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Five Must-See Underground Art Events

The city has some incredible one-off art events this weekend.

Rashayla Marie Brown, “You Can’t See Me Fool,” 2014.   Photo: Courtesy of the artist

While it’s easy to get distracted by Chicago’s big, glitzy gallery openings, the city is also chock full of one-off art events, artist talks, art-film screenings, and studio tours. Here are some of the best bets for getting an artful amount of culture into your weekend diet.

The Biggest Open Studio Night of the Year

The graduate studios at the School of the Art Institute are open to the public just once a year. Join the roving masses to see what the school’s 900 MFA candidates are brewing in their studios, including highlights from the fashion, ceramics, new media, and painting departments. Who knows, you might stumble on the art world’s next star. Friday, November 7, 4:30 p.m.–10:30pm. Various locations in the Loop; see SAIC’s website.

Get Down with Queer Afrofeminism

Photographer Rashayla Marie Brown invites viewers to take off their shoes for an intimate artist talk inside her new solo exhibition. Brown breaks down the fable of Black clothing and music as “fabulous” with honest talk about identity politics. Friday, November 7, 6:30–7:45pm. Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N Carpenter.

Free Art Books and a Saxophone

A new paperback book by artist John Sparagana is filled with his abstract artwork; a painting unfolds across 170 pages, progressing from color to black-and-white. Copies of the book will be available for free. Saturday, November 8, 1–5pm (music at 3pm). Document Gallery, 845 W Washington.

Walk and Talk with a Curator

Berlin-based artist Josef Strau’s first major exhibition in the U.S. includes an archipelago of hand-crafted objects made to look like detritus from the global capitalist economy. Curator Hamza Walker hopes to enlighten viewers by leading a tour of the enigmatic exhibition. Sunday, November 9, noon. Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, 5811 S Ellis, fourth floor.

Meme Movies

Find out what post-Internet art is all about with a screening of videos by Jennifer Chan and Theodore Darst. Their new work deals with bodybuilding, online sex, and cover songs played by fans, using uncomfortable media such as iPhone video footage and computer-rendered imagery. Sunday, November 9, 7:30–9pm. Roots & Culture, 1034 N Milwaukee.

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