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Curators Don Baum and Bruce Linn have put together a wide-ranging exhibit of work portraying figures whose lives--and in many cases deaths--have contributed to public awareness of social issues. Besides numerous tributes to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln, Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars: Death, Reverence, and the Struggle for Equality In America includes Roberta Bell's "Famous Black Americans" doll collection, sections of the NAMES Project quilt, WPA-era artwork, and mass-produced memorabilia. There are pieces by Archibald Motley Jr. and Robert Rauschenberg and Howard Finster, but much of the work--like this albumin-print carte de visite--is by unknown artists, and much is by nonartists: amateurs, prisoners, bereaved citizens. The exhibit opens tonight at the School of the Art Institute's Betty Rymer Gallery, Columbus Drive and Jackson, with a free reception from 5 to 7. It runs through February 2; viewing hours are 10 to 5 Monday through Saturday. Call 443-3703 for more.

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