Betty Rymer Gallery

During this summer’s Democratic National Convention, local officials and party leaders amicably declared that the city of Chicago was not to blame for the riots that took place in the summer of ’68, the last time the Democrats convened here. With the benefit of twenty-eight years of hindsight, the argument is that those times were so contentious, the anger and passion about Vietnam and race relations so palpable, that massive upheaval was inevitable no matter where the Democrats chose to meet. This collection of fifty-seven works of art dating from 1967–69 succeeded in evoking the raw tensions of the time, and also indicated that Chicago’s role in the troubles of ’68 might not have been as inadvertent as the city’s PR department would like to paint it.

By 1968, the group of artists who would come to be known as the Chicago Imagists had begun their careers, and curator Lisa Wainwright’s

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