Randolph Street Gallery

Chicago, United States

Randolph Street Gallery

Randolph Street Gallery (RSG) was an alternative exhibition space in Chicago, Illinois, from 1979 until its closing in 1998 and a vital local force in the development of a variety of new art forms and the contemporary national and international arts milieu. Founded by two artists, Tish Miller and Sarah Schwartz, RSG began in Schwartz's living room, later moving to 853 W. Randolph Street on Chicago's west side. The late 1970s, was a period when young artists in all disciplines were collectively founding visual and performing art organizations as alternatives to mainstream and commercial venues in many US cities. RSG was one of more than a dozen 'alternative' galleries - along with many new 'alternative' theatre groups - situated on the near north and west sides of Chicago. The gallery’s focus was on the needs of artists and practitioners who created work that was unsupported, or at the time, perceived to be unsupportable by most commercial or institutional funders. Randolph Street Gallery was also the locus for groundbreaking collaborative projects such as The File Room: An Archive on Cultural Censorship, conceived by Antoni Muntadas, and was the publisher of P-Form: Performance Art Magazine.

For nineteen productive years RSG fulfilled its role as cultural laboratory for Chicago and the general art world. By the late 1990s, changing trends, expectations, and patterns of patronage in the arts took their toll on the gallery as well as on any of the other few comparable artist-run organizations in the United States (e.g., La Mamelle and the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, the Washington Project for the Arts in the District of Columbia) and the gallery eventually closed.



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