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Current Exhibits

Vanishing Voices: The Damen Silos | Dr. Cranston Ramirez-Knight

Once one of the leading granaries in Chicago and the Midwest, the Damen Silos closed after an explosion in 1977 and was abandoned a short time later. Despite its original function, the Silos entered into an ongoing debate between public and private "art canvases" as "tags" and street artist began to add their designs to open space where the Silo and adjacent buildings within the complex stood. The Damen Silos moved into an ongoing examination of "art" during a time when artisans were questioning the most fundamental aspect of their craft. "What is canvas?" "Who is an artist?" "What is art?" "Who defines their craftsmanship?" Thirty years on, crumbling, the Silos are silently disintegrating and will soon implode. A canvas at the epicenter of a crucial debate will vanish and its multilayers of public art will disappear.

Dr. Cranston Ramirez-Knight is a lecturer, photographer and an adjunct professor of contemporary history. You can contact him at and see his photographs on the 3rd floor in the Franklin Gallery.

Interested in Displaying Your Artwork?

Artists interested in exhibiting their artwork in the Library's 3rd Floor Franklin Gallery should contact Diane Winberg at 847-663-1234.