The Sound, the Soul, the Syncopation exhibit at Expo 72
They don't reiterate the fact on songs as some rappers do; yet Adele, Kenny Rogers, Chicago's own Ramsey Lewis and megastar Barbara Streisand once resided in public housing. The notable musicians, along with other recording artists like Diana Ross, Elvis and Mary J. Blige are some of the big-name draws featured in the National Public Housing Museum's latest exhibit, "The Sound, the Soul, the Syncopation." Presented in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the interactive installation spotlights more than 50 artists—pop, hip-hop, jazz, funk, gospel and country—who hail from government-subsidized housing worldwide.
"[The exhibit] tells the dual story of the role of music in the creation and development of community and the role of community in the creation of music," according to NPHM executive officer Keith L. Magee. While the exhibition doesn't provide an in-depth look at the role, photos and quotes help to convey public housing and its residents in a rare positive light.
The skateboard mounted on a faux ramp underneath a hanging portrait of Chicago-bred Lupe Fiasco is a bit hammy and the chain-link fence planted on concrete blocks is almost random. But other highlights make up for the slight design missteps: Visitors can make their mark by writing the name of their favorite song on a chalkboard wall. There's a wide range of vintage concert poster art including Diana Ross, Frankie Valli and Elton John. For your listening pleasure, tune in to the iPad run app designed by Chicago-based Groovebug to hear a catalog of music from featured artist-residents.
The National Public Housing Museum is set for construction in Fall 2013. "The Sound, the Soul, the Syncopation" is on display at off-site space, Expo 72 through March 15, 2013.