This month, Bucktown Gallery (2207 N. Western Ave.) is showcasing a new exhibit that spotlights the individuals and cultures that deserve more recognition in today’s society. “CounterCulture: Hidden Stories of Chicago Past and Present” explores the changing cultural landscape in Chicago through topics such as gentrification, censorship, LGBTQ visibility and alternative culture.
Exhibit curator Michelle Bierbower said the idea for this exhibit stemmed from her experience living in Bucktown and seeing the effects gentrification had on the cultures represented in the neighborhood firsthand.
“Cultures here have become more homogenous, and this exhibit is an opportunity to bring artists together that have individual perspectives to share about counterculture,” Bierbower said. “It’s a way of saying ‘we’re still here.'”
The gallery is featuring 23 local artists with diverse backgrounds and perceptions of counterculture in Chicago. As soon as you walk into the gallery, you’re met by paintings, photography and video portrayals of the political divide, censorship and gentrification that has overtaken many communities in the city, including Logan Square.
“In ten years, this won’t be counterculture—it will just be culture,” said John Yaou, an artist being showcased at the gallery. Yaou was born and raised in Chicago and shared that his experience with gentrification has been both good and bad—positive for infrastructure in decimated neighborhoods, but of course, negative for the diverse cultures being pushed out of their homes and beloved neighborhoods.
“Most communities are cutting school art programs, and graffiti has been a huge way for young artists to get their work out there,” he said. Yaou’s work on display spotlights the history of street art and graffiti throughout the city.
Check out some of the work on display below and what the artist shared about their pieces.
The CounterCulture exhibit runs from May 11 – 27, 2018 and many of the pieces being showcased are available for purchase.