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Wicker Park Show Features Portraits of Men Behind Chicago Street Names

By Alisa Hauser | September 17, 2015 5:52am | Updated on September 17, 2015 12:04pm
 A new show featuring portraits of "the men behind the streets" of Chicago by Brian Morgan opens Sept. 18 at Jackson Junge Gallery and runs through Nov. 1.
Power, Politics and Pavement by Brian Morgan
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WICKER PARK — Portraits of people behind the names of Chicago streets — such as early settlers, doctors, fur traders, politicians and real estate investors — will adorn the walls of a new show opening Friday at Wicker Park's Jackson Junge Gallery.

Featuring "the men behind the streets," artist Brian Morgan's "Power, Politics and Pavement" kicks off with an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.

But be forewarned: what you won’t find on the gallery walls are the faces of women and minorities, save for Black Hawk, the Sauk Indian chief who fought white settlers in 1832 for control of Illinois land in a war that bears his name.

"The few women who have been immortalized on a street sign, most often were the daughters or wives of the powerful and had very little information left about their lives," according to a news release issued by the gallery.

Morgan's show features the portraits and stories of eight men who are likely a mystery to many Chicagoans, whose names are behind well-traveled and popular streets such as Maxwell Street, Ogden and Clybourn avenues.

Morgan's wife, Marianne Mather Morgan, a photo editor for the Chicago Tribune, assisted with researching historical Chicago photographs and portraits of the pioneers.

Though roads were usually named for where they led, Morgan said that some early Chicago settlers chose to name the city's streets after themselves, their friends, the politicians to whom they owed favors, the women they adored and the investors who made the city possible.

"Power, Politics and Pavement" runs through Nov. 1. Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Ph: 773-227-7900.

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