Gulliver, Not in Lilliput, But in the Heart of Pilsen

Hector Duarte Studio

Hector Duarte Studio

Driving or walking through Pilsen, you quickly become acclimated to the colors, sights and sounds that influence the vibrant neighborhood.

Hector Duarte

Hector Duarte

Especially the sights.

Street art is in abundance along 16th street, although the images tend to be raw and random. If you want to see a truly unique work of public art, you need only venture to 1900 West Cullerton Street. That’s the site of Hector Duarte’s studio, one of the popular stops on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 2013 Open House Chicago tour.

Duarte is an artist who learned mural painting in his native Mexico from David Siquerios, a founder of Mexican muralism. Duarte’s paintings have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Historical Society.

For a muralist, it’s all about size and scale. The east facing wall of Duarte’s studio at Cullerton and Wolcott is his Gulliver in Wonderland mural. At 3,500 square feet, it’s hard to miss. The mural envisions Gulliver as a struggling Mexican immigrant, held down by barbed wire.

Hector Durte and Gulliver in Wonderland

Hector Durte and Gulliver in Wonderland

Bill Motchan

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at bill@ChicagoArchitecture.org.

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