Michael Abramson


Light: On the South Side

August 2 - September 2, 2018

Light: On the South Side is a selection of vintage gelatin silver prints taken by the late American photographer Michael Abramson. These dynamic black-and-white photographs taken in the mid-1970s showcase Black nightclubs throughout Chicago’s South Side, where, as a white photographer, Abramson was an anomaly. The series led the artist to win a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978 and ultimately launched his career as a photojournalist. Eventually the project resulted in the monograph Light: On the South Side published by Numero Group in 2009, which included a Grammy-nominated album featuring Chicago blues as heard in the clubs from the stage and the jukebox. In 2015, CityFiles Press published Gotta Go Gotta Flow, pairing Abramson's South Side photos with new work by the acclaimed poet Patricia Smith.

Michael L. Abramson (1948-2011), graduated with a Master of Photography from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1977. His work was regularly featured in Time, New York Times, Newsweek, People, Forbes, Harpers, Wall Street Journal and other national and international magazines. His work was exhibited frequently since 1978, including a solo show at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, in 2014 and in the same year the group show on American Photography since 1950 at Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts (US). His work is housed in the collections of the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the California Museum of Photography and various private collections.