giovedì 28 maggio 2009

“State Street: That Great Street!”


















“State Street: That Great Street!”

Harold Washington Library Center (400 S State St), through Jun 21, 2009; free.

Photo: Chicago Public Library, Special Collections and Preservation Division, Chicago City Wide Collection 16.51As you reach the library’s third floor, the sound of King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band spills out into the halls. It’s early jazz, honed by Louis Armstrong and other band members on State Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood. And it’s just one of the historic feats covered in this exhibition, which corrals the brightest moments of the city’s famous commercial corridor.

The exhibition—composed of one video and cases of ephemera—starts with the street’s not so humble beginnings: the post-Fire building of the ornate “first fireproof” Palmer House. Soon after the hotel went up, the erection of Marshall Field’s, several theaters and Daniel Burnham skyscrapers followed, and the street became both a major international hub for entertainment and also a shopping capital.

The story is told through a film montage of still images from the library’s Special Collections and Preservations Division. With skyscrapers on postcards, vaudeville playbills and jazz-record ads from the Chicago Defender, the library’s resources delight. And while the video often doles out generic facts—“Field’s mission was ‘give the lady what she wants’ ”—it also shares enlightening tidbits: “Field’s debuted the first bridal registry.”

But for all of the celebration of “great” moments, the exhibition overlooks an opportunity to discuss some of the hard (and no less interesting) times: In the 1940s, postwar suburban malls stole shoppers away; in 1979, the crime-ridden commercial strip was blocked off and transformed into a short-lived pedway. These happenings are eschewed for happier times—acceptable since there are so many. For example, the rapid growth of the past 15 years, which, the exhibit points out with a pat on the back, saw the building of the Harold Washington Library itself.


— Madeline Nusser
http://media.timeoutchicago.com

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Harold Washington Library Center dal 21 giugno 2009; Ingresso libero.

Foto: Chicago Public Library, collezioni speciali e Divisione Conservazione Chicago City Wide Collezione.
Alle 16.51 raggiungo il terzo piano della biblioteca. Come per magia, il suono della King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band spilla dalle pareti levigate di ogni sala: è il vecchio Jass ,suonato da Louis Armstrong e dagli altri membri della Band in State Street nel quartiere di Bronzeville . Ed è solo una delle storiche gesta che rientrano in questa mostra, che ospita e correla i momenti più brillanti del famoso corridoio commerciale della città..

La mostra inizia illustrando con fotografie le umili origini della strada.Soltanto dopo la ricostruzione della Palmer House e la costruzione del Marshall Field's,ed in seguito di diversi teatri la strada diventò un importante crocevia internazionale di intrattenimento e di shopping .

La storia è raccontata attraverso un film di montaggio di immagini fisse .
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