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Performance: Marvin Tate and Avery R. Young


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Noted Chicago poets and vocalists Marvin Tate and Avery R. Young respond to the exhibition Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980 with spoken word and live music performances.

Support for Live Arts programming is provided by the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.

*Museum admission is free for Illinois residents every Thursday, 5:00–8:00—including during this event.

About the Artists

Marvin Tate is a performance poet, lyricist, author, visual artist, and educator. He has collaborated with sound artist Joseph C. Mills, video/performance artist Jefferson Pinder, filmmaker Cauleen Smith, multimedia artist Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, and musicians LeRoy Bach, Mike Reed, Tim Kinsella, and Angel Olsen, among others. These collaborations highlight Tate’s ability to combine spoken word and performance with other mediums, producing outstanding works of juxtaposition and improvisation that incorporate ideas and perspectives unique to his existence. His work references African American history, speaks of personal and family history, and touches upon broader themes of cultural and political segregation, all while addressing his own identity as a black man in Chicago.

Avery R. Young is a poet, songwriter, performer, multidisciplinary artist, and award-winning teaching artist who mentors youths in creative writing and theater. He has been an Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago and has written curriculum for Columbia College Chicago, Leeds Young Authors, True Star Magazine, and Chicago Public Schools’ Arts Integration Department. Young’s poems and essays on HIV awareness, misogyny, race records, and art integration have been published in The BreakBeat Poets, The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, AIMPrint, and other anthologies.

His album booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid combines poetry and sound design to discuss matters of race, gender, and sexuality in America during the Obama era. Avery’s work in performance, visual text, and sound design has been featured at the Hip Hop Theater Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the American Jazz Museum. Young currently works as a teaching artist and as a coach for the Rebirth Youth Poetry Ensemble, and performs with his band, de deacon board.

To request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program, please call (312) 443-3680 or send an e-mail to as far in advance as possible.

Please see the museum’s Accessibility page for more information.


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