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Psst! There’s Art in #4A

In turning their living rooms into exhibition spaces, some young entrepreneurs are bridging the gap between elite West Loop galleries and the emerging art scene. “It forces me to mop more,” says Katie Rashid, explaining the downside of opening an art gallery in her apartment. The upside? For an aspiring gallerist with an eye for talent: a business opportunity—plus an excuse to throw some of the best parties in town.

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For three years, Rashid (left), 28, and Parker, 27, worked together at Rhona Hoffman Gallery. In 2006, the duo launched Duchess with an Alexander Stewart drawing made entirely of cassette tape.

Where: The front living area and small bedroom in Rashid’s fourth-floor Grand Avenue walkup, which she shares with an understanding roommate. “She’s in production,” Rashid explains. “In her profession you have to do your own projects, so she’s supportive.”

Day jobs: Rashid still works for Hoffman; Parker has since left to pursue a career in marketing.

That name: Inspired by the Larry Jordan film Our Lady of the Sphere

Street cred: After Stewart’s show, which was a hit, they featured drawings and paintings by Chicagoan Stacey Nemeth, a wearable show by Huong Ngo, and the first Chicago exhibition by San Francisco–based art star Mitzi Pederson.

Long-term plans? Neither Rashid nor Parker sees Duchess getting any bigger anytime soon. “There’s something special about what it is right now,” Parker says. “Since we don’t have to depend on it for income, it’s an energizing stress.”

Up now: A solo exhibition by Brooklyn artist Jamisen Ogg, through June 13th

Deals? They’ve sold a few pieces, but all earnings have gone toward bills, cleaning supplies, and touchup paint. “We don’t pay ourselves so we can call it a hobby on our taxes,” Parker explains.

Weirdest moment: “There was a couple who stayed past closing time once and were making out in the hallway. It was pretty grotesque,” Parker reports.

Catch them: 1043 W. Grand Ave., fourth floor; 312-933-5317. Besides openings and appointments, the gallery is open to the public only on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

Photography: Lisa Predko


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