1 Stony Island Arts Bank

Theaster Gates, Carlos Bunga, and Frida Escobedo
Gates debuts an ambitious new project: a 17,000-square-foot art factory, including a collection of “negrobilia,” a Frankie Knuckles record collection, and two site-specific installations by sculptors Bunga and Escobedo. Opening October 3. Free. rebuild-foundation.squarespace.com

Stages by Barbara Kasten
Part of Barbara Kasten’s exhibit at the Graham Foundation   Photo: Barbara Kasten

2 Stages

Barbara Kasten
Graham Foundation
Prismatic, abstract, and beautifully staged, the latest work by this Chicago photographer recalls such modernist masters as Calder and Miró. October 1 to January 9. Free. grahamfoundation.org

3 Homegrown

Ivan Albright, Chris Ware, and others
Art Institute
See works on paper by distinguished alumni of the school’s printmaking and drawing programs, including magical realist painter Albright, graphic novelist Ware, Chicago imagists the Hairy Who, and dozens more. October 17 to February 14. $25. saic.edu

4 Renaissance Society Centennial

Paul McCarthy, John Knight, and others
Renaissance Society
The Hyde Park institution celebrates its 100th with a series of five new shows from September to January, including a standout by art-world bad boy McCarthy (opening November 8). Through January 24. Free. renaissancesociety.org

5 Onyx Odyssey

Jefferson Pinder
Hyde Park Art Center
In his first solo exhibition in Chicago, performance and installation artist Pinder uses objects (charred billy clubs, a human skull) to comment on growing up black in post–civil rights America. November 1 to January 24. Free. hydeparkart.org

6 La Palette

Stephen Sheldon, Michelle Grabner, Ed Paschke, and others
Ed Paschke Art Center
This unusual and fascinating show, which displays the palettes of 17 artists alongside their finished artworks, opens a rare window into the creative mind. Through January 1. Free. edpaschkeartcenter.org

Art by Kathryn Andrews
Art by Kathryn Andrews Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

7 Platforms

Elijah Burgher, Edie Fake, and others
Various locations
What began as the queer dance called Chances Dances grew into a full-blown arts organization that awards grants to artists. Now, on the eve of its 10th year, it celebrates past recipients with a multivenue retrospective. Through October 24. Free. chancesdances.org

8 Run for President

Kathryn Andrews
Museum of Contemporary Art
This L.A. sculptor’s slick pop art objects—which include a red, white, and blue Bozo—skewer contemporary American politics with a sly dose of kitsch. November 21 to May 8. $12. mcachicago.org

9 The Great Good Place

Brandon Alvendia
Threewalls Gallery
One of the smartest conceptual artists in Chicago, Alvendia pays homage to the city’s underground art scene using ephemera from long-gone apartment studios, illegal basement nightclubs, and other spaces on the fringe. November 7 to December 12. Free. three-walls.org

10 Geoffrey Todd Smith

Geoffrey Todd Smith
Western Exhibitions
Taking a cue from his favorite ’80s mementos (the Rubik’s Cube, early video games), local op art painter Smith transforms canvas surfaces into buzzing abstractions. October 24 to December 5. Free. westernexhibitions.com


…And 3 More to Check Out That Embrace Art’s Humorous Side


Put the Cat on the Phone

Scott Reeder, Kavi Gupta Gallery

Reeder creates retro-futuristic paintings, films, and sculptures (think The Jetsons) that are laden with visual gags. Through October 24. Free. kavigupta.com



Daniel Bruttig, Hyde Park Art Center

Equal parts horror and hilarity, Bruttig’s abstract birdhouses look like homes for only the most deranged flocks. October 11 to January 10. Free. hydeparkart.org


Let's Be Honest

Betsy Odom, 4th Ward Project Space

Working with sculpted leather, Odom creates vaguely sexual objects, including Double Bull, a two-sided bike seat that she calls “a dirty joke about Picasso.” October 18 to November 15. Free. 4wps.org