The Black Knights of the Black Bottom
On the heels of a successful solo exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum,
Ian Weaver¹s new body of work goes on display for his second solo show at
Packer Schopf Gallery.
Informed by history, memory, identity, mythology, and anthropology, Weaver¹s
continuing project centers on the Black Bottom, an early 20th century black
community formerly located on the near west side of Chicago. This community
was destroyed under the urban renewal programs of the 1950¹s. Weaver
constructs fictive histories for this lost community utilizing a variety of
faux elements. A series of drawings, maps and a blueprint comprise the
majority of the exhibition, along with two sculptural objects and a quilt.
This body of work speaks not only to the loss of this particular history,
but also to the concept of how we construct our own narratives, identities,
All elements have a constructed narrative and provenance. For example, the
Black Power Helmet and Black Knight Gauntlets, are some of the only
remaining artifacts, left from this razed community. More versions of
sculptural elements like these, are sure to be ³discovered² as this project
continues. The work on paper allows for a wider interpretation. Some of
the drawings are to be considered originals, and some are contemporary
reconstructions. Taken together as a whole, a picture of a solid and
thriving group emerges.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts
Council, a state agency.
Ian Weaver was born in Chicago. He received his M.F.A from Washington
University in St Louis, and B.A. from Columbia College in Chicago. Recent
exhibitions include the Saint Louis Art Museum, Cue Art Foundation, NY,
Kemper Art Museum, St Louis. He has been a recipient of 2008 Joan Mitchell
Foundation Grant, numerous residencies, and grants.