From President Obama to Mythical Creatures, These April Art Events Run the Gamut

Vanessa Viruet, "Black Car Pañuelo", 2018, Silkscreen print on fabric/Courtesy of ACRE/Facebook

This month, art events in Chicago feature works by incarcerated artists and writers, and topics ranging from mythical creatures to President Obama. Here are some of the must-see art programs this month.

Installation view of The Obama Paintings by Rob Pruitt/Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation/Facebook

Intimacy of Visibility at ACRE
Whatever is visible, particularly in the media, is rarely a full representation of narratives. In this group show, three artists working in a range of mediums (from fiber to video) consider the politics of invisibility and push against circulated stereotypes.
Details: April 5

The Long Term: Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project at Compound Yellow
What are the human impacts of longterm prison sentencing? Find out through the voices of incarcerated artists and writers who have contributed artwork to this traveling exhibition, which aims to help put an end to this practice. The work on view ranges from risographic prints to a hand-drawn animation to a group of video interviews.
Details: April 6

The Obama Paintings at Rebuild Foundation
Miss Obama? Revisit and reflect on his administration through this ambitious project by Rob Pruitt, who painted small portraits of the former president for every day he was in office. The nearly three thousand paintings are rendered in red, white and blue—a little cheesy, perhaps, but in this age, they might leave you a little teary-eyed.
Details: April 18

Thessia Machado, Transient Modes & Antinodes, 2018/Courtesy of the Arts Club of Chicago

Deana Lawson & Dru Donovan at Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Lawson is celebrated for her intimate portraits of black domesticity and love; Donovan, too, makes emotionally charged work, in tender, often dramatically lit pictures. It’s a fitting pairing, and it will be interesting to see how their works converse with and complement each other.
Details: April 19

Julia Schmitt Healy at Western Exhibitions
Horned, nymph-like women, eerie masked men and strange creatures—these are some of the delightful fictions Healy dreams up in her work. Her textiles, including a series of ballpoint pen drawings on handkerchiefs, will be the focus of this solo show, her first at this West Town space.
Details: April 19

Speech Acts at Gallery 400
As part of the gallery’s visiting artists lecture series, Maria Gaspar will speak about a recent intervention in which she employed light projections and audio recordings as tools of protest. Activated at the Cook County Jail, her broadcasts transformed a wall at the prison into a platform to make visible those unseen inside.
Details: April 23

Performance Marathon: Toward the Unsound at the Arts Club of Chicago
Sonic artist Thessia Machado will close her four-month sound installation, composed of circuits and speakers, with five hours of durational performances. It’s the perfect escape from reality, an invitation to indulge in the architecture of noise.
Details: April 26

Still from Sensitive Equipment, 2012, video, 2:17 min/Courtesy of Gallery 400

Alberto Aguilar moves on a human scale at Gallery 400
The Chicago-based artist likes to divide his work into categories like “Projects and Uncertainties,” “Domestic Monuments” and “Drawing in Passing,” which speaks to his varied and deeply considered practice. Don’t miss his first survey, an opportunity to get familiar with his idiosyncratic manipulation of material.
Details: April 26

SAIC MFA Show at SAIC Sullivan Galleries
Here’s your chance to get acquainted with some of the city’s most exciting emerging artists. More than 120 MFA candidates working across all departments will present projects they’ve been working on for the last two years. Thesis shows are usually more fun than gallery openings (albeit a bit more hectic), and there’s always a lot of weird, wonderful art to see.
Details: April 26

Liz Magor: Blowout at the Renaissance Society
Canadian artist Liz Magor fills this airy gallery with a curious collection of objects, each encased in clear, shiny containers—from afar, they look frozen in ice. This, plus an installation of secondhand shows, presented in a banquet-like spread, represents a practice carefully honed over four decades.
Details: April 27

Liz Magor, Seasonal (2018). Photo by Site Photography/Courtesy of the artist and Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver