Peg by Ben Gest

So much for summer’s being the art world’s quiet season. In addition to the MCA’s blockbuster Jeff Koons show, we’ve found five other don’t-miss exhibitions making plenty of noise.

Maria Tomasula
The New York Times said her magic realist paintings “could not be less cool”—a critique that’s made them even hotter. Then again, Tomasula can outpaint just about anybody. June 6–Aug 23 at Zolla/Lieberman, 325 W Huron. 312-944-1990.

Ben Gest
Gest’s color photos show us elegant images of ordinary people doing mundane things, without quite letting us enter the scene. That alluring aloofness is strangely compelling. Thru June 28 at Stephen Daiter, 311 W Superior, fourth floor. 312-787-3350.

Evanston and Vicinity Biennial
Decades ago, regional exhibitions juried by prestigious figures were major events. Few such competitions remain, but this one brings out the best in local talent. June 1–July 6 at Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Rd, Evanston. 847-475-5300.

Henry Darger
Enter the visionary world of the prolific recluse, whose tiny Lincoln Park live/work space is re-created here, alongside a portion of his astonishing body of work. Thru June 28 at Intuit, 756 N Milwaukee. 312-243-9088.

Collecting for Chicago
The Art Institute’s prints and drawings collections are certainly not the most often visited in the museum, but they’re among the most fascinating. This show gives a sense of how several Chicago collectors have been instrumental in bringing the best works on paper to the city. June 14–Sep 14 at the Art Institute, 111 S Michigan. 312-443-3600.

Photography: Ben Gest, Peg, 2008 / Courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery