Featuring galleries, exhibitions, and projects inspired by everything from tsunamis and stitching needles to Slinkies and gardens, these upcoming art events in Chicago are not to be missed. Also: The Museum of Contemporary Art’s hotly anticipated “Figures of Speech” is finally (almost) here!
“Here’s to Life” at ARC Gallery
Chiyeko Yuki creates cut-paper pieces that look like the rippling surface of bodies of water, or perhaps the feathers of some elegant bird. This solo exhibition features her artwork made after reflecting on the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, and the unexpected afterlife of a single pine tree.
Details: May 31
“All Thou Lost, Bring It Too Day” at Compound Yellow
Rather than a tool, Holly Holmes thinks of the stitching needle as an artwork and singular material. Using porcelain casts, she creates her own versions of these slender objects; a new body of sculptures built from these will be on view here.
Details: June 2
Signature Lecture With Walé Oyéjidé at Driehaus Museum
This historic mansion currently has a fantastic exhibition on Yinka Shonibare, CBE, a Nigeria-born artist who integrates Dutch wax fabrics in his installations. These textiles have a complicated history tied to colonialism; Oyéjidé, whose work considers African aesthetics, European Renaissance art, and high fashion, will elucidate these narratives in both Shonibare’s and his own practice.
Details: June 5
“Figures of Speech” at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Is this Chicago’s most-hyped exhibition of the year? It certainly feels so—buzz has been steadily building for designer Virgil Abloh’s first-ever museum survey, which will be accompanied by its own pop-up store. The show will highlight some of Abloh’s most coveted fashion collections but also feature his work in design, music, and even architecture.
Details: June 10
“Fieldwork” at Smart Museum of Art
This midcareer survey of the seemingly restless Tara Donovan celebrates her ability to make magic out of the most mundane material. Sculptures and sprawling installations look like natural formations from afar, but get close—you’ll see that each is made out of rubber bands, Slinkies, and other common objects.
Details: June 14
Our Backyard at Loyola Park
Celebrate Father’s Day weekend outdoors and near the lakefront at this festival and get a little crafty: The annual event invites artists of all skill levels to collaborate on a community mural, which will remain up for the year. If you prefer to sit back and observe, that’s also fine—there’ll plenty of live music to enjoy.
Details: June 15
The Gary Projects at Hyde Park Art Center
Frances Whitehead and Jim Elniski present a sculpture made of 300 jars of canned produce that speaks to successful experiments in their garden in Gary, Indiana. The pair has been working with locals to also cultivate community orchards, curious about how a fruit culture could shape the city. Documentation of their landscapes in progress will also be on view.
Details: June 16
“Super/Natural Textiles of the Andes” at Art Institute of Chicago
It’s your last chance to catch this fantastic, visually splendid show of textiles from the Andean region. Some dating more than 2,000 years old, these garments and decorative objects are records of ancient techniques, motifs, and beliefs that highlight the culture’s artistic diversity.
Details: June 16
Boat Party at Final Resting Place
Artist Lauren Sudbrink invites you to a participatory performance that is part art show, part party. The afternoon begins with a work in progress inspired by a composition by Erik Satie, followed by a journey to McKinley Park Lagoon, where everyone will release paper boats made of special paper (and enjoy some pears and cake).
Details: June 23
A Call and Response at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Local artist Brendan Fernandes (who is currently in the Whitney Biennial) is known for contemporary choreographies that merge ballet with BDSM. At the museum, his dancers will engage with sleek scaffolding in a performance that nods to pain and pleasure; visitors will also be invited to step in and respond to movement cues.
Details: June 23