Chinese, Jamaican, Latinx, Japanese, and Egyptian Art Descend on Chicago

Liang Shaoji, “Chains: The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Nature Series, No. 79, 2002–7. Polyurethane, colophony, iron powder, silk, and cocoons. Installation view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA.

Coming up in Chicago, celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Art Institute of Chicago, marvel at the photography and writings of one of the city’s most enduring Japanese-American photojournalists, check out the first solo exhibition of a Jamaican-born artist dabbling in wood sculpture, and attend a special film screening hosted by Chinese artist Xu Bing.

Yasmin Spiro, Ridgeline, Glazed Porcelain, 2019, 4’x5’x3”. Kohler Co., courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

“American Visionary” at the Newberry Library
The late poet and photographer Jun Fujita was the first Japanese-American photojournalist and a visionary artist who left a lasting mark on Chicago. This exhibition, copresented with the Poetry Foundation, brings together his writings, photographs of this city during times of great conflict, and other archival artifacts.
Details: January 24

“Edge of Time” at FLXST Contemporary
Check out the first solo exhibition in Chicago of Yasmin Spiro—a Jamaican-born, Chicago-based artist who has been exploring concepts of the feminine in architecture and utopian theories through the lens of Caribbean culture. Her glazed porcelain and wood sculptures bring to mind certain geographies, as their quiet ambivalence articulates identity in diaspora.
Details: January 25

“Five Works” at Mana Contemporary
See what Cathy Hsiao has been making in her studio during the bimonthly project series in this office space, which spotlights five works by emerging Chicago artists. Hsiao, who grew up between the U.S. and Taiwan, often draws on experiences of migration and memory to make evocative sculptural pieces that integrate plant material.
Details: January 30

Courtesy of Newberry Library

“Both Eagle and Serpent” at Chicago Cultural Center
Get acquainted with the colorful and graphic works of Luis A. Sahagun, a Chicago-based Latinx artist who works at the intersection of migration, race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Expressing himself through fantastical paintings, drawings, and sculptures that combine materials like beads and drywall, Sahagun makes art charged with ancient and contemporary mythology.
Details: February 1

Dragonfly Eyes Screening at Film Row Cinema
The Museum of Contemporary Photography presents this special screening of a film by artist Xu Bing that considers image-making, fame, and self-surveillance in the digital age. The celebrated Chinese artist will be in the audience and participate in a Q&A.
Details: February 4

“The Allure of Matter: Material Art From China” at Smart Museum of Art and Wrightwood 659
This major exhibition of contemporary Chinese art is so large it spills into two museums. Focusing on material art—a genre coined by its lead curator to describe works whose material substance is significant to their meaning—it features big names like Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing, and Cai Guo-Qiang.
Details: February 7

Untitled (Amparo for Saint Martin de Porras), 2019. Beads, gorilla glue, St Porras, jute, acrylic, synthetic rope, resin, wood, metal, seashells, and fabric 24×24 (inches). Courtesy of the Chicago Cultural Center.

“Signs and Wonders: The Photographs of John Beasley Greene” at the Art Institute of Chicago
See Egypt through the eyes of this 19th-century French photographer, who visited the region twice to capture its landscape in quiet scenes empty of human life. This exhibition explores Greene’s career through nearly 70 rare prints and albums shown with Egyptian art, and considers it within the archaeological and colonial context of the time.
Details: February 8

Lunar New Year Celebration at the Art Institute of Chicago
Ring in the Year of the Rat during this special Chinese New Year celebration that fills multiple galleries. Create paper lanterns, play centuries-old board games, and learn about some special objects in the collection.
Details: February 8