Spot-On News – Issue No. 2

To a full house at Newberry Library this week, photographer and lecturer Lee Bey presented his book Southern Exposure – The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side. (Northwestern University Press, 2019.)  Bey appeared with Amanda Williams who wrote the forward to the book. Bey was an architecture critic with the Chicago Sun-Times and is a senior lecturer at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ms. Williams who trained as an architect, is now an artist with works in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and MOMA in New York.  

The exuberant and focused pair discussed why the South Side, often overlooked as a location for significant architecture, deserves to be recognized as a treasure trove of work that merits our attention. As the two discussed  images from Bey’s book, they noted the racial bias that infects critics who have failed to appreciate more than half of the city.

  Of interest was Bey’s and Williams’ theory as to the popularity of modern architecture on the South side. Both speakers believed that  modern architecture was an attempt at a “clean start” to express individuality and beauty in architecture. Williams noted that “if you can just be still and take in this beauty” one would come to better understand and appreciate these structures. Their love of their topic and their love for the city was infectious, and the audience sincerely appreciated their talk. For more information, visit Bey’s site here.   Ms. Williams can be found here.