• Chicago Social Practice History Series
    Mary Jane Jacob and Kate Zeller
    School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2014
    School of the Art Institute of Chicago

I Am a Mom demonstration, part of the Tamms Year Ten campaign, James R. Thompson Center, 2012, Chicago. Photo: Adrianne Dues.

This series of four, 200-page illustrated books examines for the first time Chicago's thinkers and makers who have defined the intellectual and creative life of this city. With nearly thirty chapters each, these volumes locate Chicago's critical social thought and practices within a history of modern urban change and its commensurate societal issues as played out in the complexities of its communities. Our inspirational starting point is Jane Addams; our mission is to recall movements and collectives in the twentieth century and the need in the fields of art, architecture, and design to recognize Chicago's present-day committed practitioners. Through this, we hope to offer a depth of geographic and historical context for the work they further of particular social design, including education, housing, food, ecological urgencies, prison reform, and much more. Art Against the Law (edited by Rebecca Zorach) focuses on art that questions legal systems to achieve social justice; Immersive Life Practices (edited by Daniel Tucker) considers the merging of art and life through social and ethical creative processes; Institutions and Imaginaries (edited by Stephanie Smith) explores larger institutions as spurs, proponents, and contexts for socially engaged art practices; and Support Networks (edited by Abigail Satinsky) queries social, political, and infrastructural contexts of artmaking.

Curator Mary Jane Jacob is executive director of exhibitions and exhibition studies and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Shifting her workplace from museums to the street, she critically engaged the discourse of public space with the landmark exhibitions Places with a Past in Charleston, South Carolina; Culture in Action in Chicago; and Conversations at the Castle in Atlanta, Georgia. Her coedited volumes Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art, Learning Mind: Experience into Art, and The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists give new consideration to artists' practices. The latter was published by University of Chicago Press; they also published her most recently edited collection Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society.

Kate Zeller is assistant curator in the Department of Exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recently she worked with artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho to mount News from Nowhere: Chicago Laboratory, the first United States-based presentation of their exceptional cogenerative work. Zeller has additionally worked in recent years with artists Kimsooja and Wolfgang Laib to create site-specific installations for SAIC's Sullivan Galleries. Zeller is the editor of Ray Yoshida (SAIC), and has worked with Jacob as assistant editor for the volumes Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society and The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists (University of Chicago Press), as well as Learning Mind: Experience into Art (University of California Press).

Abigail Satinsky is a writer, curator, and organizer. She is currently the associate director at Threewalls in Chicago where her work includes editing Phonebook (a national directory of artist-run spaces and projects) and cofounding Hand-in-Glove, a national conference on grassroots arts organizing. She is also a founding member of InCUBATE and co-initiator of SundaySoup, an international micro-granting project. InCUBATE's work has been shown nationally, most notably at Creative Time and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. Satinsky is a regular contributor to the Bad at Sports podcast and her writing has appeared in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, AREA Chicago, and Proximity.

Stephanie Smith was recently appointed as deputy director and chief curator of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Smith is also an editor for Afterall, which has a research partnership with the University of Chicago. She codirects New Projects—an urbanism studio, research center, and exhibition space—with urban designer, architect, and Illinois Institute of Technology professor Marshall Brown. She participated in the Getty Foundation's Museum Leadership Institute (2007) and held prior curatorial positions at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Rice University Art Gallery. Her writings have appeared in journals and books, including Afterall, Parkett, Service Media, and Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook.

Daniel Tucker works as an artist, writer, and organizer developing documentaries, publications, and events inspired by his interest in social movements and the people and places from which they emerge. His writings and lectures on the intersections of art and politics have been presented in journals, galleries, community centers, and universities and his projects have been exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 2005, he founded the journal AREA Chicago, editing it until 2010. He is currently co-organizer of the online oral history project and archive Never the Same: Conversations about Art Transforming Politics and Community in Chicago and Beyond, and is at work on a series of videos and publications about the conservative and libertarian political imagination and their manifestations in the landscape. Recent publications include Farm Together Now (Chronicle Books, 2010).

Rebecca Zorach is professor of art history and romance languages and literatures at the University of Chicago. She teaches and writes on medieval and Renaissance art, contemporary activist art, and art of the 1960s and ’70s, particularly African-American artists in Chicago. Recent articles have addressed AfriCOBRA's gender and family politics; Claes Oldenburg's lawsuit challenging the copyright of the Chicago Picasso; and the experimental art center Art & Soul, founded on the west side of Chicago in 1968 by the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Conservative Vice Lords, a street gang. She is currently at work on a book on Art & Soul that also explores the larger landscape of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. She served as a consultant for the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum exhibition Report to the Public: An Untold Story of the Conservative Vice Lords.

Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to over 3,200 students from across the globe. SAIC's mission is to provide excellence in the delivery of a global education in visual, design, media, and related arts, in the context of art history and theory as well as the liberal arts and sciences. SAIC Exhibitions showcases the work of students, faculty, and other artists from around the world.