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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsFebruary 2016

Art & Design
Galleries

An Ornithology for Birds art
Art from An Ornithology for Birds on display at Kavi Gupta Gallery Photo: Tim Johnson/Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta Gallery

BERT GREEN FINE ART

Through 2/27 Jessica Curtaz. A highly skilled drafter, Curtaz wields graphite on paper with near-photographic precision, tracing the patterns of plants into stunning new life structures. 8 S. Michigan. bgfa.us

CATHERINE EDELMAN GALLERY

Through 3/5 Ice/Green Lands. Daniel Beltrá points his camera at Iceland’s glacial sediments and Greenland’s pure rivers, taking pics unlike any nature photos you’ve ever seen. 300 W. Superior. edelmangallery.com

CHICAGO ARTISTS COALITION

2/5–25 A Thin Blue Line. Recent Yale graduate David Alekhuogie uses Nikes and the company’s iconic swoosh in his collages, commenting on corporate marketing, perceptions of black men, and police brutality. This is his first solo exhibit in Chicago. 217 N. Carpenter. chicagoartistscoalition.org

CLEVE CARNEY ART GALLERY

2/4–3/19 Lumpy Morsels, Hot Rocks. Claire Ashley’s giant inflatable sculptures serve as the canvas for her paintings, done in an abstract graffiti style with Day-Glo colors. 425 Farwell, Glen Ellyn. cod.edu/gallery

DOCUMENT

Through 3/11 Erythrocyte Ghosts Filled with Quantum Dots Improve Cryogenics with Microarea Custom Freeze Thaw. New-media artist Christopher Meerdo uses 3D-printer sculpture and photography to explore technology’s effects on humans. 845 W. Washington. documentspace.com

ELASTIC ARTS

Through 2/27 The Ship’s Carpenter. Sculptor Robert Burnier has quickly garnered critical attention for his innovative technique of welding real metal objects out of a virtual 3D-printing program and painting them in soft hues of gray. 3429 W. Diversey. elasticarts.org

FIRECAT PROJECTS

2/16–3/19 Raeleen Kao and Joanne Aono. This show unites two artists who use the simplest medium of pencil on paper to extraordinary effect—Aono particularly. She holds her pencils like chopsticks, manipulating them to work in opposite directions. The technique is an homage to her Japanese family’s immigration experience. 2124 N. Damen. firecatprojects.org

GALLERY 400

Through 2/27 Few Were Happy with Their Condition. An unlikely art form emerged from Romania’s 1989 revolution: video art. It turns out that the moving image was the perfect vehicle for responding to the fall of the country’s Communist regime. The cultural movement that followed saw artists—including the 17 included here—wielding their work like political weapons and as an expression of their newfound, if fraught, freedoms. 400 S. Peoria. gallery400.uic.edu

HYDE PARK ART CENTER

2/7–5/1 Who Cares for the Sky? Sabina Ott builds a 16-foot-tall mountain from Styrofoam, canvas, and wood in the large center gallery. 5020 S. Cornell. hydeparkart.org

JOHALLA PROJECTS

Through 3/6 Bradley Biancardi. The native Chicagoan, who moved back to the city from Seattle in 2008, crams bodies into his canvases with the expressive coloration of Carroll Dunham and the narrative intensity of Dana Schutz. 1821 W. Hubbard. johallaprojects.com

KAVI GUPTA GALLERY

Through 2/20 An Ornithology for Birds. The fourth solo show at the gallery by Berlin artist James Krone reveals the breadth of his experimentation, including acrylic faux fingernails sculpted into spirals, a series of bird paintings that devolve into fuzzy abstraction, and a new film about child prodigies. 835 W. Washington. kavigupta.com

MONGERSON GALLERY

Through 2/29 Amy Hutcheson. The Memphis artist describes her abstract paintings as puzzles. Her layered, colorful compositions seem born of the futurist and cubist eras, when paintings evoked alternative dimensions of space and time. 875 N. Michigan. mongersongallery.com

MONIQUE MELOCHE GALLERY

2/11–4/2 The Danger. Sanford Biggers has a way of transforming past traumas into beautiful souvenirs, such as painting slave escape routes as colorful quilts or turning racist figurines into powerful totems. One of contemporary art’s most exciting commentators on racial identity, he brings new work for his first solo exhibit in Chicago.
Through 5/28 Chicago Gingham. Painter and curator Michelle Grabner has made an indoor mural for the Wicker Park gallery’s large storefront window.
2154 W. Division. moniquemeloche.com

PRESIDENT’S GALLERY

Through 2/12 I in the Sky. This exhibition demonstrates what it’s like to be inside the mind of notable emerging Chicago artist Edra Soto, whose commentaries on Puerto Rican culture in the United States have appeared at the MCA and in her own backyard exhibit venue, the Franklin. Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake. faculty.ccc.edu/hwgallery

 

PRINTWORKS

Through 2/13 Return of the Exquisite Corpse. To celebrate the gallery’s 35th anniversary, the founders have invited 105 artists to create 35 corpse drawings in the spirit of a great surrealist game, whereby a body’s head, torso, and feet are each drawn by a different person, creating artfully monstrous beings out of chance partnerships. 311 W. Superior. printworkschicago.com

RANGEFINDER GALLERY

2/5–27 Document: Forty Years After the F.S.A. Following in the footsteps of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, photographer Don Getsug visited regions that receive emergency food assistance, such as Appalachia and the Arkansas Delta, to show the living conditions of people effected by government programs. 300 W. Superior. tamarkin.com/leicagallery

REGARDS

2/28–4/9 Low Fire. Noelle Allen’s large, thin, rainbow-hued sculptures seem flimsy but are actually strong—and are perhaps her best body of work to date.
Through 2/20 Ethan Rose. The sound artist’s large-scale installations use unorthodox instruments, such as string, wineglasses, and human bodies.
2216 W. Chicago. regardsgallery.com

RHONA HOFFMAN GALLERY

2/26–4/9 Spencer Finch. Not since Josef Albers has an artist approached color with such scientific rigor. Using as inspiration such intangibles as the color of the sky on 9/11, Finch turns these ideas into color samples and compositions for his large-scale public sculptures. Also showing: John Preus’s furniture made from public school detritus.
Through 2/20 Gordon Parks. Catch this survey of the work of the renowned Life magazine photographer, who also directed the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft.
118 N. Peoria. rhoffmangallery.com

RICHARD GRAY GALLERY

2/25–4/23 Present Tense. Alex Katz has carved out his own place as a portraitist since pop. This exhibit focuses on Katz’s intimate drawings on paper, a prolific medium for him, from the 1960s till now. 875 N. Michigan. richardgraygallery.com

ROOTS & CULTURE

2/12–3/5 Roots. For its 10th anniversary season, the alternative space reflects on the glory days of the West Town gallery scene, specifically its shuttered neighbors and peers. 1034 N. Milwaukee. rootsandculturecac.org

WESTERN EXHIBITIONS

Through 3/11 Daniel Rios Rodriguez. The artist from San Antonio brings his personal-size paintings of trippy imagistic journeys for his first exhibit in Chicago. Expect to see skull-infested landscapes in otherwise preciously painted scenes. 845 W. Washington. westernexhibitions.com

ZHOU B ART CENTER

Through 2/15 National Wet Paint MFA Biennial. The center receives more than 300 submissions for its prestigious MFA painting biennial. Several dozen artists are selected to exhibit, assuring the cream of the crop from recent graduates of national master’s programs. 1029 W. 35th. zhoubartcenter.com

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