• September 13–December 30, 2018

The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980

Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago

5550 South Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637

Smart williams 2017 0008p

Gerald Williams, Messages, 1970, Acrylic on canvas. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Purchase, The Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions, 2017.8.


During the 1960s and 1970s, Chicago was shaped by art and ideas produced and circulated on the South Side. Yet the history of the period's creative and social ferment has often remained segregated by the city’s social, political, and geographic divides.

The Time Is Now! takes a nuanced look at the cultural history of Chicago’s South Side during this momentous era of change and conflict, with a focus on artists of the Black Arts Movement.

Through nearly 100 objects, the show upends dominant narratives of the period and unearths rich stories by examining watershed cultural moments from the Hairy Who to the Wall of Respect, from the Civil Rights movement to the AfriCOBRA, from vivid protest posters to visionary outsider art, and from the Free University movement to the radical jazz of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

This exhibition is organized by the the Smart Museum of Art and presented in partnership with the DuSable Museum of African American History as part of South Side Stories. It is presented concurrently with the DuSable’s exhibition The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs.

Free and open to all.