Location: Vertical Gallery, 1016 North Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60622
Dates: July 5 - July 26, 2014
We love a good story, especially if it's true, like the one that inspired London-based graffiti artist XENZ's "Building the Dream" exhibition. Near the end of the 1800s, many of Chicago's buildings were hoisted on jack screws to keep them from sinking into the mud that flooded the city's grounds. This created a labyrinth of alleyways beneath the raised metropolis. It became the breeding grounds for rats, criminals, and eventually a notorious club owned by an ambitious man from Yorkshire.
XENZ, who is also a Yorkshire man, read about the underground city in Gus Russo's book The Outfit and turned the author's descriptions into paintings. Although the world he has portrayed is rather grim, his paintings are quite beautiful.