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Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40

July 15-December 19, 2021

As the main gallery venue for Toward Common Cause, the Smart Museum presents a group show that foregrounds issues of the natural and built environments: environmental racism, urban geographies, and the depiction of those spaces. The selected works—by Mark Bradford, Mel Chin, Nicole Eisenman, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jeffrey Gibson, Toba Khedoori, Rick Lowe, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Julie Mehretu, Fazal Sheikh, and Xu Bing—consider how race and class shape our rural and urban spaces while also engaging art historical questions about the history of landscape photography and painting. Together, these works call into question the local and global power structures and social inequities that plague contemporary society, a reality thrown into stark relief by the global pandemic.

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About the Smart: Through strong community and scholarly partnerships, the Smart Museum of Art incorporates diverse ideas, identities, and experiences into its exhibitions and collections, academic inquiry, and public programming. The Smart offers programs, supports artistic interventions, and provides platforms that address the pressing cultural, social, and political issues of our moment. These projects are driven by the intellectual and cultural energy of its place–the University of Chicago on the South Side of Chicago–and situate the Museum as a critical civic site for its publics to convene in meaningful dialogue and action.

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