Museum  May 10, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Never a Lovely So Real Examines Chicago From 1950-1980 at the AIC

© Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos, courtesy Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

Danny Lyon, "Uptown, Chicago," 1965. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Mr. Danny Lyon.

Chicago's unique culture and history, as seen through the eyes of its residents, is on view in a striking new photography exhibit opening at the Art Institute of Chicago on May 12. In his 1951 book "Chicago: City on the Make," Nelson Algren offered bittersweet praise for the city: “Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.” Capturing the distinctive flavor of diverse Chicago neighborhoods during a time of intense social and political change, Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980 showcases the work of a number of street photographers, many of whom focused on Chicago’s South Side during the emergence of the city’s Black Arts Movement. These intimate, unflinching portraits document the cultural hallmarks of neighborhoods that were often rigorously segregated from each other. Together, these photographers celebrate the complicated diversity of Chicago’s rich cultural heritage.

Billy Abernathy, "Mother's Day" from Born Hip, 1962
Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago

Billy Abernathy, "Mother's Day" from Born Hip, 1962. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of the Illinois Arts Council.

Darryl Cowherd, "Blackstone, Woodlawn/Chicago, 1968."
© Darryl Cowherd

Darryl Cowherd, "Blackstone, Woodlawn/Chicago, 1968." The Art Institute of Chicago. Through prior gifts of the Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation and Anonymous.

Valeria “Mikki” Ferrill. "Untitled from The Garage," 1972
© Mikki Ferrill

Valeria “Mikki” Ferrill. "Untitled from The Garage," 1972. The Art Institute of Chicago. National Docent Symposium Endowment.

Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980 runs until October 28, 2018 at the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information, visit http://www.artic.edu

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.