Southern Exposure

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Member Reviews

Southern Exposure by Lee Bey analyzes the differences in the Chicago's North and South sides through the lens of historic architecture.  By relating the stories of great buildings, he traces the development of the city, particular the black neighborhoods to the south, the changes in demographics, and unequal attention given to areas of the city through the years.  His photography is excellent (and I wish there was more of it!!) and his writing is easy to digest and passionate.  Highly recommend for architecture fans, Chicagoans, and those interested in the growth and development of urban environments.
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I really loved this book, it gets you discover the beautiful structures of a side of Chicago that you wouldn’t usually see as a tourist. I can’t wait to go and visit these next year.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			
			
Chicago South Side represents two-thirds of the city and is the birthplace of many of the most emblematic parts of Chicago culture. Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side is the first book devoted to the South Side’s rich and unfairly ignored architectural heritage.

With lively, insightful text and gallery-quality colour photographs by noted Chicago architecture expert Lee Bey, Southern Exposure documents the remarkable and largely unsung architecture of the South Side. The book features an array of landmarks—from a Space Age dry cleaner to a nineteenth-century lagoon that meanders down the middle of a working-class neighborhood street—that are largely absent from arts discourse, in no small part because they sit in a predominantly African American and Latino section of town that’s better known as a place of disinvestment, abandonment, and violence.

Inspired by Bey’s 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial exhibition, Southern Exposure visits sixty sites, including lesser-known but important work by luminaries such as Jeanne Gang, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Eero Saarinen, as well as buildings by pioneering black architects such as Walter T. Bailey, John Moutoussamy, and Roger Margerum.

Pushing against the popular narrative that depicts Chicago’s South Side as an architectural wasteland, Bey shows beautiful and intact buildings and neighbourhoods that reflect the value—and potential—of the area. Southern Exposure offers much to delight architecture aficionados and writers, native Chicagoans and guests to the city alike.

I expected a coffee-table type book full of photos so was surprised at the amount of writing involved - pleasantly surprised. I don't know a lot about the southside outside of the movie "South Side with You" about Barack and Michelle Obama's first date aside from "talk" about its possible gentrification in Jennifer Lancaster's books. Much like Detroit, there are hidden gems everywhere - the photos are stunning and frameable, but it was the writing that I truly enjoyed. 

Lee Bey loves the South Side and it is evident he loves the place no matter what I call "scared white folk" think of the are.  This is a great book for architecture lovers and those who love Chicago for reasons beyond the food and sports teams.  I loved the Space Age dry cleaners: it reminds me of the Flying Saucer Restaurant in Niagara Falls (Canadian Side!) 

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millennials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it some world famous, deep dish 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕		
			
NOTE: I cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen.
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Visually stimulating while also being informative, SOUTHERN EXPOSURE is great for anyone interested in architecture, photography or Chicago and its history.
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