“The House Seems All Upset”
Exploring Critical Whiteness at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
FRIDAY | MARCH 7, 2014
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 South Halsted Street
Free admission but RSVP required http://criticalwhiteness.eventbrite.com
A Scene, Twofold by Valerie Piraino will be on view March 7-April 18, 2014.
Conversation with Valerie Piraino and Theaster Gates
The Hull-House Settlement was situated in a densely populated urban neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, home to 24 different ethnic communities. The white progressive reformers at Hull-House made extraordinary efforts to mix, mingle and live in solidarity with people from different socio-economic, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds in the neighborhood.
Questions linger about how their privilege helped or hindered their work; illuminated or clouded their lens for understanding and envisioning the world of equality and justice for which they advocated and struggled.
In an installation entitled, “A Scene, Twofold” artist Valerie Piraino investigates questions of race and memory in domestic space. This imaginative interpretation of the tenement experience conjures up the squalid conditions of urban poverty during the early 20th century – blighted, overcrowded buildings, with often windowless rooms, clustered around centers of employment, like slaughterhouses, stockyards and factories.
Piraino will be joined by Theaster Gates for a conversation about privilege, race and the complexities of solidarity – what it means, looks like, and its limitations.
Critical Whiteness is an ongoing series of contemporary art interventions placed in the Hull-House museum. This exhibition challenges and interrupts the ways whiteness remains invisible, unexamined and potent as a dominant aesthetic and political force.
About the artists
Valerie Piraino, born in Kigali, Rwanda received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2009. She was artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlmen in 2009-2010 and was nominated for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant in 2011 and 2012. Recent exhibitions include Round 39: Looking Back, Moving Forward at Project Row Houses in Houston, TX (2013), Present Future at Artissima, Turin, Italy (2013), Reconstruction at Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN (2013), and Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2012). She lives and works in New York City.
Theaster Gates, artist and innovator in the field of social practice, Gates is internationally known for his work on the South Side of Chicago, including Dorchester Projects, Black Cinema House, and the upcoming Stony Island Arts Bank and Dorchester Artists Housing Collaborative. Founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, Gates' work both in museums and in communities responds creatively to the challenges of space. In 2013, Gates opened the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, a vision he developed as Director of Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago.
In the fall of 2012, the Hull-House Museum showed Felix Gonzalez-Torres' piece "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A..) as part of this series.
* All views expressed are those of the guests and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, or the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Architecture and the Arts.