Weinberg/Newton Gallery Exhibit Addresses Discriminatory Housing Practices in Chicago
Curated by Weinberg/Newton Gallery Director Nabiha Khan-Giordano, the gallery is dedicated to advancing social justice causes and will address current housing crises with the exhibition, which runs from April 29 to July 16.
According to Khan-Giordano, Weinberg/Newton Gallery hosts four exhibitions a year, each worth around $20,000 for all components, including honorarium payments to the artists whose works are featured. If the gallery puts a work up for sale, the funds are shared between the association and the artist.
Between painting, collage, sculpture, video and large-scale installation, Key Change addresses the contested history of housing practices while proposing alternative urban lifestyles, particularly in the context of Chicago.
“This exhibit is really framed around (the idea) that housing is a human right. I think our communities depend on meeting individual housing needs and we need to work collectively to meet those individual housing needs. housing for all,” Khan-Giordano said.
The exhibition features six works that explore themes of housing and the domestic in relation to ‘community’, questioning how current housing practices and various structures and systems influence a sense of belonging.
Artist-activist Tonika Lewis Johnson is featured in the gallery with her recent work entitled ‘Inequity for Sale’. The multi-media installation investigates the long history of abusive housing practices in the South and West neighborhoods that specifically target residents of historically Black communities. The installation includes photographs, archival sound recordings and data-driven mapping.
Johnson said she made some edits for the snippet of her installation to be featured in the gallery, as the full work includes real land markers placed in homes that were taken from black people in the 1950s and 60 with land deed sales, deeds that have made Black Americans pay higher interest rates as they have been denied traditional home loans, contributing to the wealth gap and disinvestment seen in predominantly black neighborhoods today.
For the gallery, Johnson used an audio component, interviews with contract signatories and their experiences with unfair housing practices.
“These are literal interviews with black people preparing to sue the individuals who lied to them and told them they had a mortgage. . . .So I wanted to be able to include that audio in the exhibit and that’s the main reason I agreed to do it, because it might add another dimension to the project that the outdoor experience couldn’t have.
“Architecture for Reparations,” another installation in the exhibit focuses on United States House Resolution 40, which would establish a federal commission to examine the impacts of the legacy of slavery and recommend proposals to provide reparations. The installation is linked to a project by Riff Studio that solicits responses to reimagine a vacant lot in Bronzeville.
The Weinberg/Newton Gallery will partner with the ACLU at the end of July for its next exhibition centered on the theme of democracy.