Oscar Magallanes, New American Portrait
Join URI-EICHEN as we start our 5 month series about Income Inequality in America
Opening - May 13, 6-10pm
Uri-Eichen Gallery 2101 S Halsted, Chicago IL 60608
7pm: Artist Discussion with Oscar Magallanes and Citizen Action Illinois Discussion on Fighting Inequality in Illinois A “New American Portrait” is an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles based artist Oscar Magallanes. Magallanes’ work is heavily influenced by the social and environmental issues of his upbringing of the Mexican Barrio. His work is known for its use bold graphics, cultural and political iconography, along with visual rhetoric of popular people’s movements such as that of labor and civil rights movements.
This new body of work pays homage to Diego Rivera and Bertram David Wolfe’s “Portrait of America” which was a collaboration in 1934 that tasked students of the New Workers School in New York to research alternate histories of labor in the United States. While Rivera and Wolfe’s work was unapologetically communist and idealistic in its assertion that the workers’ movement would create a classless society, we can clearly see in the 82 years since the widening rift between the working class and the wealthy in the United States today. Rivera’s work while having proven naive in the ability of communism to challenge capitalism, has at the same time been proven correct in it’s predictions of capitalism’s oppressiveness to labor.
Set against the current theater of politics in which xenophobia has replaced the “good neighbor” Magallanes’ work serves as a portrait of America through its relationship with labor. A changing portrait of late capitalism or post-industrialism that reflects the enduring historical traumas of a complex people’s history of a nation.
Magallanes was raised in the Azusa Barrio of Los Angeles. At the age of fifteen, he was expelled from high school, but was accepted into the Ryman Arts program at the Otis-Parsons College campus which encouraged him to become a professional artist. His artwork is influenced by the cultural and social elements of his upbringing along with his years of previous work as a graphic designer. The experience of participating in two distinct worlds continues to inform the work.
Commemorating Les Orear and the
Union Stockyard Gate
URI-EICHEN Gallery 2101 S Halsted
May 14, 2 pm-4 pm
Join Uri-Eichen Gallery and the Illinois Labor History Society for a free reception and photography display featuring images celebrating the life of ILHS co-founder Les Orear and Chicago stockyard workers and the exhibit of Oscar Magallanes' work (see above) The reception will take place immediately following the commemoration of a bench and plaque to honor Les Orear at the site of Stockyard Gate, located at the intersection of Halsted and Exchange, near 41st Street. Les Orear passed away at the age of 103, in 2014. He dedicated his life to organizing for workers' rights and preserving and sharing their history. He was an organizer for United Packinghouse Workers of America and co-founder and president emeritus of the Illinois Labor History Society.
Second Fridays of the Month
6PM - 10PM
Richard Berg is the Past President of Teamsters Local 743 where he was an activist in the Teamster reform movement for more than 20 years before being elected president. He was a member and union steward for the Teamsters while working in the Department of Environmental Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He has also worked as an Organizer for AFSCME, as a Business Agent for the Teamsters and as a Union Representative for SEIU Local 73. He was also previously the Treasurer of the Chicago Area Labor Support Committee, Executive Board Member of the Chicago Chapter of the Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement, International Steering Committee Member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, 30th Ward Coordinator for Harold Washington for Mayor in 1987, Staff for James Exum for 48th Ward Democratic Committeeman, Steering Committee Member of the Illinois Chapter of the Labor Party, Wisconsin Chair of the Midwest Coalition Against Registration and the Draft, Co-Chair of the Marquette University Coalition for Divestiture and President of the Marquette University Progressive Student Organization . Richard is currently a Staff Representative for Illinois AFSCME Council 31 and serves on the Steering Committee for the Chicago Labor Speakers Club. He also enjoys fine art whenever possible.
Paul Durica is a teacher, writer, and public historian. Since 2008 he has been producing a series of free and interactive public history programs under the name Pocket Guide to Hell. These talks, walks, and reenactments use costumes, props, music, and audience participation to make the past feel present. Paul has collaborated on programs with a range of cultural institutions from across Chicago including the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery 400, Smart Museum, and Sullivan Galleries among others. Paul recently received grants from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District to do a series of public history programs in Chicago parks and is one of seven Chicago artists selected to be part of the citywide People Plaza project. Pocket Guide to Hell has been written about in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic Cities, and Huffington Post, and Paul has appeared multiple times on WBEZ and WTTW. Paul’s writing on Chicago history and culture has appeared in Poetry, The Chicagoan, Mash Tun, Lumpen, and elsewhere and, with Bill Savage, he is the editor of Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America (Northwestern UP, 2013). In May 2014 at the Logan Center for the Arts, he organized with Leigh Fagin Let’s Get Working: Chicago Celebrates Studs Terkel, a three-day festival of conversations, readings, film screenings, and musical performances celebrating the life and work of the radio personality and oral historian Studs Terkel and those who continue his work in the present. He is currently the Programs Coordinator for The Arts Club of Chicago.
Ruth Needleman, professor emerita in Labor Studies at Indiana University, has taught labor and Latin American studies since the late sixties. After 4 years in Latin American Literature & Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, she worked for the United Farm Workers under Cesar Chavez.
Ruth has been awarded honors for excellence in teaching, research and service, for her work, including a book, Black Freedom Fighters in Steel: the struggle for union democracy, and many articles on black history, race, class and gender, leadership development and on movements in Latin America. She contributed to a book on the right-wing in Chile, published by Quimantu, Allende’s publishing house, prior to the fascist coup. She has traveled extensively, presented in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Japan, Colombia and more.
She pioneered courses in Labor & the Arts at IU, and established a 15-year college-degree program called Swingshift College, enabling steelworkers to complete college degrees in a customized worker program based on transformational pedagogy. Currently she is writing about this program and the role and character of “pedagogy for liberation” for the 21st century. She is also teaching a course on global social movements at the School of the Arts Institute.
John Pitman Weber is active in community based public art, having co-founded the Chicago Public Art Group almost 45 years ago. His public works in mosaic, paint, cement, and brick are currently found in Chicago, New York City, Minneapolis, Vitoria-Gasteiz, (Spain), Spencer, IA and libraries of Broward Cty, FL. He is also active in the studio with painting and woodcuts. One of his large woodcuts is currently included in the Gulf Labor Coalition’s presence at the Venice Biennale. He is emeritus, retired from Elmhurst College. His home-studio is in Pilsen.
Larry Redmond: I've always had an interest in art. As a child, I used to draw comic book characters. When I entered college, I had hoped to major in art. However, at the time UIC didn't have an art department.
Now, I express myself visually through photography. I love photographing life in the street, especially marches and demonstrations. But my interest is expanding to fine art photography. I hope to do portraits and still lifes within the next year or so.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I majored in Philosophy and minored in English. I later attended the John Marshall Law School, earning a Juris Doctor degree. I studied art and photography at Chicago State University where I developed my passion for Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.
I have recently become a member of the Chicago Alliance of African-American Photographers because I appreciated the organization's dedication of professionalism and excellence in the practice of the art of photography. I am also a member of the Washington Park Camera Club.
I currently live in Chicago with my wife and family.
Kathy Steichen co-founded Uri-Eichen Gallery with her husband, Christopher Urias, in 2011. She has led the programming development and coordination of over 100 visual art and community events at the gallery in the last 4 years. She built an organization that brings thousands of people into the space to enjoy music and participate in discussions on social justice themes. She has been involved in racial justice, anti-war and human rights issues for over 25 years. She is an alumna of several social justice and arts programs at Las Palomas de Taos, housed in the Mable Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. She founded and presided over Amnesty International chapters at the University of Iowa, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as the Student Program Coordinator of Amnesty International in the Mid-west Region. She worked for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s first primary run as the field coordinator of the 48th Ward in Chicago in the first Campaign School. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has a M.S. in Union Leadership and Administration from UMASS Amherst. She has worked in the labor movement for more than 17 years as an organizer and union staff representative where she represents private and public sector local unions. She has been a practicing print-maker for over 25 years focused on work related to social justice themes.
Christopher Urias co-founded Uri-Eichen Gallery with his wife, Kathy Steichen, in 2011. He is a Pilsen, Chicago native who loves to live so close to good food. He is a graduate or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago focused on printmaking. He develops all the social media for the gallery and completes all the needed design work. He works at the American Bar Association.