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In conjunction with the exhibition Gary Simmons: Public Enemy (June 13–October 1, 2023) is a special collaborative event between Blanc Gallery and the MCA. Closing out the summer, it features conversations, performances, and dancing from an intergenerational group of Black creatives who have been instrumental in building the artistic landscape of Chicago from the 1970s to the present.

The series is inspired by and uses Gary Simmons’s Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark (2014–ongoing), an artwork that includes both a stage and speakers for programming that highlights the diverse artistic and musical histories of the local area. The speakers—partially made from materials leftover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina–serve as a poignant reminder of both the consistent damage in the wake of US racism, as well as the creative ingenuity of Black expression in spite of this past and current reality.

Programmed collaboratively between the MCA, Blanc Gallery, and visionary Chicago artists to amplify the voices, sounds, and stories of an intergenerational group of Chicago-based Black creatives, the event takes place at Blanc Gallery. Sited in the historically vital Black neighborhood of Bronzeville—whose former denizens include Ida B. Wells, Louis Armstrong, and Sam Cooke—it is the ideal home for this collaboration.


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