A Zine Fair, Yarn Convention & Flower Paintings Highlight Spring’s Must-See Art Events

Florals for Spring

Raúl Ortiz, Composition No. 81, 2018/Courtesy of Raúl Ortiz/Facebook

As winter gives way to spring, this next crop of art events in Chicago includes an apt gallery of floral paintings. But that’s certainly not all. A new season brings forth a wave of fresh new art happenings and openings, including a zine fair, a yarn convention, offbeat tours and short film screenings.

Courtesy of Forgotten Forms/Facebook

An Introduction to Performance Art—Fluxus at the Art Institute of Chicago
If performance art often befuddles you, don’t worry—you’re not alone. In a four-part lecture series (free to attend, with admission) the museum is attempting to make this art form a bit more accessible. This week centers on the celebrated Fluxus group, which included artists like Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman and Yoko Ono.
Details: March 22

Foto Mercado at the Ace Hotel
This popular zine fair returns for its second year for what’s sure to be a killer party, complete with DJs. The focus here is on photo-centric publications, and dozens of vendors are participating, so expect to spend at least an hour here sifting through everything.
Details: March 23

Tour of Forgotten Forms at the Chicago Cultural Center
Since February, a vibrant, coral installation by Chicago artist Edra Soto has been on view in a two-person exhibition celebrating neighborhood identities. Recreations of bus shelters and fences in her native Puerto Rico invite you to take a seat and peep through holes to view intimate photographs. Curious to learn more? Soto is leading a tour that will culminate in an additional interactive activity.
Details: March 30

Courtesy of Dig, Dig, Dig/Facebook

Dig, Dig, Dig at Comfort Station
Come check out this large series of minimalist paintings by local artist Clay Mahn—there will be nearly 36 total—that engage with the architecture of this Logan Square gallery. The exhibition title suggests a sense of probing, and indeed, the installation has an inquisitive nature, organized to change over time. It’ll likely be worth visiting this more than once.
Details: March 30

A (Totally Fake) Tour of Chicago
Celebrate April Fool’s Day the intellectual way with this zany walking tour organized by Atlas Obscura Society Chicago. Part fact, part historical fiction, your guide will tell rousing tales about the city’s past that will make you see its architecture and landscape in a whole new light.
Details: March 31

Movements: A Response to the Leopard at the Block Museum
Northwestern’s museum is currently screening the Leopard, a powerful and searing video by Isaac Julien that spotlights the traumas of African migration. A documentation of contemporary dance, it has inspired another performance that will unfold in the museum’s galleries, where an exhibition on medieval West Africa is currently on view.
Details: April 4

Yang Luzi, The Oracle is the Mouthpiece, 2016/ Courtesy of the artist/Facebook

Shards from the Mirror of History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Come learn about the work of an exciting group of emerging Chinese artists in this program presented by members of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Working in video, performance and other forms of time-based media, these individuals are all part of China’s “lost generation,” whose practices consider their country’s major transformations over the last two decades.
Details: April 4

YarnCon 2019 at Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall
Maybe you’ve recently got into the crafting trend of crochet, or have been a longtime knitter. Either way, don’t miss this indie fair where regional vendors sell all things yarn-related, from tools to patterns to all sorts of dyed and textured yarns from a variety of sources like alpaca, sheep and Angora rabbit.
Details: April 6

Body + Camera 2019 at Chicago Cultural Center
Spend the day (or at least a few hours) lost in experimental films from around the world. This 10-hour program, presented by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, will screen more than 40 short films that celebrate the body in motion, divided into sections like “the End of Things” (exploring loss and death) and “Public Places, Private Worlds.”
Details: April 7

Still from Rossina Bossio, Ruins, 2017/ Photo courtesy of artist

In Nature at One River School
Arriving just in time for spring is this luscious parade of paintings by Mexican artist Raúl Ortiz. Depicting gardens, flowers, trees in bright color and myriad texture, they are eye-popping celebrations of nature sure to stir you from your winter slumber.
Details: April 14