WEINBERG/NEWTON GALLERY PRESENTS MACARTHUR FELLOWS WENDY EWALD AND AMALIA MESA-BAINS IN TOWARD COMMON CAUSE, A COLLABORATION WITH THE SMART MUSEUM OF ART
Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 N. Milwaukee Ave.), a non-commercial gallery dedicated to promoting social justice causes, announced a collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago as an exhibiting gallery for a multi-venue exhibition taking place throughout 2021. Featuring the work of 29 MacArthur Fellows, Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 is centered on the idea of art as a catalyst for social change. Through speculation, reflection and action, Toward Common Cause explores our current socio-political moment, in which questions of inclusion, exclusion, ownership and rights of access are constantly challenged. Extending from the exhibition’s main venue at the Smart Museum, Weinberg/Newton will present work by MacArthur fellows Wendy Ewald and Amalia Mesa-Bains, whose projects focus on Latinx migration in Chicago. Weinberg/Newton’s participation in the exhibition will run from Sept. 24 through Dec. 18.
Wendy Ewald, a collaborative photographer known for weighing questions of identity and cultural differences, will feature a newly commissioned project that explores the personal challenges facing refugees and immigrants from Mexico. Together with teaching artists from the Smart Museum and Diane Dammeyer Initiative, Ewald conducted a series of photographic workshops with youth at Centro Romero, a community-based organization that serves the refugee immigrant population on the northeast side of Chicago. The students created photographs and writings that express their inner lives, dreams and concerns about contemporary immigration. Ewald will incorporate these works into the exhibition, along with a series of photographs and a film made in Chiapas, Mexico in 1991.
Amalia Mesa-Bains, a multi-media installation artist and cultural critic, weaves together intricate stories of her Mexican heritage and Chicana identity at the intersection of art, science and history. At Weinberg/Newton, Mesa-Bains will present Dos Mundos, a personal and historical meditation on migration to Chicago through the lens of her own family that makes visible the countless vital contributions the Mexican community has made to the building of Chicago. Dos Mundos is composed of maps, digital prints, shadow boxes, folding books and ofrendas to celebrate this history through imagery and stories collected by Mesa-Bains.
Additionally, The Circle of Ancestors, an ofrenda from Amalia Mesa-Bains, will be featured at another Toward Common Cause venue: the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), in the exhibition Día de Muertos – A Time to Grieve & Remember. The installation at the NMMA honors the Cornejo family of Mesa-Bains’ mother, while her work at Weinberg/Newton Gallery presents the archival and public record of the larger Mexican community in Chicago.
Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 is presented in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program and connects more than two dozen exhibitions, programs and research partner organizations across Chicago, allowing artists to present new and re-contextualized work. The organizing principle of “the commons” is a concept defined in MacArthur Fellow Lewis Hyde’s Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, as “a social regime for managing a common resource.” This comprehensive presentation considers the extent to which resources including air, land, water and culture can be held in common. Each venue will create a space to raise questions about inclusion, exclusion, ownership and rights of access. Toward Common Cause considers art’s pivotal role in society as a call to vigilance, a way to bear witness and a potential act of resistance.
About Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40
Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 is organized by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago in collaboration with exhibition, programmatic and research partners across Chicago. It is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Toward Common Cause is curated by Abigail Winograd, MacArthur Fellows Program Fortieth Anniversary Exhibition Curator, Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago. The full curatorial statement can be read HERE.
Additional support for individual projects has been provided by Allstate; the Terra Foundation for American Art; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Joyce Foundation; David Zwirner; Hauser & Wirth; a Mellon Collaborative Fellowship in Arts Practice and Scholarship at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry; the Visiting Fellows Program at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society; and the Smart Museum’s SmartPartners. In-kind support is provided by S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio, F.J. Kerrigan Plumbing Co. and JCDecaux.
About Wendy Ewald
Originally from Detroit, Wendy Ewald collaborated on photography projects for more than 50 years with children, families, women, workers and teachers. Engaging with communities internationally, she has been drawn into the lives of those with whom she works in the United States, Labrador, Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico and Tanzania. Ewald’s practice encourages individuals to utilize cameras to photograph their lives, families and communities and to create images of their fantasies and dreams. In addition, she asks her collaborators to alter their images by drawing or writing to engage questions concerning individual authorship, power and identity. Ewald describes her conceptual work as expanding the role of esthetic discourse in pedagogy, challenging the viewer to see beneath the surface of relationships. She Is the 2010 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Award.
About Amalia Mesa-Bains
Amalia Mesa-Bains is a multimedia artist who contemplates the meanings of multiculturalism and demographic shifts in today’s climate within the United States, while drawing from the experiences of her Mexican heritage. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, in which she focused her doctoral dissertation on the influence of contemporary culture and climate on the personal development of 10 Chicana artists. Her scholarly research established her role as a cultural critic, and her clinical work has pushed her to investigate the psychological effects of colonial artifacts. This work has been at the core of her approach to making art a cultural process, deconstructing these stereotypes about non-European heritage and establishing new dialogue about Chicana culture. Mesa-Bains is the 1992 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Award.
About Weinberg/Newton Gallery
Weinberg/Newton Gallery is a non-commercial gallery with a mission to collaborate with nonprofit organizations and artists to educate and engage the public on social justice issues. Through artwork and programming, the gallery provides a vital space for open discourse on critical contemporary issues facing our communities. Connecting artists with social justice organizations, we work to drive change and cultivate a culture of consciousness.
History of Weinberg/Newton Gallery
In 2016, David Weinberg Photography became Weinberg/Newton Gallery. The change reflected the values of The Weinberg/Newton Gallery Family Foundation, which has been led jointly by David Weinberg and Jerry Newton since 2009.