Calumet Region photography to be exhibited at ARTery_SE Gallery in Hegewisch

Calumet Region photography to be exhibited at ARTery_SE Gallery in Hegewisch


Matthew Kaplan will be exhibiting his Calumet River photography in Hegewisch.

He will showcase  “The River Divides / The River Unites” at ARTery_SE Gallery at 13302 S. Baltimore Ave. on Chicago’s far South Side. It will be displayed from 7  to 10 p.m. Friday.

It will feature images from an ongoing project exploring the Calumet River as it flows between Lake Michigan and Lake Calumet through Chicago’s Southeast Side.

“Many people experience the Calumet River, if they encounter it at all, as an annoying obstacle. Usually, while they are stuck at one of its five vehicle crossings, waiting impatiently for a boat to pass,” he said in a newsletter. “Others consider the Calumet River to be a slurry of industrial wastewater, fringed with ever-changing mounds of road salt, as well as heaps of metal scraps on their way to the shredder.”

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It’s also been a site for industry, often dirty industry that impacts surrounding neighborhoods.

“One more view is the Calumet River as a conveniently out-of-the-way place for the city to relocate its problematic industries. Hiding them among the rusting shards of massive steel mills long closed. Far from the eyes and lungs of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods,” he said.

But he sees the Calumet River as a hidden gem.

“Perhaps I’m crazy, but I think the Calumet River, with its spectacular array of bridges and fascinating views of lake boats and barges, is one of our city’s scenic treasures. That’s why I’ve been photographing it for decades,” he said. “Furthermore, I truly believe that Chicago’s working river could be a source of recreational and commercial opportunity for the surrounding community – if only they could find a safe way to access and utilize its isolated shoreline.”

He hopes to inspire people to see the Calumet River in a new light.

“This exhibit will display a number of my photos, mostly taken over the last few years, expressing my love for the Calumet River, and the vistas the busy waterway provides,” he said. “My hope is it might draw people’s attention, and imagination, to the consideration of new possibilities for this maligned and sadly degraded resource.”

ARTery_SE Gallery typically exhibits the world of artists from the Southeast Side.

“As I’m currently a north sider, albeit one who grew up just over the state line in Whiting Indiana, it is both flattering and humbling to be included in their company,” Kaplan said.

For more information, email [email protected], visit @artery_se on Instagram or call 312-857-6139.