Today is the opening for the exhibit of Bob Rehak's 1970s portraits of Uptown and its residents at Wilson Abbey, 935 West Wilson. The exhibit will run through the end of May, with a reception on May 2nd. There are 13 signed and numbered prints on display, which are available for purchase.
If you love Mr. Rehak's work, as we do, you won't want to miss this. If you'd like to see more of his photos, there are some on display at the newly opened FLATS building at 4875 Magnolia (where he is the featured artist whose work is on permanent display). There are many portraits available on his website, and in his book, Uptown: Portrait of a Chicago Neighborhood in the Mid-1970s. (Buy it directly from Bob and get an inscribed copy, something not available to Amazon and Barnes & Noble customers.)
If you're not familiar with his work, please check it out. It shows an Uptown that is barely recognizable today. As Mr. Rehak said after coming back to Uptown last autumn for the first time in many years:
"I was shocked by how much Uptown today has improved compared to what it was in the mid-1970s. The burned out buildings, bars, pawnshops and resale shops that defined Uptown in the mid-1970s are virtually gone. So are the litter, graffiti, abandoned cars, and run down houses. In their place are nice new buildings and trees – lots of trees. The businesses I visited seemed to be busy and prosperous. I sensed optimism and hope in the people I talked to. Property values seemed to be improving. That’s a tribute to all those who never gave up on Uptown and saw something worth saving. It took a lot of hard work, vision, faith, creativity and dedication to make those improvements."