Rebecca Zorach & Nicole Marroquin – Toward Freedom: Chicago Muralists in the Struggle for Liberation

Tuesday, March 9, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
2021 Conversations - Rebecca Zorach and Nicole Marroquin

William Walker, Eugene “Eda” Wade, and other artists, detail of The Wall of Truth, 1969 (photograph from the Public Art Workshop)

In August 1967, a group of artists in Chicago created a mural of Black heroes, The Wall of Respect, which quickly became a rallying point for activists, neighborhood residents, and cultural workers and spawned a broader community mural movement not only in Chicago but nationwide. It is uncontroversial to say that such murals represented the aspirations and political struggles of communities. But art critics and historians have tended to downplay their political agency as well as their artistic importance, thinking of them as affirming but ultimately anodyne expressions of identity.

What if instead we consider murals as interventions in and contestations of urban space? What would it mean to think of murals as shaping space and people’s experience of it, mediating relationships among groups, staking claims to visibility, belonging, and the right to the city? Rebecca Zorach and Nicole Marroquin will address these questions with examples drawn from the long history of public art and political movements in Chicago.

Rebecca Zorach (2021 Resident) is the Mary Jane Crowe Professor in Art and Art History at Northwestern University, and Nicole Marroquin is an interdisciplinary artist and associate professor of art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

This conversation, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2020–21 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

Watch the video