If you do, you’ll find Odysseus’s ship waiting for you,” he explained.
“If you remember, [Odysseus] spent 20 years trying to get home [after] he
realized all the things that were important to him were there. . . . Rogers
Park [is home] for us. . . . This is the best place in the world to live,” he said
(Kleine 2001).
Attendees could watch as the painters of varying skill levels—from “pro-
fessional” to “kids spattering paint”—developed a variety of messages and
meanings. As one blogger noted, “The liberal values of the neighborhood
always get expressed in the paintings along with regular quotes from Meher
Baba, Budd[h]a, etc. It always feels like a revisit to the ‘60s when I take the
stroll and dig the art” (posting on Yelp.com, 7/12/2005). As the point of
the event was to solve the problem of neglect by replacing it with shared
ownership of the place, the inclusion of professionals, amateurs, and ideo-
logues were seen as “part of the charm” of the event (posting on Yelp.com,
7/12/2005). Although aesthetics and even artistic quality played no role
in who got to be an artist of the wall, the festival succeeded in motivating
skilled, well-known artists to take on a section.
Mural Making as Problem Solving
Art Is for All and Artists of the Wall set the standard for the problem-solving
ethos of art that was publicly supported by residents and businesses in
Rogers Park; they were the kind of activities that addressed commonly shared
problems and involved the widest possible array of local residents. The two
mural projects—similar in their intent and outcome but different in their
process—were equally important symbols as art that solved local problems.
Whereas the Lifeline mural Art Is for All was a permanent art installation, the
Artists of the Wall was an annual mural project and beach festival. Yet both
projects provided opportunities for young and old to transform their youth-
ful indiscretions into sanctioned public art. Whereas Lifeline commissioned
professional muralists and spray-can writers to paint a mural as a solution to
the problem of racist, sexist, and pornographic slogans and epithets scrawled
on the cement embankment across from their theater facility, the Artists of
the Wall festival allowed youth and adults to paint whatever they wanted
148 / Chapter Six
on a cement retaining wall each year while enabling many businesses, resi-
dents, and neighborhood associations to come together for an annual beach
festival. Both became symbolic spaces to renew old ties or forge new ones.
Although both projects symbolized utopian harmony, diversity, and de-
mocracy in Rogers Park, neither was without conflict or criticism. Peeling
under-paint and a fee increase to $30 for painters led to criticism of Art-
ists of the Wall festival organizers. Although the 2008 festival had fewer
registrants and few professional artists, even its staunchest critics, bloggers
on The Broken Heart of Rogers Park, found enough worthwhile paintings to
award one artist with its “best localized art-activism” award. And more than
one Rogers Park resident did not like the Art Is for All mural. In a formal
letter of complaint, a resident admonished the Chicago Transit Authority
(CTA) for giving permission for the wall to be painted and indicated a pref-
erence for the “concrete wall” that had some “natural charm because of
the hanging vines”; the writer claimed that the mural was turning Rogers
Park into “a circus sideshow of bad taste” (Letter to CTA 1993). Lifeline
responded in a letter that they were “very sorry to learn [someone] was so
deeply offended by the mural” (Lifeline 1993), but in their view the strat-
egy of including traditional muralists and younger spray-can writers paid
off. They pointed out that since the mural was completed, “there has not
been one incident of graffiti or defacement on the entire embankment and
our own property has also seen a dramatic decrease in unwanted tagging”
(Lifeline 1993). But the criticism points to the fact that although diversity
advocates and their problem-solving ethos dominated Rogers Park, theirs
was not the only perspective in the locale.
Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking Group
The first meeting of the Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking Group
that I attended was in 2002. Intrigued at the notion that such a meeting was
happening in the first place, let alone at 7:30 in the morning, I rolled off the
futon in my ArtSpace studio for the Wednesday morning breakfast at the
Heartland Café. Among the breakfast regulars were one of the co-owners
of the Heartland Café, Michael James or Katy Hogan; Michael Glasser, a
commercial landlord, founder of RP Builders Group with Goldberg, and
proprietor of the website RogersPark.com, who managed the Listserv for
the breakfast participants; Amy Westgard, an artist, a recent graduate of the
School of the Art Institute’s Master of Arts Administration program, and the
host of regular salons for artists; Tom Westgard, Amy’s husband, an attorney
credited with starting the first networking breakfast; Kimberly Bares, execu-
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 149
tive director of DevCorp North, the local economic development corpora-
tion interested in strengthening Rogers Park’s commercial corridors; and
Dorothy Milne, artistic director for Lifeline Theatre.
Initially referred to as RPBANG and still active in 2009 as RPBizArts, the
breakfast meetings were a nexus for cultural entrepreneurs. The breakfast
meeting became the local “art committee” and served to introduce new art-
ists and businesses to the locale. At each breakfast new participants were
introduced. Returning participants were each given an opportunity to report
on their activities and provide updates for ongoing projects. So, for exam-
ple, when a bakery caterer, Marked for Dessert, moved into Rogers Park,
its pastry chef, Mark Seaman, brought dessert samples and menus to the
breakfast and became the dessert caterer of choice for the network. Michael
Harrington started attending the group as a local writer and announced his
candidacy for political office at the networking breakfast.
The networking breakfast also served to build support for some projects
introduced at the breakfast, though not others. Initiatives of DevCorp—
including the farmers’ market, the women’s festival, and the Wisdom Bridge
Theater project, all taking place on Howard Street, nearly a mile north of
Morse—did not motivate involvement by this Morse- and Glenwood-
centered group. Moreover, efforts to formalize processes, purposes, or iden-
tities, such as through the establishment of the Rogers Park Arts Council
spearheaded by Amy Westgard, were moved to a subsequent meeting that
took place after the breakfast. Yet the breakfast became a vehicle for orga-
nizing the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival (GAAF) and for the establishment
of Glenwood Avenue as an Arts District (GLAAD).
Sometime in mid-2002, a number of RPBANG breakfast attendees
agreed to participate in an open-studio event and street fair to be held in
October. Each of the people in this core group represented linkages to other
individuals who either would be involved in the festival or were needed
in some capacity to carry it out. Artist Amy Westgard took the lead in pro-
ducing documents for the planning process and working with DevCorp to
arrange for tents and other items needed to stage the street part of the fair.
She agreed to manage artists interested in setting up on the street. I agreed to
notify the rest of ArtSpace RP’s upstairs tenants and arrange for open studios
and an exhibition in the building to include artists from throughout the
locale. Al Goldberg agreed to do the publicity and work with the city for the
necessary permits. Dorothy Milne of Lifeline Theatre would program and
manage a stage at the south end of Glenwood with theatrical pieces, music,
and dance. Tara Noftsier and a group of other artists in Phantom Limb stu-
dio on the opposite side of the CTA tracks from the Heartland Café would
150 / Chapter Six
manage and program music at the stage on the north end of the festival on
Glenwood at Greenview Avenue.
As committee members were busy doing their part to pull off the street
fair, the committee became constituted as the “Glenwood Avenue Arts Dis-
trict.” The name was proposed by Goldberg and was named as the festival
sponsor. Goldberg would produce a brochure and directory as part of the
effort. He invited others not involved in the planning committee to be listed
in the directory for a fee of $10 to $100.
Conflict between Goldberg’s vision of the arts district’s having a “Eu-
ropean flavor” and one with the bohemian and gritty image envisioned
by some of the artists broke out two months before the event was to take
place, producing factions in the festival organizing committee. The conflict
came to the surface in mid-August just as the first announcements calling
for artists were circulated. It happened after a member of Inclusion Arts
Gallery created a design for the street banners that Goldberg hoped to have
installed along the street and used as a logo for the festival and for the arts
district. Whether the design was a naive and cutesy rendition of a street or
an ominous portending of what the realtors involved in the effort hoped
Glenwood might become, the image of a quaint European street seemed
artificial to most of the festival-planning group.
The conflict exaggerated the differing interests of committee members
and led to disarray in the art festival organizing group. Some of the mem-
bers argued that they had become involved in the festival planning to make
the street a place where people feel safe, while others wanted a party to share
with family and friends. And while some people were intent on selling art,
others wanted to build larger markets for businesses or real estate in Rogers
Park. For most of the committee, the logo design and the description of the
arts district found on the inner leaf of the directory was overly focused on
the real estate rather than the art and artists:
Glenwood Avenue, in the “Heart of Rogers Park,” between Pratt and Touhy
Avenues, is a unique urban stretch of mixed use stores and upper floor apart-
ments with an inviting European flavor of narrow, cobblestone streets, the el-
evated train embankment, and quaint shops and storefronts. . . . (Glenwood
Avenue Arts District Directory 2002)
About the same time this conflict came to a head, Goldberg found out
that city permit fees for a weekend festival added up to thousands of dol-
lars, and in addition they would be required to pay overtime wages for city
workers to tap into the city electric lights, provide port-a-potties, and clean
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 151
up after the event. The city further required anyone selling on the street to
have a vendor’s license, something most street fairs purchased on behalf
of the registrants as part of the registration fee. These costs, which came to
light just months before the festival date, reinforced Amy’s position months
earlier that we needed a formal organization to pull off such a complicated
event.
Tara, of the Phantom Limb Studio, offered to rework the design. While
passing out her business card, she suggested we keep a vision of our shared
reality and promised to carry out the task of redesigning the logo with hu-
mor and the skills outlined on her business card: “visual artist, sensuous
sculptor, wily graphic designer, sexy chick, fabulous cook, bathing beauty,
and spygirl extraordinaire.” Her final design replaced the quaint cobble-
stone streets and lampposts with an image of train tracks overlaid with a
paintbrush that was altering the tone of the tracks. Although an intellectu-
ally brilliant design, its style was too crude for some committee members.
Claiming it was too late to get the street banners installed in time for the
festival, Goldberg never had the banners made. The new design was used for
the flyers and the directory only in its first year.
Days after the mid-August meltdown, someone learned we could side-
step all the city’s requirements by referring to the festival as “a block party
for local residents,” something the city allowed with minimal fees and po-
lice presence. As the purpose of such events was bonding among neighbors,
likely attendees would be people who were close to home or business, had
access to their own electric service and bathrooms, and would clean up after
themselves. The party therefore required no city electric, waste containers,
or portable bathrooms. This solution allowed us to proceed with the fair
as long as we collected no fees and no one planned to sell anything on the
street, except of course, as someone noted, the drug dealers and prostitutes
who worked there every day.
With Tara’s design on the cover, the directory that Goldberg finally dis-
tributed included his original text and listings for the 43 studios and busi-
nesses that made up the Glenwood Avenue Arts District. Among these were
Lifeline Theatre, Heartland Café, ArtSpace RP, 4 other businesses of the
Heartland enterprise (each in separate listings), 19 of Goldberg’s tenants,
and 16 other studios and businesses, including Ms. Egg Roll (the Chinese
food takeout) and the Morse “L” Drugs (a pharmacy in ArtSpace RP). The
sponsors of the arts district, listed on the back of the directory, were 3 prop-
erty rental agencies, including ArtSpace RP.
Operating under a network form of organization—with no one person in
charge—staging of this first annual festival appeared disorganized. Indeed,
152 / Chapter Six
no one actually knew what was going to happen, and during the fair no
one could say what was going on down the street; there were no posted
schedules of events and no information booth. The festival began later than
its scheduled noon starting time, as everyone—from the streets and sanita-
tion official who was supposed to arrive with the yellow tape to cordon off
the area at 9 a.m., to the police with barricades and the city tow trucks to
remove parked cars—all showed up one to two hours late.
This meant that by the time festival volunteers were able to section off
areas for tents and booths, artists had already blocked out their own spaces,
just as families at downtown festivals do with coolers, tents, and barbeque
grills. Without any sort of organizational mechanism to control who was
to be where and how much space in the street they each could take, there
was potential for mayhem. But after high noon passed, there was enough
room for everyone and space left over. The first annual “Outrageous Open
Studio Art Walk and Succulent Street Fair” brought several thousand people
to Glenwood Avenue. And in a style typical of Glenwood Avenue, money
was illegally exchanged on the street, but on this day sales of art and beer far
surpassed sales of drugs or sex (plate 16).
As there was no organizational authority or guidance, the elements of the
day that worked flawlessly were those that were self-directed and the result
of skilled cultural entrepreneurs playing the part they wanted to play from
beginning to end. This was the case, for example, with Lifeline’s stage on the
south end of Glenwood. As they had already done an annual KidFest every
year in August, they simply did it again this day in October. They moved a
stage from inside the theater and drew on their own electricity; they sched-
uled onstage a punk rock band, Afro-Caribbean drummers, and flamenco
dancers, with their own actors playing parts from Around the World in 80
Days. Goldberg’s multicultural drumming circle, which included drummers
from nearly every drumming tradition, maintained their drumbeat all day
long at the corner of Morse and Glenwood just outside the viaduct. Our
exhibition inside ArtSpace RP was a combination of artists showing work in
and around their own studios and a group show in the hallway with several
invited artists: Amy Westgard, Mark DiBernardi, Jill Sutton, and Julian Cox.
As each of these artists had shown their work many times before, they each
brought their own tools and supplies when they came at the designated
time a week before the event to hang their work. They each came back to
remove it later that month, spackling the holes in the wall before they left.
The things that were left not coordinated seemed to be deliberately so.
The fact that the street banners defining the arts district were never made
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 153
or hung by Goldberg was more than just a lack of time. There was resis-
tance to the idea from the start; it was resistance to Glenwood Avenue either
becoming a replica of a quaint old European cobblestone street or a gritty,
bohemian artist enclave. The redesigned logo, as painted train tracks, was
used only in 2002; in subsequent years other designs included an image of
an electric blender and abstract designs.
Conclusions
A network of producers that function as a local problem-solving network
engages local political leaders, businesses, organizations, and artists in art
activities that address local concerns and engage local residents. This type of
network was uniquely suited to address the problems of diverse interests in
this culturally and demographically diverse place. It was particularly suited
to engage social activists, community improvers, and cultural entrepreneurs
who shared an interest in maintaining stability in this changing locale that
was threatened with either decline or gentrification. It was this shared inter-
est that was regularly brought to the foreground by skilled problem-solvers
when discord and division threatened their efforts.
While other places near the city center faced the threat of wholesale trans-
formation involving displacement of large segments of their ethnic popula-
tions, more distant locales, such as Rogers Park, faced the threat of internal
division and disinvestment as their racial and ethnic diversity increased.
Just as residents of Bronzeville and Pilsen asserted race and ethnicity as a
resource to be mobilized, diversity advocates in Rogers Park mobilized resi-
dents of diverse backgrounds and offered images of diversity as a resource
to solve the problem of “difference” among a racially, ethnically, and eco-
nomically diverse population. Through a problem-solving network, they
shunned external investment, preferring to mobilize local resources involv-
ing social activists, community improvers, and cultural entrepreneurs, using
art as a focus to bring people together.
The idea of an arts district was initiated to benefit real estate interests.
Many of the visual artists and other cultural entrepreneurs renting studios
on Glenwood Avenue saw greater potential for an arts district to raise their
rents rather than provide them with paying customers. Yet they continued
to participate in an open-studio event in conjunction with the citywide
Chicago Artists’ Month sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs in October. Sometime after 2004, Goldberg had street banners in-
stalled on Glenwood Avenue identifying it as an arts district. By 2006 the
154 / Chapter Six
competition with the rest of the open-studio events throughout the city, and
with prodding by Lifeline, the Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival was moved
to August.
Tension arising in the problem-solving network required that partici-
pants cross their own ideological boundaries in order to have a say in the
future of the street. Initially reluctant to be involved, Lifeline framed their
reluctance as a conflict with the theater’s performance season, including its
own August KidFest. They limited their involvement but became a festival
sponsor and the southern anchor of the arts district. Heartland became the
northern anchor and hosted a stage and programmed its music, while a
competitor, Morseland, the supper club and music venue on Morse east of
the tracks, joined in as a festival sponsor.
The fact that social activists, community improvers, and cultural entre-
preneurs stayed involved in the network, and through public discussion
were able to reject some of the ideas in favor of others, provided the means
for their collective engagement in the future of Rogers Park. Among the
ideas rejected was the idea of Glenwood Avenue being transformed into a
quaint, cobblestone arts district. The establishment of a local arts council—
even with the promise of a nonprofit organization, foundation and corpo-
rate sponsorship, and paid staff to do all the work of the festival instead of
relying on volunteers—was also rejected. The idea to unite all the festivals in
Rogers Park under one umbrella—including a Glenwood Avenue Arts Festi-
val, Lifeline’s KidFest, the Loyola Park’s Artists of the Wall, and a number of
music festivals sponsored by local clubs—and host them at the same time
to attract a larger non-local audience and increase their economic impact
was also not supported.
Although individuals continued to pursue efforts on their own, what
brought people together was their shared interest in maintaining the di-
versity of Rogers Park and their preference for acting on this interest by
sponsoring art activities through a network form of organization. However,
they each advocated in their own way for solving problems that threatened
Rogers Park’s racial, ethnic, and cultural balance. Glenwood Avenue be-
came the center of this problem-solving activity, drawing in community
improvers, cultural entrepreneurs, and social activists, who together formed
an alliance against proposals for strip malls, new condo constructions, TIF
districts, and streetscape projects that framed “problems” as something only
“development” could solve.
Of the three types of diversity advocates, some social activists remained
staunchly against real estate development and the arts district, yet were in-
Problem-Solving Networks and Social Stability / 155
creasingly tolerant of the festival. Cultural entrepreneurs, as proprietors of
small businesses, supported the festival but were generally against devel-
opment because of its potential to price them out of their own market.
Community improvers were the most willing to support the idea of an
arts district and to listen to developers’ ideas. But just as some residents
welcomed the potential for increased value of their property, for others
the possibility for increased property values had the negative potential to
raise their property taxes to levels beyond which they could pay. Without
a full-blown streetscape project to bring out the quaint, European flavor of
the brick, asphalt, and cement of Glenwood Avenue, the problem-solving
network redefined the place and built enduring ties for continuing to
host the festival, which in 2009 was in its eighth year. By this time, many
thousands of people crowded the street during the festival; it was even an-
nounced throughout the region on the Jewel supermarket checkout line tele-
vision network as a “fun family event.” Although admission of the public
to the festival remained free, artists and others who wanted tent space on
the street were charged a fee to participate in the festival; festival permits
from the city of Chicago allowing for the legitimate sale of food, drinks,
and art became standard practice of the festival by 2005, yet the Glenwood
Avenue Arts Festival remained an activity of a network of volunteers, with
Lifeline Theatre as its fiscal agent managing income and expenses, including
donated funds, festival fees, and permits.
For local residents and businesses, art as a community-building strategy
was a proactive response to conflict amid a changing post-industrial me-
tropolis. Unlike the activist muralists in Bronzeville who began producing
murals as a way to be engaged with and to engage poor residents in cul-
tural production, Rogers Park nonprofit organizations and small businesses
produced murals and events to address signs of decline and neglect while
representing diversity in a positive light and to resist the whitewashing that
often accompanies infrastructure and real estate investment. Moreover, as
an activity carried out through a network structure, it provided an organiza-
tional alternative to traditional mechanisms of cultural hierarchy long em-
ployed by the dominant culture. Diversity advocates working with residents
and business owners mobilized local resources in response to the changing
demographics of the locale. Art produced through a problem-solving net-
work created images of diversity and experiences with diverse people while
maintaining stability in a changing urban place.
The success of local problem-solving efforts were heralded by Chicago
Tribune theater critic Chris Jones when he reported on the 2009 Joseph
156 / Chapter Six
Jefferson Awards (the Jeff Awards) to three Rogers Park theaters: Lifeline
Theatre, Theo Ubique, and Side Project. After first reminding readers of the
abrupt exodus of Curious Theatre Company from the Glenwood Avenue
Arts District in 2004 after crime rates increased and wilding teenagers at-
tacked theatergoers, Jones recounted how in speech after speech, each of the
Jeff winners attributed their success to the sense of place they had in their
artistic home, Rogers Park, and stated that “artists always do their best work
when they feel like they have a home.” Jones also heralded Rogers Park
alderman Joe Moore as one of “Chicago’s most arts-supportive alderman.”
But Moore in turn rightly credited neighborhood residents and businesses
for banding together and making what he termed “the turnaround” pos-
sible (Jones 2009).
S EVEN
Gentrification Networks and the
Whitewashing of Culture
Gentrification and Urban Transformation
Artists as Complicit Actors in Urban Transformation
The term “gentrification” has been broadly applied since the 1970s by aca-
demics and urbanites to explain the class-based transition of local places.
The term conjures images of well-heeled elites who take over working-class
neighborhoods while remaining unsympathetic to loss of long-held home-
lands, workplaces, cultural identities, and local histories. Yet by focusing
attention on a specific type of end user—that is, “the gentry”—it masks
the public policies and social practices behind the transformation from a
working-class to a middle- or upper-class place. Moreover, the definition of
gentrification as a class-based transition (Zukin 1982; Logan and Molotch
1987; Clark 2004; Lloyd 2005) limits “culture” to that of the middle or up-
per class, leaving race and ethnic culture largely unexamined. By redefining
gentrification as a local transformation resulting in (1) a piling up of the
white middle and upper classes, (2) homogenization or the “whitewash-
ing” of local culture, (3) an influx of global franchises, and (4) expansion of
elite institutionalized culture through the nonprofit arts sector, we can see
that ethnicity must be erased or made invisible for gentrification to occur.
Seen in this light, the processes of gentrification, although often celebrated
for the revenues they bring to cities and the increased property values they
bring to some owners, are an extension of the institutional racism that has
devalued property owned by non-whites and propelled segregation, while
also devaluing ethnic culture.
White as the Local Color
This case study of art production networks in Pilsen shows the roles that art-
ists play when growth machine developers come up against what I refer to
158 / Chapter Seven
as an ethnically driven stability machine—that is, a politically, financially,
and culturally empowered alliance of ethnic institutions, organizations, and
citizens, hell-bent on resisting the erasure of culture and displacement of
ethnic people from valued urban spaces. In Pilsen, artists were found be-
tween these two powerful urban interests. Armed with little more than an
art school education, artists are often considered by ethnics to be “foot sol-
diers for the gentry.” This case study shows why this is so. Yet it also shows
how the activities of artists can lead to a variety of local cultural results:
“whitewashing,” that is, the cultural transformation that excludes ethnic art-
ists and ethnic practices from the local cultural production to establish ar-
bitrary privileges for elite consumers; isolation of artists who pursue artistic
autonomy; or ethnic engagement in activities to empower ethnic producers
and legitimize ethnic art forms with traditional forms of civic authority.
A gentrification network can be constituted by any group of people who
share an interest in increasing the value of local resources. Yet two types
of participants are typically involved: property developers, who drive the
transformation process and stand to benefit the most from transfers of
property, and a range of complicit actors, including small business owners,
independent home owners, staff at nonprofit arts organizations, and artists
positioned to at least marginally benefit by the economic and cultural trans-
formation accompanying gentrification.
The term “whitewashing” is derived from the historic practice of physi-
cally covering up or painting out murals and other signs and symbols of
ethnic culture, but in this case the “whitening” of local culture is intended
to encompass a more extensive range of practices designed to exclude ethnic
artists and ethnic practices from local cultural production. As highlighted
in this chapter, participants in the gentrification network are complicit with
the processes that privilege white cultural producers and their cultural prod-
ucts, while excluding other art producers—who may also share an interest
in increasing the value of local property, goods, and services—but who work
against these practices because they limit artistic autonomy or they devalue
ethnic culture. In effect, these resisters become an empowerment network.
Theories of Gentrification
Urban sociologist Sharon Zukin defined gentrification as under way “when
a higher class of people moves into a neighborhood, makes improvements
to property that cause market prices and tax assessments to rise and so
drives out the previous lower-class residents” (1982, 5). This is a useful
definition that, in theory, would apply to any place no matter its racial or
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 159
ethnic composition or culture, but was specifically based upon the cultural
transformation of SoHo in Manhattan. Between 1950 and 1980, SoHo was
the place for art in New York City and in the world. It became a hub for a
modern, global art market distributing art from throughout the world. As
Zukin (1982) found, gentrification occurred through the interests shared
by global financiers and city government in the wholesale revalorization of
industrial-era property into structures more useful to a post-industrial fi-
nance economy. Among those also active in SoHo’s gentrification networks
were upwardly mobile non-artists—middle- and upper-class professionals—
who were interested in living among SoHo’s bohemian artists. The strength
of this theory is that it looks beyond the argument of “spontaneous” market
activity as an explanation of the class-based transition and instead illu-
minates the economic interests behind such development. However, the
theory fails to distinguish between the interests of artists who are complicit
with gentrification and those who are not; moreover, this definition does
little to address investment and transformation in non-white locales.
Logan and Molotch’s (1987) neo-Marxist critique of the urban growth
machine focused on markets and the conflict that arises between use values
and exchange values of city property. Yet they argued that culture is the force
behind the economics because cultures define markets: “Markets themselves
are the result of cultures; markets are bound up with human interests in
wealth, power and affection. Markets work through such interests and the
institutions that are derived from them. These human forces organize how
markets will work, what prices will be, as well as the behavioral responses
to prices” (1987, 9; emphasis in the original). Yet their view of “culture” did
not account for the cultural capital embedded in the arts and ethnic cultures
or for the logic propelling artistic interests in autonomy.
In fact, none of the literature on gentrification or urban transformation
investigated how the value of artistic autonomy operated, whether by the
same logic that drives economic interest or, as I argue, with logic differ-
ent than either use or exchange values, which provide the logic of markets.
Moreover, this literature did not investigate how and why the mobilization
of political and cultural capital in ethnic places can successfully resist the cul-
tural transformation that typically accompanies class-based transformation.
Gentrification in Chicago
In Chicago’s city center, just as in Zukin’s (1982) case of downtown Man-
hattan, a class-based transformation began in the early 1970s with the Chi-
cago 21 Plan to redevelop the inner city (City of Chicago 1973; Gapp 1973;
160 / Chapter Seven
Rast 2001). Behind the plan were Chicago’s wealthiest elites, who argued
that change was necessary for the city to survive into the twenty-first century.
They envisioned a city transformed from one in which the city center was
an island surrounded by a moat of poverty and squalor to one in which
the center would rise like a summit amid a mountain range of economic,
cultural, political, and social activity. The plan set in motion neoliberal poli-
cies based upon public/private partnerships, in which large multinational
corporations and small private investors acted in consort with public agen-
cies. These policies operated through a growth consensus that powered the
“growth machine” (Molotch 1976; Logan and Molotch 1987). As the city
aggressively deployed its power over land use, infrastructure investment,
the distribution of federal urban development funds, and other policy tools
(Rast 2001), downtown infrastructures and properties were redeveloped
and values escalated during the last quarter of the twentieth century.
By the end of the century, properties in areas near the Loop, such as
Bronzeville and Pilsen, were seen to possess latent value and unrealized
tax revenues by the growth machine seeking to expand into the inner city,
whereas distant places such as Rogers Park were of little interest to develop-
ers but were increasingly attractive to those renters and property owners
displaced by real estate development in and around the city center. As the
policy direction was set in motion—moving outward initially from the city
center toward the northern and northwestern sections of the city—leaders
in inner-city ethnic locales began to mobilize resistance to the cultural
transformation of their locales by seeking legitimate power in the establish-
ment of ethnic cultural institutions and by valorization of ethnic cultural
practices.
The policy direction set forth by the Chicago 21 Plan was directed toward
increasing the value of local properties through infrastructure investment
by the city and by private investment in properties. As policy fueling the
growth machine, it began with investment in city services and structures in
the downtown city center, and then extending north and northwest, which
led to property transfers there among independent property owners, and to
new large- and small-scale construction. These processes generated new in-
come for the city and for property developers. This policy direction also led
to expansion of the institution of culture through growth in the size and in
the number of nonprofit art organizations operating within the city center
and north of the downtown area.
Change typically occurred building by building, block by block. What
began in the downtown Loop business district proceeded north to the Near
North and Old Town areas, then to the adjoining Lincoln Park area by the
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 161
early 1980s. Lakeview, an entertainment district first popular with gay men
and then other young professionals, became attractive to upper-middle-class
professionals when developments such as the town homes of “Sweeterville”
replaced the Reed Candy Factory, and lofts and condos of “The Brewery”
revalorized an old Schlitz Brewery. By the end of the 1990s, the class-based
transformation could also be seen in the West Town community area com-
prised of Wicker Park and Bucktown. Although the West Loop industrial
area was never densely populated by artists as was SoHo in New York, dur-
ing the 1990s it was transformed from an abandoned industrial area popu-
lated by indigent transients and the dispossessed into a commercial district
filled with condominium lofts, restaurants, and galleries, appearing as a
commercial arts district without ever having a substantial number of artist
inhabitants.
Then University Village was built south and west of the Loop. Distinc-
tive by its scale: an 87-acre, $700 million newly constructed development
extended south to the border of Pilsen. Driven by the development interests
of the city of Chicago and the University of Illinois, an entire neighborhood
was razed and then rebuilt from the ground up by a single developer. The
crumbling Maxwell Street Market area along four blocks of Halsted Street
was bulldozed for 930 new condos, townhouses, and lofts; dormitories and
other university facilities; along with 120,000 square feet of retail space
(Pearce 2002). These commercial spaces attracted nationally franchised
bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, and clothing stores that could afford
the scaled-up rents. In little more than a year, Maxwell Street was trans-
formed from a slum into an upper-middle-class neighborhood—producing
what took two decades to accomplish in the areas around the Loop, Lincoln
Park, Lakeview, and Wicker Park.
Gentrification: Establishment of Arbitrary Privileges
Increasing the Value of Local Resources
By redefining gentrification as the activities of a network brought together
by a shared interest in increasing the value of local resources—including
property, goods, and services—and then distinguishing between the cul-
tural processes that lead to cultural homogenization versus cultural involve-
ment and enrichment, we can distinguish between the cultural pattern of
gentrification and that of empowerment. Gentrification networks seek to
assert arbitrary privileges and create exclusive spaces for a delimited class of
people while simultaneously excluding others and devaluing property and
162 / Chapter Seven
practices of culture outside of the whitewashed frame; empowerment net-
works seek investment while preserving and enriching the reserves of ethnic
culture, as discussed more fully in chapter 8. Although the economic and
cultural practices that characterize gentrification are sanctioned, they are
part and parcel of social inequality, as argued by Bourdieu (1984).
It is important to note that no section of Pilsen had, as of 2008, seen the
wholesale razing, rebuilding, and homogenization of culture that happened
blocks north of Pilsen in the former Bohemian settlement of Praha, now
“University Village.” This is in part due to Pilsen’s long history of labor-
based activism that has been sustained through ethnic political activism
centered on Mexican identity and culture. In addition to this social and
historic identity, geography has also limited development.
Although it is just south and west of the city center, Pilsen has never
been the kind of place to which wealthier people wanted to move. It was
a low-lying floodplain that still, in the twenty-first century, was plagued
by flooding during heavy rains. It is where elite families, such as the Mc-
Cormick family—owners of International Harvester and later the Chicago
Tribune—had built their nineteenth-century factories. These same factory
buildings were left behind as the companies moved production to outlying
rural areas and then outside the United States altogether. As a result, the
quality and value of local commercial infrastructure and resources declined
to the point of being worthless for any industrial production, leaving the
local residential infrastructure and its value also to decline until the 1960s.
As Bohemian Czech and other Eastern European laborers moved west to
the suburbs, two new groups—Mexicans and artists—moved in. Although
many of its properties are owner occupied, several real estate firms operated
on its easternmost section.
The Pilsen Gateway for Gentrification
The Pilsen Gateway on Halsted Street just south of University Village is ap-
propriately named, as it was built to invite a new class of resident into Pilsen.
The new construction of loft/condos was to attract independent property
speculators and short-term property owners who used the finance capital
available before the 2008 collapse of the financial sector to buy and resell
property as a source of income. The condominium project, promoted as the
“first new construction in Pilsen in 30 years,” was built in 2003. Few local
residents thought there was any chance of finding buyers for the thirty-two
condo units offered for $190,000–$350,000 in 2002–2003 as these cost
more than even a refurbished single-family home or two-flat.
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 163
Insight into exactly how it began to change the relationships among local
property owners and planted the seeds for the kind of cultural homogeniza-
tion fostered by University Village became evident through my interaction
with Edith Altman. She was an artist who had lived and worked in Pilsen
since 1985 in a loft she owned that adjoined the construction site. As con-
struction began in 2003, I was helping Altman prepare for a retrospective
exhibition of her art. She lived just off of Halsted Street, next to the Pilsen
Gateway condo development. Beyond her building was vacant land inter-
mingled with wood-framed homes owned largely by Mexican Americans.
Altman was a widow who lived in the industrial building she and her
husband had converted into a loft in 1983 after purchasing it with another
professional artist couple. They divided the brick, two-story former mechan-
ic’s garage—built on a 200-square-foot lot with a walled-in junkyard—into
an artistic nirvana. Each loft had a large studio space on the first floor and a
second-story loft for living. The self-contained live/work space surrounded
by a walled garden with secured parking created an environment conducive
to pursuit of her artistic goals. Yet poor drainage was still a problem as the
streets flooded during heavy rains and the smell of sewer gas was often
present. Her neighbor was the property owner behind the Pilsen Gateway
condo project. He announced his plans just after the city’s arts district report
was released.
At this point in her career, Altman was preoccupied with a number of
large-scale exhibitions of her work in regional and university-based muse-
ums, among them a retrospective of her lifetime of work planned for ex-
hibit in Germany. Altman had escaped from Nazi Germany with her family
when she was twelve years old. As a Holocaust survivor, some of her later
artwork addressed how the Nazis secured power through the manipulation
of symbols.
When her husband died in 1999, she was at first challenged by the daily
maintenance of the aging loft building. She ignored, for example, the saw-
dust that dropped on her clean display table each day, unaware that carpen-
ter ants had infested her skylight twenty feet overhead. However, she was
increasingly distracted by the construction activity of her neighbor. She had
gotten along with her neighbor Pete (pseudonym) and often referred artists
to him as potential renters of his properties before he built the condo units.
She recounted how during the condo construction his project disrupted her
life and changed their relationship.
I had some problems with him recently. You know he owns the lot behind
me. He put up a trailer to sell the condos in the building he is constructing
164 / Chapter Seven
across the street. As he has started digging the foundation for his new build-
ing across the street, he had his worker place the dirt from the foundation in
the lot directly behind me. I went out and asked the guy who was dumping
the dirt if he would not put it there. That lot is on high ground—it is higher
than my lot. There is going to be a mud slide covering up the sewer. (Altman
interview 2002)
According to Altman, direct interaction among owners had usually been
enough to address any issue that arose, as the property owners were united
by a shared interest in maintaining their own property, its value, and their
own security in a locale with active street gangs, vacant lots, and moldering,
obsolete industrial buildings. Alerting one of Chicago’s many maintenance
and regulatory authorities such as the Department of Zoning, the fire mar-
shal, or the Departments of Streets and Sanitation of problems was often
avoided, as it invited intrusion by the web of city authorities into the artists’
live/work environment, still illegal in the city.
So Altman first tried to settle the problem on her own with the property
owner.
I called over to Pete, who said something to Dorian [pseudonym], the guy
who was doing the digging. I went outside and explained that I was worried
that when it rains there would be a mud slide and the sewer would plug. Do-
rian looked at the sewer and said that the sewer needed to be cleaned anyway
and that I should call the sewer department. (Altman interview 2002)
This comment was intended to be dismissive of Altman’s concerns. Both
Dorian and Altman understood such action could lead to the intrusion of
bureaucratic red tape for both Altman and her neighbor. Miffed at the work-
er’s disregard, Altman did call the sewer department.
I called the sewer department. They sent someone over who said, “Yes, the
sewer needed to be cleaned,” but this sewer was not on their map. So one guy
said maybe it was on another map. Then they asked if I knew anyone in City
Hall I could call because they could not clean out the sewer, but dumping
the dirt in the empty lot “was illegal.” So I called my alderman. We had an
appointment for the next day in the alley.
[In the mean time, Dorian] came to visit me. He said, “You aren’t going
to start anything now, are you.” He said that I already “opened up a can of
worms.” And if I got an inspector over, the inspector might just find some-
thing wrong with my property. (Altman interview 2002)
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 165
As a widow and an artist who lived alone in an industrial space, Altman
was cognizant of her own vulnerability. She was aware that city zoning regu-
lations had never fully approved the idea of artists living and working in
an industrial space. Zoning officials claimed to be upholding industrial-era
worker protection that prohibited sweatshops, yet were also to protect the
interest of the city in preserving industrial space within the city limits.
In her frustration, Altman acknowledged, “I am an artist living and work-
ing in the same space. We paid someone a lot of money to rehab this space. I
think everything is up to code,” she said. “But the guy dumping the dirt said
‘You’d be surprised what they might find.’ So he threatened me” (Altman
interview 2002).
Property development in the area, even by longtime local property own-
ers, meant a shift in the shared interest that kept stability in the area. Because
of Altman’s concern over possible damage to her building foundation, she
had done what she could to keep the sewer from flooding. However, her
neighbor, focused on his multimillion-dollar building project, dismissed
her concerns. Instead, he thought she should share his interest in increased
property values—something he claimed she would realize simply by be-
ing adjacent to his higher-value property. She recounted his dismissal, “He
said, ‘I don’t know what is wrong with the artists in this area. They should
be happy. I am making their property more valuable.’ ” Altman thought
that their long history as local residents and property owners should lead
him to a different response. “I thought I would get a little more respect than
that, but [instead] he threatened me. So I did not know who to call. The
next day, I just kept my mouth shut. I heard a noise and there was a bull-
dozer moving the dirt away from my building” (Altman interview 2002).
Altman got the very specific result she wanted in this particular conflict
with Pete, but it marked the end of their shared interest as local property
owners.
The new building brought a new class of property owners to Pilsen,
young professionals whose interest was aggressively invested in short-term
increases in the value of local property. According to public records, most of
the thirty-two condos were sold during construction in 2002–2003; within
two years, ten of the condos were back on the market selling for an average
increased price of $40,400 more than the initial sale prices of $190,000–
$350,000. Sales from May 2005 to June 2006 topped a $60,000 increase in
value. Among the condo buyers, 22 percent had Latino names; 12 percent
were Asian. During this time, Altman did what many artists do who are con-
fronted with the economic and cultural changes brought by gentrification:
she self-selected out and sold her loft. As it sold for $700,000—ten times
166 / Chapter Seven
her initial investment of $70,000—she was able to benefit from the local
development, although angry that she felt in some ways “forced” to leave
Pilsen. She moved north of Chicago to be near members of her synagogue.
She purchased a loft/condo in the northern suburb of Evanston.
Construction of new multi-unit condominiums, such as the Pilsen Gate-
way, is only one kind of investment driven by a finance economy that sup-
ports the homogenization of local culture that characterizes gentrification.
Reminiscent of “slash and burn” techniques to clear forests, it accomplishes
its goal by fully clearing out outmoded structures and their users. How-
ever, it is not the only example of the efforts by a gentrification network in
Pilsen.
The Land of Pod
The obsolete factory buildings, surrounded by wood-framed two-flats that
once provided housing for immigrant factory workers, were redeveloped
into “open format artist spaces” by John Podmajersky II, the son of Slo-
vakian immigrants who settled in Pilsen in 1914. When the Podmajersky
family first moved to Pilsen, it was still dominated by Bohemians, Eastern
European ethnics from the region of Bohemia, in the present-day Czech
Republic. Early on, Podmajersky did much of the rehab work on his proper-
ties, investing both money and sweat into his buildings. He described the
environment he constructed around these spaces and interior courtyards
as “bringing humanity back to human beings,” “building a neighborhood
around human feeling and connection,” and “developing an environment
that nurtured people and inspired them” (Chicago Journal 2001a). “Pod-
ville” was the name used by its tenants and other residents of Pilsen because
of the monopoly control exerted by the Podmajersky family over an area
spanning three blocks in any direction from the intersection of Halsted and
Eighteenth streets. Now a multimillion-dollar real estate firm, it operated
somewhere between two to three hundred rental units, with artists as its
primary market.
Podmajersky was often quoted in newspaper accounts explaining how
he convinced the first artists to move into his properties from Hyde Park,
when the Harper Square area populated by artists faced “urban renewal” in
the 1960s. The artists moved into a nondescript “grey loft building” (Adel-
man [1979] 1983) in a desolate section of Pilsen at the corner of Eighteenth
and Halsted streets. Podmajersky explained why artists were his ideal tenant:
“The artists were low maintenance, and they are great people to be around,”
he said. “I’d rather rent to people who have passion and inspiration in their
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 167
lives and appreciate beauty. The arts have that and so do the blue-collar
people” (Pearce 2002).
Through his support of artistic activities, such as the Pilsen East Art-
ists Open House—an event initiated and organized by his artist renters in
1970 and often referred to as the “Art Walk”—Podmajersky nurtured what
amounted to a corporate brand built around artistic autonomy. One mea-
sure of his success was his ability to fill vacancies by referrals only from
renters (Chicago Journal 2001b). By 1970 Mexican culture was also flour-
ishing in the eastern section of Pilsen, as evidenced by a number of murals
by Mexican American muralist Mario Castillo painted in 1968–69 while
he was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. Many of these murals were
painted over as the corporate real estate firm took ownership of more local
property.
Podville renters like Eric Medine, the proprietor of Drivethru Studios,
valued the artistic autonomy they had as “Pods.” “I can do what I do first,
because I am a ‘Pod,’ ” he said. “I originally found this space so I can show
my work and not have to deal with someone telling me, ‘Oh, you can’t do
that here’ ” (Medine interview 2003). As a resident of Podville, he was part
of the ArtPilsen Collective and a rental market built around the tenants’
shared interest in artistic autonomy, and he knew no one would care if he
transformed his space into a life-size mousetrap game or held a “body ban-
quet,” in which food was served upon the body of a naked woman. Podville
was a successful real estate market built around such highly motivated art-
ists, a number topping fifteen hundred over thirty years, according to the
Podville website, ChicagoArtsDistrict.com (2002).
Although some artists had lived in Podville since the 1960s, most were
transient, short-term tenants. Spaces were quickly filled by the steady stream
of young artists still in area art schools and university art programs attracted
to the aura of “bohemian” artists in the area. Even though rents were rela-
tively low compared to properties just over the Chicago River and closer to
the downtown Loop, they were higher than those just a few blocks west in
what has become the largely Mexican sections of Pilsen. Yet few commer-
cial operations—such as local grocery stores, restaurants, or professional
offices—existed in the six-square-block area of Podville, and most of its
street-level commercial spaces were vacant or occupied by his artist renters
with limited business operations.
Accounts by tenants and non-tenants alike provide insight into the fine
line between autonomy and control, empowerment and gentrification, and
corporate redirecting of efforts that once sought to support the creative
efforts of artists—no matter how quirky—into an increasingly aggressive
168 / Chapter Seven
gentrification effort intent on increasing the rental values of properties.
These accounts show a real estate corporation’s role in efforts to increase
the commercial appeal of the area by rebranding it as the “Chicago Arts
District”;
1
they show how some renters were complicit with Podmajersky’s
effort to attract a higher class of consumers, while others actively resisted
these efforts.
Increasing the Values of Other Resources
In 1978 Elena Romani and her husband, Marco (both pseudonyms),
founded the nonprofit arts organization Pros Arts Studio in the center of
Pilsen. “Back then they couldn’t give buildings away. You needed to be a pi-
oneer to move in here,” she said. Romani, a performance artist, and Marco,
a builder who worked for a nonprofit community development corpora-
tion, were among the independent urban pioneers who bought inner-city
buildings in which to live and produce art. Interested in property for its use
value, Romani and her husband purchased the brick two-flat to live in and
produce art. The property was located where Mexican families intermixed
with families of other ethnic backgrounds. They invested time and energy
into their property and wanted their investment to not decrease over time,
but their purpose was not primarily investment. In this sense, one could
argue they are part of a local network interested in the increased value of
local property, yet their interest was in making Pilsen a place with cultural
value, not just value in real estate.
Romani’s work in the nonprofit art organization invested in local culture
as a resource. Pros Arts Studio worked with local youth and their families to
end gang violence; they produced murals with youth to get rid of the gang
tagging and other signs of urban decline caused by wholesale abandonment
of property. Romani and her colleagues at Pros Arts were also among the
cultural pioneers who first aggressively pursued foundations and govern-
ment agencies to fund community-based art programs that they carried out
with local schools and social service programs, extending the reach of the
institutions of culture into the locale.
Romani moved to Pilsen as she finished her master’s degree in perfor-
mance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At that time in
1978, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum had not been founded; and
although the demographic proportion of Mexican Americans in the locale
was increasing, Mexican culture had not gained cultural dominance. Her
own approach to performance, which once included beach and street per-
formances, changed as she became more involved with Pilsen residents.
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 169
We used to do this thing called “art attacks.” We would pull up to a corner
and start performing. Eventually, Marco [her husband], got involved. But at
first he thought we were nuts. Even when we did the first parade, which we
did mostly to get some stuff from [an art gallery on] Hubbard Street to Pilsen,
Marco hid. He thought we would get shot. It was a pretty dangerous place
then. (Romani interview 2003)
Art attacks were just the beginning of their local performances that were
increasingly intent on getting rid of gang violence while engaging local
youth in arts activity. Yet from the first parade in which art objects and peo-
ple safely moved through the locale, public performance became a tactic to
reclaim the streets and build positive public interaction.
“Collaboration is a big part of [what we do], but also working with our
neighbors, acting on their suggestions. You can live in a neighborhood
but be part of a community,” said Romani. The name “Pros Arts” was de-
rived from their first program with the local Catholic school, St. Procopius
School, locally known as “St. Pros.” The organization would expand the
network of people likely to be involved in local art production from art
students, mutually involved in each other’s work, to including Mexican chil-
dren, their parents, and social service administrators. They were among the
first arts organizations to hire “teaching artists,” a new occupational group
of independent, self-employed artists who, like Romani, would carry out art
projects with youth and be paid as contractors through grant-funded social
service and arts programs.
At that time, Urban Gateways [youth art program] was just getting started.
This is back when it was really an “urban gateway” giving inner-city kids ac-
cess to the arts. [One of the staff members there] encouraged us to found an
organization—not just a consortium of artists—so we could get grants. This
was in March of 1978. I was collaborating with Sandra Cisneros
2
who taught
at Latino Youth [a social service agency and alternative school for youth at
risk of getting involved in criminal activity]. When she moved on, she left the
program to me. The program, founded by Cisneros and Rudy Lanzano, used
“drug money,” that is, CETA funds from the federal government intended for
programs to stop drug use. They did writing programs with kids and pub-
lished chap books. Danny Solis [who later became the alderman for Pilsen]
was the principal [at Latino Youth]. (Romani interview 2003)
Through such work, the educational mission of the nonprofit organiza-
tion Pros Arts Studio became focused on ethnic culture rather than supporting
170 / Chapter Seven
cultural homogenization as a by-product of increased values of local prop-
erty and service. It would also become a place through which artists could
carry out art projects with youth. Romani liked working with youth, but it
was also a way to support herself as an artist. “[I’m] drawn to it because it’s
fun and the kids keep me thinking. But another reason to go into teaching
is: this is where you get paid. You don’t get paid jumping up and down
behind a screen [as a performance artist].” According to Romani, the “Pros
Arts’ approach means involving your neighbors in what you do and act-
ing on their suggestions. It’s not only about doing your own work, but in-
volving and teaching others, and the work gets changed by who is in it”
(Romani interview 2003).
Although Romani and her husband were of Italian lineage, not Mexi-
can, the organization hired several artists of Latino descent and sponsored
largely Mexican ethnic events. They staged celebrations on Mexican holidays
and drew upon popular Mexican imagery, such as that of José Guadalupe
Posada, for example, as part of their cultural programs. Pros Arts programs
linked local art activity with Mexican cultural traditions—intermixing Amer-
ican clowning with Italian commedia dell’arte and comedic skills modeled
after Cantinflas, a lovable clown known throughout Mexico and often re-
ferred to as “Latin America’s Chaplin.” Their art events were structured as
culminating activities for youth-centered art classes, block parties, or ethnic
processions celebrating Mexican ethnic heritage. The most popular of these
holidays was Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, on November 1 and
2, first sponsored by Pros Arts in 1979 and now an annual celebration with
a procession throughout Pilsen and performances by and for children in
schools and a nearby park.
Exclusive Spaces for Elite-Culture Consumers
Using Artists as a Pivot Point for a New Real Estate Market in Podville
In contrast to the work of Pros Arts—which was founded upon the involve-
ment of Mexican families—in the farthest east section of Podville, four
blocks east of Halsted Street, was a collective of artists whose shared interest
in artistic autonomy shaped their activities. Although they had little inter-
est in increased property values, they did want to increase the visibility of
their artistic work. Their efforts were ultimately co-opted by the real estate
corporation they rented from.
As participants in the ArtPilsen Collective, they held regular art openings
in their apartments, which they referred to as “domestic spaces” (Aubuchon
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 171
interview 2003). They coordinated their art openings for the second Friday
of each month, to attract and share audiences. Once the Podville corporate
management became aware of the “Second Friday” events, for which hun-
dreds of people trekked to this quiet, residential section of Podville east of
the Dan Ryan overpass, the Podville property manager sought to entice the
galleries of the ArtPilsen Collective to move to its long vacant commercial
space on Halsted Street. Kimberly Aubuchon, the proprietor of Unit B, re-
counted how the property manager prodded her to move from her base-
ment apartment on Des Plaines Street to a more visible commercial space
on Halsted Street.
[He] has been coming to the openings, like the last three, and has been blown
away. It’s packed. It’s always packed. He’s just amazed that it happens, first of
all. The first time he came was Valentine’s Day. . . . It was one of the biggest
attendances I’ve seen. He couldn’t believe that people crawled out of their
houses in the middle of winter to come to Pilsen to look at art. He’s actually
had a couple meetings with me and some of the other, well, all of the galleries
that he rents to, about getting us into, well, he wants to liven up that stretch
of Halsted he has control over, you know. And I’m like, “Good for you.” He
says he doesn’t want a Dunkin’ Donuts there. He is having a hard time finding
people that can do it, I guess. (Aubuchon interview 2003)
Conscious of her own autonomy in showing artwork out of the front
room of her basement apartment, and committed to the successful collabo-
ration among the artists of the ArtPilsen Collective, Aubuchon resisted the
offers by the manager, even though they carried the potential for more com-
mercial activity:
I said, “I can’t do this. I’m paying $725 for this. I didn’t get a raise last year and
Podville raised my rent, you know.” He said, like, “Well, we’ll maybe subsi-
dize you. We want to get you in a space up there. I think you would be great
in a storefront space. If you’re getting crowds like this, what kind of crowds
would you get there? Maybe you’d sell more art. Maybe you’ll get a different
clientele.” (Aubuchon interview 2003)
Aubuchon emphasized that the “domestic” environment combined
with the successful collaborative arrangement among artists of the ArtPilsen
Collective was one of the reasons she thought the shows at her place were
intriguing; they attracted crowds and opened doors at other galleries for her
and the artists in her shows. To move into a more commercial setting, in
172 / Chapter Seven
which sales would ultimately be necessary to stay afloat, might compromise
the ethos that was generated through the current arrangement.
My response was “maybe.” I don’t know. You know, I really like this space a
lot and I have a backyard. It’s a home/gallery/studio. Seriously, I don’t know.
I worry what would happen if I take it out of this domestic setting, because it’s
kind of what all these spaces are all about to begin with. And if we move to
those more commercial spaces, I just worry about the—I don’t know, maybe
I’m just being paranoid—but I worry about the integrity of the collective,
how it will survive, if it will be able to survive. If I take a risk like that and
I fail, then it’s over, ‘cause I don’t have anything. I don’t have any money.
(Aubuchon interview 2003)
Aubuchon pointed out that she was still paying off a twenty-year $20,000
loan she took out to pay for her master’s degree at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago. And, as she put it, she was barely making her rent
through an administrative job at one of the downtown museums. As a forty-
year-old woman, she joked she had little financial freedom to look forward
to: “Finish paying off school loan, enter wheelchair” was her prognosis for
her future (Aubuchon interview 2003). Rather than move to Halsted Street,
Aubuchon and another ArtPilsen member, Heather Burkart, co-owner of
Gallery SixFourFive, agreed to work with the management on a number of
curated exhibitions to take place in his commercial spaces for the Pilsen East
Artists Open House and Art Walk.
Arts Districts and Zoning Policy
The shift of Podville’s management strategy from marketing to artists to
using artists as a pivot point for a new commercial market became clear in
2002. When the time came for the 32nd Annual Pilsen East Artists Open
House Art Walk to take place, it never happened. Rather, Podville’s manag-
ers used the annual event to unveil the repackaging of Podville as the “Chi-
cago Arts District.” They took advantage of the policy initiative put forth by
the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and put it to use as a marketing
brand for Podville property. City bureaucrats seeking to develop cultural
policy, artists interested in showing their work and building their exhibition
résumés, and Podville employees working to make the Art Walk a success
became complicit actors in a gentrification effort that was about to take a
sharper focus on a narrower market.
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 173
Although some people thought properties throughout Pilsen had the
potential for rapid escalation in value, as occurred around artists in SoHo,
few people were aware of how SoHo operated as a place for artists before
it caught the interest of Wall Street financial investors. Over the course of a
half century, SoHo’s art producers were able to achieve a stable living envi-
ronment, as chronicled by Charles R. Simpson (1981). SoHo activists—led
by author and urban preservation scholar Jane Jacobs (who was ultimately
arrested and charged with second-degree rioting for her role disrupting a
State Highway Department hearing, as accounted in Simpson 1981, 142)—
won legitimate recognition for artists within city zoning laws. Through
astute local activism and urban innovation, artists won the right to live,
work, and own space in these industrial lofts. According to Simpson, SoHo
“developed as a local community—spatially organized system of inter-
action among neighbors—out of the cultural and organizational resources
of a preexisting metropolitan occupational community” (186). It involved a
full range of producers necessary for the occupation: artists, gallery owners,
critics, academics, skilled laborers, and advocates. Moreover, as early as the
1960s, SoHo artists formed cooperative associations to occupy and remodel
entire factory buildings for studio and residential use (Simpson 1981, 2).
This was a territorial place and “occupational community” that took into
account and supported artists’ shared interest in autonomy.
But Pilsen was not SoHo, just as Chicago was not New York. In spite of
efforts by city bureaucrats in Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the
zoning change had not occurred, leaving artists’ interest in autonomy to be
confounded by the fact that zoning laws barred artists from legally working
and living at the same time in the same structure. This legal barrier helped
to sustain their transience while empowering property owners, such as the
owners of Podville real estate, to lease out artistic autonomy as part of lim-
ited rental agreements.
A report drafted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA),
“Chicago Artists’ Space Strategy” (2002), sought to motivate a change in the
Chicago zoning law, which was under revision in 2002
3
for the first time
in nearly one hundred years. But rather than make a wholesale change in
zoning law, the report sought to establish limited “arts districts” and identi-
fied Pilsen as “an informal art district [serving as] a model for an Art District
Strategy that could be replicated in other Chicago neighborhoods” (2). It of-
fered policy recommendations that would provide arts districts with “formal
recognition or long-term civic support mechanisms.” The report, authored
by artist and city bureaucrat Barbara Koenen, recommended the city deploy
174 / Chapter Seven
zoning tools consistent with “industrial corridors, residential neighbor-
hoods, commercial corridors, and landmark districts” (8). Highlighting the
unique circumstances of artists’ work and their unique contributions to the
city, the report identified the special space and housing needs of artists:
To control expenses and to allow spontaneous access to their work, artists
often prefer to live in or adjacent to their studios. They generally need big,
flexible spaces, lots of natural light, adequate ventilation, freight elevators,
and storage. . . . Artists are particularly vulnerable to displacement, since they
help to create an identity in an area, only to suffer from it as prices rise. And
when they are renters rather than owners, as is the case with most local artists,
they are unable to benefit from rising property values. (2002, 2)
According to the study, the problem was not one affecting only artists;
it was one that weakened “cultural life in the city as a whole.” It identified
five components of an arts district: concentration of arts activity, special
recognition by the city, specific promotion, creation of incentives, and im-
plementing policy. Key to planning recommended by the report was the
goal “to protect the affordability and long-term stability of the arts and
neighborhood” (8). The study asserted: “Pilsen unquestionably qualifies as
an arts district under the ‘concentration of arts activities’ criterion [already]
outlined. . . . In addition to the residential artists, a recent DCA cultural
resources survey identified over twenty arts-related uses and organizations
within the community area, and another 25 within a mile radius” (9). The
study identified two anchors for the arts district on Eighteenth Street: the
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and the Asociación Pro-Derechos Obre-
ros, referred to as the APO Building, which housed a gallery and artist stu-
dios. It also mentioned the “Halsted Street artists’ colony developed by the
Podmajersky family beginning in the 1960s. . . . With artists targeted as
their preferred tenant base, the Podmajersky properties have been a force in
preventing gentrification in Pilsen up to this time” (11).
Whether it encouraged the belief held by some speculators that the val-
ues of local property in Pilsen had the potential to rapidly escalate as they
had in SoHo over the second half of the century (Simpson 1981; Zukin
1982), or it ignited fear in private property owners that regulation from the
city could limit their ability to profit, the report fanned development al-
ready under way in the locale and stimulated new development, rather than
succeeding to develop a policy mechanism that supported the informal arts
networks. Local developers were convinced that Pilsen’s proximity to the
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 175
downtown Loop business district and Pilsen’s obsolete warehouses, many
of which were already revalorized as artists’ studios, had the potential to at-
tract upwardly mobile young professionals drawn to the chic, cosmopolitan
aura of a global arts market.
Co-opting the Arts District
So when the time came for the 2002 Pilsen East Artists Open House and
Art Walk to take place, Podville’s managers instead produced an exclusive
event and unveiled the “Chicago Arts District.” They took advantage of the
policy initiative and used it as a brand for Podville property. This rebrand-
ing caught many by surprise, as it turned policy makers, artists, and employ-
ees into complicit actors, many unwittingly and unwillingly, with corporate
efforts to attract a higher class of cultural consumer.
For nearly thirty years, the organizational mechanism behind the Art
Walk had been the volunteerism of artists from Podville; the event also
included artists from throughout Pilsen, showcasing them in their studios,
allowing them to act as their own agents in the sale of their work. For most
of the 1970s and 1980s, people who were not “Pods” could pay a fee to be
included in the event and were featured on the map that was distributed at
the Art Walk. Including all artists of Pilsen was a strategic way to ensure that
a crowd would show up; the sheer number of participating artists meant
friends and families of the artists would provide the core audience of walk-
ers throughout the then-gritty streets of Pilsen.
Elena Romani and her husband, Marco, had lived and worked in cen-
tral Pilsen but were active with artists, educators, and activists throughout
Pilsen. The first time they participated in the Art Walk was 1976.
At that time you couldn’t give buildings away in this area. You had to be a
pioneer. [Local] kids either ended up in jail or at Latino Youth [a social service
agency]. There were shootings every week, and it is still happening. Back then,
you could pay to be listed in [the] Art Walk if you were not a Pod person. They
got the Rotary Club involved; there was a trolley[-like bus] that took people
all around, as far west as the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. The Art Walk-
ers came [all the way over] here [three blocks west to Morgan]. Another year
we had an event at Walsh School [across from Podville]. We sold hot dogs.
It was really great to see all these Art Walkers come into the school where we
were clowning and selling hot dogs. We tried to get involved this year, but
they wouldn’t let us. And there was no trolley. (Romani interview 2003)
176 / Chapter Seven
The first year that Romani and Pros Arts were not allowed to participate
was 2002 and would have been the 32nd Annual Artists Open House. The
event shifted from an artist-led event, involving the full range of artists liv-
ing and working in Pilsen, to an event staged and controlled by Podville
management.
Heather Burkart, a Podville administrative assistant, was listed as the
“event coordinator.” Throughout the year, Heather and her partner Dave
ran SixFourFive, a Pod gallery in a finished, chic commercial storefront on
Eighteenth Street two blocks off of Halsted Street; they lived on the second
floor above the storefront in a loft accessible via a spiral staircase in their
kitchen. Her administrative work for the Podville management business led
to her position as event coordinator for the Art Walk. Their gallery, Six-
FourFive (named for the building address), functioned more like a commer-
cial gallery than the rest of the ArtPilsen Collective. They mounted monthly
exhibitions, represented other artists, and assertively sought to sell work.
Burkart’s vision was to “raise the national stature” of the event to some-
thing more than an artists’ open house (Burkart interview 2002). Aubuchon
and Burkart put together CS/32 a curated exhibition to open the week before
the 32nd Annual Art Walk, which was to be an exclusive open studio event
of the newly proclaimed Chicago Arts District. In addition, they arranged for
a national art exchange “with the prestigious New Haven City-Wide Open
Studios project, featuring a selection of some of the finest artwork from the
Eastern seaboard” (Chicago Arts District press release 2002). When she was
asked by a local reporter why the Art Walk and other events excluded all but
Pod artists, Burkart she said, “We’d love to be totally inclusive, but logisti-
cally, it just doesn’t work” (Isaacs 2002).
As the repackaging of Pilsen East was unveiled a week in advance of the
citywide Chicago Artists Month in October, local artists living outside of
Podville organized a boycott of the scaled-down event showcasing art only
in Podville studios and commercial spaces.
Mayhem in the Arts District
The move to exclude everyone but “Pods” led to mayhem during the week-
end event, including protests and a parade of “artistes refuses.” Led by
sculptor Kenneth Morrison, they marched through what he referred to as
“the land of Pod.” It is a place, as he put it, where nobody talks because they
are afraid of being exiled. “I’m one of the only people who has nothing to
lose, because I own my own building” across the street from the borders of
Podville. They protested the “exclusive and divisive event” (Isaacs 2002).
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 177
News reports quoted angry artists charging that “Pod People took over the
event.” They usurped and redesigned the event to attract what they defined
as “qualified art buyers . . . those who have the capacity to buy or make
offers of opportunities” (Isaacs 2002). The street performance and protest
during the exclusive Art Walk drew on the already finally tuned skills of lo-
cal residents in costuming and making noise. It included street exhibitions,
protest signs, and a “ragtag band . . . [of] celebrants dressed in fuzzy animal
suits, and sombreros” (Isaacs 2002).
But long before the controversy surrounding the exclusivity of the 2002
Art Walk, artists had complained about the increasingly rigid structure im-
posed by Podville staff during the Art Walk, directed to framing the event
as a market activity for both art and Podville property. Jane (pseudonym),
who shared a Pod studio with several other artists, paid the $50 entry fee to
participate in the open-studio event in 2001, but her studio-mates did not.
Podville staff intended to bar participation by renters who got a “free ride”
on the publicity and traffic of the event without paying the participation fee.
Among the materials distributed to participants were instructions to artists
on how to aggressively market their works to studio visitors. The sugges-
tions included greet visitors, pass out business cards, and offer help. During
the weekend run of the event that Jane had signed up for, a monitor passed
through the Pod properties to survey whose works were on display in the
studios. This person pressured artists who had not paid the exhibitor’s fee
to remove works so as to not “steal business” from artists who had paid the
fee. Jane was successful in selling several works during the event, and she
even secured a commercial representative who would regularly market her
work to corporate offices. Nonetheless, an opportunity for a better studio
on the North Side of Chicago led Jane, like Edith Altman, to self-select out
and leave Podville later that year. Moreover, within two years, every one of
the Pods who participated in the ArtPilsen Collective had left Podville.
Their departure allowed the Chicago Arts District corporate offices to take
over the “Second Friday” events they had sponsored for several years and
the ownership of the ArtPilsen.com domain. It is unclear whether Podville
management prohibited exhibitions from “domestic spaces” like those that
had been organized by the ArtPilsen Collective. But most of the thirty-five
galleries promoted through its new website, ChicagoArtsDistrict.org, were
along Halsted Street. These new Podville events in prime Podville commer-
cial spaces lacked the consistency of those that were sponsored by the au-
tonomous actors of the ArtPilsen Collective and were even more transitory
than the artists themselves. This led at least one local art critic to question if
the corporate control exerted throughout Podville was the cause:
178 / Chapter Seven
Despite the obvious push to market Pilsen’s art spaces as “artist-run,” there
has long been this specter of uniformity and corporatization that hangs over
the whole place, due largely to the involvement of the Chicago Arts District
(at www.chicagoartsdistrict.org), a group funded by the Podmajersky fam-
ily (aka “the Pods” . . .)—who own much of the neighborhood real estate.
It’s bred an argument that goes something like this: because most of the art
spaces are underwritten by a real estate company, the suspicion is that they’re
just trying to use art to raise the value of the property they own. Ergo, those
spaces are robbed of their autonomy and are willful participants in the stifling
of their own natural artistic development. It’s never been clear, exactly, how
true this charge [is]. But one must honestly ask: what’s so godawful about an
affluent property owner who wants to invest in the arts? (Workman 2005a)
The increasing focus of the Art Walk on art sales and on Pod real es-
tate meant even fewer Pod artists participated in the annual open-studio
event. Fern Shaffer, an artist in her late fifties, liked living among other Pods
but rented a large studio space farther south, in Bridgeport. For Shaffer,
the Art Walk provided little access for the kind of interaction she sought
for her art. After participating in the open-studio event one year, she ac-
knowledged that it “seemed successful because it attracted lots of people.”
However, she did not like the intrusion into her privacy. “I don’t want those
people—strangers who come to the Art Walk—in my house. When I did
it before, the people that came didn’t care about the art. They just wanted
to walk through people’s houses. I don’t want those people in my house,”
she said (Shaffer interview 2002). The increasing focus of the event on Pod
real estate, along with the escalating rents for apartments, led Shaffer to be
among the transient artists who opted out of Podville, with Shaffer moving
to Humboldt Park.
Artists who left Pilsen criticized the Art Walk as an “interior design”
showcase of Podville real estate rather than a showcase for art (Washington
interview 2003). Indeed, a corporate press release for the event promoted
the architectural spaces and gardens as one attraction of the event:
Visitors to the open house will not only be able to wander throughout the
workplaces of some of the most talented artists in Chicago. They will also be
treated to the hidden beauty and serene surroundings of numerous off-street
courtyards and gardens, many of which have been recognized by the city’s
Department of the Environment for their visual appeal and creative intricacy.
(Podmajersky press release 2002)
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 179
The annual event and the monthly “Second Friday” exhibitions, now
fully appropriated as a marketing tool by a single real estate corporation,
more aggressively stoked the marketability of the Podville rental properties
and was part of the successful business approach that enabled its manage-
ment to charge substantially higher rents than landlords in the Mexican part
of Pilsen, while maintaining a low vacancy rate. But unlike a new loft/condo
development to the north of Podville, the Pilsen Gateway, Podville did not
appeal to those real estate buyers; it sought a new rental market willing to
pay more for space than its existing one. And unlike the artist sections of
SoHo or Rogers Park, which were not owned by a single corporate interest,
Podville was. The Podville rental market did set the stage for development
of the properties surrounding it.
The whitewashing of Pilsen East—first through the architectural redesign
of industrial-era factories and immigrant housing, the homogenization of
public space, the co-opting of a once artist-run studio walk, and then the
creation of sterile, minimalist design spaces intended to attract a profes-
sional class of renter—occurred slowly over a thirty-year period in which
the murals and signage that bespoke of Mexican ethnicity and the gritty,
non-commercial artwork disappeared, replaced by the kind of art that could
be displayed in the institutionally homogeneous style of “white box” down-
town galleries. Artists living in this corporate rental market were increasingly
expected to perform not only as makers of their own art but as polished
sales agents of commodities destined to increase in value. The whitewash-
ing of culture and the attraction of upscale consumers enabled property
developers, small business owners, home owners, and a few among the
highly educated artists to extract the value created through these interper-
sonal exchanges. Yet even though some art produced in Podville was sold
and therefore had a market value of sorts, it was not part of the downtown
and West Loop art market, nor was it recognized in a national or global
market. Art sold in Podville did more to create value for local consumable
goods, property rentals, and property transfers than it did to create a sus-
tainable market value for the art itself.
Although Podville retained much of its flair as the “quixotic dream” of
a second-generation immigrant craftsman who built it, the twenty-first-
century corporation pivoted its market interests to a higher-class market, for
which Bohemian ethnics and bohemian artists would soon be no longer
needed. As this account shows, a local development corporation, interested
in increasing the value of its own real estate, could act independently to
pursue this interest; and in this case, artists interested in attracting buyers for
180 / Chapter Seven
their artworks were welcomed into the process as complicit actors. Although
all artists were not required to participate in the developer’s efforts as part
of their rental agreements, those who chose to open their studios were ex-
pected to act as part of a market that creates financial values.
The Ethnically Driven Stability Machine
Enriching Local Ethnic Culture
Art producers from the rest of Pilsen who were excluded from the Art Walk
continued as they always had at Pros Arts Studio, the Asociación Pro-
Derechos Obreros (APO Building,) the National Museum of Mexican Art,
Yollocalli Youth Museum, Radio Arte, Polvo Studios, and the hundreds of
Latino artists’ studios that existed throughout the locale. But the co-opting
of the Pilsen arts district to transform Podville into the “Chicago Arts Dis-
trict” so antagonized independent artists throughout the rest of Pilsen that
they reestablished the “Pilsen Open Studios” event centered on the Eigh-
teenth Street spine of the DCA’s initially proposed arts district. They held
the event in October in conjunction with the DCA’s annual celebration
Chicago Artists’ Month and claimed ownership of the original open-studio
event. They were able to garner increased support from the vast array of
Mexican businesses and from the city of Chicago.
And just weeks later, the annual Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
procession continued as it had for nearly as long as the Art Walk had taken
place. Pros Arts had sponsored the Día de los Muertos celebration since
1979; it included a procession of humans in skeleton makeup and comedic
performances and stunts by and for children in a nearby park. The event
provided visibility for the Mexican ethnic culture long before the Mexican
Fine Arts Center Museum opened in 1986.
The Día de los Muertos celebration involves artists and families in an
event that merges indigenous Mexican and Catholic practices. It is cele-
brated throughout Mexico as a holiday in which the living and the dead, the
rich and the poor, are to join in conviviality to remember the departed and
to celebrate life. During this festival, families prepare funeral altars in their
homes with candles, food, and drink; they go to cemeteries to clean, deco-
rate, and occasionally picnic on the graves of the deceased (Tyler 1979a,
217). This cultural practice was immortalized through the distinctive skel-
eton caricatures by artist José Guadalupe Posada, a nineteenth-century
Mexican printmaker whose images were popularized throughout Mexico
by the Penny Press (Bailey 1979). His animated skeletons, or calaveras, were
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 181
dressed as the living—in tuxedos, traditional clothes of peasant women,
men, farmers, or bloated politicians—and moved among the living on this
holiday (Reuter 1979).
In 2002 Pros Arts staff, local artists, and local families gathered at 5 p.m.
at a park building as they have for nearly twenty-five years. Pros Art staff and
assistants arrived wearing tuxedos or other costumes that recalled Posada’s
characters and were ready to help prepare for the procession. I joined in as
Jasmine, an artist intern from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
organized the assistants—including a high school intern, a Pros Arts board
member, and a number of children—to help kids and adults as they set up
stations for face painting and accessorizing their costumes.
At one station I asked a young boy, who appeared to be about eight years
old, what I was supposed to do with the strips of paper, glue, glitter, scissors,
and photocopies of Posada skeleton prints that were scattered on the table.
He said I could choose between the wide and narrow pieces to make a top
hat or a crown. The twelve-inch strips were for top hats; the six-inch ones
for crowns. I decided to make a crown and tested a strip of paper by wrap-
ping it around my head, only to find it was too small. He tried a longer one.
When it didn’t work, I lamented, “My head is too big.” As if the comedic
skit planned for later that night had already begun, the boy called out: “We
need a bigger one. Her head is too big.” We tested a few pieces but could
not find any to fit. I suggested we staple two pieces together. He agreed.
“Stapler! Stapler!” he called out to another assistant, who brought one to
our table. We stapled two pieces together, and then he demonstrated how to
cut the points at the top. As I began to cut the rest in crooked and of uneven
widths, other kids copied me. A nearby adult interceded, demonstrating for
the youth how to cut evenly distributed points, as the kids exchanged looks,
laughed, and made faces at one another. The eight-year-old assistant then
showed us how to cut out Posada’s skeletons and use the glue stick to attach
them to a hat. When I finished cutting my crown points, I used Elmer’s glue
to write in script “dance of the dead.” I poured glitter on it and set it aside
so it would dry as glittery, relief type. I cut out several Posada prints of danc-
ing skeletons and attached them to the crown. The eight-year-old assistant
stapled the crown in a circle for my head, covering the seam with a Posada
skeleton print.
At the other tables, kids and adults applied white and black face paint.
I watched and photographed a variety of approaches, then joined in. My
inexperience at turning my face into a skull was quickly evident. It was only
after the fact that I understood the basic technique to make flesh appear as a
skeleton: black circles around the eyes; a triangle or two holes over the nose,
182 / Chapter Seven
teeth marks over lips and cheeks, following an imaginary jawbone on the
side of the face. My own face mask did not mimic a skull; rather, it looked
more like a Barnum & Bailey clown or a French mime.
Pros Arts had also prepared for the slapstick comedy night and a show of
clown tricks in the gym before the nighttime procession through the streets.
Hundreds of parents and several elected officials crowded into the gym to
see the children perform. After each of the honorary (elected) guests spoke,
the performance of skits based on story lines in Posada prints began. With
the start of each skit, Romani walked across the staging area carrying an
oversize Posada print with an image and the title of skit. Among the skits
was “The Gravestones,” which featured a group of veiled Latina girls, praying
as they crawled on the floor to a makeshift cemetery. As they crawled to the
gravestones, kids dressed as skeletons and ghosts popped up from behind
the markers. The girls stood up and screamed, and then they laughed and
danced with the spirits. “The Doctor” involved one girl comedian dressed as
a calavera with a doctor’s smock and stethoscope, and another girl as a living
woman patient. The girls did traditional slapstick routines, such as the doc-
tor instructing the patient to sit, then moving the chair so the patient fell to
the ground. The tricks and the slapstick comedy entertained local families
and friends while teaching kids to make fun of and laugh at some of life’s
more challenging moments. Moreover, they learned new physical skills and
new ways for assertive human interaction, a particular challenge for young
immigrant children.
Local Is Multiracial
The multiracial procession that followed included nearly three hundred
adults and children—of Mexican, American, Asian, and African descent—
winding through Pilsen’s back streets, escorted by three police cars, as par-
ticipants blew whistles and noisemakers loud enough to wake the dead. The
procession was not a protest or a rally, but a celebration. It was an opportu-
nity to dress up, perform, make noise, and celebrate on the streets at night,
where only gang members had once staged fights and shootouts.
The annual Día de los Muertos processions included stops throughout
central and West Pilsen, where displays and installations of altars were in-
side homes, schools, and social service agencies. Among these was Casa
Aztlán, a Bohemian settlement house built in 1886 that had by 1980 re-
focused its social service programs on the increasing Latino population.
By the late 1980s, when the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (MFACM)
finally opened on the western edge of Pilsen in Harrison Park, it too began
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 183
to host annual Día de los Muertos displays. The museum, or “the big dino-
saur” as some local artists refer to it, is often mistakenly credited with the
rich ethnic culture that exists in Pilsen and has more than once also been
mistakenly credited in newspapers and journals with sponsoring the Pros
Arts–sponsored celebration. Its Day of the Dead exhibition became one of
its most popular exhibitions by the early 1990s. Traditional “altars” became
installations constructed by professional, local and non-local Mexican art-
ists, who worked with local children, youth, and families to construct artistic
memorials. The local residents who poured into the museum came with as
many as four generations of family members to view the installations. Some
of the displays were issue focused, such as one calling for worker protection
as it honored miners who had died when a shaft collapsed in Mexico, or one
seeking immigration reform by highlighting the plight of family members
who died trying to enter the United States illegally. Others were personal
accounts of a cherished teacher or family member who had died.
With such locally based exhibitions held in the same space where inter-
nationally renowned artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera attracted
audiences of fifty thousand or more, and insightful exhibitions originated
by the museum, such as The African Presence in Mexico, travel throughout
the world, the museum established a solid institutional base for Mexican
culture not only in Pilsen, but for Chicago and the United States. Its pres-
ence further enabled an extensive network of Latino art producers to join
with the more powerful network of businessmen and -women and families
to stand against the cultural homogenization found within the contentious
and increasingly exclusive “Land of Pod” (Isaacs 2002). This ethnically
driven stability machine has successfully asserted local cultural ownership
and enfranchisement for the growing proportion of Mexican immigrants
who have been in Chicago since the late nineteenth century.
Conclusions
Through an in-depth investigation of the struggle over local space and lo-
cal culture in Pilsen, we can refine the theory of gentrification as including
cultural practices that whitewash local culture to enable incursion of large-
scale and small-scale investors and the piling up of “gentry.” These cultural
practices contrast with the activities of empowerment networks, which, as
discussed more fully in the next chapter, seek to restore cultural reserves
and enrich local culture. This case study of the cultural struggles in Pilsen
demonstrates how some network activities are designed to create privi-
leges for those who would benefit the most from increased local real estate
184 / Chapter Seven
values—specifically developers, independent property owners, and some
artists—while excluding those who do not serve these interests—specifically
ethnic property owners and renters. Social, economic, and political practices
that establish privileges and exclusivity are tools to increase the value of
local real estate and other resources, at the expense of ethnic cultures.
By redefining gentrification as the activities of a network brought to-
gether by a shared interest in increasing the value of local resources and
then distinguishing between the cultural processes that lead to cultural
homogenization versus cultural enrichment, we can now distinguish the
cultural pattern associated with gentrification. The practices I consider to
be “whitening” local culture diminish the importance of race and ethnicity
while creating exclusive spaces with exclusive art. This exclusivity, in effect,
devalues ethnic culture. This chapter develops gentrification theory beyond a
simple class-based transformation to show how the whitewashing of culture
is done as part of the cultural transformation that has long accompanied
middle-class wealth, and is part of a larger structure of institutional racism
that has devalued the products, people, places, and cultures of non-whites.
Artists both inside and outside Podville stood against gentrification ef-
forts that sought to establish new cultural boundaries between Podville and
the rest of Pilsen. Some Pod artists and many local non-Pod artists protested
the co-opting of the arts district and the attempt to delineate between the
cultural products of the Chicago Arts District and those of ethnic Pilsen.
Artists who aligned their efforts with local anti-gentrification consensus—
either by participating in or supporting ethnic cultural activity—became
part of an “ethnically drive stability machine” that could tap into resources
from throughout and beyond the locale to resist cultural homogenization
and displacement. This case study expands our current understanding of
the transformation process typically labeled gentrification by taking into
account the cultural interests of the racial and ethnic middle classes. The
next chapter presents a more in-depth view of the operations of an empow-
erment network.
This case study demonstrates how the homogenization typically accom-
panying gentrification relies on historic forms of racism as it pits a white-
washed culture of the middle and upper-middle classes against local ethnic
culture. It also reveals how this process is an extension of racist practices
that have resulted in disinvestment in locales where racially and ethni-
cally defined cultures have predominated for nearly a century. The cultural
enfranchisement of the black and Latino people that occurred in Chicago
through the community-based art movements from 1960–90 succeeded
in embedding local cultural capital within local places. This capital was
Gentrification Networks and the Whitewashing of Culture / 185
used to combat resurgent efforts to homogenize local culture as part of late
twentieth-century development efforts.
As is evident through this case study, gentrification was not only a class-
based transition characterized by the incursion of “gentry”; it was a cultural,
social, and economic transformation intended to benefit a narrowly delim-
ited elite. The processes of gentrification homogenized the culture of local
places in order to create a gateway for increased investment by independent
property owners and globally franchised businesses that rely on standard-
ized cultural forms for their success. As part of the process, racial and ethnic
cultures are erased or rendered invisible by virtue of exclusion. As this ac-
count demonstrates, people interested in increasing the local values, and
who supported investment and ethnic cultural enrichment, did so without
supporting the cultural whitewashing that is so essential to the piling up of
white middle- and upper-class investors that characterizes gentrification. As
has been seen in this case study, people who stood against the exclusive cul-
tural practices of the gentrification network had created alliances to embed
ethnicity within the local place.
EI GHT
Empowerment Networks and the
Restoration of Local Culture
When Frederic Martel, a French cultural attaché visiting Chicago, asked me to
take him on a tour of Chicago’s South Side, among our stops was the Spoken
Word Café, a newly opened coffee shop on the corner of Forty-Seventh and
King Drive, the historic corner, referred to by St. Clair Drake and Horace R.
Cayton as “the center of the Black Belt . . . the urban equivalent of a village
square” ([1945] 1962, 379). By the late twentieth century, this corner had
become the cultural and political headquarters of Third Ward alderman Dor-
othy Tillman, a local political official who had secured nearly $20 million in
mostly public funds for a theater facility and cultural center as part of local
economic development activity in her Bronzeville ward. As she prepared for
the grand opening of the new Harold Washington Cultural Center, she had
installed light-post decorations along several blocks extending in all direc-
tions from the intersection. The decorations were cut in shapes of musicians
who were singing, conducting, or playing horns or other instruments. As we
waited for a cup of soup and coffee from her daughter, who was the proprie-
tor of the café, Alderman Tillman entered. I walked up to her, shook her
hand, and congratulated her for getting the figures up on the lights. I was un-
sure if they were art, streetscape designs, or holiday decorations. Not wanting
to commit a cultural faux pas, I asked her what she called them. “Markers,”
she said. “I call them markers. We need markers to identify our community.”
(Author’s field notes, November 2003)
Public art, cultural facilities, and cultural production operate as cultural
shorthand for a locale. They are symbols that give off an instant reference
point to the local social structure. Alderman Tillman’s assertion that the
public display of objects representing local culture were “markers to identify
188 / Chapter Eight
our community” boldly articulated what others would only subtly infer:
localized public art, historic places, and cultural facilities function to stake
out urban space by providing public evidence of the shared values and
beliefs found within a local place.
These twenty-first-century territorial markers enabled local residents to as-
sert collective ownership of a place and to create meaning and history within
an urban place. They codified knowledge about the area called “Bronzeville”
within the larger metropolitan context of Chicago. While Bronzeville-based
aesthetic networks focused more generally on owning African American
culture as was produced by predominantly artists of the African Diaspora, a
Bronzeville-based empowerment network focused on owning Bronzeville.
These territorial markers enabled local residents to stake a historic and
political claim to the area while building markets for heritage tourism.
Among the efforts of the empowerment network since 1990 were iden-
tification, landmarking, and mapping of historic sites such as the homes
of author Richard Wright, author and activist Ida B. Wells, and musician
Muddy Waters; landmarking, preservation, and restoration of the Eighth
Regiment Armory as well as eight business buildings constructed by black
entrepreneurs from 1920 to 1945; the restoration and preservation of his-
toric public murals painted by black activists between 1970 and 2000; the
construction of a series of bronze artworks, including Monument to the Great
Northern Migration, a bronze map naming the area “Bronzeville,” a series
of artistic park benches, and ninety-one bronze plaques making up the
Bronzeville Walk of Fame of historic “he-roes and she-roes” of the commu-
nity; and the construction of three new art facilities and renovation of the
historic Sutherland Hotel on Forty-Seventh Street.
The empowerment network involved both local and non-local partici-
pants, accessed external funding and other external resources, and put to
use ideas external to the locality. These facts challenge traditional claims of
art produced by local networks as more “authentic.” However, the fact that
a broad network of diverse participants connected through an extended
network focused on local projects and accessed the opportunity, power,
and resources available through this particular locality provided the aura of
authenticity to these innovative, big-budget empowerment projects. Many
people who were ultimately important to the existence of the art that iden-
tified and marked this territory were therefore participants in the art pro-
duction process. However, they may not have been aware of their roles as
collaborators in the construction of these places.
These markers were not simply products of the excess cash in govern-
ment budgets in the 1990s. This case study of art production in Chicago’s
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 189
Mid-South region demonstrates how an empowerment network mobilized
the resources necessary to redefine the local color from one associated with
one of Chicago’s most neglected ghettos into one of a culturally rich, pre-
dominantly African American place. They did so by redeploying art, local
history, and local culture as symbols of this historic yet twenty-first-century
place. While property values have escalated in this former ghetto, tourists
are barely trickling into Bronzeville and there is still limited recognition of
the area’s importance to black history.
A Place That History Passed By
Bronzeville refers to the Mid-South region of Chicago, three miles south
of the Loop from Twenty-Sixth Street to Fifty-First Street and comprised of
four South Side community areas: Douglas, Oakland, Grand Boulevard, and
Kenwood. By the last decade of the twentieth century, it was a place like
no other. Circumscribed by a complex web of industrial and commercial
transportation lines—including the Chicago River, the Dan Ryan and Adlai
Stevenson expressways and multiple train lines—it remained isolated from
the rest of the city as it had for most of the century.
But since the early 1980s, black middle-class professionals had been
moving back to Chicago’s Mid-South just as their white counterparts did to
the North Side. They moved into the high-rise apartment buildings along
its northern and lakefront borders, into Kenwood homes where many of
the wealthiest and most illustrious black leaders once lived on its southern
border, and, yes, they moved into the mansions lining Martin Luther King
Boulevard. But beyond this wall of style and wealth, on block after block va-
cant land was everywhere. There were no boarded-up buildings, no groups
of kids or unemployed men hanging out on street corners.
Swaths of vacant land throughout Bronzeville remained undeveloped
as urban areas north and northwest of the city center completed a full-scale
transition from poor and working-class white ethnics to middle- and upper-
class gentry. In Bronzeville every one of the neglected properties—including
the federal housing projects—had been torn down, leaving emptiness to
distinguish this place from others equally distant from the city center. In the
new millennium, how to end a century of disinvestment was the problem
this network of powerful local, city, and federal leaders faced by mobilizing
the cultural capital that had been embedded in the locale for more than a
century.
“Restoring Bronzeville” became the mantra for redevelopment planned
in the early 1990s. Adapted from a generic reference to any segregated,
190 / Chapter Eight
predominantly black place or town in the post–Civil War United States, the
“Bronzeville” narrative that drove the redevelopment of the Chicago’s Mid-
South region referred to a specific place and time where black life, culture,
business, and politics thrived as if they were in their own city; it represented
black cultural distinction.
An Empowerment Network
This chapter shows how a network of black leaders, professionals, and resi-
dents interested in the empowerment of their people mobilized both the
knowledge and financial resources to conceive of the twenty-first-century
place called Bronzeville and to bring it into existence while setting its course
for the future. This case study of the production of public art and cultural
facilities in a predominantly black, inner-city locale at the end of the mil-
lennium reveals more than how the place got its name; it represents the
locale’s increasing capacity to mobilize the political and the cultural capital
necessary to bring such an idea into being.
The interactions that enabled creation of this place involved a network
of middle-class professionals, which I refer to as an empowerment network.
These participants used their political skills honed through traditional
movement-style politics in combination with cultural innovation to redress
the history of disinvestment and deprivation in the locale. They mobilized
both political and cultural capital to stake claim to territory and to assert
physical and cultural ownership of the place. Network participants had ac-
cess to the information, money, and skill they needed to bring the power
of culture back to the locale though the kind of resources and institutional
structures available elsewhere. Moreover, their efforts had the potential to
end the historic devaluation associated with the stigma of blackness.
This cultural development project was outlined in the “Mid-South Stra-
tegic Development Plan,” but was not the result of a planned and system-
atically organized process one might think to be typical of “an ongoing
program to rejuvenate” a place, as declared by Mayor Daley at the dedication
ceremony of the Public Art of Bronzeville (Hill 1996). Rather, the accounts
here provide insight into the social construction of knowledge, art, and
power, and of the networks of people that were needed to be involved in a
project of this scale.
Who was involved, how the knowledge was constructed, and how it
became infused in the locale through public art, cultural facilities, and
historic landmarks were the product of seemingly disconnected circuits of
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 191
an empowerment network whose activities took place over a thirty-year
period. This chapter of the story extends the cultural activist traditions begun
in the 1960s when a circuit of black educators first established a museum
of African American history, and then were followed by activist muralists,
who produced the first community-based murals, both linking Chicago’s
South Side to the foundations of black cultural capital.
1
The empowerment
network began to emerge in the 1970s when a circuit of historic preserva-
tionists connected new aspects of black history to the local geographic area
and established the significance of the place to black history. The result
was the formulation, at least on paper, of the Black Metropolis/Bronzeville
Historic District by 1986. This knowledge was then put to use by a circuit of
residents, administrators, architects, and urban planners in a 1993 strategic
plan for the area that focused on “Restoring Bronzeville.” The plan became
the rallying cry for local advocates when city, state, and federal agencies
failed to appropriate enough funds for the project. The final participants
to join the network were artists and arts administrators, who embedded its
ideas in local artistic traditions.
Bronzeville was the product of this network of people interested in
claiming a geographic and historic space for black culture. Social connec-
tions between people enabled a process in which chance and weak social
ties (Granovetter 1973) led various individuals to bits of information and
opportunities necessary to further a personal or group agenda. In each of the
phases, there was little certainty about what was going to happen next. Each
step of the process illustrated how an idea traveled through social networks
of weak ties to someone who both needed it and put it to use to accomplish
the task at hand (Burns and Stalker 1961). This loose-knit network structure
contrasts with the tight-knit structure in Bronzeville’s collecting networks,
or a hierarchal structure of a government bureaucracy. It was because of this
network structure through which ideas passed and were developed that the
innovation occurred at all. But because the development of ideas occurred
over time, no single person really knew how it all happened. Only in the
newspaper article covering the dedication of the Public Art of Bronzeville was
there a public reference to it as part of some larger city plan. In fact, accounts
from interviews provide evidence of the tension between the city’s goals and
that of the local residents and leaders.
Through the relatively minor act of producing the art of the Public Art
of Bronzeville, the official designation of a twenty-first-century place called
Bronzeville became reality. The artwork was made entirely of bronze and
included two monumental statues, ninety-one diamond-shaped plaques, a
192 / Chapter Eight
map of a historic place called Bronzeville, decorative fencing, and sculptural
park benches. The production process reinvented the community-based
approach pioneered by the South Side activist muralists by involving a
broad network of local and non-local artists, citizens, leaders, and bureau-
crats. The project was part of a larger effort that created the social and po-
litical identity of a place where black individuals and families first came to
Chicago, where they lived during segregation, and where many remained
for nearly a century; twenty-first-century Bronzeville was constructed to fur-
ther attract a growing population of middle-class blacks to the area. The
people involved, resources accessed, and the shared local interests that came
together redefined what a predominantly black place might be, and the par-
ticipants did it through the innovative deployment of historical narratives
and contemporary art throughout the locale.
Contradiction and Innovation Surrounding the
Bronzeville Landmarks
Only five years had passed between the time when the Public Art of Bronzeville
project was completed in 1996 and when I began to try to track down how it
came into existence. At first, no one I asked in Bronzeville seemed to know
how the historic buildings were identified and who connected them to a
narrative of historic Bronzeville and how the public art came to be installed.
Interviewees knew only sketchy details and offered contradictory accounts,
making it difficult to trace a single narrative of events.
Among the contradictory accounts were those from the same household
of Bronzeville residents living just off King Drive where the monuments
were installed. On the one hand, the wife said that “the community was
not involved; the artwork was the work of the city of Chicago and white
gentrifiers” (interview with author 2001). On the other hand, in a separate
interview, the husband argued that the community had “everything” to do
with the project. Although he could not remember specific people involved,
he said referring to the Bronzeville Walk of Fame: “Those are our stars, the
he-roes and she-roes in the sidewalk” (interview with author 2001). Both
of these seemingly competing narratives, along with many others, had ele-
ments of truth. The fact that every one of the bronze plaques embedded
in the sidewalk was underscored in relief with “Mayor Richard M. Daley,
1996” was offered as evidence to support a conspiracy of outside gentrifiers;
however, the fact that the individuals named were exclusively black lumi-
naries supported the alternative claims. The information available, none-
theless, supported a network theory of its production, as no institution was
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 193
responsible for creating the knowledge and no one was in business to make
money from its creation.
Outsiders on the Inside
A posting on the website for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks repre-
sented the scope of the knowledge provided through initial interviews with
Bronzeville leaders and residents:
These nine structures are what remain of the “Metropolis,” one of the na-
tion’s most significant landmarks of African-American urban history. Devel-
oped during the first decades of the 20th century, this “city-within-a-city”
was home to numerous nationally prominent African-American-owned and
-operated businesses and cultural institutions. This district offered a com-
mercial alternative to the race restrictions and indifference that characterized
much of the city during the early part of the 20th century. Between 1910
and 1920, during the peak of the “Great Migration,” the population of the
area increased dramatically when thousands of African-Americans fled the
oppression of the South and emigrated to Chicago in search of industrial
jobs. Further development of the area was halted by the onset of the Great De-
pression. Many famous people were associated with the development of the
area, including: Jesse Binga, banker; Anthony Overton, entrepreneur; Joseph
Jordan, musician; Andrew “Rube” Foster, founder of the Negro National Base-
ball League; Ida B. Wells, a civil rights activist, journalist and organizer of the
NAACP; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman pilot; and Louis
Armstrong, the legendary trumpet player and bandleader who performed at
many of the area’s night clubs. The name, “Black Metropolis,” became firmly
established with the publication of a 1945 sociological study of the same title.
In later years the area was referred to as “Bronzeville,” a term attributed to an
editor at the Chicago Bee. (Chicago Commission on Landmarks 2004)
A referral by the director of public art in the Department of Cultural
Affairs led me to Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural historian who
was said to “know a lot about Chicago neighborhoods” (Lash interview
2003). When I ran into Samuelson in the hallway of the building where
his office was, I asked him if he knew where the knowledge came from
that led to the landmarking of these buildings, and he said, “I made it up.”
With my response to this terse statement, “What do you mean you made it
up?” he took me to his office and told me about the research that he did as
a young history buff and the subsequent access he had to the Commission
194 / Chapter Eight
on Chicago Landmarks that enabled him to get the buildings listed on the
National Register of Historic Places at the same time Chicago’s own Depart-
ment of Planning and Development almost “killed Black Metropolis.”
Samuelson was the link between several groups of people specializing
in historical research, building restoration, black history, and black cultural
practices. In addition, he was connected to several city commissions and de-
partments involved in preservation and development, including the Com-
mission on Chicago Landmarks and the city Department of Planning and
Development. According to Samuelson, there were no training programs
in architectural preservation and restoration in Chicago at the time, so he
learned what he knew through his own research and through hands-on
experience working with an architectural preservation firm. Furthermore,
there was little information about the buildings built by black real estate
entrepreneurs, and there was no reason for the city, private investors, or lo-
cal black leaders to have an interest in preserving the crumbling, abandoned
buildings of the black ghetto on Chicago’s South Side.
In the early 1970s, Samuelson was an employee of an architectural res-
toration firm and a skilled researcher armed with an English degree from
Roosevelt University. He indulged his free time researching early twentieth-
century music by black entertainers, particularly ragtime. Through this inter-
est, Samuelson stumbled upon the fact that Joe Jordan—a black musician,
composer, and entrepreneur—was also a real estate speculator who built
an office building in Bronzeville.
2
Jordan had been the musical director
for a black-owned entertainment theater, Robert T. Motts’ Pekin Temple of
Music, at Twenty-Seventh and State streets, and wrote the song “Lovie Joe” for
the Ziegfeld Follies in New York City. Jordon had been diligent in securing
copyright protection for his compositions. When the song was used to
introduce singer Fanny Brice in 1910, it made Jordan a small fortune, which
he then invested in real estate.
At Samuelson’s first visit to the Jordan building at 3529 South State Street
in 1971, he found a crumbling edifice getting worse by the day. Jordan had
been among a handful of real estate speculators living in Bronzeville who
built buildings and businesses from the ground up to serve the local needs of
the rapidly growing, segregated black population. As Samuelson pointed out,
until the time of the first Great Migration of blacks to Chicago (1914–20),
blacks typically moved in or took over buildings abandoned by whites, rather
than building new ones. For Samuelson, the buildings built by black entre-
preneurs to serve the segregated place were significant historical structures
because they were the first such buildings and they were central to the exis-
tence of this “city within a city,” Black Metropolis. According to Samuelson:
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 195
I went to the library and went through the microfilms. I read every issue of
the Defender from 1908 to 1940 when it was a weekly. Whatever I was able
to get from old newspapers, whoever I was able to identify, I would call on
them. The few people who knew about life in the Black Metropolis I called
on, people like Earl Dickerson, who later headed Liberty Life [Insurance], and
William Barnett, an elder political leader. Black Metropolis had an economic
vitality about it. It had a self-sustaining business community. (Samuelson
interview 2005)
In the Chicago Defender, Samuelson found advertisements and articles
on Jordan and other entrepreneurs. One advertisement announced a bond
issue ($45,000) for the proposed Jordan building. The bonds, along with
$25,000 from Jordan, enabled construction to be completed in 1917. Ac-
cording to Samuelson, the building was celebrated and was a source of
local pride until larger black-owned buildings superseded it in the 1920s.
Among these new buildings was the Overton Hygienic/Douglass National
Bank Building. In an effort to raise capital necessary for this building,
Anthony Overton advertised the building as “A Monument to Negro Thrift
and Industry.” Each of these buildings, along with several institutions and
organizations, became part of what Samuelson would propose as a thematic
historic district. As an independent researcher, Samuelson identified build-
ings and sites that he thought were “significant to African American history”;
he then connected these to Drake and Cayton’s Black Metropolis and to what
he found published in the Chicago Defender. According to Samuelson:
By the mid-1920s, black migration from the South had slowed, which also
slowed business growth. I focused on what was important to the community,
and what black entrepreneurs built. I included social organizations, social
institutions, as well as buildings by black businessmen. There was the Eighth
Regiment Armory at 3333 South Giles, an all-African-American regiment. It
was vacant and had been purchased in a tax sale. [Before segregation laws
were struck down,] it was typical for there to be fully segregated black regi-
ments, but not typical for a black commander. This had a black commander.
They used to rent out the ballroom for all types of social events. I identified
twelve buildings [for the proposed thematic district] that were still standing,
but in bad condition and getting worse by the day. (Samuelson interview
2005)
Samuelson eventually had more than a decade of practical experience
researching, restoring, and preserving buildings. He said, “It was a personal
196 / Chapter Eight
interest. I did it on my own at night and on weekends. I personally boarded
up some of these buildings. On one, I put a sign, ‘Please do not vandalize,
this is part of your history.’ ” He planted the seeds for a network of pres-
ervationists to generate interest in someone acquiring and preserving the
buildings. Samuelson, who was by then a self-taught expert in architectural
preservation and the only person who knew anything about the buildings
of Black Metropolis, responded to official announcements for demolition.
“I would go to court and passionately argue on behalf of the building’s sig-
nificance. I would show up at people’s homes when I saw renovation under
way and offer free advice on preservation, advice that was often unwelcome.
I would present talks and slide shows.” His first architectural tour was in
1978 for Alderman William Barnett of the Second Ward.
Samuelson got the opportunity to do something about the deteriorat-
ing buildings in Bronzeville in 1983 when the Commission on Chicago
Landmarks
3
hired him to review building permits for proposed alterations
to historic buildings. He had been a regular consultant to the commission
on rehab proposals involving historic buildings. Samuelson became part
of a nine-member staff that made recommendations to the commission on
what should be landmarked. According to Samuelson, “They were open to
me suggesting things. I said, ‘I would like to propose to make a landmark,
thematic district,’ mentioning these buildings, to tell that story and hope-
fully to generate interest in them, interest in acquiring and preserving them,
and they let me write a proposal.” In 1984 the commission reviewed this
proposal, in which he outlined the argument for establishing the “Black
Metropolis Historic District.” The original proposal included in the district
a small stretch of State Street that contained the Jordan building, along with
three other historic buildings and some vacant land that was the former site
of the Binga Bank. As an afterthought, Samuelson added the Victory Monu-
ment to black heroes from World War I and five other historic buildings
located on Wabash, Indiana, Giles, and King Drive.
It was an innovative proposal because it focused on structures that were
historically significant because they were built through the efforts of a segre-
gated people and the work of black entrepreneurs and leaders. This strategy
diverged from traditional proposals for landmark designations, which con-
nected an architectural work to canons of influence around particular archi-
tects, such as Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright, and their artistic styles
evident through choice of form and material. Judgment of aesthetically
significant architecture was therefore based on the architect, its form, design
or materials, or its use or users—particularly those people who had achieved
local or national notoriety. The buildings in Bronzeville were significant in
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 197
Samuelson’s mind because black entrepreneurs built them. Yet this deter-
mination of historical significance was outside of the existing canon that
guided most judgments of architectural or historical significance.
Samuelson submitted the proposal to the Landmarks Commission dur-
ing the administration of Mayor Jane Byrne, Chicago’s first woman mayor,
but it passed the commission just as the city’s first black mayor, Harold
Washington, took office in 1984. Before the recommendation could be sent
to the Chicago City Council for final approval as a landmark, review and
approval was required by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and
Development, the lack of which, in Samuelson’s words, “almost killed Black
Metropolis.” Internal fighting, typical within the ranks of the administration
in Washington’s first term, took over the process and eventually devoured
the entire Landmarks Commission. According to Samuelson, officials in
the Department of Planning were concerned about landmarking what, in
their view, were “derelict buildings,” for which there was little local inter-
est in preserving. While there was growing interest in landmark status by
home owners in “the Gap,” the central section of Bronzeville, this interest
did not include the crumbling buildings built sixty years earlier by middle-
and upper-class black businessmen.
With the Department of Planning sitting on his nomination, Samuelson
asked the commission if he could “take his nomination to the National Reg-
ister of Historic Places.” Commissioners approved his request, enabling him
to temporarily sidestep the Department of Planning to do what he called
“an end run” for national recognition of the sites. Twelve of his fourteen
nominations passed and were listed on the National Register by 1986. In the
meantime, the gridlocked Department of Planning effectively “dumped” his
nomination in 1987 when the local landmarking ordinance was rewritten.
This marked the end of Samuelson’s direct involvement in Bronzeville.
He had not succeeded in getting Bronzeville established as a protected
historic district, although he did succeed in getting the buildings listed on
the National Register. While there was growing investment in the Gap and
the mansions on King Drive, Drexel Boulevard, and other Chicago boul-
evards, at this point no one championed Samuelson’s idea to preserve the
work of black entrepreneurs during segregation as significant to Chicago’s
history.
Why was there no chorus singing the significance of Samuelson’s in-
sight? Academic experts were well-versed in the classics of Sullivan, Wright,
and a handful of other significant architects, and by the late 1980s there
was a growing body of knowledge on how and why to preserve twentieth-
century buildings based on formal aesthetics, materials, and purpose, but
198 / Chapter Eight
few people were aware of how to measure significance in the nearly lost
history of black people on the South Side of Chicago. Furthermore, silence
among black residents and leaders—a well-oiled activist machine skilled at
identifying and pushing issues—was deafening. This silence could be ex-
plained by the fact that Samuelson was white and his motives mistrusted.
It could be explained by the fact that black real estate speculators, “Negro
Thrift,” black enterprise, and black ownership often translated into a “pull
yourself up by the bootstraps” argument, an argument synonymous with
conservative, anti-government aid strategies that deny the effects of racism
on black achievement. The silence could have been the result of simply not
knowing what to do with the idea. While these buildings might have repre-
sented the heyday of Black Metropolis, their deterioration represented the
disaster that hit during the Depression and was followed by years of decline
as the Chicago Housing Authority built public housing high-rises along
State Street and Lake Shore Drive, surrounding the commercial and middle-
class residential districts with poverty. Samuelson exited the picture when
the Commission on Chicago Landmarks was taken over by the Department
of Planning and he secured a position at the Chicago Historical Society; the
idea was then picked up by another circuit of the empowerment network.
Local Investment Circuit: The Mid-South Plan
A circuit of leaders, the “South Side Partners,” interested in local investment
used the knowledge produced by Samuelson and the network of preserva-
tionists involved in the Landmarks Commission as it sought investment in
the Mid-South region. The South Side Partners came together in 1989 when
the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) threatened to leave the Mid-South
region if investment wasn’t made to begin to address the years of neglect in
the area. Also involved was the First National Bank of Chicago (which later
was bought out by Bank One and then J.P. Morgan Chase) and nineteen
other members who advocated for “capital investment in communities ad-
jacent to IIT.”
About the same time, the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation
awarded the city of Chicago a $271,000 grant to prepare a comprehensive
“community development plan” that would “reflect the needs and wishes of
the community surrounding IIT” (Campbell 1993). The city organized the
Mid-South Planning Group, an assembly of eighty-one local residents and
leaders, five city agencies, seven consultants from an architecture firm, and
two real estate consultants, and included the South Side Partners.
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 199
Samuelson was not sure how his effort to preserve the buildings of Black
Metropolis ended up in the Mid-South Plan. But it was ironic that while
the right hand at the Department of Planning had dumped Samuelson’s
proposal to landmark the area as a historic district, the left hand in the same
department was involved in developing a community-based strategic plan
focused on “Restoring Bronzeville” and the very landmarks the department
just years earlier had refused to recognize. The Mid-South Plan drew on
ideas proposed through the Black Metropolis/Bronzeville Historic District
as well as a number of other concept papers, including proposals for an
African marketplace (Smith 1992); a Blues District (Campbell 1986); and
adaptive reuse of the Armory (Applied Real Estate Analysis 1987).
After three years of weekly meetings and two facilitated retreats, the Mid-
South Planning Group produced the draft of a comprehensive community
strategic plan. “The Mid-South Strategic Development Plan,” with its cen-
tral theme “Restoring Bronzeville,” focused on land-use development that
should occur: because of “the rich cultural history the Mid-South enjoys . . .
a number of buildings and neighborhoods are designated architectural and
historic landmarks” (Campbell 1993, 16). The plan also noted, “Many Mid-
South structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places” (29)
but did not directly cite Samuelson or the report by the Commission on
Chicago Landmarks.
The chairman of the Mid-South Planning Group, Angelo Rose, was then
the executive director of Ahkenaton Community Development Corpora-
tion, an affiliate of the Centers for New Horizons, both founded by Sokoni
Karanja, who had a PhD in urban planning, was a member of both the
South Side Partners and the Mid-South Planning Group, and had been rec-
ognized by the MacArthur Foundation with its Genius Award. Among the
others involved were Leroy Kennedy from IIT, Gregory Washington from the
Grand Boulevard Federation, and Harold Lucas, founder of the Bronzeville
Tourism Bureau.
The plan for “Restoring Bronzeville” (Campbell 1993) had the potential
to create a third Great Migration to the area by attracting the black middle
class and reviving the area’s cultural history and economic diversity. The idea
of adopting the name Bronzeville and producing cultural monuments and
cultural facilities as part of this plan emerged out of aesthetic preferences and
cultural practices that embraced black heritage, black accounts of history,
and the engagement processes of black empowerment as seen in community-
based murals. Yet it was buffeted by a sea change in the social order of the
locale that sought to reposition the black middle class at the center of local
200 / Chapter Eight
life, as it had been in the heyday of Black Metropolis. For just as young white
urban professionals were repopulating the north and west sides of the Loop
from the mid-1970s on, black urban professionals had been moving back to
the Mid-South region, purchasing and restoring its historic mansions.
There was no one in this network who claimed any direct link to policy
advisers for the Clinton administration, yet somehow the network com-
pleted the Mid-South Plan in September 1993—just in time for an assembly
of bureaucrats and politicians led by the Chicago Department of Planning
and Development to apply for funds in a new federal program announced
the following month by the Clinton administration. According to the City
of Chicago website:
[The Empowerment Zone (EZ) program] was established in the fall of 1993
under the Federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and is the capstone of
the Clinton Administration community revitalization strategy. The program
is designed to empower people and communities across the United States by
inspiring Americans to work together to develop a strategic plan designed to
create jobs and opportunities in our nation’s most impoverished urban and
rural areas. (City of Chicago 1998)
The EZ designation meant that Chicago received a $100 million Social
Services Block Grant (SSBG), which also required additional state and mu-
nicipal funding to implement strategic plans for three “impoverished” ar-
eas, including Bronzeville and Pilsen. EZ status meant that each area also
received priority consideration for other federal programs and direct assis-
tance from federal officials to facilitate implementation of their EZ Strategic
Plan. In addition, a range of tax incentives designed to stimulate private
investment and job creation would be available to qualified businesses.
Advocates for a Fair Share of the Public Goods
Unfortunately, while the Mid-South Plan played an important role in win-
ning EZ status, the plan was never officially adopted by the Chicago Depart-
ment of Planning and Development for the area and few of its goals were
implemented. With Bronzeville declared part of Empowerment Zone No.
3 in 1993, the EZ program set in place a complex granting program that
on its face called for proposals for competing programs. But with political
pressure coming from all directions, funds were distributed to projects sup-
ported by the local aldermen in the three wards, who each advocated for
their ward’s fair share of the funds. For example, the plan identified Forty-
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 201
Third Street as the site for a blues district because it was the location of the
historic Checkerboard Lounge and the home of Muddy Waters. But as ward-
based initiatives took precedence, Alderman Dorothy Tillman mobilized
funds to build a $20 million theater and community center and the 47th
Street Blues District, near her office on King Drive, as she bulldozed Gerri’s
Palm Tavern, a historic blues club a block away. In spite of proposals to turn
Muddy Waters’s home on South Lake Park Avenue and Forty-Third Street
into a blues museum, the home, located in Alderman Toni Preckwinkle’s
ward, has remained largely abandoned as a historic site. The Checkerboard
Lounge was closed for code violations and in 2003 reopened at Harper
Court in Hyde Park. Also in Preckwinkle’s ward, on Forty-Seventh Street the
Little Black Pearl Workshop proposed a $10 million art educational facility
and the Muntu Dance Theatre sought funds for a $7 million dance facility.
Funded late in the process with a small programming grant was the historic
South Side Community Art Center.
The three elected officials used their aldermanic privilege to place “holds”
on parcels of tax-delinquent property owned by the city of Chicago in
Bronzeville in order to have a say in the uses of the property and the projects
that were funded. Of the 756 parcels of city-owned land in Bronzeville,
450 were controlled by the local aldermen: Dorothy Tillman held 117 par-
cels of land in the Third Ward in the southwestern portion of Bronzeville,
Toni Preckwinkle held 211 parcels in the Fourth Ward in the southeastern
end of Bronzeville along the lakefront, and Madeline Haithcock placed 122
properties on hold in the north center portion of Bronzeville in the Second
Ward. Pat Dowell, a deputy commissioner in the city’s Department of Plan-
ning and Development, further placed holds on 184 properties on behalf of
the Mid-South Planning Group (Quintanilla 1994).
The holds on property by elected and appointed officials helped to ex-
plain why 20 percent of the tax-delinquent property in Bronzeville remained
vacant for much of the 1990s. This vacant land was in addition to the tracts
of land once home to both high-rise and low-rise public housing, for which
the aldermen also exerted influence over who would win the rights to re-
develop. Each of the officials maintained that they were acting on behalf
of their Bronzeville constituents: Tillman claimed to be guarding against
a “land grab” by real estate speculators, while Preckwinkle did it to ensure
jobs for her constituents. “I’m looking for developers who are interested
in hiring people from the neighborhood in their project and employing
them once it’s complete,” she said. Dowell, an appointed official who later
ran for Tillman’s seat, was acting on behalf of the Mid-South Plan. At least
one observer, radio talk show host Clifford Kelley, criticized the officials for
202 / Chapter Eight
holding out for big projects rather than supporting “neighborhood entre-
preneurs [who] were likely to spark development” (Quintanella 1994).
The land holds were part of a bigger picture of posturing for funding and
power in the midst of the rapid transformation under way in Bronzeville.
With the 1994 announcement by the Chicago Housing Authority of its
plans to demolish public housing in these and other Chicago wards, thirty
thousand CHA residents would be relocated, adding up to losses of high
concentrations of poor black voters and political clout.
4
The sea change, as
characterized by Bobby Rush—former Black Panther and former Second
Ward alderman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1992—was directed to a
just cause: “You can’t continue to imprison people in the [poverty] that sur-
rounds the CHA based on a captive vote. That would be . . . going back to
the 1940s, when the CHA was built to confine blacks because whites didn’t
want them in their areas,” said Rush (Burnham 1994).
As Tillman shored up funding for her projects at the intersection of Forty-
Seventh Street and King Drive, and Preckwinkle supported development of
the Cultural Corner on Forty-Seventh Street in her ward, the original South
Side Partners exerted pressure for a portion of the funding designated for the
McCormick Place redevelopment. According to Karanja, “Someone got the
idea that some of those funds should be coming to our community” (Kar-
anja interview 2003). The resulting $10 million allotment from the “McPier”
authority to rehabilitate King Drive was funded in part through Empow-
erment Zone funds and sales tax revenues. The McPier funding included
$500,000 for a “design element” that became the Public Art of Bronzeville.
The empowerment network thus far had succeeded in mobilizing both
the funds and the power to implement several large-scale cultural facilities
projects. It also had the foundation of knowledge about black history and
historic preservation to build a historic place upon. Yet it still faced the
challenge of how to attract people to the place as residents, business own-
ers, or tourists. One way it sought to do this was through the deployment
of public art.
Circuit of Artists and Administrators
A fifteen-foot statue perched in the center of an island between six lanes
of speeding traffic marks the entrance to Bronzeville. The artwork is sur-
rounded by a busy turnaround at the Twenty-Sixth Street entrance to a
McDonald’s restaurant. This is the Monument to the Great Northern Migration
(plate 17), the first artwork to commemorate the movement of blacks from
the southern United States to the industrialized cities of the North. From the
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 203
sidewalk looking across four traffic lanes, one can see the folksy depiction
of an optimistic male traveler facing north toward the Chicago Loop, hand
raised, and carrying a suitcase bound with rope. But only when you cross
through the busy turnaround do you see the diamond-shaped plaque just
north of the statue, which reads:
Monument to the Great Northern Migration
This bronze monument depicts a man wearing a suit made of shoe soles ris-
ing from a mound of soles. The soles, worn and full of holes, symbolize the
often difficult journey from the South to the North. It commemorates all the
African American men and women [souls] who migrated to Chicago after
the Civil War. Alison Saar, Sculptor. City of Chicago, Public Art Collection,
Richard M. Daley, Mayor. 1996.
It is the only one of all the ninety-one bronze plaques that reference
the city’s public art program. Although he oversaw the development of the
Public Art of Bronzeville, Mike Lash, director of Chicago’s Public Art Program
and the Percent for Art Program, was not sure how the money for the project
was appropriated. “It must have come out of project development in Zon-
ing. The Hyatt [McCormick Place hotel] and new Donnelley [access] were
being done [both to the north of Highway 55] and someone must have
given a directive stating that ‘you have to provide better transportation to
McCormick from the South Side feeder,’ something like that,” he said (Lash
interview 2003).
Once the money was appropriated to the Illinois Department of Trans-
portation for road construction, there was no mechanism to fund or man-
age the art production effort. According to Lash, “We were hired to run a
Percent for Art–type program. This was a test balloon, as it was not really a
‘Percent for Art’ project,” which applied only to the construction of build-
ings. “This was to be a community-based public art project,” said Lash. The
Chicago Percent for Art Program, created by municipal ordinance in 1978,
required 1 percent (now 1.33%) of the construction cost of public buildings
to be budgeted for the purchase of artwork. However, the ordinance did not
apply to transportation infrastructure or street beautification projects like
the King Drive Project. With no other mechanism at hand, the program was
used to get the project done.
The Public Art Program was designated by the Department of Planning
to manage the creation and installation of the art. They joined the network
of people involved in the empowerment project, which up to then had
204 / Chapter Eight
included staff from a number of aldermanic offices, the federal govern-
ment’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the
city’s Landmarks Commission, Department of Planning, and the depart-
ments of Transportation, Economic Development, Education, Health, and
Public Safety, along with all the participants in the South Side Partners.
The Public Art Program then convened a public art committee to make
decisions regarding the artworks and artists for the King Drive streetscape
project. Of the committee members, only two had been part of the Mid-South
Planning Group: Jeff Johnson, property manager at Prairie Shores Apart-
ments, located on King Drive, and Susan Campbell, from Wendell Campbell
Associates, the black-owned architectural firm that wrote the strategic plan
and designed the streetscape project. Among the other decision makers were
members of the Gap Neighborhood Association (which had by then won
historic landmark designation for its residential homes); the principal of
Dunbar Vocational High School, also located on King Drive; the librarian for
the Martin Luther King Branch; and Kerry James Marshall, a black painter and
MacArthur Genius Award winner whose studio was in Bronzeville. In total,
the committee included nine people it considered to be “community repre-
sentatives” who were African American residents or business owners, or who
had a leadership position within a local agency or institution. Of the remain-
ing members, two were art representatives and four were city government
representatives. This circuit of the network would make decisions regarding
the content of art projects and the selection of artists. Barbara Koenen, project
manager for the Public Art Program, guided the process.
According to Koenen, “Originally, it was going to be one big, expensive
piece, like a Richard Hunt sculpture [Hunt is a noted black Chicago sculp-
tor]. That kind of top-down management of some single design element,
directed by the architecture firm, is typical in streetscape projects. I am not
sure who said it, but someone said you can get a lot more art than one piece
of art for $500,000.” Koenen credited Alicia Berg, then a preservation plan-
ner (who later became a commissioner of planning and development for
the city of Chicago), with making the suggestion that ultimately meant acti-
vating “the community” through the development of art. “From my mind,
the art was to bring history and the potential vitality of Bronzeville into the
public sphere,” said Koenen (Koenen interview 2003).
Representation by Local Residents
The Public Art Program interpreted “community-based” to mean meeting
within the community and involving the local representatives in the art
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 205
planning and selection process. But in this situation, the boundary was ex-
panded to include the interpretation of the history of the place through
public art. According to Lash, the Public Art Program’s role in this project
followed its role established through the Percent for Art Program. He
explained:
We bring the group together, seven people. We find out what their needs and
wants are. This community thought they needed a gateway. They immedi-
ately thought of the Puerto Rican flag [that marks the entrance to Humboldt
Park]. “We need a transition element,” they said. They wanted a gateway,
but we don’t like that kind of thing [like the Puerto Rican arch]. It’s not art,
it is contrived, not timeless. But the main thing was the cost. King Drive is a
double boulevard. The Doughboy [Victory] monument was built in 1926. It
holds the same power and sway today as when it was opened. The Alison Saar
monument does the same thing. Bronzeville isn’t about a country. It is about
a neighborhood. It’s about Diaspora, the Gap, redlining, and the Great Migra-
tion. That is what public art should do. It is for the community. [Bronzeville]
wanted people to know there was culture and history here. They wanted to
give a sense of the culture and history. (Lash interview 2003)
Koenen managed the community-based art selection process and the cre-
ation and installation of artwork as part of the King Drive project. “The main
elements of the public art—the map, the Walk of Fame, the park benches,
and the monument—were all based on success stories from other cities.
The committee had been selected, but I assembled them for the first meet-
ing,” she said (Koenen interview 2003).
As an artist and activist who has worked on several art projects de-
signed as “community empowerment” projects, Koenen, now in the role of
bureaucratic functionary, wove together activist art conventions from the
community-based mural movement with bureaucratic conventions typical
of the Percent for Art Program. The result was the Public Art of Bronzeville. It
is an atypical product of the program, according to Jon Pounds, executive
director of the Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG). Pounds acknowledged,
“In most public art commissions handled by the Public Art Program, there
is not an expectation of dialogue with the community. There is minimal
community engagement only at the lowest level, where one or two commu-
nity members are invited to participate in the viewing and selecting of slides
presented by the program staff” (Pounds interview 2003).
The project included the intent, the process, and imagery typical of ac-
tivist murals introduced in the Bronzeville area in the 1960s and 1970s by
206 / Chapter Eight
William Walker, the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), and
the Chicago Mural Group. Koenen described the process as “using a dia-
logical framework typical of Chicago Public Art Group, artist Laurie Palmer,
the artist collective Temporary Services, and Mary Jane Jacob’s ‘Culture in
Action,’ ” which all see art as an opportunity to engage non-artists in the art
production process. “It was my mission, not the mission of the Public Art
Program,” Koenen said. “The Public Art of Bronzeville is probably the most
significant public art in Chicago, but few people know about it” (Koenen
interview 2003).
Unlike the activist murals of OBAC or CPAG, this project was now nested
within a bureaucratic process, and community input came through an advi-
sory committee of a government program. Koenen, who describes herself as
“an artist and bureaucrat,” saw her role as negotiating between the interests
of the community-based empowerment network and the city’s Percent for
Art Program. The public art committee looked at slides that Koenen said
she “slogged to the meetings at Griffin Funeral Home” on King Drive. Com-
mittee members identified the types of art and artists to be included in the
project, and then it approved of artists’ proposals.
In the production of the project, the committee wanted to highlight the
work of nationally known and locally known black artists. At least one com-
mittee member identified a local artist unknown to the Public Art Program,
who ultimately was chosen to create a bench. The committee also played an
important role in who was to be featured on the Walk of Fame. It solicited
nominations from local residents, groups, and organizations; it compiled
a list of people to be honored; and then it made the final selections for
who would be featured on the bronze plaques. While an African American
graduate student in history was employed as a consultant, there was no sys-
tematic historical research done to inform the selection process.
Two nationally known black women artists who live outside of Bronze-
ville were selected by the committee to be commissioned by the city to
create monumental sculptures as part of the installation. Alison Saar from
Los Angeles designed the Monument to the Great Northern Migration and
Geraldine McCullough—an artist who taught for many years in a Bronzeville
high school and whose sculpture is displayed in Washington Park by the
DuSable Museum—designed the plaques used in the Bronzeville Walk of
Fame. Gregg LeFevre, an artist from upstate New York, designed the map
of Bronzeville, with the support of a cadre of local researchers. Fourteen
other artists, nine from the greater Chicago area, created sculptural park
benches and decorative fencing referred to as “recognition panels.” Of these,
Apache Wakefield and Kimberli Johnson, black artists from Chicago’s South
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 207
Side, were among the bench creators. None of these artists actually lived in
Bronzeville.
Direct interaction with the artists was nonetheless limited once the artists
were chosen; Koenen and Lash could recall only two such interactions. One
interaction involved the Monument to the Great Northern Migration, when
artist Alison Saar presented a miniature wax model of the traveler who rep-
resented all the “souls” who migrated to Chicago. Originally, the traveler’s
hand was outstretched in a way that one committee member negatively in-
terpreted as “begging.” Saar took the arm and twisted it up so it looked like
he was waving and asked, “How about this?” The committee approved this
new pose. In another instance, committee members unsuccessfully tried to
get one artist to make a bench out of a metal that would not rust.
The ninety-one plaques that made up the Bronzeville Walk of Fame com-
memorate Bronzeville residents who “have made a significant contribution
to the community” (Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs 1996). The
17-inch, diamond-shaped bronze plaques were embedded in the sidewalks
and medians along King Drive every 200 feet between Twenty-Sixth and
Thirty-Fifth streets. Among the named are Margaret Burroughs, founder of
the DuSable Museum; St. Clair Drake, University of Chicago scholar and
co-author of Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City ([1945]
1962); Nat “King” Cole, jazz pianist and singer; Butter Beans and Susie,
vaudeville comedy team; Oscar De Priest, city councilman and later a con-
gressman; Langston Hughes, author; Richard Wright, author; Major Robert
H. Lawrence Jr., the first black astronaut; Ida B. Wells, journalist and activ-
ist; John “Jack” Johnson, boxer; Carter G. Woodson, scholar and organizer
of Negro History Week in 1926; and Theresa Needham, owner of Theresa’s
Blues Club.
The 14-by-17-foot bronze slab inset in the King Drive median at Thirty-
Fifth Street was to highlight landmarks, historic buildings, and places of
significance from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (plate 18). Yet the
problem of what to call the place led to more than a debate over a name.
Naming Bronzeville
What began for Koenen as a practical question: what to call the place il-
lustrated in the 14-by-17-foot bronze slab—Black Metropolis, Bronzeville,
the Gap, or even East Bridgeport?—turned into a broader local debate that
ultimately led to a formal designation of the entire area as “Bronzeville.”
According to the project manager, “I was lobbying for ‘Bronzeville,’ while
some people wanted ‘Black Metropolis.’ To me, ‘Black Metropolis’ sounded
208 / Chapter Eight
heavy-handed, unempowering, like the Fritz Lang movie,” Koenen said
(Koenen interview 2003). Moreover, with the entire project constructed of
bronze metal, the name Bronzeville was a clever link between the project
material and the history of the area.
The relatively insignificant question of what name to put on the map de-
veloped into a large idea of symbolizing the area’s rich cultural history. Yet
the idea did not meet with an immediate consensus across black Chicago,
particularly among those who had successfully established the first insti-
tutions for African American culture by mobilizing the political capital of
what has been framed as a single black “community.” This idea of embrac-
ing the name Bronzeville challenged the capital embedded in the idea of the
history of a race united through its shared commitment to civil rights and
social justice efforts. Just as Black Metropolis was considered “a city within
a city,” the idea of creating “a place within a place”—Bronzeville within
Chicago’s expansive South Side black community areas and suburbs—was
intended to celebrate black economic diversity, black culture, and black en-
trepreneurialism, yet it had the potential to disrupt the illusion of a single
“community” and bring to light the rigid and often unspoken class struc-
tures within black Chicago.
Among those African American arts leaders against the name was Margaret
Burroughs, artist, art teacher, founder of the DuSable Museum of African
American History, resident of the area that would become Bronzeville, and
still a Park District commissioner, now under Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Throughout her leadership she had advocated for recognition of black cul-
ture and black accounts of a history both as unifying forces within a single
black community. When asked of her views on the idea, she said:
Some people have been referring to Bronzeville, marking out certain areas—
this street and that street. I think wherever black folks live in Chicago is
Bronzeville and is community. Because what happened is that I guess in the
days of the first migration, when Black people came from the south, in the
middle twenties, which is when my family came; they were leaving the South
for jobs in steel mills and stockyards and all, and so they got off at the Illinois
Central train at Twelfth Street. And they got off at Twelfth Street, they moved,
just kept moving further and further south. Whites fled and blacks moved,
followed them, [and] finally got to livin’ wherever they are now. I consider
community wherever my people are. (Burroughs interview 2003)
Similarly, Gregg Spears—an artist, former managing director of the
South Side Community Art Center, and resident of the area that would
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 209
become Bronzeville—saw the name as a shallow promotional gimmick.
“ ‘Bronzeville’ is an affectation by promoters. This is the South Side. When
you say you are going to the ‘South Side,’ you don’t mean Hyde Park [which
is located on the South Side]—you mean the black community” (Spears
interview 2003).
The approval of the name Bronzeville was accomplished, nonetheless,
through an extensive advocacy effort led by local activists Harold Lucas
and Paula Robinson. Lucas had been a member of the Mid-South Plan-
ning Group and according to Samuelson was probably the only person who
was part of all the networks connecting the historic designation of Black
Metropolis/Bronzeville to the strategic development plan subtitled “Restor-
ing Bronzeville” and to the completion of the public art and restoration of
the historic structure. He was the kind of grassroots activist needed for a
project like this to develop over time, and Samuelson credits him as having
the stamina to see it through: such relentless promotion was needed for the
idea of a once-segregated place, referred to as a “bronzeville,” to become
significant and deserving of the designation as a national historic area.
Lucas found a place as the leader behind the Bronzeville Tourism Bureau
and the preservation of one of the historic structures, the Liberty Life Insur-
ance Building, which later became the Supreme Life Building, on Thirty-
Fifth Street and King Drive. Robinson, who was a publicity consultant when
she first met Lucas—then a member of the public art committee oversee-
ing the King Drive streetscape project and later the force behind efforts
begun in 2006 to have Bronzeville designated as a National Heritage Area—
remembered when Lucas “first came to the office with a shopping bag full
of news clips and Xeroxes, you know, you can imagine,” she said (Robin-
son interview 2005). As the idea came to fruition through the Public Art
Program, together they took the idea of naming the area Bronzeville to key
residents of the locale for their support.
One of their presentations was to a committee that included Charles
Bowen, an art collector, retired executive assistant to Mayor Daley, and an
owner of a historic home in the northern end of Bronzeville called the Gap.
Like Burroughs and Spears, Bowen was also against the name. He recalled
that throughout the mid-century, from the civil rights era through Black
Power, any reference to an all-black area, particularly by whites, constituted
“fightin’ words.”
I was absolutely opposed to the area being named Bronzeville. I worked
in various jobs before I came to work for the mayor. And that area had al-
ways been kind of a mystery to most people. You know, it was always the
210 / Chapter Eight
South Side of Chicago. Nobody ever got into a cab and said, “Take me to
Bronzeville.” . . . The only real association we had with Bronzeville was from
[the black newspaper]. They had a promotion every year before the Bud
Billiken Parade; the person who got the most subscriptions to the paper be-
came the “Mayor of Bronzeville.” And we saw that person ride in an open car
on Bud Billiken Day. But that was basically what we knew of Bronzeville. I’ve
been here all my life. And in industry, the marketing people would always call
the area “the Black Belt.” OK. And people who had to sell products in that
area, especially if they were African American, did not like the term “the Black
Belt.” (Bowen interview 2005)
Bowen had purchased a home in the historic area referred to as the Gap.
It was among “the gap” of row houses and masonry mansions designed
by Louis H. Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright. The Gap was preserved be-
tween large swaths of urban ghetto first bulldozed during the mid-century
urban renewal and again in the 1990s when the high-rise public housing
projects were dismantled and imploded. Bowen purchased the mansion
and coach house in 1980 for less than $100,000 and had invested an addi-
tional $300,000 for its ongoing renovation. His coach house opened to the
boulevard behind his house. Once called the Grand Boulevard, then South
Parkway, it was renamed Martin Luther King Drive in 1968. The boulevard
had been widened to a six-lane thoroughfare during the mid-century urban
renewal efforts that removed the homes and businesses lining the boulevard
between Twenty-Sixth and Thirty-Fifth streets. The widening left visible the
coach houses and the backs of the architectural row houses in the Gap.
As a local resident with property bordering the historic boulevard, Bowen
was involved in the debate that ensued over the name Bronzeville during the
development phase of the Public Art Program. His opposition was in part
because of the messenger—Harold Lucas, a relentless grassroots activist—
and in part because he saw the name as the radical stepchild of the historic
practice of redlining, not something that should be thought of as a cultural
attraction or that could be used as a strategy for economic development.
I came out of the old regular Democratic organization under Congressman
William L. Dawson. And Harold Lucas was always one of those who pro-
tested and showed his disdain for the regular Democratic organization. Har-
old would come to the headquarters and he would be talking about the
black history of that area. So it was always a turnoff to me, to be very honest.
(Bowen interview 2005)
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 211
Yet Bowen was so convinced after attending a presentation by Lucas and
Robinson that he became a passionate champion of cultural objects cel-
ebrating the successes of blacks within the confines of segregation. Accord-
ing to Bowen:
I came in kind of late on this project. But I came in because the mayor felt
that I should be involved as I was from the community and it was happening
there. It was something that kind of went on very quietly, really. I came and
I sat and I listened to what [Lucas] had to say. And his idea was to give this
area the name Bronzeville. It would be a tourist destination; it would give the
area the lift that it needed. [Lucas and Robinson] were talking about [restor-
ing] Victory Monument honoring black soldiers who fought in World War I on
King Drive. And they had come up with the concept of having the gateway to
Bronzeville. So I listened to him and I said, “Well, my God! He’s absolutely
right.” . . . They want to be able to identify us like they identify Chinatown,
or like they identify Little Italy, or the Pilsen area. So if they’re going to do
that, and they’re going to spend some money in our area to beautify it, I said,
“You’re absolutely right.” I got up and gave a speech as to why Harold Lucas
was on target and why I thought the area should accept that designation of
Bronzeville. (Bowen interview 2005)
Bowen saw a bigger picture. He was not only an art collector, a local
property owner, and a retired adviser to the mayor; he was also a master
sergeant in the “Fighting Eighth,” an all-black unit of the National Guard
whose history can be traced to the Civil War. He was another of the kind of
strategically located people with access to resources and power to make a
project work. Moreover, shortly after the project’s completion, he was able
to extend the vision of the Public Art of Bronzeville to a larger military and
cultural history.
Completion of the Public Art of Bronzeville
The map became the Historic Bronzeville Map, a 14-by-17-foot bronze slab
inset in the King Drive median at Thirty-Fifth Street, highlighting landmarks,
historic buildings, and local places of significance from the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries. It included “The Stroll,” an entertainment district along
South State Street, and the nine landmarked buildings that made up the
Black Metropolis/Bronzeville Historic District. Inset in the map were re-
lief artifacts, including records, sheet music, instruments, and club banners
212 / Chapter Eight
recalling famous people, historic sites, and events in Bronzeville. The
naming of the map “Bronzeville” instead of “Black Metropolis” led to the
area’s official adoption of the name Bronzeville.
In addition to her committee work and advocacy for the Bronzeville des-
ignation, Paula Robinson carried out a number of functions that linked the
project to the place. While she and Lucas mobilized support for the name
Bronzeville, she “rode herd,” overseeing all aspects of the Walk of Fame:
from working with researchers to draft the list of names and with the com-
mittee to select honorees, to consulting with the artist on the design of the
plaques and with the bronze-casting foundry. Yet, she said, “I was shocked
when the final plaques came back with Mayor Richard M. Daley’s name on
each and every plaque. By putting his name on every one, they treated these
things as if they were manhole covers. But they were art, for God’s sake.
They should not have put his name on every one!” (Robinson interview
2005). With the plaques ready to be set in the concrete sidewalk, however,
there was little she could do to change the ninety-one cast pieces.
The Public Art of Bronzeville serves many purposes: it establishes a place
called Bronzeville in contemporary life; it is the cultural and physical gate-
way to this place, particularly from Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention
Center; it was among the mayor’s beautification projects installed in time
for the 1996 Democratic National Convention; it identifies and marks the
area as an important historic area suitable as a National Heritage Area; and
it emphasizes the cultural contributions of blacks who migrated to Chi-
cago in the early twentieth century. And as an artwork intended to repre-
sent larger group interests, it also symbolizes the creative spirit that blacks
brought to Chicago, as stated on the attribution plaque for the Monument to
the Great Northern Migration by artist Alison Saar: “Though the case appears
to be bursting with its contents, upon closer inspection it is empty . . . except
for the creative spirit and culture brought from the South. The man’s eyes
also reflect each individual’s personal hopes and aspirations for a new life
in a new land” (Saar 1996).
Yet the flagship piece of the public art installation is both loved and
hated, as Mike Lash, then director of Chicago’s Public Art Program, pointed
out. It is loved because it commemorated the African Americans who mi-
grated to Chicago. That it placed “blackness” into public discourse in the
form of a permanent monument is celebrated by some, yet others who pre-
ferred to be considered “African Americans” are left uncomfortable in spite
of the fact that it identifies the South Side of Chicago as an important place
in black history. The sculpture is hated in part because its folksy appear-
ance lacks the nobility and glory typical of monumental commemorative
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 213
sculptures. As Charles Bowen pointed out, “It could have been more digni-
fied” (Bowen interview 2005). Furthermore, the “shoe soles” that cover the
traveler and are intended to invoke The Souls of Black Folk (DuBois 1903)
appear to be scales or feathers—reminding some local critics of the historic
torture of blacks who were tarred and feathered. Some observers point out
that the sculpture is facing north, to the downtown Loop and Chicago’s
North Side, possibly symbolic of the continued striving, rather than being
interpreted as a welcome sign. Yet Harold Lucas preferred to interpret the
hand gesture as “stop,” a symbolic gesture intended to keep out unwanted
developers and gentrifiers.
Bronzeville as a Symbol of History and the Locale
When the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the gateway to twenty-first-century
Bronzeville took place on September 9, 1996, Charles Bowen was already
the founding force behind the restoration of the National Guard Armory
at Thirty-Fifth and Giles Avenue in Bronzeville. His first meeting with Lu-
cas and Robinson spurred the idea for how to restore the building of the
Eighth Infantry of Illinois, one of the buildings listed by Samuelson on
the National Register of Historic Buildings as part of the Black Metropolis/
Bronzeville Historic District. Lucas and Robinson were unaware of the
importance of the all-black regiment, but Bowen was not: he was the oral
historian of the Eighth Infantry.
I was a fraudulent enlistment in that unit when I was fifteen, and I was a
master sergeant at eighteen. It was my job for the whole battalion to teach the
history. I was in the 184th Field Artillery Battalion. So I taught the history of
the unit, from 1864 to the present, to all the new recruits that came in. After
they were sworn in, they would have to report to me in Small Hall, a hall that
is still there. And I would come up on the stage and I would tell them what a
proud history this unit had. This was the only such unit in United States mili-
tary history—an armory of black troops, where an armory was built and used
to house an all-black unit. And this, this building was the only one. Secondly,
it is the only unit of a regimental size in United States military history that
marched to war under black command. It was the only one ever in history.
(Bowen interview 2005)
This unit of the National Guard was organized by the same grassroots
methods used by American colonial militias. Responsible for their own
defense, early American colonists organized militia by structuring them
214 / Chapter Eight
according to British military tradition (National Guard 2008). And as Bo-
wen recalled, local black merchants established the Eighth Infantry and
raised funds to build the armory. Built in 1914, during the heyday of black
business in Black Metropolis, it was the first armory built for an African
American military regiment:
When the National Guard was first formed, merchants would set up and have
their own units of the National Guard. The guy who owned, say, a big depart-
ment store would [fund the establishment of a unit]. He would pay for all
the weapons and uniforms for a regiment, and then he’d become the colonel.
And that’s how the National Guard was actually born. This unit had fought in
1864 at Richmond, Virginia as the Twenty-Ninth Colored Infantry [and then
in 1871 was part of the Hannibal Guard militia in Missouri]. When the men
came back to Illinois, they would gravitate toward Chicago. They were all
out of southern Illinois, as there weren’t that many blacks in Chicago at that
particular time. So when they came to Chicago, they wanted to continue their
military careers and so forth. So, they would band together, and they bought
their own uniforms, bought their own weapons, and drilled in a barn down
the street from where the armory is. The community went around, in what
they called a “Milk Pail” campaign, and collected enough money to buy the
land, then gave it to the state of Illinois so that they would build the armory.
So that’s how the armory got there. (Bowen interview 2005)
Bowen saw the opportunity to save the armory in the redevelopment
of Bronzeville. He had been involved in early discussions led by a local
alderman who wanted to turn the building into a flea market. According to
Bowen, “A man named Mr. Todd had won an auction for the building [and
paid] $5,000 to the state of Illinois. The building had been unoccupied for
thirty-three years. Trees were growing up out of the floor of the building
because an atrium let sunlight through and the trees were growing straight
up to the sun.” When Bowen had the opportunity to sit next to the mayor
at a baseball game, he discussed the problem of turning the building into a
flea market: “I said, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s a dignified [use] for the build-
ing, to be very honest. My heart and soul were in that building’ ” (Bowen
interview 2005).
This passion led to an appointment of Bowen to the Bronzeville Blue
Ribbon Task Force, charged with developing a strategy for the redevelop-
ment of Bronzeville. Among their efforts, they successfully accessed the
$14 million in federal QZAB funds (Qualified Zone Academy Bonds) de-
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 215
signed for use to renovate old buildings for educational purposes. The
building opened in 1999 as the Chicago Military Academy–Bronzeville. Its
annual operations were funded through the Chicago Board of Education,
as it functioned as a high school within the Chicago Public School District.
Attached to the college-preparatory high school was the National African
American Military Museum (NAAMM), established as a nonprofit in 2000.
Bowen was a link between Chicago’s traditional political machinery, es-
tablished local home owners, local military buffs, and art collectors. He was
like Patric McCoy and the other collectors I interviewed who describe their
interest in art as passion. Bowen highlighted this fact as one his wife did not
fully share:
I have better than two hundred pieces of original art. Two catalogs. I have two
catalogs of my collection. And, um, I probably have sixty or seventy pieces on
the floor that are not framed, that are just sitting on the floor. And I have no
wall space. My wife has threatened me. Let me tell you, let me just tell you
this. She tells me, “Don’t buy any more. You know you can’t do it, because
you can’t put it up.” (Bowen interview 2005)
As part of the activities of the military academy, Bowen initiated an an-
nual art exhibition and fund-raising event, “Art at the Academy,” held each
November within the Chicago Military Academy–Bronzeville. The event
was modeled after the highly successful annual auction of the South Side
Community Art Center, which was located just five blocks away. As with
sales through a gallery, artists received a percentage of the sale price, a mea-
sure that like the other collectors’ activities served to support the production
of art.
Bowen’s role as the oral historian of the Fighting Eighth and his pas-
sionate interest led to the seemingly odd pairing of an annual art exhibition
within a military academy. The Gala Reception for the Second Annual “Art
at the Academy” on November 28, 2003, was advertised to “celebrate the
African American aesthetic with great jazz and ‘Art at the Academy,’ a fine
art exhibition and auction featuring 50 prominent national artists.” Funds
raised from the sale of art totaled $70,000 the first year and $10,000 the
second year, representing the majority of the donations to the museum over
the first three years of its operations (NAAMM 2002, 2003).
The Chicago Military Academy–Bronzeville and the National African
American Military Museum are contemporary educational and cultural fa-
cilities both housed in a historic structure first identified by Samuelson in
216 / Chapter Eight
the 1970s. Although the building was among those he had registered
on the National Register of Historic Places by 1986, the Eighth Regiment
Armory, the first armory built for an African American military regiment in
the United States, was not officially recognized as a Chicago landmark until
the late 1990s.
Conclusions
Examination of how cultural facilities came into being and how public art
celebrating a place called Bronzeville came to be located on Martin Luther
King Drive in Chicago reveals how a relatively small network of local leaders
attracted more than $100 million in federal, state, and city funds for inno-
vative projects in economic development, community-based art, streetscape
design, and public art. They drew on the black cultural capital established
decades before to codify local knowledge about a place called Bronzeville
within the larger metropolitan context of Chicago. A broad-based network
of shared interest was required for the ideas to develop and move to where
strategically located individuals with access to resources could put them to
use. The people involved, the resources used, and the shared local interest
that enabled the existence of the series of works on King Drive—referred to
by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as the Public Art of Bronzeville
(1996)—illustrate how public art deployed as territorial markers redefined
a place, reconnected its people to a historical narrative, and enabled a new
kind of black leadership in local revitalization. Bronzeville was created to
represent both the historic and the contemporary culture of an economi-
cally diverse, predominantly black place in the twenty-first century on Chi-
cago’s South Side. Furthermore, it represents a place of leadership for the
black middle class within local life and in the larger society.
These accounts highlight the successes and shortcomings of the mo-
bilization efforts in Bronzeville. Empowerment networks of Bronzeville
mobilized both the cultural knowledge and the black cultural capital, and
restored it in the local culture through public art and cultural institutions.
This black cultural capital first appeared in public through exhibitions at the
South Side Community Art Center, then at the Ebony Museum and through
community-based processes of activist muralists, and in the programs and
exhibitions at the DuSable Museum of African American Art; also this black
cultural capital was created anew as a local identity representative of “an
economically diverse and culturally rich” place. Most importantly, it signi-
fied the cultural practices of an emerging black middle class with interests
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 217
that distinguish the group within the broader field of cultural producers.
Just as the early community-based methods expanded involvement in the
arts to local neighborhoods, this empowerment network activated further
involvement and interest in black cultural practices. To their credit, this net-
work was also able to seed plans for continued infrastructure investment
and later for accessing more funds for further structural and programmatic
development.
One example of continued investment is seen through the preservation
and restoration of murals produced by activist muralists in the 1960s and
1970s. The nonprofit organization first established by William Walker and
John Pittman Weber as the Chicago Mural Group, and more recently has
operated under the leadership of Jon Pounds as the Chicago Public Art
Group (CPAG), became a partner in the restoration of Bronzeville and has
secured as much as $20,000 per mural in public and private funding for
restoration and new projects.
Among those it has preserved and restored as part of efforts in “Restor-
ing Bronzeville” was A Time to Unite, a mural painted in 1976 at Forty-First
Street and Drexel Avenue, originally produced by Mitchell Caton, a postal
sorter who had worked on murals with William Walker, and Justine De Van,
Calvin Jones, Anthony Campbell, and Grant York (plate 19). The image
was a call for solidarity and featured images of a black nuclear family, Afri-
can textile patterns and motifs, and African drummers, dancers, and blues
musicians.
Over the thirty-year period since Walker and OBAC first painted the
Wall of Respect, CPAG formalized its operations; it formalized the inter-
action process between artists and non-artists, its selection of muralists, and
its relationships with city officials, enabling it to secure funding from the
National Endowment for the Arts, GATX, Bank One, and the Illinois First
state infrastructure fund for restoration of the murals originally painted by
activist muralists on Chicago’s South Side. Although CPAG has been highly
successful producing murals and public art in neighborhoods throughout
Chicago, and in protecting and restoring the work of activist muralists of the
era 1960–80, it has yet to find a way to protect the works of later generations
of muralists. For example, it was unable to protect the work of three young
spray-can artists whose mural on the walls of a Forty-Seventh Street Metra
train viaduct was painted out by an order from Alderman Preckwinkle’s of-
fice. Although the mural crew was made up of local residents and art teach-
ers at Kenwood Academy—who had secured official permission in 1996
from the Metra officials at the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to
218 / Chapter Eight
paint the viaduct—they had not involved CPAG, the alderman, or a vocal
group of neighbors, who ten years later did not like their work. Although
the work was not vandalism, it was considered to be “threatening” to some
older neighborhood residents because the artists had abandoned repre-
sentational imagery and ideologies of the mid-century muralists and used
contemporary gestures, hip-hop images, and abstract iconography evocative
of urban youth culture.
5
The reality of distributing large amounts of public funds in Bronzeville
created funding territories according to political wards and districts. As
central players in the distribution of Enterprise Zone grants and other gov-
ernment funding in Bronzeville, Chicago aldermen focused on areas clos-
est to their own offices and constituents, often without consideration of
the potential benefits of clustering art activity in arts or business districts
and without effectively mobilizing the cultural capital that developed over
nearly half a century through the South Side Community Art Center, the
DuSable Museum of African American History, and the work of educators,
artists, and collectors. Nevertheless, the locally based art projects that were
part of the “Restoring Bronzeville” plan represented how network partici-
pants could identify and mobilize local cultural capital in innovative ways
to claim local territory while attracting external resources to feed the local
economic structure.
This process has yet to be able to build and sustain concentrations of cul-
tural or business activity since the ending of segregation and the dissolution
of Black Metropolis. After nearly ten years of building and $100 million of
investment, tourists are not pouring into Bronzeville; artists and collectors
go to private parties in home-based studios and home-based galleries in
Bronzeville or leave the locale to attend events elsewhere. Patric McCoy, an
art collector and founder of a Bronzeville-based collector’s network, blamed
the empty spaces and lack of entrepreneurial enterprises on the “kiss the
ring” tactics of power brokers who have built large-budget cultural facili-
ties, at the expense of more even distribution of funds to artists and small
businesses. He asked:
What do they think is going to happen? People are just going to show up? You
need to have the small places for the big place to survive. . . . [The aldermen]
want to control things. They really lost the opportunity. If they would have al-
lowed the people to use their entrepreneurial skills, [Bronzeville] would have
been done by now. All those empty spaces, all those buildings, that district on
Forty-Third, would have been done by now. They are blocked by the “kiss the
ring” concept. That is, if you don’t get the alderman involved, get their spon-
Empowerment Networks and the Restoration of Local Culture / 219
sorship, if you don’t give them a piece of it, it doesn’t happen. That money
should have been used to encourage entrepreneurs to do it. Those who had
the business skills would have anchored the rest. (McCoy interview 2003)
Yet nurturing individuals and their entrepreneurial spirit may even be
viewed as contrary to the driving force behind black social-change move-
ments. Collective efforts arising from the civil rights movement focused on
the racist barriers to employment and pursued a strategy of securing “repre-
sentative numbers,” that is, proportionate numbers of black workers in large
industry and government jobs consistent with the population. Accomplish-
ing social change has meant that blacks exerted a single voice. However,
local leaders who embraced “Restoring Bronzeville” are increasingly framing
this restoration to mean building a vibrant, local economy through entre-
preneurial activity, particularly reminiscent of historical black trading prac-
tices. Local leaders are looking to contemporary art production for models
of how these larger goals can be achieved. And among the Bronzeville arts
organizations, the Little Black Pearl Workshop stands alone in its innovative
approach to teaching youth entrepreneurial skills though art.
On a positive note, the process of producing the artworks on King Drive
not only engaged local residents in selecting artists and researching sub-
jects; it reanimated the history of a place and of a people while connecting
the contemporary development of Bronzeville, for better or for worse, to
Chicago’s citywide planning and cultural efforts and to federal economic
development funds. It is important to note that innovation leading to the
creation of Bronzeville meant that in every step of development someone
either had to break a rule or create a new rule or policy to enable its exis-
tence. The Public Art of Bronzeville represents the efforts of an empowerment
network that worked to identify and mobilize local cultural capital in inno-
vative ways to claim local territory and empower residents with ownership
of its geographic and historic place. The network provided access to external
resources earmarked for economic development and knowledge of how to
deploy those resources to establish an arts infrastructure and community
identity. The series of works employed an amalgamation of conventions
drawn from history writing, civil rights organizing, activist mural making,
and public art.
Ironically, the artists named in the brochure as the “creators” of specific
objects were the last participants in a production process of the Public Art
of Bronzeville, and possibly the least important: while an individual artist’s
withdrawal from the project would have required the committee to secure
a replacement, the invisible work of this empowerment network—a group
220 / Chapter Eight
of people brought together by their shared interest in replenishing the
cultural reserves of this historic place—was unique and shaped the project.
This involvement by both local residents and leaders as well as city bureau-
crats represents a level of participation that few other public art efforts can
claim.
This chapter shows how a network could act without formal policy or
institutional control to guide a project from beginning to end. Shared lo-
cal interest brought producers together and enabled them to carry out the
project. Their work succeeded in marking the Mid-South region of Chicago
representative of the concerns and identity of the growing population of
the black middle class. This shared interest enabled disparate networks to
converge and individuals to work together in a surprisingly collaborative
way as informal policy makers, project managers, and local advocates in the
creation of the kind of public artworks and public facilities that can mark
and identify a locale.
NI NE
Post-Urban Culture?
Researching Art in the Twenty-First Century
Demystifying “Community”
This study of networks pulls back the magical curtain of “community” to
uncover the social structures operating behind the facade of “cultural differ-
ence.” Networks of local art producers have been shown strategically using
symbols of their local place, its people, and its history as tools to mobilize
resources, including people, votes, money, space, respect, status, and power.
These networks often emerged from small social worlds that supported in-
novation in order to mobilize the political and cultural capital necessary to
carry out their projects large and small.
Contributions to Social Theories of Art
The image of the common traveler (as depicted in the Monument to the Great
Northern Migration) who carried a seemingly empty suitcase filled with his
own creative spirit to make a new life in a new place contrasts with the aura
of great objects displayed in a long, elegant hall of a museum; one offers
the logic of individual perseverance to explain how a local place was enliv-
ened with culture, the other symbolizes organizational strength. This study
replaces both of these mythic images with a theory of a local art production
network that was developed through the collection of the rich empirical
data from accounts by black, Latino, and white ethnic art producers. This
theory gives shape to the evanescent form of a network by identifying the
shared interests that bring people together.
Through comparison of the various types of art networks, we can now
see some consistent patterns:
222 / Chapter Nine
Shared interests bring art producers together to accomplish something artis-
tic that otherwise would not happen.
Variation in these shared interests of art producers can be understood
through a framework of ideal types of networks.
A typology of ideal networks is useful to orient specific collaborative
activities within the broad range of historically and geographically situated
phenomenon.
Distinctions among various types of participants further orient individual
action within local events.
Knowledge and resources are banked within these networks for future use,
becoming local cultural capital.
Instead of being hidden, or invisible, this knowledge and these resources are
visible as local color.
Through the network form of social organization, residents and lead-
ers in places rich with urban cultures have moved beyond their isolating
boundaries and beyond the protest rallies to mobilize the political and cul-
tural resources necessary to validate their own histories and art forms. These
have been long-term strategic pursuits to redress the unequal distribution
of cultural power and to resist displacement of local residents and busi-
nesses as the cultural core has sought to expand its territory and influence.
And rather than acting as parts of isolated or ethnocentric cultures, local art
producers have engaged in innovative alliances to provide stability for what
they define as their cultures. These processes constructed identities, histo-
ries, and artworks, locating urban places within larger twenty-first-century
contexts of global cities.
Importance of a New Framework
With this understanding, one can enter into networks of black art collec-
tors, low-rider car collectors, installation artists, spray-can artists, or even
model train collectors, and contribute to or stand against the interests of
that network. In fact, suburban men who build miniature cities and run
model trains together during Saturday afternoon parties provide a compel-
ling extension of aesthetic interests evident within the local networks in-
vestigated in this study. Whether one is interested in running model trains,
constructing a vibrant place stimulated by a vision of historic circumstances,
or supporting the work of contemporary artists, the interactions necessary
to bring these meanings to life require others to share in that interest. The
typology of art production networks identified in this study frames how
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Post-Urban Culture? / 223
variation in these shared interests can work within a variety of historically
and geographically situated places. Here is a recapitulation of these types.
Aesthetic Networks
Aesthetic networks involve artists and collectors focused on the meanings
of objects and of the place of these objects in cultural time and space.
Private interaction between these two types of participants creates shared
preferences around contemporary artworks. These preferences are further
extended into webs of social interaction within which other local resources,
such as knowledge and practical ways of doing things, are banked and avail-
able for future use. This reserve is, in effect, cultural capital, and as a result
of this reservoir of culture, aesthetic preferences exist and can enter into
public space.
The activities of art parties offer an alternative to the kind of exchanges
that take place in formal art markets and cultural institutions. They provide
a social space and interactive process for people to become directly involved
in the production of meanings of art and of places. Although these activities
also created informal markets for artworks, the buying and selling of art is
secondary to the discussion and identification of shared preferences among
aesthetic network participants.
The case study of the aesthetic network of Bronzeville art collectors helps
to orient our understanding of how an aesthetic network operates and the
kinds of activity it might undertake over time. Moreover, it contributes new
understanding of the activities of the black middle class and of the chang-
ing social location of black Americans. As this case study suggests, defining
shared preferences and meanings of culture is part of defining social space
inhabited by African Americans in the United States.
Autonomy Networks
The first relationship for artists who prioritize artistic autonomy is with art
history, but such artists engage in a variety of practical activities to sustain
their production and their own autonomy as artists. The kinds of exchanges
among network participants are those intent on limiting any form of social,
economic, or cultural constraint on artistic production. With the actions
and language that speak of artistic autonomy woven through their activities,
these artists collaborate with others having similar interests; they exchange
time, expertise, and skill to produce art, while attracting and sharing audi-
ences through routine public events.
224 / Chapter Nine
Autonomy artists redefine boundaries between the traditional media,
form, shape, and line and the categories of fine art and ethnic culture in order
to create new places for themselves and their artworks. These activities, in-
tent on sustaining the autonomy of both the artist and the artwork, contrast
with the interests of aesthetic networks, which seek to harness cultural
meanings as a form of solidarity.
In the case study of art producers in Pilsen, the variety of struggles faced
in pursuit of artistic autonomy are understood through the activities of three
types of artists: cutting-edge, transnational, and museum-quality. Cutting-
edge artists created new artistic spaces; transnational artists crossed cultural
borders; and museum-quality artists produced art for museum display while
working to redefine the aesthetic predispositions of such institutions. These
types of participants represented the range of artists observed who shared
an interest in artistic autonomy. Their efforts were intended to transcend the
everyday social order, not reshape it.
The motivation for artistic autonomy propelled artists in a direction that
was not explained by the kinds of values—use or exchange values—upon
which markets are based. Without an interest in developing market values
for their own work, they were therefore also uninterested in increasing that
value or the value of other local resources. Achieving and sustaining au-
tonomy also required that artists forgo the power that comes with other
forms of civic engagement, such as property ownership or political enfran-
chisement.
Because autonomy artists forgo these sources of power, they have a tran-
sient but useful place in urban locales. They produce a short-term market
for property developers interested in transforming the use of obsolete struc-
tures such as industrial-era factories, offices, schools, storefronts, churches,
and homes. In some locales, artists have provided a short-term mediating
presence by using the skills of the working-class craftsman to produce the
cultural symbols of the middle and upper classes. And as property renters
rather than owners, they have been easily dispensed with through rent
increases or removing part of the autonomy bargain that attracted them in
the first place to the often substandard rental units.
Problem-Solving Networks
Problem-solving networks mobilize local resources and employ grassroots
strategies involving social activists, community improvers, and cultural en-
trepreneurs to use arts activity as a tool to solve conflict and discord among
local groups. Like the activist muralists in Bronzeville, these diversity advo-
Post-Urban Culture? / 225
cates staged events and produced art objects as a way to be engaged with
and engage poor residents in cultural production. Rather than a force to
homogenize local culture, they sought to represent the full range of local
culture in a positive light.
As advocates for cultural diversity, these problem solvers worked with
residents and business owners to mobilize local resources in response to
social and economic changes occurring within the locale and beyond. Us-
ing art as community-building activities, they not only produced images of
diversity; they also created experiences with diverse people.
Gentrification Networks
Gentrification networks begin as a broad network of participants interested
in increasing the value of local resources. This broad network can become
complicit in efforts by which arbitrarily asserted privileges are used to create
exclusive spaces, ones in which the complicit actors can themselves be ex-
cluded. As such, gentrification is more than a class-based transition, but one
propelled by and conferring benefits to a limited number of participants.
The cultural transformation associated with gentrification involves neutral-
izing symbols of ethnicity, urban youth, and lower classes, resulting in a
homogenization or whitening of local places. Although this homogeniza-
tion process may enable increased investment in the locale by globally fran-
chised businesses, it does so at the expense of the ethnic cultures it devalues,
erases, or renders invisible.
Gentrification redefined, then, is the social practices that privilege elite
cultural producers and their cultural products through a process of homog-
enizing cultural differences that are otherwise prevalent in a local culture.
Unlike aesthetic networks, which are repositories for aesthetic preferences,
the knowledge that is banked within gentrification networks refers to practical
matters negotiated through public policy restrictions and access to their
benefits, and the buying, selling, building, and managing of properties.
As this case study shows, some people interested in increasing the value
of local resources, and who also supported investment and sustained cul-
tural activities involving the full variety of local residents, stood against
“whitewashing” and instead created alliances with an “ethnically driven
stability machine” as opposed to the “growth machine.” These activities
have been increasingly able to tap resources from throughout and beyond
the locale to resist the transformations resulting in cultural homogeniza-
tion and displacement. As a result, shared interest in increasing the value of
local resources does not require and in fact resists the wholesale erasure of
226 / Chapter Nine
ethnic culture, while benefiting from the preservation of that which makes
the locale unique.
Empowerment Networks
Empowerment networks involve an array of local and municipal leaders,
administrators, bureaucrats, and activists who share an interest in redefin-
ing the cultural uses of public space. Using a combination of political savvy
and cultural innovation, they seek to redress a century of disinvestment in
local infrastructure, devaluation of local resources, and cultural deprivation.
These networks replenish the cultural reserves of a local place and then mo-
bilize this cultural capital to stake claim to territory and assert ownership of
both its geographic and historic place.
In the case study provided here, Bronzeville began to emerge in Chicago
as a territorial place symbolic of a culturally rich, predominantly black lo-
cale; its meaning drew upon black cultural capital that had been banked
within aesthetic and empowerment networks for more than a century. Ef-
forts to identify and then mark the contributions of black people in Chi-
cago’s and the nation’s history took on new meaning by the end of the
twentieth century. Fortunately, in this case the interests of the empower-
ment network were compatible with those of the elite who sought to re-
define the city center; and indeed some members of the black middle and
upper classes had achieved access and influence within elite art networks
that enabled them to achieve their interests with the help of larger political
and cultural structures of the city.
Local Cultures, Local Art, and Local Networks
Participants in local art networks draw upon an amalgamation of conven-
tions from history writing, civil rights movements, activist mural making,
and public art practices to create a local arts infrastructure and identity. As a
result, private collections, public art, and cultural facilities serve a variety of
local purposes, such as to
create new knowledge;
establish an identity for a people and a contemporary urban place;
provide a gateway to local culture;
beautify local space;
mark sites of historic importance;





Post-Urban Culture? / 227
emphasize the cultural contributions of local groups;
represent the creative spirit of local residents.
Each of the places investigated in this book had a high level of involve-
ment by artists, local residents, and public officials, who helped to clear hur-
dles as they arose, allowing the network participants to act without formal
policies, positions, or institutional controls to guide the project or activi-
ties from beginning to end. Their shared interests enabled disparate groups
and professions to converge, so that individuals could work together in a
surprisingly collaborative way as informal curators, policy makers, project
managers, and local advocates in the creation of artworks, collections, pub-
lic artworks, facilities, and infrastructure projects that redefined the locale.
In an era when the identities of individuals and places are no longer
bound to the processes and structures of a manufacturing economy, local
art production has become a tool for all kinds of people living in all kinds
of places to build satisfying social lives and to solve problems brought on
by the changing urban order. Then they can successfully stake claim to local
space within the larger urban and global context.
The Future of Race and Ethnicity
Locality, Race, and Ethnicity
The networks discussed in this book involved alliances among African
Americans, Latinos, Caucasians, and Asians in the United States. These alli-
ances come from conceptions of race and ethnicity as a self-defined identity
that is individually asserted then mobilized as a collective resource; race
and ethnicity are used strategically to extend the democratic ideal of social
equity into the realm of culture. As cultural leaders seek equitable represen-
tation in the larger municipal history, they also build ethnic cultural institu-
tions capable of legitimizing historic and artistic accounts, presenting ethnic
perspectives of historical events and of beauty. These localized institutions
are further empowered through the expansive networks of shared interests
discussed in this book.
The activities of these networks address what black scholars such as
Manning Marable ([1995] 2003) consider the “paradox of desegregation”:
the loss of power and influence that came when blacks and other minority
groups were no longer geographically contained in urban ghettos or ethnic
enclaves. Within his call for strategies that enable greater involvement by


228 / Chapter Nine
the middle and upper classes in the struggles of the working class, poor, and
unemployed, it is unlikely he envisioned art as part of the package. Nev-
ertheless, activities of these art networks show how this has been accom-
plished in Chicago. Cultural activities offer opportunities for increasing the
influence and involvement of the educated black and ethnic middle classes
in the creation and ownership of local space. Use of existing connections
to state institutions to mobilize funds and use of these funds for cultural
projects that establish ownership of local territory are new strategies for
empowering racial or ethnic cultures. Such activities of art production net-
works extend the capacity of people in local places to create value around
local culture using processes once limited to the institutions and markets of
a single dominant culture.
Ethnic Institutions
The presence of ethnic institutions in local places provides an important
resource for art producers; they symbolize the cultural capital embedded
within ethnic groups and within local places, and, as such, they are useful
to stand against efforts to homogenize local culture. The establishment of
a black history museum and a Mexican art museum in Chicago anchored
local culture while providing a foundation for the institutional legitimizing
of ethnic perspectives of history and ethnic art in Chicago. Yet the cultural
influence of these institutions remains disproportionately small in com-
parison to the size of their representative populations and to the degree
of disinvestment in these locales. The still untapped foundation for their
increased legitimacy is rooted in the expansive networks of activity outside
the nonprofit cultural institution form.
Although empowerment efforts in Bronzeville were able to attract the
funds needed to complete cultural infrastructure and building projects, the
ability to mobilize a base of support to attend events, contribute funds, and
buy goods and services remains weak. Some advocates point to the relative
poverty of blacks and ethnics as an explanation for this lack of support, but
this research points to the failure of these institutions to tap into and serve
the shared interests evident within local art production networks. Arts facili-
ties in Bronzeville are not alone as facilities all over the United States are
challenged to find ways to tap into these networks. So rather than simply
build a $20 million structure and expect people to show up, leaders of these
newly built facilities must celebrate local culture and history in ways that are
welcoming and recognizable to local residents and at the same time that are
financially sustainable while further enriching people’s lives.
Post-Urban Culture? / 229
Unanswered Questions
This study lays the foundation for understanding and supporting localized
cultures in a global cultural context, but can it mark the end of efforts to
homogenize local cultures? Although it provides insight into how private
interactions and public markers can reframe artistic, cultural, and geographic
territories of race and ethnicity, can more equitable spaces be produced in
the twenty-first century? If so, where will they be and where will the funds
come from to build such places?
The network form of organization is a site for innovation; it is a reservoir
for the information and access to resources that produce cultural capital.
As such, networks are not solid and permanent structures as are the organi-
zational structures behind the stone walls of art institutions, but they are
durable and persistent nonetheless. Like a secret society, they are elusive.
But rather than possessing a secret handshake, networks exist through ex-
changes serving their members’ particular shared interests.
These cases reveal the subtle interrelation between what is public and
what is private: how public funds were accessed to build new spaces for
private uses; how public art monuments can represent the private concerns
of local residents; and how private collections can be amassed to support
the quality and diversity of a place. Although many of the efforts discussed
in this book began when public funds were plentiful, these efforts provide
insight into how to mobilize resources through the routine budgetary ap-
propriation processes and the decisions of policy makers. Such strategies are
as useful when disasters of epic proportions force the rebuilding of places
or when the growth-machine interests grab hold of the next big idea that
clashes with the interests of an ethnically driven stability machine.
The localities in this study shared a common orientation in their re-
sistance to externally imposed meanings and practices, while they sought
a place within post-industrial, postmodern culture. Through network re-
lationships, local residents accessed resources to create private and pub-
lic markers of the racial and ethnic dimensions of their lives. Rather than
reproducing historic inequalities by misrecognizing a dominant culture
as the legitimate culture of a place (Bourdieu [1979] 1984), participants
produced art and local culture that represented the potential vitality of a
local place to itself and to outsiders while contesting the broader cultural
arrangements that produce subordinate statuses. As an exploration of the
social worlds located outside the cultural centers of global cities, this study
demonstrates the importance of locality and ethnicity—local color—as a
renewable resource for the twenty-first century.
I NTERVI EWS
Alsina interview 2003. Monserrat Alsina, artist, co-owner of the Colibri Gallery.
Altman interview 2002. Edith Altman, artist.
Aubuchon interview 2003. Kimberly Aubuchon, artist, founder and director of the gallery
Unit B.
Berg interview 2005. Alicia Berg, vice president of Campus Environment at Columbia Col-
lege, former commissioner in the Chicago Department of Planning and Development,
former preservation planner for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
Bowen interview 2005. Charles Bowen, retired executive assistant of Chicago mayor
Richard M. Daley.
Briggs interview 2006. Carol J. Briggs, principal at Alfred D. Kohn Elementary School, co-
founder of Diasporal Rhythms.
Burkart interview 2002. Heather Burkart, artist, founder and director of Gallery Six-
FourFive.
Burroughs interview 2003. Margaret Burroughs, Chicago Park District commissioner, art-
ist, teacher, founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, founding
member of the South Side Community Art Center.
Crisler interview 2003. Joan Dameron Crisler, principal at Arthur Dixon Elementary
School, co-founder of Diasporal Rhythms.
Dayo interview 2002, 2008. Adedayo “Dayo” Laoye, artist.
Dowell interview 2005. Patricia R. Dowell, Chicago Third Ward alderman, former ex-
ecutive director of the Mid-South Planning and Development Commission, former
deputy commissioner in the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
Estrada interview 2001. William Estrada, artist, visual arts educator, assistant director of the
Yollocalli Youth Museum, a youth initiative of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum.
Ferreyra interview 2003. Roberto Ferreyra, artist, Aztec dance instructor, co-owner of the
Colibri Gallery.
Gaspar interview 2001. Maria Elena Gaspar, artist.
Goldberg interview 2002. Al Goldberg, musician, real estate agent.
Greenlee interview 2003. Sam Greenlee, poet, writer, filmmaker, author of Spook Who Sat
by the Door.
Guichard interview 2003. Andre Guichard, artist, founder of Gallery Guichard, former
curator of the South Shore Cultural Center, co-founder of the R.A.W. [Real Art Work]
show.
232 / Interviews
Harshaw interview 2001, 2002. Craig Harshaw, artist, executive director of Insight Arts.
Hogan interview 2001. Kathleen (Katy) A. Hogan, co-owner of the Heartland Café.
Jess interview 2002. Tyehimba Jess, poet, teaching artist, assistant professor, College of
Staten Island, New York (CUNY).
Johnson interview 2003. Robert Johnson, artist.
Jolly interview 2004, 2005. Marva Lee Pitchford Jolly, artist, professor at Chicago State
University, founder of Sapphire and Crystals.
Karanja interview 2001. Ayana Karanja, artist, associate professor, Loyola University Chi-
cago, board member of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.
Karanja interview 2003. Sokoni T. Karanja, founder and executive director of the Center
for New Horizons.
King interview 2003. Melvin King, artist, founder of the R.A.W. [Real Art Work] Fine Arts
Alliance, exhibiting artist at the R.A.W. Show, 2003, 2006.
Koenen interview 2003, 2005. Barbara Koenen, artist, bureaucrat, project director in the
Cultural Planning Division, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Kronbeck, interview 2002. Jasmine Kronbeck, artist, staff member at Pros Arts Studio.
Lash interview 2003. Michael Lash, director of the Public Art Program, Chicago Depart-
ment of Cultural Affairs.
Malika interview 2003, 2006. Annette Jackson, artist a.k.a. Malika, art teacher at Arthur
Dixon Elementary School, artist displaying work at the R.A.W. [Real Art Work] Show,
2006.
McCoy interview 2003, 2005, 2008. Patric McCoy, retired environmental engineer, art
collector, co-founder of Diasporal Rhythms, a nonprofit organization formed by a
network of collectors of artwork by black artists.
McCullough interview 2005. Geraldine McCullough, artist.
Medine interview 2003. Eric Medine, artist, co-founder of Drivethru Studios.
Moreno interview 2001. MariCarmen Moreno, director of youth education at the Instituto
del Progreso Latino.
Parker interview 2003. Daniel Texidor Parker, professor at Olive-Harvey Community Col-
lege, co-founder of Diasporal Rhythms, a nonprofit organization formed by network
of collectors of artwork by black artists.
Peck interview 2003. Nathan Peck, artist.
Peterson interview 2002. Tom Peterson (pseudonym), voter registrar.
Pounds interview 2003. Jon Pounds, artist, executive director of the Chicago Public Art
Group.
Rafacz interview 2003. Andrew Rafacz, founder of the Bucket Rider Gallery and the
Andrew Rafacz Gallery.
Robinson interview 2005. Paula Robinson, managing partner of the Bronzeville Com-
munity Development Partnership, member of the board of advisors for the National
Trust for Historic Preservation.
Rodriguez interview 2002. Elvia Rodriguez, artist, assistant director at Pros Arts Studio,
co-founder of Polvo Art Studio.
Romani interview 2003. Elena Romani (pseudonym), board member of Pros Arts Studio.
Samuelson interview 2003, 2005. Timothy J. Samuelson, cultural historian at the Chicago
Department of Cultural Affairs.
Sanders interview 2002. Gerald Sanders, artist, teacher, founder of Studio Bronzeville.
Shaffer interview 2002. Fern Shaffer, artist, former director of Artemisia Gallery.
Spears interview 2003. Gregg Spears, artist, former managing director of the South Side
Community Art Center.
Interviews / 233
Tortolero interview 2003, 2006. Carlos Tortolero, founder and executive director of the
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, renamed the National Museum of Mexican Art in
2006.
Walsh interview 2003. Ali Walsh, founder of the Hockshop Gallery.
Washington interview 2003. Dale Washington, artist.
Westgard interview 2002. Amy Westgard, artist, coordinator for the Rogers Park Arts
Council Steering Committee.
Williams interview 2003. Julian Williams, artist.
Williams interview 2002. karen g. williams, artist, artistic director of Insight Arts.
NOTES
I NTRODUCTI ON
1. The markers were installed in 1999 as a project of the Chicago Tribune Foundation,
the Chicago Cultural Center Foundation, and the Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs.
2. “Black” as used in this study refers to a pan-ethnic self-identification of people hav-
ing origins in any of the dark-skinned cultural groups of Africa and is discussed more
fully later in this chapter. (For further information on the changing meaning of racial
and ethnic categorization, see Lee and Bean 2003; Grieco and Cassidy 2001).
3. In this study, “community area” refers to an aggregate of census tracts set forth by
early twentieth-century researchers of the Chicago School of Social Science Research
as part of an urban sociology research agenda that was sustained through the first
half of the century. Approved by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1930 and first published
in the Local Community Fact Book (Wirth and Furez 1938), these community areas
are based upon aggregates of census tracts and intended to provide researchers and
local leaders with consistent access to demographic information collected by the
U.S. Census Bureau. Chicago planners and demographers still refer to these “com-
munity areas” in formal documents, yet their importance, as well as the publication
of the Local Community Fact Book, has diminished with the advent of universal pub-
lic Internet access to the U.S. Census data via www.census.gov. Initially there were
seventy-five community areas. However, prior to the 1980 census, two additional
community areas were added: Area 76 with the annexation of the land for O’Hare
International Airport, and Area 77, Edgewater, when Area 3, Uptown, was divided by
the city of Chicago.
4. All demographic data for 2000 is drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau on www.census
.gov. Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park data are calculated through aggregates of
the appropriate census tracts. Racial and ethnic data are compiled through “Table P4:
Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race [73] Universe: Total Popu-
lation” on www.census.gov. Overall Chicago data are drawn from the geographic
category of “place,” which refers to the incorporated city of Chicago. “Community
areas” refer to historic locales but are not designated “places” in the U.S. Census.
5. Figures in the U.S. Census’s Bureau’s “2006–2008 American Community Survey 3-Year
Estimates” show some change in these figures with a 2 percent decrease in the black/
African American population to 34 percent; Chicago’s white/Caucasian population
is estimated to remain at 31 percent; and its Hispanic/Latino population is estimated
to increase 2 percent to 28 percent.
6. “Latino,” rather than “Hispanic,” as used throughout this book, refers to a pan-ethnic
population sharing a linguistic heritage of Spanish. The term “ethnic” or “ethnicity”
is used in reference to a specific nation or national origin, and “ethnic culture” refers
to the symbols and customs of a specific nation, whereas “pan-ethnic” is used to refer
to many nations. For example, “Mexican” is an ethnicity that refers to the culture
and customs of Mexico; “Puerto Rican” is an ethnicity that refers to the culture and
customs of Puerto Rico; “Hispanic” is an ethnicity that refers to the culture and cus-
toms of Spain. As the largest segment of Chicago’s Latino population is of Mexican
descent, there is a cultural rejection of the term “Hispanic” as a pan-ethnic label,
in favor of “Latino,” as the term “Hispanic” is thought to perpetuate a Eurocentric
perspective. In Pilsen, Mexicans are the dominant group, so Mexican ethnicity exerts
hegemonic authority; however, Latinos of non-Mexican descent also live in Pilsen
and were interviewed as part of this study.
7. Postmodernism is a cultural/artistic term often referring to pluralism in contempo-
rary cultural and political discourse, the general discrediting of the high culture/low
culture paradigm, and the blurring of the boundaries between art, mass media, and
popular culture (Harrington 2006, 21). I also use the term to refer to the time period
of last half of the twentieth century, paralleling post-industrial economic change. It
is a cultural and artistic period, coined by Fredric Jameson, and, according to some
uses, marks a break from mid-twentieth-century “modernity” and from nineteenth-
century Kantian aesthetics For example, in art this is seen in the break from abstract
expressionism (Jackson Pollock) to the mix-and-match, reproducible styles of pop
art (Andy Warhol) and beyond; in architecture it is the break from the minimal-
ist skyscrapers and “form = function” of Bauhaus to the functionalist eclecticism
of Helmut Jahn and fantastic excesses of Frank Gehry. These aesthetic fissures then
characterize a shift in our understanding of knowledge as fixed, universal, and gener-
alizable to something that has multiple interpretations and changes within different
contexts, i.e., is contextual. In contrast, Featherstone traces the modernist roots for
many of the postmodernist claims. For an overview and deconstruction of postmod-
ern interpretations of contemporary cultural change, see Featherstone (1992).
8. As Swidler pointed out: “Culture influences action not by providing the ultimate val-
ues toward which action is oriented, but by shaping a repertoire or tool kit of habits,
skills, and styles from which people construct strategies of action” (1986, 1).
9. See King (1996) for a discussion of segregation of ethnic communities from the
larger corporate structure of the city. Subordinated communities are hidden and in-
visible or presented as backward in contemporary representations of the city, yet are
economically vital to the city. His book suggests that revealing the contributions of
these sectors will create a more manageable and egalitarian city.
10. “The Loop” refers to the configuration of public transportation tracks that circum-
vent the center city. The Loop is also a community area, No. 32, in Cook County
comprised of census tracts 3201–3206. The first two digits of a census tract number
refer to its community area number. As Chicago’s community areas have each been
identified by the same number and same census tracts for nearly one hundred years,
these numeric identifiers are consistent historical references for tracking population
change.
11. A study of arts audiences of Chicago’s twelve largest arts institutions and fifty smaller
ones (LaLonde et al. 2006) found that in most areas of the city and the surrounding
236 / Notes to Pages 5–7
metropolitan area, less than 5 percent of the population participated in the activi-
ties of these arts organizations. Their analysis of 1.2 million addresses of visitors,
members, and patrons collected by these organizations showed that a concentration
of participation in the arts comes from Chicago’s middle- and upper-class residents,
living in its North Side community areas and northern suburbs.
12. My use of the term “core” is distinct from Crane’s (1992) useful typology of the pro-
duction of culture as both media and urban arts. Crane builds a typology of three
domains: the core domain, the peripheral domain, and urban culture. In her work,
the “core domain” refers to large media conglomerates; “peripheral domain” refers
to smaller media organizations; and urban culture is the third domain. (1992, 4–5).
My focus on producing local color extends her concept of local urban culture produced
by urban institutions, local arts nonprofits, and businesses to include the networks of
producers that function on the margins of the third domain or are fully outside of it.
13. Weber referred to ideal conceptions of religious rejections of the world as “the con-
structed scheme . . . [which] only serves the purpose of offering an ideal typical [as
a] means of orientation. . . . The theoretically constructed types of conflicting ‘life
orders’ are merely intended to show that at certain points . . . internal conflict is
possible. . . . They are not intended to show that there is no standpoint from which
the conflicts could not be held to be resolved in a higher synthesis. As will readily be
seen, the individual spheres of value are prepared with rational consistency which
is rarely found in reality. But they can appear thus in reality and in historically im-
portant ways, and they have. Such constructions make it possible to determine the
typological locus of a historical phenomenon” (Weber [1915] 1958, 323–24).
14. According to Saskia Sassen, global cities are “command points in the organization
of the world economy; they are key locations and marketplaces for finance and spe-
cialized services and they are major sites of production and innovation for these
industries” ([1991] 2001, 3–4).
15. “Capital” is Pierre Bourdieu’s concept for objectifying power in social relationships.
Appropriated from the Marxist notion of “property” and the associated power re-
lationships of property ownership, Bourdieu uses it to describe all forms of power
contained and associated with access and possession of resources. “Cultural capital”
refers specifically to possession of legitimate forms of knowledge of cultural and ar-
tistic practice. Bourdieu recognized that the more dominant a group, the more power
its cultural objects possess (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990).
16. To define the term “distinction,” Bourdieu turns to Kantian aesthetics, where he finds
that the power of cultural capital is embedded in control of aesthetic knowledge and
practice. “Nothing is more distinctive, more distinguished, than the capacity to con-
fer aesthetic status on objects that are banal or even ‘common’ ” (Bourdieu ([1979]
1984, 5). Therefore, for Bourdieu, “distinction”—that is, the ability to be distinct—is
a key to the social function of art, not only in creating and maintaining social differ-
ence but also in legitimizing it.
CHAPTER ONE
1. For Crane, urban culture “is produced and disseminated in urban settings for local
audiences. Organizations that attract the smallest audiences with the more esoteric
and off beat material tend to be local cultural organizations that retain an importance
in the production and dissemination of culture that tends to be forgotten by those
who stress the role of popular culture by conglomerates. Local cultural organizations,
which are usually part of cultural networks—subcultures or art worlds—are often
Notes to Pages 7–19 / 237
sources of new ideas, a few of which eventually reach the cultural arena. The pro-
duction of these works is a social activity in which cultural creators are constantly
looking at other creators’ works to validate their own conceptions of aesthetic and
political issues” (1992, 4–5).
2. According to White, “[Art] dealers turn from a fuzz of hints regarding disparate col-
lector preferences. . . . [T]hey calibrate their commitment choices by comparison
to the profile through the choices they observe from the other dealers: Each dealer
chooses the volume that will maximize profit [that is,] over what he estimates will
have to be paid back upstream for the various volumes of new paintings” (2005, 1).
CHAPTER TWO
1. Before her death, Stamps became the executive director of the Chicago Housing Ten-
ants Organization, protesting the redevelopment of Cabrini-Green into mixed-use
housing in the 1990s. She would die at a youthful age, fifty-two, in 1995, just before
demolition of large segments of Cabrini-Green began.
2. Bronzeville refers to the Mid-South region of Chicago and is comprised of four
South Side community areas: Douglas, Oakland, Grand Boulevard, and Kenwood.
On www.census.gov, information for Douglas, Community Area 35, is found under
census tract data for Cook County, IL, and numbered 3501–3515. (The first two
digits refer to Community Area 35, which was the number for the Douglas com-
munity area. This number is followed by the census tract numbers 01–15.) Oak-
land, Community Area 36, is found under census tract numbers 3601–3605; Grand
Boulevard, Community Area 38, is found under census tract numbers 3801–3820;
Kenwood, Community Area 39, is found under census tract numbers 3901–3907.
The name “Bronzeville” does not appear in the Local Community Fact Book or in any
demographic reference to the area. Although this area is referred to in a number of
literary works and by sociologists Drake and Cayton ([1945] 1962) as “Bronzeville,”
the name did not appear in any contemporary publications until 1996, with the
installation of the Public Art of Bronzeville on Martin Luther King Drive.
3. Pilsen is located just north and west of Bronzeville, beyond the northern border of
Chinatown. Pilsen is located within Community Area 31, referred to as the “Lower
West Side” by the Community Area Fact Book. Population data are found under data
for Cook County, IL, census tracts 3101–3115.
4. Bohemia, once called the Kingdom of Bohemia, was part of the Austrian Empire
through much of the eighteenth century and all of the nineteenth century. In 1918—
after the fall of Emperor Franz Joseph and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire at the end of World War I—the country of Czechoslovakia was formed. It
was divided into two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, before the end of
the century, in 1993.
5. According to Addams, “Hull-House once stood in the suburbs, but the city has
steadily grown up around it and its site now has corners on three or four foreign
colonies. Between Halsted Street and the river live about ten thousand Italians—
Neapolitans, Sicilians, and Calabrians, with an occasional Lombard or Venetian. To
the south on Twelfth Street are many Germans, and side streets are given over almost
entirely to Polish and Russian Jews. Still farther south, these Jewish colonies merge
into a huge Bohemian colony, so vast that Chicago ranks as the third Bohemian city
in the world. To the northwest are many Canadian-French, clannish in spite of their
long residence in America, and to the north are Irish and first-generation Americans.
On the streets directly west and farther north are well-to-do English speaking fami-
238 / Notes to Pages 24–40
lies, many of whom own their own houses and have lived in the neighborhood for
years; one man is still living in his old farmhouse” (Addams [1910] 1938, 98–99).
6. Census information for Rogers Park, Community Area 1, is found under census tract
data for Cook County, IL, and numbered 101–109.
CHAPTER THREE
1. See Jeff Huebner’s insightful account “The Man Behind the Wall” (1997) for an in-
depth discussion of the Wall of Respect and of the artists involved in its production
and in the production of other public art murals.
2. See Wall of Respect, Organization of Black American Culture, 1967, http://www
.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/wallofrespect/main.htm.
3. At this time as museums in Chicago began to show minimalist art, Chicago was a
hotbed of political action, both in its politics and art, as pointed out by Kartemquin,
a film production company started by University of Chicago students. Among their
documentaries is What the Fuck Are These Red Squares? The film title criticized the
lack of political content in minimalist paintings while documenting a teach-in at
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where striking students responded to the
invasion of Cambodia and the killing of protesting students at Kent State University
and Jackson State University (1970, B&W, 15 minutes, www.kartemquin.com).
4. The issue of a proper monument to DuSable continues to be used as a tactic to in-
crease the public representation of blacks and black accomplishment. Mayor Harold
Washington designated a three-acre peninsula at the mouth of the Chicago River near
Navy Pier as DuSable Park in 1987. Yet a contemporary controversy has sustained
the debate over DuSable, particularly what he looked like. A planned abstract sculp-
ture by Martin Puryear, a well-known, African American artist, has created contro-
versy, as it sidestepped the issue of race and DuSable’s appearance. As most accounts
agree that he was a black man and a successful trader, advocates from the DuSable
League want a representational image of him as a black man with African features
as the monument to DuSable in the park, rather than a representation of him as a
light-skinned Haitian with European features, as he is depicted in some historical
documents, or an abstract memorial dedicated to him, as is currently planned.
CHAPTER FOUR
1. Kant located the experience of art as separate from everyday life just as it is distinct
from realms of rational thought. As Kantian aesthetics have influenced both modern
and postmodern aesthetic thought, it is important to state here what Kantian aesthet-
ics are.
For Kant, the experience of art was a subjective feeling associated with pleasure
and displeasure. The art object enabled one to have a transcendental and contempla-
tive experience of the beautiful, which he saw as a universal experience. Art objects
are distinct from objects, which function or can be put to good use in everyday life.
Moreover, the experience of the beautiful transcends everyday life experience. The
experience of pleasure derived from an art object is also distinct from sensuous pleas-
ure experienced in everyday life. Experiences of the beautiful exclude reason and its
associated forms of knowledge and thought as essential to the aesthetic judgment:
In order to discern whether or not something is beautiful, we do not relate the representa-
tion through reason to the object for knowledge. Rather, we relate it through the imagina-
tion (perhaps in conjunction with reason) to the subject and its feeling of pleasure and
Notes to Pages 43–72 / 239
displeasure. Hence the judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment, that is, it is not logi-
cal but aesthetic. An aesthetic judgment is one the determining grounds of which cannot
be other than subjective. But all reference of representations can be objective, even that of
sensations (which signify the real in an empirical representation). The one exception is
the relation of our representations to the feelings of pleasure and displeasure which refer
to nothing at all in the object. In the feelings of pleasure and displeasure the subject feels
itself in the way it is affected by the representation. (Kant [1790] 1963, 4)
Kant focused aesthetic judgment on subjective responses rather than cognitive re-
sponses or objective laws that purport to determine what makes a work of art. Said
another way, he did not focus on the “nature” of the beautiful object; instead, he
focused on judgments involved when things are called “beautiful.”
In Kantian terms, judgments involved in “the beautiful” are characterized as
disinterested; they are judgments, which are contemplative. In his categorizations
of types of judgments, he distinguished between “interested” and “distinterested
pleasure” and their associated judgments as “good” or “beautiful”; all are central
to his hierarchy of judgments. To state something is “beautiful” is the highest form
of pleasure one can have in viewing an object. It means there are universal qualities
within the object, which would lead everyone to share in the experience of beauty.
By contrast, interested pleasure exists in the realm of sensuous delight. Whereas dis-
interested pleasure involves imputing a universal judgment of beautiful (this is a
judgment that everyone would share and in fact one would want everyone to share
in it). Judgments about the beautiful are distinct from the functionality of an object
and from personal desire. Kant termed something “good” if it is useful and there is
thus a conceptual or purposeful basis for its existence. Something is “good” if it first
exists as a cognitive experience.
According to Kant, it is through the faculty of “taste” that one can judge beauty.
“Taste is the faculty of judging an object or a mode of representing it by a wholly disin-
terested pleasure or a displeasure. The object of such pleasure is called beautiful” (Kant
[1790] 1963, 12). By taste, Kant was not referring to taste of the senses; rather, he was
referring to the “ability to judge about the pleasurable in general . . . the universal”:
Take, for instance, one who knows how to entertain his company with things pleasur-
able (to the enjoyment of all senses) in such a way that all his guests are pleased. We say
of him that he has taste. This is a judgment in regard to sociability as based on empirical
rules. It is only comparatively universal; the rules in cases of this sort are merely general,
as are all empirical rules, and not universal. The judgment of taste on the beautiful, on
the contrary, establishes or lays claim to rules that are universal. It is true that judgments
in regard to the good also rightly lay claim to validity for everyone. However, the good
is represented as an object of universal pleasure only by means of a concept, which is the
case neither with the pleasurable nor the beautiful. . . . In the judgment of taste (about
the beautiful) the pleasure in an object is imputed to everyone without, however, any
conceptual foundation (for then the object would be the Good). (Kant [1790] 1963,
15–16)
Kant laid the groundwork for what would become the distinction between
aesthetics and the sociology of art. He distinguished between judgments made ac-
cording to empirical rules and aesthetic judgments. The topic of making aesthetic
distinctions was of particular interest to and critiqued by Pierre Bourdieu ([1979]
1984) in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste.
240 / Notes to Page 72
As seen in the above quote, Kant labeled the judgments made according to empiri-
cal rules as good. In beauty, an object is judged as its own highest achievement; the
beautiful transcends its materials and becomes an object in itself. While Kant indicated
that judgments leading to proclamations of “beautiful” are better than those which he
termed good—which are related to sociability and sensuousness—he opened an area
of discourse that would debate this distinction, both in the arts and in sociology, for
more than two hundred years. Specifically, Marx (1844, [1845] 1968) condemned
Kantian aesthetics as bourgeois aesthetics. For Marx, the work of the craftsman in every-
day life would be the highest form of human activity as it was centered on practice. In
contrast, another sociologist, Georg Simmel, did not discuss contemplative aesthetics
and universality; instead he focused on interactions that are “sociable” (1950).
2. According to Bourdieu and Passeron, cultural capital consists of “the cultural goods
transmitted by the different family PAs [pedagogic actions], whose value qua cultural
capital varies with the distance between the cultural arbitrary imposed by the domi-
nant PA and the cultural arbitrary inculcated by the family PA within different groups
or classes” (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990, 30).
3. These black collectors challenge late nineteenth- and twentieth-century aesthetics
in which “disinterestedness” was the distinguishing characteristic in aesthetic judg-
ments or judgments of taste. Scholars cite Kant’s philosophical treatise Critique of
Judgment and its “Book I: Analytic of the Beautiful,” originally published in 1790,
in which Kant makes distinctions between “interested” and “disinterested” pleasure,
and places “disinterested pleasure” above “interested pleasure” in his hierarchy of
distinctions; it therefore had more aesthetic value. According to Kant, one can only
experience beauty through judgments characterized by “disinterested pleasure,” that
is, a kind of pleasure that one does not want to own and possess for oneself alone,
but pleasure that one wants to share with others. By virtue of disinterestedness, one
can experience something that is universal (Kant [1790] 1963).
4. Just as the twenty-first-century art parties provided a social atmosphere to introduce
collectors to artists while supporting an alternative economy, early twentieth-century
“rent parties” served as a alternative to segregated clubs while offering a place to so-
cialize, eat, drink, dance, and play music. These private parties, held in apartments,
were an important part of the development of blues music in Chicago. Although it is
often assumed that the cover charge helped to pay the rent of the host, according to
Jones (1963), such “pay parties” were important cultural venues and also developed
careers for musicians: “The boogie pianist achieved a special social status, playing
at various Chittlin’ Struts, Gumbo Suppers, Fish Fries, Egg Nog Parties. His services
were much sought after, and he could gain entrance to all these ‘pay parties’ without
being expected to pay” (Jones 1963, 115).
5. Mike Featherstone provided a detailed investigation into the aestheticization of
everyday life. For an overview and deconstruction of postmodern interpretations of
contemporary cultural change, see Featherstone (1992).
6. See p. 237 n. 16.
7. Uncle Tom is a character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tom is a
privileged slave who lives with his wife and children in their own house. He serves
the master selflessly and loyally, in exchange for his position. However, when the
economy of the slave master’s plantation begins to crumble, Tom is viewed as one
of the most valuable assets and quickly coveted by the master’s debtors. He is sold
to cover debts and forced to leave his family. People who act like Uncle Tom are
ostracized because they are considered to be complacent and to not use their assets
Notes to Pages 72–81 / 241
to improve the plight of all black people. Yet acting complacent was often a survival
technique, as Drake and Cayton point out: “If working as servants, Negros must be
properly deferential to the white people upon whom they depend on for meager
wages and tips. In fact, they often have to overdo their act in order to earn a living; as
they phrase it, they have to ‘Uncle Tom’ to ‘Mr. Charley’ a bit to survive” (Drake and
Cayton [1945] 1962, 387).
8. “Boojie” is slang for what E. Franklin Frazier characterized as the social distance of
the middle class from the working class and poor in Black Bourgeoisie (1957).
9. Playwright August Wilson, quoted by Crisler. Wilson’s address “The Ground on
Which I Stand” was given during the 1996 Theater Communications Group National
Conference at Princeton University on June 26, 1996 (Wilson 1996).
10. The Bud Billiken Parade is the annual parade that runs the full length of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. Drive (Twenty-Sixth Street to Washington Park). What began as a
marketing tool for the black-run newspaper the Chicago Defender has grown into a
spectacular annual event celebrating black accomplishment in Chicago and is held
on the second Saturday of August. The 2008 parade marked its seventy-ninth year
and involved over “75,000 participants, 1.5 million people along the parade route
and over 25 million watching in their homes around the country” (Bud Billiken
Parade 2009).
CHAPTER F I VE
1. Becker defined a career as the “fate of the individual within an occupational organi-
zation” (1963, 101). He adapted Hughes’s (1937) definition of a career in the study
of musicians who exist within occupational networks. For Hughes:
Objectively . . . [a career is] a series of statuses and clearly defined offices . . . typi-
cal sequences of position, achievement, responsibility, and even of adventure. . . .
Subjectively, a career is the moving perspective in which the person sees his life as a
whole and interprets the meaning of his various attributes, actions and the things that
happen to him. (1937, 409–10)
By investigating musicians’ definitions of success, Becker sees the movement and sta-
tuses within a hierarchy of available jobs. Without these self-assessments of success,
without income-producing activity, and without ranked positions, such definitions
of careers do not work.
2. Approaching a career from position of public recognition, Giuffre studied career
paths of photographers who won National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1986
and 1988, plus all photographers who had solo shows in New York galleries in 1988.
The study yielded a conceptualization of artists’ careers as “positions within a struc-
ture that is itself in a state of flux” (1999, 818).
3. Located on the lakefront, Navy Pier was revalorized in the 1990s as a tourist center
with a remodeled exhibition/convention hall, a children’s museum, theater, restau-
rants, stores, a Ferris wheel, and docks for boat tours.
4. Nonprofit status is something that must be applied for and ruled on by the United
States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Most arts nonprofits are 501(c)(3) nonprofits
with educational purposes.
CHAPTER S I X
1. These are ideal types representing an analytic construction that is not intended to
represent a preferred way of life (Weber [1915] 1958, 59–60). Such analytically con-
242 / Notes to Pages 81–129
structed schemes are intended as a means of orientation and to make it possible to
determine the locus of historical phenomenon (324). See also p. 237 n. 13.
2. Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ecologists studied the interaction of ani-
mal, plant, and human communities and their environment. For example, University
of Chicago botanist and ecologist Henry Cowles (1899) studied landscapes and plant
life of the Indiana Dunes—an Indiana nature preserve located on the southern tip
of Lake Michigan. His theory of plant succession sought to explain the preserve’s
extreme plant diversity: 1,419 species existed in the Dunes’ 14,000 acres compared
to Yellowstone’s 1,120 species in 2,221,800 acres. For Cowles and others after him
who fought for its preservation, the Indiana Dunes were a living laboratory of extreme
plant diversity; the constant pressure of wind and water, hot and cold, the movement
of dry sand dunes butting up against marshland, rife with the forces of decomposi-
tion, led to a state of continual adaptation. “The ecologist . . . must study the order
of succession of the plant societies in the development of a region, and he must en-
deavor to discover the laws which govern the panoramic changes. Ecology, therefore,
is a study in dynamics. For its most ready application, plants should be found whose
tissues and organs are actually changing at the present time in response to varying
conditions. Plant formations should be found which are rapidly passing into other
types by reason of a changing environment. These requirements are met par excel-
lence in a region of sand dunes. Perhaps no topographic form is more unstable than
a dune. Because of this instability plant societies, plant organs, and plant tissues are
obliged to adapt themselves to a new mode of life within years rather than centuries,
the penalty for lack of adaptation being certain death” (Cowles 1899, 95–96). Soci-
ologist Emile Durkheim (1933), whose concept of the division of labor was based
upon a theory of human differentiation, theorized the modern human community
as a place where humans self-differentiate through work, giving rise to the coopera-
tion and moral bonding necessary for society to exist, while sociologist Robert Park
researched human ecology (1936) in the organization of cities and the balance of
human, commercial, and industrial uses of urban land. Park conceived of social
equilibrium to be one of institutionalism (Park [1925] 1952, 161). Later urban so-
ciologists sought policy interventions to sustain urban diversity. Jane Jacobs’s classic
argument called for city planning of mixed-use neighborhoods. She argued the “need
of cities for a most intricate and close-grained diversity of uses that give each other
constant and mutual support, both economically and socially” ([1961] 1992, 14).
3. I had been a member of Artemisia, a feminist co-op gallery in Chicago’s River West
gallery district, in 1989–92. Between 1983–2000 my work was shown in a number
of commercial galleries in Chicago, including Upstart Gallery on Halsted Street in
Lincoln Park and R.H. Love Contemporary on Ohio Street downtown. My paintings
were also included in group shows at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia, the Visual
Art Center of Alaska in Anchorage, and the Centro Colombo Americano, in Medellín,
Colombia. The highest profile of all these exhibitions was The Very Top Chicago
Women Painters at R.H. Love Contemporary in 1989. Although I continued to draw
and paint in a home-based studio, and both my husband and I made fine art photo-
graphs, I exhibited my work less frequently after becoming the executive director of
the Peace Museum in Chicago in 1992.
4. As discussed in the next chapter, a report by the Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs (2002) sought to build support for such arts districts. In 2005 a measure was
introduced in the Illinois legislature to create arts districts that provided discounts in
both sales and income tax collected from these districts. Both measures failed.
Notes to Pages 131–137 / 243
CHAPTER S EVEN
1. A study by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (2002), “Chicago Artists’
Space Strategy: Phase I,” investigated ways the city could promote and sustain artists
and arts activities throughout Chicago. This study examined the issues surrounding
arts districts in areas of concentrated arts activity and artists’ live/work spaces. The
study advocated for the establishment of zoning for arts districts and legalizing art-
ists’ live/work spaces.
2. Cisneros was then an unknown writer. She is the author of The House on Mango Street
(1984) and later won a MacArthur Genius Award for her literary accomplishments.
3. Mayor Daley established a Zoning Reform Commission within the Department of
Planning and Development to develop new principles for Chicago’s zoning policy.
The commission report “Principles for Chicago’s New Zoning Ordinance: Recom-
mendations for Preserving, Protecting, and Strengthening Chicago’s Neighborhoods”
(2002) did not call for the creation of artists’ districts, but proposed creation of “at
least one mixed-use ‘commercial-residential’ district that allows—as-of-right—resi-
dential buildings next to commercial and mixed-use buildings.” It argued: “By pro-
viding a greater range of housing options, this also could have a positive impact on
housing affordability. The new residential uses could include artist housing, more
rental opportunities, and housing for elderly—where the proximity to mass transit,
retail districts, and other pedestrian-oriented activities would be especially valued”
(Chicago Zoning Reform Commission 2002, 19).
CHAPTER EI GHT
1. The concept of black cultural capital is my adaptation of Bourdieu’s use of “capi-
tal” to refer to power contained and associated with access and possession of re-
sources, and “cultural capital” as possession of legitimate forms of knowledge and
art (Bourdieu and Passeron [1977] 1990). My adaptation for “black cultural capital”
recognizes the development of knowledge and power relevant to black people and
black experiences throughout the world and, in this particular case, Bronzeville in
Chicago, as discussed in chapter 4.
2. Samuelson first learned about the Jordan building in They All Played Ragtime: The
True Story of an American Music, by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Grossman Janis (1950).
3. At the time Samuelson was hired, the commission was called the Commission on
Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks. According to Samuelson, although
its name included the term “historical,” it focused on “architectural” significance.
According to a 2007 publication on the rules and regulations of the Commission
on Chicago Landmarks, “The Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural
Landmarks was created in 1957 by the City Council. It served primarily as an advi-
sory board, whose principal purpose was to compile a list of significant buildings. In
1968, the City Council adopted a landmarks ordinance that gave the Commission
the responsibility of recommending to the Council which specific landmarks should
be protected by law. The ordinance also gave the Commission the authority to review
building permits for landmarks, to ensure that any proposed alterations would not
negatively affect the character of the landmark. In 1987, the ordinance was revised
to more clearly articulate the processes for landmark designation and permit review
and to add an economic hardship provision for owners. The Commission also was
renamed the Commission on Chicago Landmarks at that time” (City of Chicago
2007).
244 / Notes to Pages 168–196
4. By 2007 only Preckwinkle, whose ward included all of the Bronzeville Lakefront
area, would remain in office. Both Tillman and Haithcock would lose their alder-
manic seats in runoff elections. Tillman lost to the former deputy commissioner in
the Department of Planning and Development Pat Dowell; Haithcock would lose to
Robert Fioretti, an attorney specializing in civil litigation, government administra-
tion, and zoning.
5. The mural was originally painted by Sam Mulberry, Mario Gonzalez, Lavie Raven,
and others, who painted twenty-three separate sections of the Forty-Seventh Street
train viaduct with the formal permission of the Regional Transportation Authority.
They used brushes and spray cans to paint “The Twelve Doorways of Perception,” on
the north side of the viaduct. It depicted “12 different views of spirituality,” which,
according to Mulberry, included elements of Latin American, African, Mayan, In-
dian, and Native American spiritual practices (Armstrong 2006). The south side was
the “Gallery of Style,” an annually changing wall featuring works by artists invited
by the crew. Part of this section became a memorial in 2004 to Wyatt Mitchell, aka
Attica, an artist and mentor who died. When the mural was painted out by Chicago
graffiti-blasters, the Chicago Public Art Group interceded. But rather than facilitate
the repainting by the original artists, CPAG managed a new “community-involved”
mural project, by conducting a series of community meetings, soliciting artists’ pro-
posals, and assembling a selection committee comprised of CPAG executive direc-
tor Jon Pounds, Chuck Thurow, director of the Hyde Park Art Center, and Faheem
Majeed, curator for the South Side Community Art Center. The threesome reviewed
proposals from twenty-eight mural teams and then selected a finalist from CPAG’s
core artists. Rahmaan Statik Barnes, an African American spray-can artist with ties
to Bronzeville but living in Pilsen, was selected for the final project. Imagery in his
proposal was developed from meetings that Pounds conducted with the alderman
and a small group of older, white residents. The proposal included images, maps,
and prominent Chicagoans painted in the style of traditional mural without any
graffiti-like imagery.
Notes to Pages 202–218 / 245
REF ERENCES
Addams, Jane. [1910] 1938. Twenty Years at the Hull House. New York: Macmillan.
———–. 1930. The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House, September 1909 to September 1929,
with a Record of a Growing World Consciousness. New York: Macmillan.
Adelman, William J. [1979] 1983. Pilsen and the West Side: A Tour Guide. Chicago: Illinois
Labor History Society.
Anderson, Jon. 2002. “Invisible and Invincible: Poet Relives Her Days as a Servant to Chi-
cago’s Wealthy.” Chicago Tribune, February 18.
Applied Real Estate Analysis. 1987. “Giles Armory Market Study, Analysis of Adaptive
Re-Use.” Prepared for City of Chicago, Harold Washington, Mayor. Department of
Planning, Elizabeth Hollander, Commissioner.
Armstrong, Liz. 2006. “Whitewashed: How the City Wiped Out a Decade of History.” Chi-
cago Reader, September 26. Downloaded from the Chicago Reader Story Archive, www
.chicagoreader.com (accessed June 15, 2007).
Bailey, Joyce Waddell. 1979. “The Penny Press.” In Posada’s Mexico, edited by Ron Tyler,
85–121. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Becker, Howard S. 1963a. Outsiders: Studies of the Sociology of Deviance. New York: Free
Press of Glencoe.
———–. 1963b. “Careers in a Deviant Occupational Group.” In Outsiders: Studies of the
Sociology of Deviance, 101–19. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.
———–. 1976. “Art Worlds and Social Types.” American Behavioral Scientist 19 (6): 703–18.
———–. [1982] 2008. Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press.
———–. 1986. Doing Things Together. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
Becker, Howard S., and Michael M. McCall. 1990. Symbolic Interaction and Cultural Studies.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Benjamin, Walter. 1969. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In
Illuminations. New York: Schocken.
Bennett, L., G. Squires, K. McCourt, and P. Nyden. 1987. “Challenging Chicago’s Growth
Machine: A Preliminary Report on the Washington Administration.” International Jour-
nal of Urban and Regional Research 11:351–62.
Black, Timuel. 1999. Guided Tour of Bronzeville.
Blau, Peter M., and Richard A. Schoenherr. 1971. The Structure of Organizations. New York:
Basic Books.
248 / References
Blesh, Rudi, and Harriet Grossman Janis. 1950. They All Played Ragtime: The True Story of
an American Music. New York: Knopf.
Bourdieu, Pierre. [1979] 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans-
lated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
———–. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production. New York: Columbia University Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre, and Jean-Claude Passeron. [1977] 1990. Reproduction in Education, Soci-
ety and Culture. 2nd ed. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Boyd, Michelle R. 2000. “Reconstructing Bronzeville: Racial Nostalgia and Neighborhood
Redevelopment.” Journal of Urban Affairs 22(2): 107–22.
———–. 2008. Jim Crow Nostalgia: Reconstructing Race in Bronzeville. Minneapolis: Univer-
sity of Minnesota Press.
Brooks, Gwendolyn. [1945] 1987. Blacks. Chicago: Third World Press.
Bud Billiken Parade. 2009. “History of the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic.” budbillikenparade
.com (accessed June 6, 2009).
Burnham, Scott. 1994. “Political Fates Tied to CHA Projects.” Chicago Reporter, May, www
.chicagoreporter.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Burns, Tom, and G. M. Stalker. 1961. The Management of Innovation. London: Tavistock.
Burros, Julie, and Alison Zehr. 2000. Survey of Chicago’s Cultural Landscape. Chicago: Chi-
cago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Burroughs, Margaret. 1991. “Saga of the South Side Community Art Center: 1938–1941.”
In The South Side Community Art Center’s 50th Anniversary Book, 1941–1991, 1–14.
Chicago: South Side Community Art Center.
Burt, Ron. 1992. “Structural Holes versus Network Closure as Social Capital.” In Social Cap-
ital: Theory and Research, edited by Nan Lin, Karen Cook, and Ronald S. Burt, 31–56.
New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
———–. 2000. “The Network Structure of Social Capital.” In Organizational Behavior, vol. 22,
edited by Robert Sutton and Barry M. Staw. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Campbell, Susan M. 1986. “Chicago Blues District.” Concept paper by Wendell Campbell
and Associates for the City of Chicago, Harold Washington, Mayor. Department of
Economic Development, Robert Mier, Commissioner.
Campbell, Wendell. 1993. “Mid-South Strategic Development Plan: Restoring Bronzeville.”
Report prepared by Wendell Campbell Associates Inc. and Applied Real Estate Analy-
sis for the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development and the Mid-
South Planning Group.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. 1996. A Guide to the Public Art of Bronzeville. Chi-
cago: City of Chicago.
———–. 2002. “Chicago Artists’ Space Strategy: Phase I.” Chicago: City of Chicago.
Chicago Department of Planning. 1989. Life along the Boulevards: Using Chicago’s Historic
Boulevards as Catalysts for Neighborhood Revitalization. Chicago: City of Chicago.
Chicago Journal. 2001a. “A Guided Tour of John Podmajersky’s East Pilsen Artists’ Col-
ony.” Chicago Journal, November 22.
Chicago Journal. 2001b. “Viewpoints: A Good Idea Let Along: While No Blueprint for City
Building, East Pilsen Is a Quixotic Dream Realized.” Chicago Journal, November 29.
Chicago Sun-Times. 1986a. “Festivities Launch Mexican Art Center.” Chicago Sun-Times,
August 13, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Chicago Sun-Times. 1986b. “List of 25 Approved by Council.” Chicago Sun-Times, May 10,
https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Chicago Tribune. 2009. “Franklin Rosemont, 1943–2009: Surrealist Poet and Labor His-
References / 249
torian.” Chicago Tribune, April 15, http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/apr/15/
news/chi-hed-rosemont-15-apr15 (accessed June 7, 2009).
Chicago Zoning Reform Commission. 2002. “Principles for Chicago’s New Zoning Or-
dinance: Recommendations for Preserving, Protecting, and Strengthening Chicago’s
Neighborhoods.” A Report of Chicago Department of Planning and Development,
Zoning Reform Commission. Chicago: City of Chicago.
Chipp, Herschel B. 1968. Theories of Modern Art: A Sourcebook for Artists and Critics. Berke-
ley: University of California Press.
City of Chicago. 1973. Chicago 21: A Plan for the Central Area Communities. Chicago: City
of Chicago.
City of Chicago. 1998. Empowerment Zone FAQ, http://www.ci.chi.il.us/PlanAndDevelop/
Programs/EmpowermentZone/EmpZoneFAQ.html (accessed June 14, 2003).
Clark, Terry Nichols, ed. 2004. City as Entertainment Machine. Oxford: Elsevier.
Commission on Chicago Landmarks. 2004. “Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District,” www
.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/B/BlackMet.html (accessed March 16, 2004).
Commission on Chicago Landmarks and Department of Planning and Development.
2007. Landmarks Ordinance and the Rules and Regulations of the Commission on Chicago
Landmarks. Chicago: City of Chicago, http://www.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/pdf/
Landmarks_Ordinance.pdf (accessed August 8, 2009.)
Cowles, Henry C. 1898. “An Ecological Study of the Sand Dune Flora of Northern Indi-
ana.” PhD diss., University of Chicago.
———–. 1899. “The Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake
Michigan.” Monograph published as a series of articles in Botanical Gazette 27 (2):
95–117; (3): 167–202; (4): 281–302; (5): 361–91.
Crane, Diana. 1976. “Reward Systems in Art, Science and Religion.” American Behavioral
Scientist 19 (6): 719–34.
———–. 1992. The Production of Culture: Media and Urban Arts. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Crisler, Joan Dameron. 2008. Speech given at the 2008 Annual Diasporal Rhythms Dinner.
Cronin, Barry. 1986. “In Park, He Brings a Protector.” Chicago Sun-Times, June 19, https://
global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Cronin, Barry, and Fran Spielman. 1986. “Kelly Stripped of Park Power.” Chicago Sun-
Times, June 17, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Danto, Arthur C. 1967. “The Artworld.” Journal of Philosophy 61(19): 571–84.
———–. 1987. The State of Art. New York: Prentice Hall.
Dávila, Arlene. 2004. Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
DiMaggio, Paul. [1982] 1991. “Cultural Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth-Century Boston:
The Creation of an Organizational Base for High Culture in America.” In Rethinking
Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies, edited by Chandra Mukerji
and Michael Schudson, 374–97. Berkeley: University of California Press.
———–. 1987. “Classification in Art.” American Sociological Review 52 (4): 440–55.
———–. 1991. “Constructing an Organizational Field as a Professional Project.” In The
New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, edited by Walter W. Powell and Paul J.
DiMaggio, 267–92. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
DiMaggio, Paul, and Paul M. Hirsh. 1976. “Production Organizations in the Arts.” Ameri-
can Behavioral Scientist 19 (6): 735–52.
DiMaggio, Paul, and Tokir Mukhtar. 2004. “Arts Participation as Cultural Capital in the
United States, 1982–2002: Signs of Decline?” Poetics 32: 169–94.
250 / References
Dorsey, Thomas. 2004. “Black Genesis—Chicago.” SoulofAmerica.com. www.soulofamerica
.com/cityfldr2/chicago13.html (accessed July 23, 2004).
Dowd, Timothy J. 2004. “Concentration and Diversity Revisited: Production Logics and
the U.S. Mainstream Recording Market, 1940–1990.” Social Forces 82 (4): 1411–55.
Dowd, Timothy J., Kathleen Liddle, Kim Luppo, and Ann Borden. 2002. “Organizing the
Musical Canon: The Repertoires of Major U.S. Symphony Orchestras, 1842 to 1969.”
Poetics 30:35–61.
Drake, St. Clair, and Horace R. Cayton. [1945] 1962. Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life
in a Northern City. New York: Harper.
Drivethru. 2003. “About Us Manifesto,” http://www.usersinc.com/drivethru (accessed
May 30, 2003).
Dubin, Steve. 1992. Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. New York: Routledge,
Chapman, and Hall.
DuBois, W. E. B. 1903. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co.
Durkheim, Émile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Joseph Ward
Swain. New York: Free Press.
———–. 1933. The Division of Labor in Society. Translated by George Simpson. New York:
Free Press.
Engel, J. Ronald. 1983. Sacred Sands. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
Evans, Arthur, Jr. [1992] 1995. “The Transformation of the Black Middle Class.” In The
New Middle Classes: Life-Styles, Status Claims and Political Orientations, edited by Arthur J.
Vidich, 215–37. New York: New York University Press.
Fanon, Frantz. 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press.
Featherstone, Mike. 1992. “Postmodernism and the Aestheticization of Everyday Life.” In
Modernity and Identity, edited by Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman, 265–90. Oxford:
Blackwell.
Fine, Gary Alan. [1996] 2009. Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work. Berkeley: University
of California Press.
———–. 2004. Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Fine, Gary Alan, and Sherryl Kleinman. 1979. “Rethinking Subculture: An Interactionist
Analysis.” American Journal of Sociology 85:1–20.
Frazier, E. Franklin. 1957. Black Bourgeoisie: The Rise of a New Middle Class. New York: Free
Press of Glencoe.
Gablik, Suzi. 2001. “Interview with Fern Shaffer and Othello Anderson,” www.greenmuseum
.org (accessed July 17, 2007).
Gablik, Suzi. 1991. The Re-Enchantment of Art. New York: Thames and Hudson.
———–. 2005. Sacred Wild. Exhibition pamphlet, www.apexart.org/exhibitions/gablik.htm
(accessed April 18, 2009).
Galaskiewicz, Joseph, and Wolfgang Bielefeld. 1998. Nonprofit Organizations in an Age of
Uncertainty: A Study of Organizational Change. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Gans, Herb. [1974] 1999. Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of
Taste. New York: Perseus Books.
Gapp, Paul. 1973. “New Plan for Central City Unveiled.” Chicago Tribune, June 15.
Gardner, Helen. 1970. Art through the Ages. 6th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Gaunt, William. 1970. The Impressionists. New York: Weathervane Books.
Gilmore, Samuel. 1990. “Art Worlds: Developing the Interactionist Approach to Social
Organization.” In Symbolic Interaction and Cultural Studies, edited by Howard S. Becker
and Michael M. McCall, 148–78. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
References / 251
Gilmore, Samuel.1993. “Search and Attraction in an Artistic Social Matching Process.”
Current Research on Occupations and Professions, 8:277–98.
Giuffre, Katherine. 1999. “Sand Piles of Opportunity: Success in the Art World.” Social
Forces 77 (3): 815–32.
Glenwood Avenue Arts District. 2002. Glenwood Avenue Arts District Directory. Chicago:
GLAAD.
Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday.
Gotham, Kevin Fox. 2007. Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture and Race in the Big Easy.
New York: New York University Press.
Grams, Diane. 2005. “Executive Compensation in Illinois Arts Nonprofits.” Study com-
missioned and published by the Illinois Arts Alliance, http://www.artsalliance.org/l_
compensation.shtml (accessed February 25, 2008).
———–. 2008. “Building Arts Participation: Transactions, Relationships, or Both?” In En-
tering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts, edited by Diane
Grams and Betty Farrell, 13–37. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Grams, Diane, and Betty Farrell, eds. 2008. Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and
Change in the Nonprofit Arts. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Grams, Diane, and Michael Warr. 2003. “Leveraging Assets: How Small Budget Arts Ac-
tivities Benefit Neighborhoods.” Report for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Granovetter, Mark. 1973. “The
Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology 78 (6): 1360–80.
———–. 1974. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Grazian, David. 2003. Blue Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Greenlee, Sam. [1969] 1973. The Spook Who Sat by the Door. New York: Bantam.
———–. 1973. The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Videotape produced by Sam Greenlee; di-
rected by Ivan Dixon, and written by Sam Greenlee. Originally distributed by United
Artists.
———–. 1975. “Property Values.” In Ammunition: Poetry and Other Raps, 34. London: Bogle-
L’Ouverture.
Grieco, Elizabeth M., and Rachel C. Cassidy. 2001. “Overview of Race and Hispanic Ori-
gin, 2000.” Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
Griswold, Wendy. 1994. Cultures and Societies in a Changing World. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Pine Forge Press.
Hall, Stuart. 1997. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Thou-
sand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Halle, David. 1993. Inside Culture: Art and Class in the American Home. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
Harrington, Austin. 2004. Art and Social Theory. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Hayden, Dolores. 1995. The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.
Hill, James. 1996. “Art Breathes Life into Bronzeville.” Chicago Tribune, September 11.
Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1989. The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at
Home. New York: Viking.
Huebner, Jeff. 1997. “The Man Behind the Wall.” Chicago Reader, August 29, https://
securesite.chireader.com/cgi-bin/Archive (accessed February 11, 2003).
Hughes, Everett C. 1937. “Institutional Office and the Person.” American Journal of Sociol-
ogy 43(3): 404–13.
———–. 1958. Men and Their Work. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.
252 / References
Hunter, James Davison. 1991. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York:
Basic Books.
Hyra, Derek. 2008. The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and
Bronzeville. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Illinois Institute of Technology. 1999. IIT’s Community Development Department, http://
www.iit.edu/~iitcomdev/introduction/intro.html (accessed June 14, 2003).
Illinois Statute 70 ILS 1290. Special Districts, Park District Aquarium and Museum Act,
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp (accessed February 18, 2002).
Illinois Statute 70 ILS 1205. Special Districts. Park District Code, http://www.ilga.gov/
legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp (accessed February 18, 2002).
Insight Arts. 2002. “Arts Education Program.” Pamphlet. Chicago: Insight Arts.
Isaacs, Deanna. 2002. “The Culture Club: Pod People Take Over.” Chicago Reader, October 4.
Jacob, Jane C. H. 2001. “Replacement Value Appraisal for Damage and Loss Claim.” Re-
port drafted by Jane C. H. Jacob, Ltd., Fine Arts Appraisal and Advisory Practice for
Mrs. Edith Altman.
Jacobs, Jane. [1961] 1992. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage
Books.
James, Michael. 2001. “Community, Entrepreneurship, Activism and Fun: Notes on the
Heartland Café on the Occasion of Its Twenty-Fifth Birthday.” Heartland Journal, no. 46
(Fall): 3.
Jenkins, Richard. [1992] 1999. Pierre Bourdieu. New York: Routledge.
Jess, Tyehimba. 2004. Leadbelly. New York: Verse.
Jones, Chris. 2009. “Rogers Park a Hot Stage ‘Hood.” Chicago Tribune, June 12.
Jones, LeRoi. 1963. Blues People: Negro Music in White America. Reprinted in 1999 under
the name Amiri Baraka. New York: HarperCollins.
Joynes, Carroll, and Diane Grams. 2008. “Bridging the Culture Gap.” In Entering Cultural
Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts, edited by Diane Grams and
Betty Farrell, 64–90. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Kadushin, Charles. 1974. The American Intellectual Elite. Boston: Little, Brown.
———–. 1976. “Networks and Circles in the Production of Culture.” American Behavioral
Scientist 19 (6): 769–84.
Kant, Immanuel. [1790] 1963. Analytic of the Beautiful. Translated by Walter Cerf. New
York: Bobbs-Merrill.
Karraker, David, and Diane Grams. 2008. “Partnering with Purpose.” In Entering Cultural
Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts, edited by Diane Grams and
Betty Farrell, 91–113. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
King, Anthony D., ed. 1996. Re-Presenting the City: Ethnicity, Capital and Culture in the 21st-
Century Metropolis. New York: New York University Press.
Kleine, Ted. 2001. “Rogers Park Hits the Wall: Self-Portraits of a Neighborhood.” Chicago
Reader, June 22.
Klose, Kevin. 1986. “Mayor Finally in Charge of Chicago’s Government: Slim Majority
Empowers Harold Washington.” Washington Post, July 17, https://global.factiva.com
(accessed July 15, 2008).
Kriedler, John. 1996. “Leverage Lost: The Nonprofit Arts in the Post-Ford Era.” Motion Maga-
zine, February 16, http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/lost.html (accessed July 24,
2006).
LaLonde, Robert, Colm O’Muircheartaigh, Julia Perkins, Diane Grams, Ned English, and
D. Carroll Joynes. 2006. Mapping Cultural Participation in Chicago. Chicago: Cultural
Policy Center at the University of Chicago.
References / 253
Lee, Jennifer, and Frank L. Bean. 2003. “Beyond Black and White: Remaking Race in Amer-
ica.” Contexts 2 (3): 26–33.
Lefebvre, Henri. [1974] 1991. The Production of Space. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Letter to CTA. 1993. Letter to CTA, attn: Constance Mortell (with author’s name removed)
complaining about Art Is for All mural, October 6.
Lifeline. 1992. Fund-raising letter for Art Is for All mural, November.
Lifeline. 1993. Letter responding to a neighbor’s complaint of Art Is for All mural. Octo-
ber 18.
Livezey, Lowell W. 2001. “Communities and Enclaves: Where Jews, Christians, Hindus,
and Muslims Share the Neighborhoods.” Cross Currents 51(1): 45–70.
Lloyd, Richard. 2005. Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City. New York:
Routledge.
Logan, John. R., and Harvey L. Molotch. 1987. Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of
Place. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Malcolm, Andrew. 1983. “Accord Is Reached on Chicago Parks.” New York Times, May 11,
https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Marable, Manning. [1995] 2002. “Toward Black American Empowerment.” In Reconstruct-
ing Gender, edited by Estelle Disch, 30–40. New York: McGraw Hill.
Marcuse, Herbert. [1977] 1978. The Aesthetic Dimension. Boston: Beacon.
Marx, Karl. 1844. “The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.” In The Marx-
Engels Reader. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York: Norton.
———–. [1845] 1968. “Thesis on Feuerbach.” In Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Their Es-
sential Thinking in Philosophy, Political Economy, History, Social Change and Communism.
New York: International Publishers.
Massey, Douglas, and Nancy Denton. 1993. American Apartheid. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
McEntire, Davis. 1960. Residence and Race. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Merriner, Jim. 1985. “Control of Boards Eludes Mayor: Names of 46 Nominees Still Lan-
guishing in City Council.” Chicago Sun-Times, November 26, https://global.factiva
.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Mess Hall. 2009. www.messhall.org (February 19, 2009).
Molotch, Harvey L. 1968. “Community Action to Control Racial Change: An Evaluation
of Chicago’s South Shore Effort.” PhD diss., University of Chicago.
———–. 1969a. “Racial Change in a Stable Community.” American Journal of Sociology 75
(2): 226–38.
———–. 1969b. “Racial Integration in a Transition Community.” American Sociological Re-
view 34 (6): 878–93.
———–. 1976. “The City as a Growth Machine.” American Journal of Sociology 82 (2): 309–30.
Montgomery, Evangeline J. [1998] 2005. “Postscript.” In Collecting African American Art:
Works on Paper and Canvas by Halima Taha, 251–52. Burlington, VT: Verve Editions.
Mooney-Melvin, Patricia. 1993. “Rogers Park.” In Encyclopedia of Chicago, , edited by Janice
L. Reiff, Ann Durkin Keating, and James R. Grossman (2005), http://www.encyclopedia
.chicagohistory.org (accessed July 21, 2007).
Moore, Joe. 2007. Alderman Joe Moore website, www.ward49.com (accessed May 30,
2007).
Moulin, Raymonde. [1967] 1987. The French Art Market: A Sociological View. Translated by
Arthur Goldhammer. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Mowatt, Raoul V. 2000. “House of Blues on Way Back: Artists and Activists Work to Restore
Pride in the Kenwood Home Where Muddy Waters Lived.” Chicago Tribune, August 31.
254 / References
Mukerji, Chandra and Michael Schudson. 1991. Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary
Perspectives in Cultural Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press.
National African American Military Museum (NAAMM). IRS Form 990, 2002 and 2003,
www.guidestar.com (accessed July 8, 2008).
National Guard. 2008. “About the National Guard,” www.ngb.army.mil/About/default
.aspx (accessed July 8, 2008).
Newman, M. W. 1989. “Mexican Artists Find Outlet in Museum.” Chicago Sun-Times, De-
cember 10, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
New York Times. 1982. “Chicago Parks Upkeep at Issue in Bias Case.” New York Times,
December 19, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC). 1967. “Wall of Respect,” http://www
.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/wallofrespect/main.htm (accessed June 15, 2007).
Panofsky, Erwin. 1939. Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance.
New York: Oxford University Press.
———–. [1955] 1974. Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History. Woodstock,
NY: Overlook Press.
———–. 1991. Perspective as Symbolic Form. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Parham, Thomas A., Joseph L. White, and Adisa Ajamu. 1999. The Psychology of Blacks: An
African Perspective. New York: Prentice Hall.
Park, Robert E. 1915. “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in
the City Environment.” American Journal of Sociology 20 (5): 577–612.
———–. [1925] 1952. “The Urban Community as a Spatial Pattern and a Moral Order.” In
Human Communities: The Collected Papers of Robert Ezra Park, vol. 2, edited by Everett
C. Hughes, Charles S. Johnson, Jitsuichi Masuoka, Robert Redfield, and Louis Wirth,
165–77. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
———–. [1931] 1964. Race and Culture. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
———–. [1934] 1952. “Dominance.” In Human Communities, edited by Hughes, Johnson,
Masuoka, Redfield, and Wirth, 159–64.
———–. 1936. “Human Ecology.” American Journal of Sociology 42 (1): 1–15.
Park, Robert E., Ernest W. Burgess, Roderick D. McKenzie. 1925. The City. Chicago: Uni-
versity of Chicago Press.
Parker, Daniel Texidor. 2004. African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond. Chicago: Daniel Parker.
Pattillo, Mary. 2007. Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Pearce, Barry. 2002. “Tales of the New West: Pilsen Both Wary and Welcoming as Develop-
ment Moves Southwest.” New Homes (June): 19–25.
Peterson, Richard A. 1976a. “The Production of Culture: A Prolegomenon.” American Be-
havioral Scientist 19 (6): 669–84.
———–. 1976b. The Production of Culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
———–. 1980. “Accounting for Taste: Some First Steps.” Paper presented at the American
Sociological Association conference, August.
———–. 1982. “Five Constraints on the Production of Culture: Law, Technology, Market,
Organizational Structure and Occupational Careers.” Journal of Popular Culture 16 (2):
143–53.
———–. 1997. Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity. Chicago: University of Chi-
cago Press.
Peterson, Richard A., and Gabriel Rossman. 2005. “Changing Arts Audiences: Capitalizing
on Omnivorousness.” Paper presented at the Harris School of Public Policy, Cultural
References / 255
Policy Center Workshop, University of Chicago, October 14, http://culturalpolicy
.uchicago.edu/pdfs/peterson1005.pdf (accessed October 14, 2005).
Peterson, Richard A., and Howard G. White. 1979. “The Simplex Located in Art Worlds.”
Urban Life 7 (4): 411–39.
Podolny, Joel M., and Karen L. Page. 1998. “Network Forms of Organization.” Annual
Review of Sociology 24:57–76.
Polvo. 2003. “Genera/Zione: Lucky 7, Art Boat, May 10 2003,” www.polvo.org (accessed
December 21, 2007).
———–. 2004. “Polvo Art Studio at the Stray Show, May 7–9, 2004,” www.polvo.org (ac-
cessed September 19, 2007).
Powell, Walter W. 1990. “Neither Market or Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization.”
In Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 12, edited by B. Staw and L. L. Cummings,
295–336. Greenwich, CT: JAI.
Powell, Walter W., and Paul J. DiMaggio, eds. 1991. The New Institutionalism in Organiza-
tional Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.
New York: Simon and Schuster.
Quintanilla, Ray. 1994. “Alderman [sic] Keep Firm ‘Hold’ on Bronzeville.” Chicago Re-
porter, January, www.chicagoreporter.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Radway, Janice. 1984. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Rast, Joel. 2001. “Manufacturing Industrial Decline: The Politics of Economic Change in
Chicago, 1955–1998.” Journal of Urban Affairs 23 (2): 175–90.
Reuter, Jas. 1979. “The Popular Traditions,” translated by Marigold Best. In Posada’s Mex-
ico, edited by Ron Tyler, 59–68. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Richardson, Cheryl Jenkins. 1992. “Historic Gap Fills in the Blanks: Stately Homes Dot
South Side Area.” Chicago Sun-Times, September 13.
Rogers Park. [2000] 2003. “Rogers Park Community Council Honors Al Goldberg and
Community Partners: ‘Making an Impact’ at 52nd Annual Meeting and Gala.” In
Rogers Park 2000, 1. Chicago: Rogers Park Community Council.
Rosemont, Franklin. 2002. “Surrealism Here & Now.” Exhibition brochure for Surrealism
Here and Now: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, Collages, and Other Works by Partici-
pants in the Chicago Surrealist Group, July 13–September 21. Heartland Café Gallery.
Rosenzweig, Roy. [1983] 1991. “The Rise of the Saloon,” In Rethinking Popular Culture:
Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies, edited by Chandra Mukerji and Michael
Schudson, 121–56. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Rotenberk, Lori. 1992. “Mexican Museum Uses Are as Cultural Bridge.” Chicago Sun-Times,
March 30, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
RPBG. 2004. “Three Builders Group Members take RPCC’s Top Awards.” Rogers Park Build-
ers Group News Letter (Winter/Spring).
Ruby, Sterling. 2005. “A Brief Rebuttal to Michael Workman.” New City, February 7, http://
www.newcitychicago.com (accessed December 21, 2007).
Saar, Alison. 1996. Monument to the Great Northern Migration. Attribution plaque installed
with the sculpture.
Sassen, Saskia. [1991] 2001. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press.
———–. [1994] 2006. Cities in a World Economy. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge
Press.
256 / References
———–. 1996. “Rebuilding the Global City: Economy, Ethnicity and Space.” In Re-
Presenting the City: Ethnicity, Capital and Culture in the 21st-Century Metropolis, edited by
Anthony D. King, 23–42. New York: New York University Press.
Schuler, Douglas. 1996. New Community Networks: Wired for Change. New York: ACM Press.
Schwartzman, Luisa Farah. 2007. “Does Money Whiten? Intergenerational Changes in
Racial Classification in Brazil.” American Sociological Review 72 (6): 940–63.
Shapiro, Meyer. [1952] 1953. “Style.” In An Appraisal of Anthropology Today, edited by Sol
Tax, 287–312. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Simmel, G. 1950. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Translated and edited by K. H. Wolff. New
York: Free Press.
Simpson, Charles R. 1981. SoHo: The Artist in the City. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press.
Smith, Michael O. H. 1992. “Africa in Chicago: A Culture, Trade, and Tourism Concept
for Economic Development of the Chicago South Side Communities.” Report for the
City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development and the Mid-South Plan-
ning Group.
Spielman, Fran. 1986a. “New Boss Shut Out: He Is ‘Stonewalled,’ and Office Is Locked.”
Chicago Sun-Times, June 18, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
———–. 1986b. “Kelly’s Pals Plot Attack: New Park Boss Cracks Whip.” Chicago Sun-Times,
June 19, https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
———–. 2008. “Animal Stories; Daley Rams through Repeal of Ban on Foie Gras—Moore
Blasts Tactics as Tough to Swallow.” Chicago Sun-Times, May 15.
Stray. 2002. “Press Release for the Stray Show, 2002,” www.charcoll.com/stray/index (ac-
cessed December 23, 2007).
Swartz, David. 1997. Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press.
Swidler, Ann. 1986. “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies.” American Sociological
Review 51:273–86.
Talbott, Basil, Jr. 1986. “Mayor Invading Kelly’s Turf.” Chicago Sun-Times, June 5, https://
global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Teaford, Jon. 2006. The Metropolitain Revolution: The Rise of Post- Urban America. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Thornton, Sarah. 1996. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Hanover, NH:
Wesleyan University Press.
Tonnies, Ferdinand. [1887] 1957. Community and Society: Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.
Translated by Charles P. Loomis. New York: Harper and Row.
Tucker, Ernest. 1985. “Polo and Pomp, a Yuppie Match.” Chicago Sun-Times, July 29,
https://global.factiva.com (accessed July 15, 2008).
Tyler, Ron. 1979a. “Eternity: The Calaveras.” Catalog of the Exhibition in Posada’s Mexico,
edited by Ron Tyler, 260–72. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
———, ed. 1979b. Posada’s Mexico. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Useem, Michael. 1976. “Government Patronage of Science and Art in America.” American
Behavioral Scientist 19 (6): 785–804.
Velthuis, Olav. 2003. “Symbolic Meanings of Prices: Constructing the Value of Contempo-
rary Art in Amsterdam and New York Galleries.” Theory and Society 32:181–215.
Wade Eugene. 2000. “Interview with Eugene Wade, Muralist and Professor of Art at
Kennedy-King College on Chicago’s South Side.” Block Museum’s Wall of Respect web-
site, http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/wallofrespect/main.htm (accessed
April 27, 2007).
References / 257
Wali, Alika. 2002. Informal Arts: Finding Cohesion, Capacity and Other Cultural Benefits in
Unexpected Places. Chicago: Chicago Center for Arts Policy.
Warming, Eugenius. 1909. The Oecology of Plants: An Introduction to the Study of Plant Com-
munities. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Weber, Max. [1915] 1958. From Max Weber. Edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills.
New York: Oxford University Press.
West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1 (2):
125–51.
White, Harrison. 2005. “Inventory of the Dynamics in Art Markets.” Working paper pre-
sented at a workshop at the Cultural Policy Center of the University of Chicago, Feb-
ruary 11, http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/pdfs/White0205.pdf (accessed June 5,
2006).
White, Harrison, and Cynthia A. White. [1965] 1993. Canvases and Careers: Institutional
Change in the French Painting World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wilkins, Amy C. 2008. Wannabes, Goths, and Christians: The Boundaries of Sex, Style, and
Status. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wilson, August. 1996. “The Ground on Which I Stand.” American Theatre 13 (7): 14.
Wilson, William Julius. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and
Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
———–. 1996. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf.
Wirth, Louis. 1938. “Urbanism as a Way of Life.” American Journal of Sociology 44 (1):
1–24.
Wirth, Louis, and Margaret Furez, eds. 1938. Local Community Fact Book 1938. Chicago:
Chicago Recreation Commission.
Workman, Michael. 2005a. “A Night in Pilsen.” New City, April 12, http://www.newcitychicago
.com (accessed December 21, 2007).
Workman, Michael. 2005b. “Nova Novitiate, Part I.” New City, April 19, http://www
.newcitychicago.com (accessed December 21, 2007).
Workman, Michael. 2005c. “Nova Novitiate, Part II.” New City, April 26, http://www
.newcitychicago.com (accessed December 21, 2007).
Workman, Michael, and Michael Weinstein. 2005. “Breakout Artists 2005: Chicago’s Next
Generation of Image Makers.” New City, April 26.
Worster, Donald. 1979. Nature’s Economy: The Roots of Ecology. Garden City, NY: Anchor
Books.
Zolberg, Vera. 1994. “ ‘An Elite Experience for Everyone’: Art Museums, the Public, and
Cultural Literacy.” In Museum Culture: Histories, Discourses, Spectacles, edited by D.
Sherman and I. Rogoff, 49–65. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
———–. 1997. Outsider Art: Contesting Boundaries in Contemporary Culture. New York: Cam-
bridge University Press.
Zollars, Cheryl L., and Muriel Goldsman Cantor. 1993. “The Sociology of Culture-
Producing Occupations: Discussion and Synthesis.” Current Research on Occupations
and Professions 8:1–29.
Zukin, Sharon. 1982. Loft Living. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
———–. 1991. Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World. Berkeley: University of
California Press.
———–. 1995. The Cultures of Cities. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
AAA. See Appraisers Association of America
(AAA)
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, 57
abstract expressionism, 236n7
activism: art/arts, 53–54, 148; and art own-
ership, 79; Chicago tradition of, 13, 62–
63; and community, 13, 28, 35, 46, 198;
community-based form of, 53–56, 63,
67–69, 205, 216; and community en-
gagement, 146, 155; compassionate, 46;
grassroots, 209–10, 224; and labor move-
ment, 40, 141, 162; and live/work spaces,
173; and local culture, 200–202; and
local investment, 200–202; mid-century,
53–54, 68, 129, 191; and murals, 56–59,
69, 138–39, 155, 188, 191–92, 205–6,
216–17, 226; for “our fair share,” 29, 109;
political, 13, 129, 138–39, 162. See also
activists; civil rights; diversity advocates;
murals and muralists; social activist,
concept of
activists, 29, 35, 54–57, 188, 193, 207, 209;
anti-racism, 144; and artists, 54, 118, 120,
132, 138, 155, 205; and bureaucrats, 205,
224; and educators, 54–55, 69, 175; and
empowerment networks, 74; engage-
ment of, 153–54; and housing, 35, 144;
and labor, 40; and muralists (or murals),
59, 69, 191–92, 205–6, 216–17, 219,
224, 226; and problem solving, 28, 132,
146, 224; SoHo, 173; and their causes,
46, 81, 128, 130, 143; types of, 129–32.
See also community improvers; cultural
entrepreneurs; diversity advocates; murals
and muralists; social activist, concept of
Addams, Jane, 12–13, 40, 238–39n5
Adelman, William J., 35, 40, 166
Adler Planetarium, 60
advocacy. See activism
advocates, diversity. See diversity advocates
aesthetic networks: compared to autonomy
networks, 104, 108, 113, 224; compared
to empowerment networks, 74, 188;
compared to gentrification networks,
225; compared to problem-solving net-
works, 132; concept of, 7, 14, 25, 26, 27,
71–97, 223; and cultural capital, 14–15,
27, 71–97, 223, 239–41n1; foundations
for, 70; and local places, 93–95; partici-
pants and resources, 73–81; and shared
interests, 73; and small social worlds,
75; and taste for overabundance, 76–79.
See also Bronzeville; networks, art
aesthetics: concept of, 7, 27, 71–76, 78, 119,
240–41n1, 241n3; connective, 119; and
disinterested pleasure, 3, 73, 78, 239–
40n1, 241n3; and distinction, 72, 116,
123, 237n16, 240–41n1; and everyday
life, 241n5; and excessive accumulation,
3; and judgment, 24, 72–73, 87, 96, 123,
196–97, 239–41n1, 241n3; Kantian, 3,
72, 236n7, 237n16, 239–41n1; Marx on,
241n1; and overabundance, taste for, 3;
and preferences, 7, 12, 25–27, 71, 78, 87,
92, 96–97, 113, 199, 223, 225; and so-
ciology, 71–73; subjectivity of, 123; and
values, 29, 69. See also authority; beauty;
black, aesthetics; cultural capital; taste
African American. See black
African Art (Parker), 77
I NDEX
260 / Index
African Diaspora, 1, 188
African Market Place, 95
African marketplace, 199
Afrocentrism, 44, 87, 129
Ahkenaton Community Development
Corporation, 199
AIC. See Art Institute of Chicago (AIC)
Allan, Susan, xiii
Alsina, Montserrat, 118, 231
Altman, Edith, 101, 118, 120–23, 163–65,
177, 231
Alvarado, Lisa, 138–39
American Association of Museums, 67, 69
American Journal of Sociology, xiii
anarchy: and irony, of cutting-edge artists,
103
Anderson, Jon, 138
Anderson, Joyce Owens, 93
Anderson, Othello, 118–19
Andrew Rafacz Gallery, 124, 232
anthropology, 21
APO Building. See Asociación Pro-Derechos
Obreros (APO Building)
Applied Real Estate Analysis, 199
Appraisers Association of America (AAA),
121–22
Apt. 1R gallery, 103, 109–10, 124
Architectural Landmarks Commission. See
Commission on Chicago Landmarks;
Commission on Chicago Historical and
Architectural Landmarks
architecture: aesthetically significant, 196;
architectural vs. historical significance,
195–97, 244n3 (chap. 8); Bronzeville
landmarks, 188, 192–99; and gentrifica-
tion, 178–79; postmodern, 236n7; pres-
ervation and restoration, 188, 194–96,
204, 209. See also specific architect(s) and
building(s)
Armstrong, Louis, 193
art: and centralization, 7; classification of,
24, 30, 72, 224; commercialized (market-
driven), 2, 14–15, 97, 116; and commu-
nity, 56–59, 204; vs. culture, 30; as elite
culture, 7, 13, 26, 33; labor market of,
24; local, 226–27; market(s), 22–25,
30, 86, 117, 159; objectification of life
through, 81; as peripheral and flexible,
111; as privileged product, 30; produc-
tion of culture theories of, xi, 19–20, 34;
and sense of life, 141; and social differ-
ences, 237n16; social function of,
237n16; sociology of, xii, 6–8, 15, 97,
240n1; theories of, 6–8, 71–72, 221–22;
and urban places, 4–6. See also artists;
art markets; collectors and collections;
community-based art; cutting-edge
artists; ethnic art; institutional theory;
local art; museum-quality artists; net-
works, art; public art, of Bronzeville
Art at the Academy, 215
art auctions, 75, 86, 95, 122, 214–15
Art Boat, 101, 105, 114–16
Art Chicago, 101–2, 115
art collectors or collections. See collectors
and collections
art dealers, 238n2 (chap. 1)
art districts. See arts districts
Artemisia Gallery, 104, 118, 232, 243n3
art fairs. See specific fair(s)
“Art for All” outreach program, 144
art galleries. See arts districts; domestic
spaces; gallery owners; spaces; specific
gallery/galleries
art history: and analysis of form, 30; and
artistic autonomy, 123–24, 223; and
change over time, 20; and hierarchical
categories, 30
Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), 7, 33, 55, 60,
64, 103, 118, 167, 168, 172, 181. See
also School of the Art Institute of Chi-
cago (SAIC)
art institutions: and art collectors, 76–77, 81,
96; concept of, 7, 23–25, 31, 53, 237n12;
and ethnic, 53–71; and experts, 24–25,
29, 67, 123; and institutional field, 7;
institutional theory, 7, 19, 23–29, 34, 68,
69; legitimacy, pursuit of, 42, 54, 59–67,
101; vs. networks, 24, 229; organizations,
formal, 95–96, 104. See also art organiza-
tions, nonprofit; culture, industries;
ethnic institutions; nonprofit organiza-
tions (NPOs)
Art Is for All mural, 144–45 (pl. 15), 147–
48, 152 (pl. 16)
artistic autonomy: concept of, 27–29, 42,
99–100, 108, 223–24; vs. control 167;
as a corporate brand, 167, 173, 178, 224;
and isolation, 124, 158; logic, priority,
and value of, 99, 114, 123–24, 158, 159,
167, 223–24; and shared interests, 104,
108–12, 125, 167, 170, 173, 224; and
Index / 261
social interaction, 100, 103, 114; social
situations, 112–14; and social space,
124, 173; and transience, 125, 224; and
transnationalism, 114–17; vs. use or ex-
change values, 159; vs. zoning laws, 173.
See also cutting-edge artists; museum-
quality artists; transnational artists
artists: careers of, xi, 19, 24, 93, 94, 99–101,
114, 118, 125, 241n4, 242nn1–2; and
collectors, reciprocity between, 83–87;
and community-based approach, 59, 69;
competition among, 42; expectations of,
17–18, 20; as foot soldiers for the gentry,
157; functioning within networks, 8, 12,
18–19; as pivot point for real estate mar-
kets, 170–72; as property owners, 42; re-
ciprocal relationships among, 18, 83–87;
and studies of, 19, xi. See also activists;
art; black, artists; bohemian culture; cul-
tural entrepreneurs; cutting-edge artists;
museum-quality artists; social activist;
transnational artists
Artists of the Wall, 145–48, 154
art markets: and competition, 22, 29–30;
concept of, 22–25, 86, 223; formal, 77–
78, 95–96, 100, 223; global, 8, 12, 18–
19, 86, 159, 175, 179; informal, 223;
speculation in, 76, 84, 87; and values, 76,
86, 117, 121, 125, 224. See also art
art organizations, nonprofit: and artists 8,
17–18; as satellites of institutions, 7. See
also art institutions; nonprofit organiza-
tions (NPOs)
art ownership. See collectors and
collections
art parties, 1, 2, 11, 77–78, 105, 108, 223,
241n4
ArtPilsen collective, 100, 103–6, 114–15,
124, 167, 170–72, 176–77
art production networks. See networks, art
arts districts: commercial, 161; co-opting,
175–76, 179, 180, 184; informal, 118,
137; mayhem and protests in, 176–80;
reports and studies, 163, 243n4, 244n1
(chap. 7); and social stability, 127–56;
and zoning policies, 172–75. See also
specific district(s)
ArtSpace RP, 133, 135–37, 139–40, 148–49,
151–52
Art Walk, 152, 167, 172, 175–80
Art Worlds (Becker), 19
Asociación Pro-Derechos Obreros (APO
Building), 118, 174, 180
assimilation, 101
Aubuchon, Kimberly, 103, 105 (pl. 11),
108, 110, 114, 170–72, 176, 231
audiences, xiv, 68–69, 103–4, 119, 138–40,
154, 171, 175, 183, 223; of Chicago’s
arts institutions, 236–37n11; shared,
103, 109–10
authenticity, 19, 69, 84, 122, 188
authority: and aesthetic values, 69; artistic,
29; civic, 158; cultural, 72; hegemonic,
236n6; organizational, 22–24, 100, 152
autonomy networks: and artistic control,
14–15, 27–28, 99–125, 223–24; com-
pared to aesthetic networks, 104, 108,
113, 125; compared to problem-solving
networks, 132; concept of, 7, 14, 26, 27–
28, 100, 223–24; and markets, 124; par-
ticipants, types of, 26, 100, 124, 224; vs.
social interaction, 93, 99, 125; and trust,
108–12. See also artistic autonomy; net-
works, art; Pilsen
avant-garde, 102. See also cutting-edge
artists
Baby Boomers, 128
bachelor of fine arts (BFA), 27, 74
Baldwin, James, 57
Bank One, 198, 217
Baraka, Amiri, 57. See also Jones, LeRoi
Bares, Kimberly, 148–49
Barnes, Rahmaan Statik, 245n5
Barnes, Robert, 86
Barnett, William, 195–96
Bauhaus, 236n7
beauty: aesthetics of, 72–73, 75–76, 78, 119,
240–41n1, 241n3; appreciation of, 166–
67; and black cultural capital, 72–73,
75–76; of blackness, 57–58, 89–90, 212;
ethnic perspectives of, 227; spiritual
power of, 119
Becker, Howard S., 10, 25, 18–21, 23, 99,
125, 242n1 (chap. 5)
Being John Malkovich, 110
Berek, Diana, 141
Berg, Alicia, 204, 231
BFA. See bachelor of fine arts (BFA)
bigotry, 40. See also racism
Billiken (Bud) Day and Parade, 88, 210,
242n10
262 / Index
Binga, Jesse, 193
Binga Bank, 196
Black, Timuel, 38, 231
black (or African American): and aesthetic
networks, 71–96; aesthetics, 3, 56, 59,
72–76, 89–90, 97; art collections, 80,
89–90; artists, 56–58, 72, 92–95; and
beauty, 57–58; bourgeois, 2–3, 81–82,
242n8; Chicago, 1–4, 36–39, 52, 64,
187, 208, 210, 216; community, 11–12,
208–10; concept of, 5, 74, 235n2; cul-
tural capital, 27, 59, 72–76, 97, 191, 216,
226, 244n1 (chap. 8); culture, 3–4, 27,
54–58, 72–73, 75–77, 79, 82–83, 87,
90, 191, 208; entrepreneurs, 37, 74, 77,
188, 194–97, 202, 219; heroes, 56–57,
196; history, 36–39, 54–69, 187–216,
228; nationalism, 82; ownership of
black culture, 29, 57–58, 72–74, 79–83,
87, 96, 188, 190; place(s), 189, 212, 219;
as a stigma, 89–90, 190. See also aesthetics;
cultural capital; DuSable Museum of
African American History
Black Arts Week, 94
Black Belt (Chicago), 36, 187, 210
Black Bourgeoisie (Frazier), 2–3, 81–82,
242n8
Blackburn, Darlene, 57
Black Face paintings (Williams) 89 (pl. 9)
Black Metropolis: Bronzeville as, 36–39, 75,
191, 193–200, 207–9, 211–14, 218;
Bronzeville Historic District, 191, 196,
199, 207 (pl. 18), 209–13; and debate
over name, 207–13; as place in Chicago,
193, 195–218; as redevelopment
narrative/plan, 75, 193–218
Black Metropolis (Drake & Cayton), 195, 207
black middle class, 2–4, 26–27, 30, 37–39,
49, 55, 58, 62, 73, 77, 96–97, 184, 197–
99, 216, 220, 223, 226–28, 229, 242n8;
distinction of, 81–87; expansion of, 38;
and local culture, restoration of, 189–
92, 199–200, 216–17, 220; and local
leadership, 81–83, 96, 189–90, 216,
227–28. See also black upper class; class;
ethnicity and class; middle class
Black Power, 58, 87, 209
Black Swan Press, 141
black upper class, 26–27, 39, 48, 52, 197,
226–28. See also class; white upper class
Blesh, Rudi, 244n2 (chap. 8)
blueprint for a bluegoose, a (williams), 138
Blues District, 199, 201
Board of Education. See Chicago Board of
Education
Bohemia, 40, 238n4
bohemian culture, 7, 33, 102, 128–30, 134,
150, 153, 159, 167, 179
Bohemians, in Chicago, 40, 42, 52, 162, 166,
179, 238nn4–5
Bohemian Settlement house, 66, 182
boojie, 81, 242n8
botany, 243n2
Bourdieu, Pierre, 100, 229, 240n1; on au-
tonomy, 99, 100; on capital, 237n15,
244n1 (chap. 8); on cultural capital, 14–
15, 54, 72, 73, 241n2, 244n1 (chap. 8);
on cultural classes, 7, 21, 30, 34, 49, 72;
on disinterestedness, 3, 125; on distinc-
tion, 13, 15, 99, 237n16, 240n1; on
legitimate political and cultural power,
35, 54, 72, 81; on social inequality, 162
bourgeois. See black, bourgeois
Bowen, Charles, 63, 74–75, 77, 209–11,
213–15, 231
Bowen High School, 65
Boykin, David, 138
Breton, André, 141
Brice, Fanny, 194
Briggs, Carol, 78 (pl. 7), 91
Bronzeville: and black culture, 4, 36–39,
187–220; as “black metropolis,” 36–39,
75, 191, 193–200, 207–9, 211–14, 218;
character of life in, 38; Chicago Bee, at-
tributed to, 193; community areas,
238n2 (chap. 2); and cultural capital,
14–15, 27, 71–97, 223, 239–41n1;
demographics, 52; economic statistics,
47–48; formal art organizations and
markets in, 95–96; historic map, 207
(pl. 18), 211; informal arts activities and
venues, 8–10; landmarks, 188, 192–98;
and local color, 5, 7–8; local culture, res-
toration of, 14–15, 29, 187–220, 226,
228, 244n3, 245n4; as local place, 36–
39, 50–52; location of, 5, 189; map, his-
toric, 207 (pl. 18), 211; naming, 188,
193, 207–12, 238n2 (chap. 2); as place,
190–92, 208, 212, 216, 226–27; popula-
tion, 37, 39; public art in, 10, 95, 202,
211–13; racial composition, 5–6, 37, 39;
as segregated city within city, 3, 5, 36–
Index / 263
38, 75, 188, 193, 194, 208; as symbol of
history and locale, 213–16; as symbol
of place, 38; as urban place for artistic
production, 7–8, 12–13; and urban vs.
other municipal forms, 3; vacant land,
3. See also aesthetic networks; empower-
ment networks
bronzeville, concept of, 37, 193, 209
Bronzeville, mayor of, 210
Bronzeville, restoring, 189–91, 199, 209,
217–19
Bronzeville Blue Ribbon Task Force, 214
Bronzeville Community Development
Partnership, 232
Bronzeville Historic District, 191, 196, 199,
207 (pl. 18), 209–13
Bronzeville Military Academy, 215
Bronzeville National Heritage Area, 209, 212
Bronzeville Tourism Bureau, 199, 209
Bronzeville Walk of Fame, 188, 192, 205–7,
212
Brooks, Gwendolyn, 37, 38, 57
Brown, H. Rap, 57
Brown, Jim, 57
Brown, Oscar, Jr., 57
Bucket Rider Gallery, 103, 109–11 (pl. 13),
116, 232
Buffalo Bar, 140
Burkart, Heather, 172, 176, 231
Burns (Lugenia) Hope Center, 232
Burroughs, Margaret, 54–56, 59–66, 82,
207–9, 231
Bush (George W.) administration, 115
Byrne, Jane (Chicago mayor, 1979–83), 197
Cabrini-Green, 238n1
CAC. See Chicago Artists’ Coalition (CAC)
Campbell, Anthony, 217
Campbell, Susan M., 199, 204
Campbell, Wendell, 198, 199, 204
capital: concept of, 237n15, 244n1 (chap. 8);
Marx on, 72; social, 111. See also cul-
tural capital; political capital
Capra, Frank, 103
careers: and artistic autonomy, 100, 114;
concept of, 99–100, 242nn1–2; and fate,
125; and social interaction vs. autonomy,
93, 99, 125
Carmichael, Stokely, 57
Casa Aztlán, 66, 182
Casper, spray-can writer, 145
Castillo, Mario, 167
Caton, Mitchell, 217
Cayton, Horace R., 3, 36–38, 82, 187, 195,
207, 238n2 (chap. 2), 241–42n7
census data, 5, 6, 41, 47–49, 235nn3–5,
236n10, 238nn2–3, 239n6. See also
demographics; population
Centers for New Horizons, 199, 232
Centro Colombo Americano-Medellin
gallery, 243n3
century of disinvestment, 4, 189, 226. See
also disinvestment
CHA. See Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)
Chamberlain, Wilt, 57
Chavez, Cesar E., 117
Checkerboard Lounge, 201
Chicago: arts activism in, 53–54; and cen-
tralization, 7, 31; city center, xi–xii, 3–4,
13–14, 29, 31–33, 35–36, 39, 54, 66,
69, 128, 153, 159–60, 162, 189, 226;
cultural context, 5–6; cultural core, 7,
12, 14, 29, 33–34, 52, 59, 69–70, 73,
97, 222; as fertile ground for cultural
creators, xiv; gentrification in, 159–61;
historic construction of local places in,
31–34; map, 32; as model of city, 31–34;
racial composition of, 5–6; revalorizing,
35–36. See also black, Chicago; Loop, the
ChicagoArt.net, 103–4
Chicago Artists’ Coalition (CAC), 133
Chicago Artists’ Month, xiii–xiv, 86, 153,
176, 180
Chicago Artists’ Space Strategy, 173
Chicago Arts District, 42, 167, 168, 172,
175–78, 180, 184
Chicago Bee, 193
Chicago Board of Education, 215
Chicago City Council, 46, 64, 197
Chicago Cultural Center Foundation,
235n1
Chicago Defender, 58, 62, 195, 242n10
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
(DCA), 93, 118, 137, 153, 172–74, 193,
207, 216, 232, 235n1, 243n4, 244n1
(chap. 7)
Chicago Department of Environment, 178
Chicago Department of Planning and Devel-
opment, 194, 197–201, 203–4, 231
Chicago Department of Public Works, 68
Chicago Department of Streets and
Sanitation, 164
264 / Index
Chicago Department of Zoning and Land
Use Planning (DZP), 164
Chicago Historical and Architectural
Landmarks Commission. See
Commission on Chicago Historical and
Architectural Landmarks
Chicago Historical Society, 198
Chicago History Museum, 60
Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), 38, 198,
202
Chicago Housing Tenants Organization.
See Metropolitan Tenants Organization
(MTO)
Chicago Journal, 166–67
Chicago Landmarks Commission. See
Commission on Chicago Landmarks
Chicago Military Academy–Bronzeville,
188, 215
Chicago Mural Group, 205–6, 217. See also
Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG)
Chicago Opera. See Lyric Opera of Chicago
Chicago Park District, 60–66, 146, 208,
231. See also specific park(s)
Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG), 145,
205–6, 217–18, 232, 245n5. See also
Chicago Mural Group
Chicago public schools, 55, 57, 59, 61, 65,
73–74, 90, 215. See also specific school(s)
Chicago School of Social Science Research,
13, 235n3
Chicago Sun-Times, 64–66, 68
Chicago Surrealist Group, 141
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 7, 33, 67
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), 131, 133,
144, 148, 149. See also Regional
Transportation Authority (RTA)
Chicago Tribune, 40, 142, 155–56, 162
Chicago Tribune Foundation, 235n1
Chicago 21 Plan, 35–36, 159–60
Chicago Zoning Reform Commission,
244n3 (chap. 7)
Cisneros, Sandra, 169, 244n2 (chap. 7)
cities. See egalitarian cities; global cities;
inner city
city center. See Chicago
city council. See Chicago City Council
civic authority, 158
civic engagement, 124–25, 224
civil rights, 14, 29, 54, 58, 96–97, 117, 128,
193, 208–9, 219, 226; and art collect-
ing, 96
class: as aesthetic preferences or judgments,
52, 72; concept of, as cultural practices,
21, 237n11, 241n2; and conflict, 133,
139; dominant, 15, 30, 31, 34, 69, 75,
81, 97, 155, 228, 241n2; and economic
diversity, 37–39, 44, 127, 134, 139, 199,
208; as income groups, 37, 39, 46–48,
74; and place, 7, 13, 36–37, 41, 43–44,
47, 128; with race or ethnicity, 157, 208,
227–28; and urban transition (gentri-
fication), 4, 14, 132, 157–61, 184–85,
189, 225. See also black middle class;
black upper class; elite culture; ethnicity
and class; middle class; white middle
class; white upper class; working class
Clinton (William Jefferson) administration,
200
Cole, Nat “King,” 207
Coleman, Bessie, 193
Coleman, Ornette, 57
Colibri Gallery, 118, 231
collectors and collections: and artists, reci-
procity between, 83–87; black, 3, 71–
97, 222, 241n3; and civil rights, 96; and
cultural capital, 223; gendered practices
and circuits, 90–91; and historic narra-
tives of place, 73; leadership and influ-
ence exerted by, 97; local art, building
and buying, 68, 70, 76–77, 87; and
local places, 93–95; local vs. cultural
core, 70; men, collecting by, 92–95;
middle class, collecting by, 2–3, 96–97;
overabundance, taste for, 3, 76–79;
ownership and identity, 79–82; shared
interests of, 27; and solidarity, 125; and
subjective judgment, 87–92; universal
vs. particular, 89–90; women, collecting
by, 91–95. See also gallery owners;
museums
Columbia College, 116, 118, 231
Commission on Chicago Historical and
Architectural Landmarks, 244n3
(chap. 8)
Commission on Chicago Landmarks,
193–99, 231, 244n3 (chap. 8)
Commission on Zoning Reform. See Chi-
cago Zoning Reform Commission
community: concept of, 11, 54, 58, 67;
demystifying, 221; empowerment, 205;
ethnic, segregation of, 236n9; museums
as representation of, 54–56, 65–68;
Index / 265
and networks, 221; occupational, 173;
subordinated, 236n9. See also specific
community/communities
Community Area Fact Book, 238n3
community areas, xii, 5, 13, 28, 31–33, 41–
43, 45, 65, 161, 174, 189, 208, 236n10,
237n11, 238nn2–3; concept of, 11,
235nn3–4; map, 32. See also specific
area(s)
community-based activism. See activism
community-based art: activating commu-
nity, 56–59, 204; and aesthetic networks,
70; as being part of a community, 67;
concept of, xi, 11, 14, 53–59, 69; and
ethnicity, 64–68; expectation of dialogue
(dialogical approach or framework), 53,
56, 58–59, 205–6; formalization of ap-
proach, 59; as ideologies of local partici-
pation, 13–14, 53–70, 239n1 (chap. 4);
and institutional legitimacy, 59–64; and
intersection of capital, political and cul-
tural, 64–68; and local cultural values,
70; and local culture, restoration of,
204–5; and murals, 57–58; and mu-
seums to represent communities, 54–56,
65–68; and organizations, 69–70; rein-
vention of approach, 192. See also activ-
ism; murals; public art, of Bronzeville
community building, 11, 131, 142–43, 155
community improvers: concept of, 11, 26,
28, 129–30, 224; and social stability, 135–
38, 143, 146, 153–55. See also public art,
of Bronzeville
Compean, Juan, 115
consumerism: cultural, 76, 175; elite, 158,
168, 170–80; undermining, 106–8
contradiction: between autonomy and ac-
tivities, 99; and Bronzeville landmarks,
192–98
core, concept of, 237n12. See also cultural
core; urban core
Cortez, Miguel, 115
Counts, Emily, 110–11 (pl. 13)
Cowles, Henry C., 131, 243n2
Cox, Julian, 152
CPAG. See Chicago Public Art Group
(CPAG)
CPC. See Cultural Policy Center (CPC),
University of Chicago
Crane, Diana, 3, 7, 10, 19, 30, 237n12,
237–38n1
creativity: and art collections, 92; black, 58;
and problem solving, 28, 130; and rapid
transmission of information, 22
Crisler, Joan Dameron, 78, 83, 90–92
(pl. 10), 231
Critique of Judgment (Kant), 241n3
Cruz, Celia, 117
CTA. See Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
Cuesta, Dave, 111
Cultural Affairs Department. See Chicago
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
cultural capital: and aesthetic networks, 14–
15, 27, 71–97, 223; and community-
based art, 56, 59, 64–68; concept of, 14–
15, 54, 237nn15–16, 244n1 (chap. 8);
gentrification, 159; and knowledge, 14–
15, 27, 54, 56, 70; and local cultural
values, 70; and local culture/places, 184–
85; and ownership, 237nn15–16, 244n1
(chap. 8); and political capital, 64–68;
and power, 237nn15–16; and social
stability, 140. See also black cultural
capital; capital
cultural core: center as dominant order, 34;
center vs. margins, xi, 5–6, 33, 72; of Chi-
cago, 7, 12, 14, 29, 33–34, 52, 59, 69–
70, 73, 97, 222; concept of, 7, 237n12;
expansionist efforts, 222
cultural diversity, 43–46, 145, 225; and
progressive politics, 127–33. See also
diversity
cultural entrepreneurs: concept of, 26,
28, 129–30, 224; and social stability,
130–36, 140–44, 149, 152–55
cultural homogenization: as by-product, 12;
and gentrification, 28–29, 42, 157–85,
225; and Latino populations, 42. See also
whitewashing of culture
cultural omnivores, 11, 51
Cultural Policy Center (CPC), University of
Chicago, xii, xiii
cultural power, 15, 31, 52, 54, 69, 73, 113,
222; and local places, 33, 35
culture: vs. art, 30; center/margin di-
chotomy (also center/place), xi, 6, 34,
42, 72; concept of, xi–xii, 2, 4–6, 10, 13,
19–25; ethnocentric, 13, 129, 222; high/
low, 68, 116–17, 236n7; as human trait,
broadly shared, 53–54; industries, xi, 19;
institutional(ized), 2, 7–8, 14–15, 53;
institutions of, xi, 18, 27, 34, 72, 168;
266 / Index
culture (cont.)
national/nationalistic, 50–51, 101; of
non-whites, 184; ownership of, 29, 57–
58, 72–74, 79–83, 87, 96, 188, 190; of
places, 13–14; popular, 117, 236n7,
237n1; post-urban, 15, 221–29; produc-
tion of, xi, 4, 10, 19–25; sociology of, 21;
as strategies of action, 5–6, 73, 236n8;
studies, 21; as subordinated product, 30;
taste, 51; and urban growth, 159. See also
black culture; bohemian culture; domi-
nant culture; elite culture; ethnic culture;
institutional theory; Latino culture; local
color; urban culture; whitewashing of
culture
“Culture in Action” (Jacob), 206
Curious Theater Company, 156
cutting-edge artists: activities of, 42, 102–14,
138, 224; and artistic control, 100–14;
concept of, 26, 27–28, 100–102. See also
artistic autonomy
Daley, Richard J. (Chicago mayor, 1955–76),
46, 60–62, 64
Daley, Richard M. (Chicago mayor, 1989–
present; son of Richard J. Daley), 46, 190,
192, 203, 208, 209, 212, 231, 244n3
(chap. 7)
Dávila, Arlene, 4
Dawson, William L., 210
Dayo, 78, 84–86, 91 (pl. 10), 231
Day of the Dead, 170, 180, 182–83
DCA. See Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs (DCA)
dealers, art, 238n2 (chap. 1)
Dearborn Park, 35
Dee, Ruby, 57
Defender. See Chicago Defender
demographics, 235nn3–4, 238n2 (chap. 2);
and art production, 52; Bronzeville, 39,
47–48; Chicago, 5–6; and class-based
aesthetics, 52; and diversity, 153, 155;
and ethnic art producers, 31; income
range comparison, 47–48; Pilsen, 41, 47–
48; population, 5; racial composition, 6;
Rogers Park, 44, 47–48; See also census
data; population; specific locale(s) and
place(s)
Department of Cultural Affairs. See Chicago
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
Department of Environment. See Chicago
Department of Environment
Department of Housing and Urban Devel-
opment. See United States Department
of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD)
Department of Justice. See United States
Department of Justice (DOJ), 64
Department of Planning and Development.
See Chicago Department of Planning
and Development
Department of Public Works. See Chicago
Department of Public Works
Department of Streets and Sanitation. See
Chicago Department of Streets and
Sanitation
Department of Zoning and Land Use Plan-
ning. See Chicago Department of Zoning
and Land Use Planning (DZP)
Depression. See Great Depression
De Priest, Oscar, 207
desegregation, 227. See also segregation
Deson (Marianne) Gallery, 120
devaluation, of property, 29, 157–58, 161–
62, 184, 190, 225, 226
De Van, Justine, 217
DevCorp North, 148–49
development: of property/real estate, 26,
154–55, 158, 160, 165, 179, 224; re-
development, 35, 37, 66, 159–60, 166,
189–90, 201–2, 214–15, 238n1; urban,
12, 160, 203–4
Development and Planning Department.
See Chicago Department of Planning
and Development
dialogical approach, 53, 59, 113, 205–6
Diasporal Rhythms, xiii–xiv, 1, 78, 83–84,
91, 94–95, 231, 232
DiBernardi, Mark, 152
Dickerson, Earl, 195
disinterestedness: and aesthetics, 3, 73, 78,
239–40n1, 241n3; and art collecting,
3, 73, 78; and autonomy, 124–25; and
distinctions, 241n3; and passion, 85;
and pleasure, 3, 73, 78, 240n1, 241n3;
and taste, judgments of, 240n1, 241n3
disinvestment, 4, 153, 184, 189–90, 226,
228
displacement, 29, 35, 139, 145, 153, 158,
160, 174, 184, 222, 225
Index / 267
distinction: and aesthetics, 72, 116, 123,
237n16, 240–41n1; and art networks,
222; black cultural, 39, 190; black middle
class, 81–87; concept of, 237n16; cul-
tural, 13, 19; and disinterestedness,
241n3; and nationalistic cultures, 99;
racial/ethnic, 15; and shared interests,
30; and social function of art, 237n16
Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment
of Taste (Bourdieu), 240n1
districts, arts. See arts districts
diversity: and demographics, 153, 155; eco-
nomic, 199, 208; ethnic/racial, 40, 131,
145, 153; and identities, 44; as local
cultural identity, 129; and local places,
51; religious, 44; urban, 243n2. See also
cultural diversity; ethnicity; race
diversity advocates: ideal types of, 130–31,
154–55; problem-solving ethos, 148;
and racial change, 129; and social sta-
bility, 131–34, 139, 143–44, 153, 154–
55; as steady state, 46; variety among,
129–31. See also activism
Dixon (Arthur) Elementary School, 88, 90–
92 (pl. 10), 231–32
Dixon, Willie, 1
Dogmatic Gallery, 103
DOJ. See United States Department of
Justice (DOJ)
Dolphy, Eric, 57
domestic spaces, 100, 103–4, 109, 114–15,
124, 170–72, 177. See also spaces
dominant culture, 6–7, 15, 31, 69, 75, 81,
155, 228–29, 241n2. See also culture
Donaldson, Jeff, 58
Donnelly (hotel), 203
Dorsey, Thomas, 38–39
DOT. See Illinois Department of Transpor-
tation (DOT)
Douglas (community area), 189, 238n2
(chap. 2)
Douglass, Frederick, 56
Douglass National Bank Building, 195
Dowell, Patricia (Pat) R., 201, 231, 245n4
Drake, St. Clair, 3, 36–38, 82, 187, 195,
207, 238n2 (chap. 2), 241–42n7
Drawing Resistance exhibition, 141
Drivethru Studios, 103, 106–8 (pl. 12), 112,
116, 167, 232
DuBois, W. E. B., 56, 57, 213
Dunbar Vocational High School, 204
Durkheim, Émile, 131, 243n2
DuSable, Jean Baptiste Point, 61–62, 239n4
DuSable High School, 61
DuSable League, 61, 239n4
DuSable Museum of African American His-
tory, 54–55, 63–65, 67–69, 95, 191,
206–8, 216, 218, 231
DuSable Park, 239n4
Dzine, spray-can writer, 145
DZP. See Chicago Department of Zoning
and Land Use Planning (DZP)
East Bridgeport, 207
East Harlem (New York), 4
Ebony Museum, 54–55, 60, 65, 216
ecology, 131, 137, 243n2
economics, 31, 159; income statistics, 47–
48, 74; local, 25. See also art markets
Education Board. See Chicago Board of
Education
Education Foundation, 137
egalitarian cities, 236n9
Eighth Regiment Armory (ERA), 188, 195,
213–14, 216
elite culture: arbitrary privileges for, 158,
225; and art/cultural production, 2, 33–
34, 52, 226; black, 63; and city center
revalorization, 35; and consumerism,
158, 168, 170–80; counterbalance to
domination by, 13; and empowerment
networks, 226; and gentrification, 30,
35–36, 157–60, 170–80, 185, 225–26;
and growth machine for change, 30;
hegemony, 129; in Loop, 33, 69; and
nonprofit organizations, 2, 13, 33–34,
69, 157; in Rogers Park, 43. See also art,
culture; high culture
empowerment networks: and community,
205; and community-based art, 70; com-
pared to aesthetic networks 74, 188; con-
cept of, 7–8, 14, 26, 29, 190–92, 226;
and local culture, restoration of, 14–15,
29, 162, 187–220, 226, 228, 244n3,
245n1. See also Bronzeville; networks
Empowerment Zone (EZ), 68, 200, 202
enclaves, 12–13, 31, 41–42, 52, 128, 153, 227
enfranchisement: cultural, xi–xii, 5–6, 49,
69, 183, 184; financial, 49; political,
5–6, 49, 224
268 / Index
engagement, civic, 124–25, 224
Entering Cultural Communities (Grams &
Farrell), xiii
entrepreneurs. See black entrepreneurs;
cultural entrepreneurs; real estate
entrepreneurs
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.).
See United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
Environment Department. See Chicago
Department of Environment
equity (equality), 15, 30, 62–63, 129, 227
ERA. See Eighth Regiment Armory (ERA)
Estrada, William, 41, 42, 231
ethnic art, 15, 31, 101, 221
ethnic culture, 31, 34, 73, 159, 228; and
artistic autonomy, 42; devaluing, 157–
58, 184–85; enriching, 180–82; institu-
tionalization of, 53–54; local, 6, 180–
82, 184; shared interests of, 225–26. See
also culture; local color
ethnic diversity. See diversity
ethnic identity: black, 5; cultural, 50–51
ethnic institutions, 53–71, 158, 228. See
also art institutions
ethnicity: as asserted vs. ascribed, 48–52,
227; and capital, political and cultural,
64–68; and class, 20, 30, 184, 228; as
collective resource, 5–6, 20, 48–50, 227;
concept of, 2, 4–6, 236n6; and diversity
of, 153; erasure of, 157, 179, 184–85,
225; as local color, 13, 15, 229; local
culture, enriching, 180–82; and political
and cultural capital, intersection of,
64–68; and race, xi, 4–5, 48–50, 52,
227–29; and self-identity, 5, 44, 49–51,
235n1; and social and cultural order,
5; and stability machine, 30, 157–58,
180–84, 225, 229; and subordinate
cultural status, 5, 6, 30, 34, 48, 49, 73,
82, 229; and transnationalism, 114–17.
See also black; diversity; Latino culture;
Mexican culture; pan-ethnicity; race
ethnic locales/places, xi, 4–5, 29, 49, 53,
66–67, 160. See also locales; places
ethnocentricism, 13, 129, 222
ethnography, xii, 4, 9, 50
Eurocentrism, 51, 101, 115, 117, 236n6
expressionism, abstract, 236n7
EZ. See Empowerment Zone (EZ)
Farrell, Betty, xiii, 67
Fassbender Gallery, 120
Featherstone, Mike, 236n7, 241n5
Ferreyra, Roberto, 118, 231
Field Museum of Natural History, 60
financial enfranchisement. See
enfranchisement
financial resources. See resources
fine art, 3, 27, 86, 97, 106, 117, 135, 145,
215, 224, 243n3
Fioretti, Robert, 245n4
First National Bank of Chicago, 198
Fogel, Henry, 67
43rd Street Community Organization, 57
47th Street Blues District, 199, 201
Foster, Andrew “Rube,” 193
Fox, Vicente, 68
framework, 11, 15, 25, 29, 34, 54, 206,
222–27. See also research and studies
Frazier, E. Franklin, 2–3, 49, 81, 242n8
Fuller, Hoyt, 58
Furez, Margaret, 4, 235n3, 238nn2–3
GAAF. See Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival
(GAAF)
Gablik, Suzi, 119
Gallery Guichard, 95, 231
gallery owners, 25, 74, 86, 89, 103–4, 109,
111, 173. See also collectors and
collections; specific gallery/galleries or
domestic spaces
Gallery SixFourFive, 103, 111, 116, 172,
176, 231
Gans, Herb, 51
Gap Neighborhood Association, 204
Garvey, Marcus, 57
Gaspar, Maria Elena, 231
GATX, 217
Gehry, Frank, 236n7
Geiman, Dolan, 116
gemeinschaft social order, 6
gendered practices and circuits, and art
collections, 90–91
gentrification: and arbitrary privileges, 161–
70; in Chicago, 159–61; as class-
based transition, 4; concept of, 4, 7,
31, 36–37, 157, 161; and cultural
homogenization/whitewashing, 14–15,
28–29, 42, 157–85, 225–26, 244n3
(chap. 7); vs. decline, 46, 128–29,
Index / 269
133–35; and elite culture, 30, 35–36, 157–
60, 170–80, 185, 225–26; and ethnicity,
185; and local places, 35–36; and local
resources, increasing value of, 161–62;
policy direction, 35–36; and political
capital, 159; and racism, 184; redevelop-
ment, 35, 37, 66, 159–60, 166, 189–90,
201–2, 214–15, 238n1; and social sta-
bility, 128–30, 132, 134–36, 139, 146,
153; theories of, 158–59; and transna-
tionalism, 101; and urban renewal/
transformation, xi, 13, 157–59, 166, 210.
See also architecture; historic preserva-
tion; revitalization; urban development
gentrification networks: concept of, 7, 14,
26, 28–29, 225–26; and whitewashing
of culture, 14–15, 28–29, 42, 157–85,
225–26, 244n3 (chap. 7). See also net-
works; Pilsen
gentry, 4, 29, 189; concept of, 31, 157–58,
166, 183, 185
Gen Xers, 128, 138
Gerri’s Palm Tavern, 201
ghettos, 4, 12–13, 31, 37, 52, 56, 58, 82,
128, 189, 194, 210, 227
Gilmore, Samuel, 22
Giuffre, Katherine, 22, 99–100, 242n2
GLAAD. See Glenwood Avenue Arts District
(GLAAD)
Glass Curtain Gallery, 116
Glasser, Michael, 148
Glenwood Avenue Arts District (GLAAD),
127, 131–32, 137, 139–40, 142, 144–
45, 149–56
Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival (GAAF),
127, 132 (pl. 14), 145, 149, 152 (pl.
16), 154–55
global cities, 13, 15, 222, 229, 237n14
global markets. See art markets
Goldberg, Al, 44, 132–40, 144, 148–53, 231
Goldberg, Rube, 107
Gonzalez, Mario, 245n5
graffiti, 28, 58, 116, 130, 132, 143, 145–46,
148, 245n5. See also murals and muralists
Grams, Diane, xii, xiii, 23, 24, 67
Granada Theatre, 43
Grand Boulevard (community area), 189,
199, 210, 238n2 (chap. 2)
Great Chicago Fire of 1871, 40
Great Depression, 38, 193, 198
Great Migration, 37, 193–94, 199, 203–5;
monument, 188, 202–3 (pl. 17), 206–7,
212, 221
Greenlee, Sam, 82–83, 95, 231
Gregory, Dick, 57
Grieco, Elizabeth M., 235n2
Griffin Funeral Home, 206
growth machine, and urban transforma-
tion, 30, 36, 157–60, 225, 229. See also
stability machine
Gude, Olivia, 145
Guichard, André, 95, 231
Haithcock, Madeline, 201, 245n4
Halfway Home (Counts), 110–11 (pl. 13)
Harold Washington Cultural Center, 187
Harper Court, 201
Harper Square, 166
Harrington, Austin, 71–72, 236n7
Harrington, Michael, 149
Harrison, Van, 109, 110
Harrison Park, 65–66, 182–83
Harris School of Public Policy, University
of Chicago, 254–55
Harshaw, Craig, 132, 138, 232
Hart-Cellar Act, 42
Haymarket Square, riot (1886), 40, 141–42
Heartland Café, 9, 45, 132–33, 135, 138,
139–44, 142, 146, 148–51, 154, 232
hegemony: and authority, 236n6; elitist, 129
heroes, black, 56–57, 196
high culture, and low-culture paradigm,
116–17, 236n7. See also elite culture;
institutional theory
Highway Department. See Illinois
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Hispanic culture. See Latino culture;
Mexican culture; Puerto Rican culture
Historical and Architectural Landmarks Com-
mission. See Commission on Chicago
Historical and Architectural Landmarks
Historical Society. See Chicago Historical
Society
historic preservation, 188, 191, 193–96,
198, 202, 204, 209, 232. See also
gentrification; revitalization
history. See art history; cultural history;
social history
History Museum. See Chicago History
Museum
270 / Index
Hockshop Gallery, 233
Hockshop installation, 116
Hogan, Katy, 132–33, 135, 139–44, 146,
148, 232
Holocaust, 121, 163
Holzer, Jenny, 122
Homeland Security, Tri-fold wallet (Cortez),
115
homogenization. See cultural
homogenization
Housekeepers Diary, The (Alvarado), 138–39
House on Mango Street, The (Cisneros),
244n2 (chap. 7)
Housing and Urban Development
Department (U.S.). See United States
Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD)
Housing Authority. See Chicago Housing
Authority (CHA)
Housing Tenants Organization. See Metro-
politan Tenants Organization (MTO)
Howlin’ Wolf, 1
How Shall We Teach Our Children? (Altman),
121, 123
HUD. See United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development
(HUD)
Huebner, Jeff, 56–59, 239n1 (chap. 3)
Hughes, Everett C., 242n1 (chap. 5)
Hughes, Langston, 207
Hull-House, 238n5
human resources. See resources
Humboldt Park, 41, 178, 205
Hunt, Richard, 204
Hyatt (hotel), 203
Hyde Park, 5, 36, 166, 201, 209
Hyde Park Art Center, 245n5
iconography, 41, 145, 218
ideal types, 8, 25, 27, 222, 237n13, 242–
43n1; of diversity advocates, 130–31,
154–55. See also typology
identity: and art ownership, 79–82; black,
51, 75; class-based, 21; collective, 44;
diversity as local cultural, 129; ethnic, 5,
49–51; local, and black cultural capital,
129, 216; and social stability, 140. See
also self-identity
IIT. See Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Illinois Arts Council, 120
Illinois Black National Guard, Armory, 63,
188, 195, 199, 211, 213–14, 216
Illinois Department of Transportation
(DOT), 173, 203
Illinois First, 217
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), 198,
199
immigrants, 12–13, 40–43, 127–28, 130,
139, 166, 183
improvers, community. See community
improvers
Inclusion Arts Gallery, 137, 150
income ranges, 47–48, 74
Increibles Las Cosas Q’ Se Ven mural, 41
(pl. 1)
industrial era, 32, 46–51, 159, 165, 179,
224
inequality, 49, 96–97, 162
infrastructures, 14, 25, 27, 36, 69, 155,
160, 162, 203, 217, 219, 226–28
inner city, 35–36, 82, 128, 159–60, 168–
69, 190
innovation, 12, 22, 30, 59, 69, 173, 190–
91, 219, 221, 226, 237n14; and artistic
control, 112–14; and Bronzeville land-
marks, 192–98; through interaction,
112–14; and network form of
organization, 229; urban, 173
Insight Arts, 133, 138–39, 141, 232, 233
Institute of Technology. See Illinois Insti-
tute of Technology (IIT)
institutional theory: concept of, 2, 7–8,
23–25, 34, 68–69; criticism of institu-
tions, 68; experts, role of, 24–25, 67;
foundations for black culture, 72;
innovation and change, 69; legitimacy,
42, 56, 59–64, 67–68; vs. market
systems, 23–24; models, 7, 69; order
and hierarchy within organization,
22; practices and procedures, 29, 67;
recognition, 68; relations to local art
production networks, 2, 8, 15; status, 54
institutions. See art institutions; ethnic
institutions; organizations; specific
institution(s)
Instituto del Progreso Latino, 66, 232
integration, social, 32
interaction, and innovation, 112–14
Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 242n4
International Harvester, 162
Index / 271
interpersonal and social connections, 8, 20,
28, 78, 86, 91, 93, 99–100, 112–14, 125,
179
It’s a Wonderful Life, 103
Jackson, Annette. See Malika
Jackson State University, 239n3
Jacob, Jane C. H., 117, 122–23
Jacob, Mary Jane, 206
Jacobs, Jane, 131, 132, 173, 243n2
Jahn, Helmut, 236n7
James, Michael, 132–33, 139–40, 142–44,
148
Jameson, Fredric, 236n7
Janis, Harriet Grossman, 244n2 (chap. 8)
Jefferson (Joseph) Awards (Jeff Awards),
155–56
Jess, Tyehimba, 17–18, 20, 101, 232
Johnson, Bryant, 88, 95
Johnson, Jeff, 204
Johnson, John “Jack,” 207
Johnson, Kimberli, 206–7
Johnson, Robert, 77, 108, 232
Johnson Publishing Company, 63
Jolly, Marva, 83–84, 92–94, 232
Jones, Calvin, 217
Jones, Chris, 140, 155–56, 241n4
Jones, LeRoi, 57, 241n4. See also Baraka,
Amiri
Jordan, Joseph (Joe), 193, 194
Jordan building, 194–96, 244n2 (chap. 8)
Journal. See Chicago Journal
J.P. Morgan Chase, 198
judgments: aesthetic, 3, 72, 123, 241n3; of
taste, 240n1, 241n3. See also subjectivity
Juneway Jungle, 129
Justice Department (U.S.). See United
States Department of Justice (DOJ)
Kadushin, Charles, 19, 21, 22
Kafka, Franz, 111
Kahlo, Frida, 68, 183
Kant, Immanuel: on aesthetics, 3, 72, 236n7,
237n16, 239–41n1; on beauty, 78; on
judgment, 3, 72, 241n3
Karanja, Ayana, 91, 94, 232
Karanja, Sokoni T., 199, 202, 232
Karimi, Robert, 116
Kartemquin Films, 239n3
Kelley, Clifford, 201–2
Kelly, Edmund, 64–65
Kennedy, Leroy, 199
Kent State University, 239n3
Kenwood (community area), 189, 238n2
(chap. 2)
Kenwood Academy, 217
Kerr (Charles H.) Publishing, 141
King, Anthony D., 236n9
King, B.B., 1
King, Martin Luther, Jr., Dr. 13
King, Melvin, 232
King (Dr. Martin Luther, Jr.) Branch Library,
204
King (Dr. Martin Luther, Jr.) Drive, 88, 95,
187, 192, 196–97, 201–11, 207 (pl. 18),
216, 219, 238n2 (chap. 2), 242n10
Kleine, Ted, 147
Koenen, Barbara, 173–74, 204–8, 232
Kronbeck, Jasmine, 232
Kruger, Barbara, 122
LaBlanc, Mat, 109, 110
labor movement, 40, 141
Lace, Timothy D., xiv, pl. 14, 16
Lake Meadows Art Fair, 55
Lake Shore Drive, 38, 198
LaLonde, Robert, 236–37n11
Landmarks Commission(s). See Commis-
sion on Chicago Historical and Archi-
tectural and Landmarks; Commission
on Chicago Landmarks
Land of Pod. See Pilsen; Podville
Land Use Planning Department. See Chi-
cago Department of Zoning and Land
Use Planning (DZP)
Lang, Fritz, 208–9
Lanzano, Rudy, 169
Laoye, Adedayo Dayo. See Dayo
Lash, Michael (Mike), 193, 203, 205, 207,
212, 232
Latino culture, xii, 4–7, 11, 15, 31, 35, 41–
42, 44, 50–54, 58, 59, 64–69, 101, 115–
18, 122, 127–29, 165, 169–70, 175, 180,
182–84, 200, 221, 227, 235–36nn4–6,
245n5. See also Mexican culture; Puerto
Rican culture
Latino Youth social service agency, 169, 175
Lawrence, Robert H., Jr., 207
Lawyers for the Creative Arts, 121
Lazarus, Emma, 56
272 / Index
LBNA. See Loyola Beach Neighbors
Association (LBNA)
Lee, Kevin, 87 (pl. 8)
LeFevre, Gregg, 206
“Leveraging Assets: How Small Budget
Art Activities Benefit Neighborhoods”
(Grams & Warr), xii
Liberty Life Insurance, 195; building, 209
Libman, David, 146–47
Lifeline Theatre, 132–33, 143–56
Life-Sized Mouse Trap Game (Medine &
Waters), 107 (pl. 12)
Lincoln Park, 134, 160–61
Little Black Pearl Workshop, 201, 219
Livezey, Lowell W., 43
local, vs. global, xii, 6, 12–15, 128, 222,
227–29
local art: and community, 53; exhibition
space for, 137, 141; infrastructures, 69;
as legitimate, 135; and local purposes,
226–27; new framework for, 226–27;
and traditions, 191; and urban develop-
ment, 12; value in, 11
local art production networks. See networks
local color (culture): and aesthetic networks,
96; of black Chicago, 1–4; concept of
(as character or sense of place), xi–xii, 1,
2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 15, 31, 36–46, 157, 189,
222, 229, 237n12; and cultural capital
184–85; as distinct from white culture,
85; and empowerment networks, 14–15,
29, 162, 187–220, 226, 228, 244n3,
245n1; and gender, 93; and gentrifica-
tion, 157–58, 166, 168, 183–85; and
homogenization of (local culture), 28,
42, 225–29; and local people, 36–46; as
multiracial, 4–5, 182–83, 208; research
and studies, 6–12, 19–25, 221–22; res-
toration of, 14–15, 29, 162, 187–220,
226, 228, 244n3, 245n1; stability in, 131–
33; structure of, 31; as symbol systems of
local culture, 4; as synthesis of literature,
13; and urban space, ownership of, 2;
white as, 157–58. See also culture; ethnic
culture; local places; urban culture
Local Community Fact Book (Wirth & Furez),
4, 235n3, 238nn2–3
local culture. See local color
locales: concept of, 11; identifying, 220;
and local culture, 187; racial, xi;
revalorizing, 35–36; stability in, 131–
33; urban, xi, 15, 224. See also ethnic
locales/places; places; spaces; specific
locale(s)
locality, 20, 51, 188, xii–xiii; and race/
ethnicity, 15, 227–29; and urban
culture, 30
local networks. See networks
local places, 12–13, 31–52, 238–39n; activ-
ism, 13; and aesthetic networks, 93–95;
and art, 15; and art collecting, 93–95;
change following modern industrial era,
46–51; vs. city centers, 33–34; and cul-
tural capital, 184–85; cultural effects of,
30; and cultural power, 33, 35; and di-
versity, 51; historic construction of, 31–
34; shared interests of, 30, 70, 143;
shared values/beliefs of, 188. See also
local color; places
local spaces, 30, 183, 226–28. See also spaces
Logan, John R., 159, 160
Logan Square, 41
Loop, the (Chicago), 31, 33, 236n10;
South as suburb within the city, 35
Love, Richard H., 243n3
low culture, and high-culture paradigm,
116–17, 236n7. See also elite culture;
institutional theory
Loyola Beach, 140, 146
Loyola Beach Advisory Council, 146
Loyola Beach Neighbors Association
(LBNA), 146
Loyola Park, 154
Lucas, Harold, 199, 209–13
Lugenia Burns Hope Center, 232
Lyric Opera of Chicago, 7, 33
Macarena-Avila, Jesus, 115–17
MacArthur Foundation, 199, 204
MainStage productions, 144
Majeed, Faheem, 245n5
Malcolm X, 57
Malika, 88–89, 91, 92–93, 232
maps: Chicago and community areas, 32;
historic Bronzeville, 207 (pl. 18), 211
Marable, Manning, 227
marginalization, 72
Marianne Deson Gallery, 120
markers, territorial, 1, 187–88, 216
markets. See art markets
Index / 273
Marshall, Kerry James, 204
Martel, Frederic, 187
Marx, Karl: on aesthetics, 241n1; on capi-
tal, 72
Marx Brothers, 43
Marxism, 72, 130, 159, 237n15
mass media, 75, 236n7
master of fine arts (MFA), 27, 74, 90, 103
“Mayor of Bronzeville,” 210
MCA. See Museum of Contemporary Art
(MCA)
McCormick, Cyrus, 40
McCormick family, 162
McCormick Place, 202–3, 212
McCormick (Robert R.) Tribune Founda-
tion, 198
McCoy, Patric, xiv, 1–3, 56, 71, 74–78 (pl. 5),
80, 87–91, 107, 215, 218–19, 232
McCullough, Geraldine, 206, 232
McNeil, Claudia, 57
McPier, 60, 202
McWorter, Gerald, 58
Medine, Eric, 106–8 (pl. 12), 112–13, 116,
167, 232
Mess Hall gallery, 137
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
(MPEA), 60, 202
Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO),
238n1
Mexican culture, Pilsen as center of, 39–42,
62, 65–68, 101, 114–18, 162, 167, 168,
183, 236n6. See also Latino culture;
Puerto Rican culture
Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (MFACM),
42, 54, 65–67, 168, 174–75, 180, 182–
83, 231, 233
MFA. See master of fine arts (MFA)
MFACM. See Mexican Fine Arts Center
Museum (MFACM)
middle class, 36, 227–28. See also black
middle class; class; ethnicity and class,
white middle class
Mid-South Planning Group, 198–202, 204,
209, 231
Mid-South Strategic Development Plan,
190, 198–202
migration. See Great Migration
Military Academy, Bronzeville. See Chicago
Military Academy–Bronzeville
Milne, Dorothy, 132–33, 144, 149
miserabilism, 141
Mitchell, Wyatt, 245n5
mobilization, political, 124–25
modernity, 78, 104, 236n7. See also
postmodernism
Molotch, Harvey L., 4, 30, 33, 36, 129, 157,
159, 160
MoMing, 104
Monk, Thelonious, 57
Montgomery, Evangeline J., 76
Monument to the Great Northern Migration,
188, 202–3 (pl. 17), 206–7, 212, 221
Moore, Joe, 44–46, 133, 137–38, 156
Moreno, MariCarmen, 232
Morrison, Kenneth, 176
Morseland, 154
Motts, Robert T., 194
Moulin, Raymonde, 2–3, 76
MPEA. See Metropolitan Pier and Exposi-
tion Authority (MPEA)
MTO. See Metropolitan Tenants Organiza-
tion (MTO)
Muhammad, Elijah, 57
Muhammad Ali, 57
Mulberry, Sam, 245n5
multiracial, local as, 4–5, 182–83
Muntu Dance Theatre, 95, 201
Mural Group. See Chicago Mural Group
murals and muralists, 8–9, 132, 155, 239n1
(chap. 4), 245n5, pls. 1–2, 4, 15, 19; and
activism, 69, 138–39; as community-
based art, 14, 53–54, 56–58, 191; and
community clean-up, 135–38; and local
culture, restoration of, 188, 191, 192; and
problem solving, 133–39, 147–48; rede-
fining space, 144–48; restoration of, 188,
205–6, 217; and social stability, 133–39.
See also graffiti; public art, of Bronzeville;
specific mural(s) and muralist(s)
Murals for the People exhibition, 59
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), 58–
59, 111
Museum of Science and Industry, 60
museum-quality artists: activities of, 42, 117–
23; concept of, 26, 27–28, 100–102,
224. See also autonomy networks
museums: as community representation,
54–56, 65–68; Mexican-American in
Pilsen, 65–68. See also specific museum(s)
music, 9, 141, 194, 242n1 (chap. 5)
274 / Index
NAACP. See National Association for the Ad-
vancement of Colored People (NAACP)
NAAMM. See National African American
Military Museum (NAAMM)
N.A.M.E. Gallery, 104, 120
National African American Military
Museum (NAAMM), 75, 215–16
National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP), 193
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA),
120, 217, 242n2
National Guard. See Illinois Black National
Guard
National Heritage Area, Bronzeville as,
209, 212
National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA),
42, 54, 68–69, 115, 180, 233
National Register of Historic Places, 193–94,
197, 213, 216
National Trust for Historic Preservation, 232
Navy Pier, 101, 115, 239n4, 242n3
Nazism, 121, 163
NEA. See National Endowment for the Arts
(NEA)
Needham, Theresa, 207
Negro Digest, 58
Negro History Week, 207
Negro National Baseball League, 193
Negro Thrift, 198
Netsch, Walter, 64–66
Network of Visual Art. See Nova art fair
networks, art: and artists, 19; and capital, in-
tersection of political and cultural, 64–68;
comparisons and patterns, 221–22; con-
cept of (as framework of study), xi, 7–8,
10–12, 15, 20, 22–30, 26, 29, 221–27; as
ideal types, 8, 25, 27, 130, 222, 242n1
(chap. 5); vs. institutions and markets,
23–25, 229; as interpersonal connections,
8, 20, 28, 78, 86, 91, 93, 99–100, 114,
125, 179, 191; and production of cul-
ture, 19–25, 53; purposes (uses), 14, 26,
168, 222, 226–27; and shared interests,
8, 10–11, 14, 25–29, 70; as social organi-
zation, 10, 22–23, 195, 222; strategically
located people in, 11; theories of, 12,
17–30, 99–100, 237–38n1. See also
aesthetic networks; autonomy networks;
empowerment networks; gentrification
networks; networks, types of; problem-
solving networks
networks, types of: acquaintance, 20–21;
aesthetic, 7–8, 26, 27; autonomy, 7–8,
27–28; business, 21–22; empowerment,
7–8, 29; gentrification, 7–8, 28–29; in-
strumental, 20–21; job seekers’, 21;
knowledge, 20–21; of nonprofit organi-
zations, 21; problem solving, 7–8, 28;
technology management, 21. See also
aesthetic networks; autonomy networks;
empowerment networks; gentrification
networks; networks, art; problem-solving
networks
New Haven City-Wide Open Studios
project, 176
New Orleans, as fertile ground for cultural
creators, xiv
New York Times, 64
9/11, 131, 138
NMMA. See National Museum of Mexican
Art (NMMA)
No Exit Café, 139–40
Noftsier, Tara, 149–50, 151
nonprofit organizations (NPOs), 54, 104,
242n4; comparison, 9, 10; and elite, 2,
13, 33–34, 69, 157; number and size,
comparison of, 34. See also art institu-
tions; specific organization(s)
Nova (Network of Visual Art) art fair, 101–2
NPOs. See nonprofit organizations (NPOs)
Oak Brook Polo Club, 63–64
Oakland (community area), 189, 238n2
(chap. 2)
OBAC. See Organization of Black American
Culture (OBAC)
Obama, Barack, 5, 13, 63
objectivity, 81. See also subjectivity
Olive-Harvey Community College, 232
open-format spaces, 102, 124, 166. See also
spaces
Organization of Black American Culture
(OBAC), 56–58, 205–6, 217, 239n2
organizations: and authority/governance,
22–24, 100, 152; and community-
based art, 69–70; concept of, 22–23;
expectations of, 17–18. See also art
institutions; nonprofit organizations
(NPOs); social organizations; specific
organization(s)
Ornamentos (Soto), 116–17
Orozco Community Academy, 41 (pl. 2)
Index / 275
“Outrageous Open Studio Art Walk and Suc-
culent Art Fair” (Glenwood Avenue), 152
Overton, Anthony, 193, 195
Overton Hygienic/Douglass National Bank
Building, 195
Page, Karen L., 21–22, 100
Painted Bride Art Center gallery, 243n3
Palmer, Laurie, 206
pan-ethnicity, 4, 5, 42, 51; black as, 235n2;
concept of, 236n6; Latino as, 118,
236n6. See also ethnicity
Park, Robert E., 31–33, 243n2
Parker, Charlie, 57
Parker, Daniel Texidor, 77 (pl. 6), 79–80,
89–91, 232
parks. See Chicago Park District; specific
park(s)
particular vs. universal, in art collections,
89–90
parties. See art parties
Passeron, Jean-Claude, 13, 35, 54, 72,
237n15, 241n2, 244n1 (chap. 8)
Peace Museum, 243n3
Peck, Nathan, 106–7, 112–13, 232
pedagogic actions, 241n2
Pekin Temple of Music, 194
Penny Press, 180
people: concept of, 11; local, 36–46
Percent for Art program, 203, 205–6
Perkins, Pinetop, 1
Peterson, Richard A., xi, 4, 10, 11, 19, 51
Peterson, Tom (pseudonym), voter
registrar, 45, 232
Phantom Limb Studio, 149, 151
photography, 50, 58, 85, 95, 99–100, 116,
119, 120–21, 139, 141, 181, 242n2,
243n3
Pilsen: and artistic autonomy/control, 99–
125, 224; arts activities in, 8–10; arts
district, 118, 180; demographics, 41, 52,
168; economic statistics, 47–48; Gate-
way, 162–66, 179; gentrification in, 14–
15, 28–29, 157–85, 225–26, 244n3
(chap. 7); informal arts activities and
venues, 8–10; labor activists in, 40; and
local color, 5, 7–8; as local place, 39–42,
50–52; location, 238n3; Mexican cul-
ture, center of, 39–42, 62, 65–68, 101,
114–18, 162, 167, 168, 183, 236n6;
museum, 65–68; naming, 40; public
art, 10; racial composition, 5–6; as seg-
regated city within city, 5; traditional
arts activities and venues, 8–9; trans-
formation, 40; as urban place for ar-
tistic production, 7–8, 12–13. See also
autonomy networks; gentrification net-
works; Podville
Pilsen Café, 40
Pilsen East, 42, 103, 167, 172, 175, 176,
179
Pilsen East Artists Open House Art Walk,
172
place-making, 13, 15
places: abandoned 3, 189; center/place
dichotomy (also center/margin), xi, 6,
34, 42; and class, 7, 36, 43–44, 47; con-
cept of, xi, 11–15, 235n4, 243n2; con-
struction of, 4, 6, 15; culturally signifi-
cant, 36, 97, 191, 207; vs. displacement,
29, 35, 139, 145, 153, 158, 174, 184,
222, 225; and diversity, 46, 51, 153, 229;
and ethnicity, 41, 52, 159–60, 184; and
gemeinschaft, 6; geographically defined,
12, 25, 223; historic, 4, 188, 191–92,
194, 197, 199, 202, 207, 216, 219–20,
222–23, 226; and identity, 50–51, 216,
226; marginalized, 5–6, 72; ownership
of, 146–47, 188, 190; a place called
Bronzeville, 39, 189–92, 212, 216, 226–
27; a place called Pilsen, 40–41, 168; a
place called Rogers Park, 127–32; place
within a place, 202, 208, 212; Pod
Places, 103, 107; postmodern, 50–51;
and race, 37, 52, 190–92, 212, 216; in
research question, 9–10; segregated,
4–5, 194, 209; sense of place, 2, 109,
156; stigma of, 4, 13; symbol of, 4, 38;
territorial, 11, 97, 173, 188, 226. See
also ethnic locales/places; local color;
locales; local places; spaces; urban
places; specific place(s)
Planning and Development Department.
See Chicago Department of Planning
and Development
Planning Department. See Chicago
Department of Zoning and Land Use
Planning (DZP)
pluralism, 97, 236n7
Podmajersky, John, II, 42, 103, 166–68,
174, 178
Podolny, Joel M., 21–22, 100
276 / Index
Podville: and arbitrary privileges, 166–68;
commercial market in, 172–75; as conten-
tious and exclusive, 183; cutting-edge
artists in, 100–14; and gentrification,
166–68, 176, 183; mayhem and protests
in, 176–80; naming, 103; real estate
market in, 170–72. See also Pilsen
poetry, 9, 17, 18, 37, 45, 109, 131, 132,
138–42
Poitier, Sidney, 57
political capital: and black community,
208–9; and community-based art, 64–
68; and cultural capital, 64–68; gentri-
fication, 159. See also capital
political enfranchisement. See
enfranchisement
political mobilization, 124–25
political power, 30, 35, 37
political resources. See resources
politics, progressive: and cultural diversity,
127–33
Pollock, Jackson, 236n7
Polvo Art Studio/Polvo Studios, 115–16,
124, 180, 232
pop art, 236n7
popular culture, 117, 236n7, 237n1
population, 5; of black Chicago, 37; concept
of, 11. See also census data; demographics
Posada, José Guadalupe, 170, 180–82
postmodernism, 5, 49, 97, 229, 239n1
(chap. 4); and architecture, 236n7; con-
cept of, 236n7; and cultural change,
241n5; and local places, 50–51. See also
modernity
post-urban culture. See culture; urban
culture
Pottersville, 103
Pounds, Jon, 145, 205, 217, 232, 245n5
poverty, 14, 35–39, 47–48, 52, 75, 82, 160,
198, 202, 228
Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr., 57
power: political, 30, 35, 37; and property,
237n15. See also cultural power
Prairie Shores Apartments, 204
Preckwinkle, Toni, 201–2, 217, 245n4
preservationists, 188, 191, 193–96, 198,
202, 204, 209, 232
problem solving: and art production,
131–33; and cultural change, 36; ethos,
139–44; and mural making, 133–39,
147–48; and rapid transmission of
information, 22
problem-solving networks: and community
improvement, 145; compared to
aesthetic and autonomy networks, 132,
147; concept of, 7, 14, 26, 28, 224–25;
and social stability, 14–15, 28, 127–56,
224–25, 242–43n1. See also networks;
Rogers Park
production of culture perspective, xi, 4, 10,
19–25
progressive politics, and cultural diversity,
127–33
property: devaluation, 29, 157–58, 161–62,
184, 190, 225, 226; ownership, 2, 42, 72,
124–25, 130, 164–65, 224; and power,
237n15; and shared interests, 164
property development, 26, 154–55, 158,
160, 165, 170–72, 179, 224. See also
redevelopment; urban development
Pros Arts Studio, 9, 66, 168–70, 176,
180–83, 232
Prospectus Art Gallery, 118
public art, of Bronzeville, 95, 202, 211–13.
See also community-based art; commu-
nity improvers; murals and muralists
Public Art Collection, 203
Public Art Group. See Chicago Public Art
Group (CPAG)
Public Art of Bronzeville, 95, 190–92, 202–3,
205–6, 207 (pl. 18), 211–13, 216, 219,
238n2 (chap. 2)
Public Art Program, 203–6, 209–10, 212, 232
Public Policy, School of. See Harris School
of Public Policy
public schools. See Chicago public schools
Public Works Department. See Chicago
Department of Public Works
Puerto Rican culture, 4, 42, 116–17, 150,
205, 236n6. See also Latino culture;
Mexican culture
Puryear, Martin, 239n4
Putnam, Robert D., 23, 111
quixotic dream, 179
race: as asserted vs. ascribed, 48–51, 54, 82,
227; black/white relations, 4, 80; as
collective resource, 5–6, 20, 48–50, 153,
227; and diversity of, 153; and ethnicity,
Index / 277
xi, 4–5, 48–50, 52, 183, 227–29; as
inherent human quality, 2; as local color,
13, 15, 229; as physical characteristics,
5; race man, 82; racial change, 129, 153;
and self-identity, 5, 44, 49–51, 235n1;
single vs. multiracial, 4–5, 182–83, 208;
and social and cultural order, 5; and
subordinate status, 5, 6, 30, 34, 48, 49,
73, 82, 229. See also black; diversity;
ethnicity
racial change, and diversity advocates, 129
racial diversity. See diversity
racism, 64, 72, 143–44, 157, 184, 198. See
also segregation
Radio Arte, 68, 180
Radway, Janice, 21
Rafacz, Andrew, 109–12, 114, 116, 124, 232
Randolph Street Gallery, 104
Raven, Lavie, 245n5
R.A.W. (Real Art Work), 88, 231, 232
real estate development. See property
development
real estate entrepreneurs, 124, 194
reciprocity: and artistic control, 108–12;
among artists, 18; between collectors
and artists, 83–87. See also collaboration;
shared interests
redevelopment, 35, 37, 66, 159–60, 166,
189–90, 201–2, 214–15, 238n1. See also
gentrification; property development;
urban development
Red Line Tap, 140
Re-Enchantment of Art (Gablik), 119
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA),
217–18, 245n5. See also Chicago Transit
Authority (CTA)
replacement value, 121–22
research and studies, 6–12, 19–25, 221–22.
See also framework
research question, 9–10
resources: for aesthetic networks, 73–81;
and art, 15; collective, 5–6, 48–50, 227;
cultural, 34, 68–69, 174, 222; external,
188; financial, 25, 26, 27, 60, 62, 70,
190; and gentrification, 161–62, 168–70;
human, 26, 27; local, xi–xii, 7, 25, 26,
28, 153, 155, 158, 161–62, 168–70,
184, 223–26; and local culture, restora-
tion of, 188, 190, 218, 219; mobiliza-
tion of, 51, 70, 97, 221, 229; political,
222; technical, 26, 27; value of, increas-
ing, 168–70
respect, 18, 20, 165, 221
Restoring Bronzeville, 189–91, 199, 209,
217–19
revalorization, 31, 35–35, 128–29, 132,
136, 159, 161, 175, 242n3
revitalization, local, 28–29, 35, 145, 200,
216. See also gentrification; historic
preservation
R.H. Love Contemporary gallery, 243n3
Rice, Linda Johnson, 63–64
Rivera, Diego, 68, 183
River North gallery district, 76, 86, 95
River West gallery district, 94, 243n3
Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation,
198
Robert Taylor Homes, 38
Robinson, Paula, 49, 209, 211–13, 232
Rodriguez-Ochoa, Elvia, 115, 117, 232
Rogers, Phillip, 43
Rogers Park: arts activities in, 8–10; census
data, 239n6; as culturally diverse, 43–46;
demographics, 52; economic statistics,
47–48; gentrification in, 128–30, 132,
134–36, 139, 146, 153; informal arts
activities and venues, 8–10; and local
color, 5, 7–8; as local place, 43–46, 50–
52; naming, 43; problem-solving ethos
in, 139–44; public art, 10; racial composi-
tion, 5–6; as segregated city within city,
5, 128; and social stability, 14–15, 127–
56, 224–25, 242–43n1; as suburb within
the city, 128; traditional arts activities
and venues, 8, 9; as urban place for ar-
tistic production, 7–8, 12–13. See also
problem-solving networks
Rogers Park Arts Council, 149, 233
Rogers Park Builders Group (RPBG), 133,
148
Rogers Park Business and Arts Networking
Group (RPBANG), 138, 139, 148–53
Rogers Park Community Action Network
(RPCAN), 138
Rogers Park Community Council, 133
Rolling Stones, 1
Romani, Elena (pseudonym), board
member, 168–70, 175–76, 182, 232
Romani, Marco (pseudonym), 168, 175
Romántico, Lo, 116
278 / Index
Roosevelt University, 194
Rosemont, Franklin, 141–42
Rosemont, Penelope, 141
Rosenbaum, Lew, 141
Rosenzweig, Roy, 21
Rotary Club, 175
RPBANG. See Rogers Park Business and Arts
Networking Group (RPBANG)
RPBG. See Rogers Park Builders Group
(RPBG)
RPCAN. See Rogers Park Community
Action Network (RPCAN)
RTA. See Regional Transportation Authority
(RTA)
Rush, Bobby, 202
Russell, Bill, 57
Saar, Alison, 202 (pl. 17), 203, 205–7, 212
SAIC. See School of the Art Institute of
Chicago (SAIC)
St. Xavier University, 107
Samuelson, Timothy (Tim) J., 193–99, 209,
213, 215–16, 232, 244nn2–3 (chap. 8)
Sanders, Gerald, 50 (pl. 3), 232
Sapphire and Crystals, 83, 90, 93–94, 232
Sassen, Saskia, 6, 15, 33, 237n14
School of Public Policy. See Harris School
of Public Policy
School of Social Science Research. See Chi-
cago School of Social Science Research
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC),
55, 103, 118, 120, 137, 148, 168, 172,
181, 239n3. See also Art Institute of Chi-
cago (AIC)
schools. See Chicago public schools; specific
school(s)
Science and Industry Museum. See Museum
of Science and Industry
Seaman, Mark, 149
Second Friday, 100, 103, 104, 171, 177, 179
segregation, xi, 13–14, 58, 157, 189, 192,
194–97, 211, 227, 241n4; of city within
city, 3, 5, 36–38; of ethnic communities,
236n9; places, 4–5, 194, 209. See also
racism
self-identity: and art collecting, 79–82; and
ethnicity/race, 5, 44, 49–51, 235n1. See
also identity
Sengstacke, Robert, 57 (pl. 4), 58
Shaffer, Fern, 118–20, 123, 178, 232
shared interests: and aesthetic networks,
73, 96; and artistic autonomy/control,
104, 108–12, 125, 167, 170, 173, 224;
concept of, 8, 11, 12, 14, 24–26, 29,
30, 70; and empowerment networks,
219–20; of ethnic culture, 225–26; and
gentrification, 164, 184, 225–26; of
local places, 30, 70, 143; of property
owners, 164; vs. shared knowledge,
meanings or acquaintances, 20–23, 30
Shedd Aquarium, 60
Side Project, 156
Simmel, Georg, 241n1
Simone, Nina, 57
Simpson, Charles R., 25, 34, 173–74
Simpson, O.J., 2, 88
social activist: concept of, 26, 28, 129–30,
224; and gentrification, 138–39; and
social stability, 129–30, 132, 134, 135,
138–39, 141–44, 146, 153–55
social differences/inequality (Bourdieu),
81, 162, 237n16
social movements, 54, 60, 72
social order, 6, 31, 199–200, 224
social organization(s), 10–11, 195; and
networks, 22–23, 222
Social Science Research, School of. See Chi-
cago School of Social Science Research
social stability: vs. gentrification, 128–30,
132, 134–36, 139, 146, 153; and
problem-solving networks, 14–15, 28,
127–56, 224–25, 242–43n1. See also
stability machine
social theories: of art, 6–8, 71–72, 221–22;
of cultural differences, 54. See also
institutional, as social theory
sociology: and aesthetics, 71–73; of art, xii,
6–8, 15, 97, 240n1; cultural, 15, 21; his-
torical, xi, 4, 15. See also urban sociology
SoHo (New York), 86, 159, 161, 173–74, 179
solidarity, 125, 217, 224
Solis, Danny, 169
Soto, Edra, 116–17
Souls of Black Folk, The (DuBois), 213
South Shore Cultural Center, xiii–xiv , 87–
88, 94, 231
South Side Community Art Center
(SSCAC), 9, 55, 75, 82, 85, 93, 95, 201,
208–9, 215–16, 218, 231, 232, 245n5
South Side Partners, 198–99, 202, 204
Index / 279
spaces: cultural ownership of, 12; domestic,
100, 103–4, 109, 114–15, 124, 170–72,
177; open format, 102, 124, 166; re-
defining, 144–48; social, 100, 114, 124,
223. See also locales; local spaces; places;
urban spaces; specific space(s)
Spann, Otis, 1
Spears, Gregg, 50, 93, 208–9, 232
Spook Who Sat by the Door, The (Greenlee),
82, 231
SSCAC. See South Side Community Art
Center (SSCAC)
stability machine, ethnically driven, 30,
157–58, 180–84, 225, 229. See also
growth machine; social stability
Stamps, Marion, 35, 238n1
State Highway Department. See Illinois
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 241–42n7
strategies of action: and culture, 5–6, 73,
236n8
Stray Show, 101–2, 105, 114–15
Streets and Sanitation Dept. See Chicago
Department of Streets and Sanitation
Stroll, the (Chicago), 211
Studio Bronzeville, 50, 232
Studio Theater, 140
Subaltern Show, The, 115
subjectivity: aesthetic, 123; and art collec-
tions, 87–92; about being African Ameri-
can, 80. See also judgments; objectivity
Sullivan, Louis, 196, 197, 210
Sun-Times. See Chicago Sun-Times
Supreme Life Building, 209
surrealism, 141
Surrealism Here and Now exhibition, 141
Sutherland Hotel, 188
Sutton, Jill, 152
Swidler, Ann: on strategies of action, 5–6,
73, 236n8
Symphony Orchestra. See Chicago
Symphony Orchestra
taste: and aesthetics, 241n3; concept of,
240n1; cultures, 51; and disinterested-
ness, 240n1, 241n3; judgments of,
240n1, 241n3; for overabundance by
collectors, 3, 76–79
Taylor, Koko, 1
technical resources. See resources
technology, and collaboration, 104
Technology Institute. See Illinois Institute
of Technology (IIT)
territorial markers, 1, 187–88, 216
Terrorist Art, 115
Theo Ubique Theatre Company, 140, 156
They All Played Ragtime (Blesh & Janis),
244n2 (chap. 8)
Thurow, Chuck, 245n5
Tillman, Dorothy, 187–88, 201–2, 245n4
time and space, 69, 100, 104, 114, 223
Time to Unite, A, mural, 217 (pl. 19)
Titra, Stephen, 147
Tortolero, Carlos, 65–68, 233
transformation, urban. See gentrification;
growth machine
transience, 99 103, 124, 173, 178, 224
Transit Authority. See Chicago Transit
Authority (CTA)
transnational artists: concept of, 26, 27–28,
42, 100–101, 224; and ethnicity, 114–
17. See also autonomy networks
Transportation Department. See Illinois
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Tribune. See Chicago Tribune
Tribute Markers, 1, 187–88
Trilogy, 143–44
trust: and artistic control, 108–12; and
networks, 21
Tubman, Harriet, 56
Turner, Nat, 57
Tyler, Al, 141
Tyler, Anna, 141
typology: of domains and production of
culture, 237n12; of local art production
networks, 7–8, 12, 25–30, 26, 221–22.
See also ideal types
Tyson, Cicely, 57
Ubique (Theo) Theatre Company, 140,
156
UIC. See University of Illinois at Chicago
(UIC)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe), 241–42n7
Unit B gallery, 103, 105, 109–10, 116, 124,
171, 231
United States Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD), 203–4
United States Department of Justice (DOJ),
64
280 / Index
United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), 1
universal: vs. particular, in art collections,
89–90
University of Chicago, xii–xiv, 1, 5, 49, 58,
62, 137, 207
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 40,
118, 120, 161
University Village, 161, 162–63
Upstart Gallery, 243n3
urban, vs. other municipal forms, 3
urban core, 8, 13–14
urban culture, 5–6, 14, 19, 30, 34, 237n12,
237–38n1; and locality, 30; post-urban,
15, 221–29. See also culture
urban development, 12, 160, 203–4. See
also gentrification; historic preservation;
property development; redevelopment
Urban Gateway, 169
urban innovation. See innovation
urban places, 7, 12, 155, 188, 222, 226;
and art, 4–6. See also places
urban renewal. See gentrification
urban sociology, xi, xii, 15, 158, 235n3,
243n2. See also sociology
urban spaces, 11, 13, 36, 53, 158, 188, xi;
and local color, ownership of, 2. See also
spaces
urban transformation. See gentrification;
growth machine
utopias, 130–31, 146, 148
Valdez, Helen, 65
values: and aesthetics, 29, 69; local cultural,
70
Vaughan, Sarah, 57
Very Top Chicago Women Painters, The,
exhibition, 243n3
Victory Monument (WWI), 196, 205, 211
Visual Art Center of Alaska, 243n3
Visual Artists Workshop, 56, 58
Wade, Eugene, 58
Wakefield, Apache, 206–7
Walker, William, 56–57, 59, 205–6, 217
Walker, Wyatt Tee, 57
Wall of Respect mural, 56–57 (pl. 4), 59,
217, 239nn1–2
Walsh, Ali, 116, 233
Walsh School, 175
Walter, Little, 1
Warhol, Andy, 236n7
Warr, Michael, xii
Washington, Booker T., 55–56
Washington, Dale, 83, 233
Washington, Gregory, 199
Washington, Harold (Chicago mayor,
1983–87), 64, 80, 187, 197, 239n4
Washington (Harold) Cultural Center, 187
Washington Park, 60–63, 66, 206,
242n10
Waters, Muddy, xvi, 1–2, 188, 201
Waters, Thomas, 106–7 (pl. 12)
Weber, John Pittman, 217
Weber, Max, 108; on ideal types, 8, 25,
237n13, 242–43n1
Wells, Ida B., 188, 193, 207
Wells, Junior, 1
Wendell Campbell and Associates,
architectural firm, 204
West, Candace, 49
Westgard, Amy, 148–49, 152, 233
Westgard, Tom, 148
West Loop art market, 179
West Loop gallery district, 111–12, 124
West Ridge, 43
What the Fuck Are These Red Squares?
(Kartemquin, 1970), 239n3
White, Harrison, 238n2 (chap. 1)
white middle class, 14, 81, 129, 157, 161,
184, 185. See also black middle class;
class; ethnicity and class; middle class
white upper class, 4, 14, 21, 26, 39, 52,
128, 159, 161, 184–85, 189, 224. See
also black upper class; class
whitewashing of culture: concept of, 29,
158; and diversity, 155; and gentrifi-
cation networks, 14–15, 28–29, 42, 157–
85, 225–26, 244n3 (chap. 7); and murals,
70. See also cultural homogenization;
gentrification networks
Wicker Park, 161
Williams, Bernard, 145
Williams, Julian, 89–90 (pl. 9), 233
williams, karen g., 138, 233
Wilson, August, 83, 242n9
Wilson Junior College, 61
Wirth, Louis, 4, 235n3, 238nn2–3
Wisdom Bridge Theater, 149
Wolf, Peter, 45, 140, 142–23
Index / 281
women, art collecting by, 91–95
Woodson, Carter G., 207
working class, 21, 27, 35–39 41, 52, 58,
129, 159, 224. See also class
Workman, Michael, 101–2, 178
Works Progress Administration (WPA), 9,
145
World War I, 37, 40, 43, 196, 205, 211,
218n4, 238n4
World War II, 37
WPA. See Works Progress Administration
(WPA)
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 196, 197, 210
Wright, Richard, 188, 207
Ye Ye Oba (Dayo), 91 (pl. 10)
Yollocalli Youth Museum, 68, 180, 231
York, Grant, 217
Zimmerman, Don H., 49
Zimmerman, Jeff, pl. 1
zoning, 244n3 (chap. 7); and arts districts,
172–75
Zoning Department. See Chicago
Department of Zoning and Land Use
Planning (DZP)
Zoning Reform Commission. See Chicago
Zoning Reform Commission
Zukin, Sharon, 4, 7, 15, 33–34, 157–60, 174

Producing Local Color

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd