Art

Abandoned Places, a Graffiti Bike Tour, and “You Are Beautiful” Headline This Season’s Latest Art Events in Chicago

Photo by John Faier and Peter Tsai/Courtesy of Luftwerk

Coming up this season on Chicago’s art scene, check out a couple new LGBTQ+ exhibitions, hear Luftwerk talk about its color and light installations, go on a graffiti tour by bike, and create your own “you are beautiful” board.

Courtesy of Brian Hofmeister/Facebook

“The Dance of Atoms” at Rhona Hoffman
Martha Tuttle hand-spins wool, then applies mineral pigments to fabric to create enigmatic constructions in subdued tones and textures. Her second solo show at this gallery features a new series of these paintings—careful, small-scale rearrangements of her physical world.
Details: July 12

JD Johnson & Brian Hofmeister at Center on Halsted
Mix and mingle with members of the LGBTQ+ community space during the openings of these two exhibitions. On the second floor, Johnson presents acrylic works that straddle the border of figuration and abstraction; up a floor, Hofmeister presents works on paper that reinterpret the same 30-sided polygon in dizzying, rainbow-hued lines.
Details: July 19

Artist Talk: Luftwerk at Elmhurst Art Museum
The artist duo known as Luftwerk has created a stunning installation of color and light that responds to the architecture of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House. Go check it out and learn more about the transformation during this conversation with Michael Rossi, a historian of science and medicine at the University of Chicago.
Details: July 20

“Beautiful Together” at You Are Beautiful
If you’ve spent at least a day in Chicago, you’ve probably seen signs or street art that simply read “you are beautiful” in lowercase letters. Recently, the studio behind this series handed out DIY boards with the slogan to local artists and designers; the results will be on view in this exhibition, during which you can create your own version, too.
Details: July 20

“Lisa Beard: Abandoned Illinois” at Perspective Group + Photography Gallery, Ltd.
For three years, local photographer Beard traveled around the suburbs of Chicago in search of deserted places once teeming with human life. Her journeys are documented in a new book—her first—that sheds light on sites like Joliet Prison, the Savanna Army Depot, and the Damen Silos. Hear her speak about her adventures during this intimate talk.
Details: July 21

Justin Duerr, Surrender to Survival (detail), 2018. Pen/marker on paper, 19 ½ x 25 ½ in. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist Reception for “Surrender to Survival” at the Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Twenty years ago, local artist Justin Duerr had a vision that compelled him to draw complicated scenes with pen and marker, each one a chapter of some mysterious, pulsating narrative. He’s been connecting them to create panels of what he calls “story scrolls”; 28 will be on view in this exhibition, the largest showcase of them to date.
Details: July 25

“Architecture in Motion: Performance” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Diane Simpson’s practice looks at the relationship between clothing and architecture. After nine months of research, she designed costumes inspired by the former St. Paul Women’s City Club, a gorgeous Art Deco building. Watch them come to life at this free performance.
Details: July 25

Graffiti and Gears Cycling Tour
Meet up at Daley Plaza for an active tour of street art—public murals, graffiti walls, and other outdoor adornments—not on foot but by bike. Led by local adventure group Biketropolis, the route will weave through Pilsen and Fulton Market, with a few stops to chat with artists. It all culminates in an organized graffiti competition.
Details: August 4

Art in the Yard at Oak Lawn
Pick up some affordable art by local artists at this outdoor yard show, organized by the Oak Lawn Arts Commission. Expect to find everything from crafts, such as macramé hangings, to unique paintings. And don’t miss the concert by local band the Dancing Noodles afterward.
Details: August 4

Diane Simpson, source images from the former St. Paul Women’s City Club, designed by Magnus Jemne in 1931, with “Architecture in Motion” costume drawings, 2019/Courtesy of the Graham Foundation.