Kavi Gupta and Jessica Moss
Gupta, the son of Indian immigrants, opened the first of two West Loop locations of his namesake gallery in 2000. Moss, his wife since 2008 and a former curator at the Smart Museum of Art, serves as the gallery’s head of exhibitions. The couple, who showcase contemporary artists at a dozen or so shows a year here and at fairs around the world, are credited with building a posthumous international following for Chicago imagist painter Roger Brown. They put a priority on diverse and underrepresented talent, from established names like Mickalene Thomas to up-and-comers such as Devan Shimoyama.
On Moss: Valentino silk blouse, $2,200, Neiman Marcus, 737 N. Michigan Ave. Valentino wool and silk trousers, $1,695, Ikram, 15 E. Huron St. Gucci patent leather pumps, $175 for four-day rental, Janet Mandell, 900 N. Michigan Ave.
On Gupta: Homme Plissé Issey Miyake pleated polyester zip hoodie, $440, and trousers, $340, us-store.isseymiyake.com. Woven leather sneakers, $125, Marc Nolan, 169 N. Sangamon St.
Myriam Ben Salah
A Tunisian curator and editor working in Paris, Ben Salah had never been to Chicago when the Renaissance Society approached her in 2020 about being its director and chief curator, but she was drawn by the boundary-pushing reputation of the small museum on the University of Chicago campus. Since taking over, she has furthered that sensibility with exhibitions like last year’s film by Meriem Bennani about a fictional island in a dystopian future. “Trusting the artists we invite is crucial,” Ben Salah says. “We give them the possibility to take risks, to make a mess, and to figure things out.”
Sacai Thomas Mason cotton poplin dress, $995, and Gucci viscose trousers, $980, Ikram. Patent leather slingback pumps, $1,200, Prada, 30 E. Oak St.
The French Somali spent her early career in marketing in the U.K., but she dabbled in art collecting. And in 2012, after moving to Seattle, she opened a gallery there, M.I.A., focused on African and African diaspora artists, repping future stars such as Amoako Boafo and Clotilde Jiménez. In 2019, feeling it was time to relocate and grow, she took inspiration from Barack Obama’s formative period and moved here, opening Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in West Town: “We often say New York is a place that makes people. I was thinking it’s actually Chicago.”
J’Adior 8 cashmere sweater, $2,350, cotton poplin blouse, $1,350, wool and silk trousers, $1,650, and D-Renaissance choker with resin pearls and gold-finish metal, $850, Dior, 931 E. Rush St. Nest Jewelry multistrand silver bracelet, $195, Neiman Marcus. Dior embroidered mesh and suede ankle boots, $1,490, Nordstrom, 55 E. Grand Ave.
Aron Gent and Sibylle Friche
After studying photography at Columbia College Chicago, Gent founded Document in 2012 as a studio and exhibition space. Friche arrived in 2015, bringing a master’s in arts administration and curating experience at Expo Chicago and Rhona Hoffman Gallery. Together, the business partners upped the gallery’s commercial efforts, with Gent focusing on printmaking and fabricating work, and Friche spearheading programming. Their edgy roster includes Maine sculptor Elizabeth Atterbury and Chicago photographer Laura Letinsky.
On Gent: Cotton suit jacket, $698, and trousers, $248, Brooks Brothers, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie. Thom Browne merino cardigan with grosgrain ribbon detail, $1,090, and Brunello Cucinelli calfskin brogues, $1,295, Nordstrom. Kiton woven cotton polo, $1,240, George Greene, 49 E. Oak St.
On Friche: GG silk shirt, $1,800, and polyester drill pants, $1,100, Ikram. Balenciaga leather pumps, $175 for four-day rental, Janet Mandell. Ippolita 18-karat gold bangles, $795 each, and Nest Jewelry hammered gold ring, $95, Neiman Marcus.
With a doctorate from Yale in African American studies and a leadership role in developing the Smithsonian’s lauded National Museum of African American History and Culture under her belt, Bernard was a natural to be tapped in 2017 to direct the museum of the Obama Presidential Center, now under construction in Jackson Park. Part of her mission: include local artists in the project. (Englewood-raised Richard Hunt has already been commissioned to create a sculpture for the reading garden.) “We think about how we are bringing the world to the South Side, and the South Side to the world,” Bernard says.
Prada belted wool dress, $300 for four-day rental, Janet Mandell. Miss Button leather brogues, $550, theofficeofangelascott.com. Marni metal and plastic brooch, $230, Ikram.
Grooming: (hair) Frances Tsalas/Option 1 Models; (makeup) Jake Broullard/Distinct Artists