Lasers, Motherhood, Warhol, and a Mural-Filled 5K Race Inspire This Month’s Most Exciting Art Happenings in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakeout Art Run/Facebook

This month in Chicago art happenings, head to Morgan Park to see a new solo show by David Heo, attend a child-friendly exhibition inspired by motherhood, go on an art-fueled 5K race, and marvel at a laser light show like no other.

Noelle Garcia, Medicine Bottles, 2018–19. Various sizes
glass beads, thread. Image courtesy of the artist and Extended Practice

“Leviathan” at Boundary
Just opened this past weekend, the solo exhibition of work by local artist David Heo is worth the trek out to Morgan Park. The gallery, which is based in a garage, showcases his dynamic paintings, which parse his experiences as an Asian-American youth.
Details: Through October 26

“I Need Time, Joy, Space, Love” at Brat Trap
Chicago is a city of resourceful people, as exemplified by this exhibition that celebrates the agency and creativity of entirely self-taught artists, many of whom tend to get overlooked by an institution-driven art world. It’s your last opportunity to catch their work, which includes visual and audio pieces, as well as wearable media.
Details: October 4

“Extended Self: Transformations & Connections” at Hyde Park Art Center
This group exhibition seeks to shed light on the practices of artists who are also mothers. The diverse range of works—largely by Chicago creatives—speaks to how various stages of motherhood both inspire and complicate creative processes. Fittingly, it’s completely child-friendly, with a section for play and nursing.
Details: October 12

Photo by Kate Joyce/Courtesy of Fundació Mies van der Rohe

Chicago Shakeout Art Run
Go on a run with a view: This 5K race takes you on a street art tour through West Town. Don’t miss murals like an abstract landscape by Philly artist Cera and floral backdrops by Detroit-based Ouizi.
Details: October 12

Geometry of Light at Farnsworth House
Laser shows are more befitting a rock concert than a modernist building. But during this installation at the Farnsworth House—a glass-walled retreat designed by Mies van der Rohe—beams will shoot through rooms to create an intense red grid that follows the architecture of the iconic house. Wander the altered spaces during intimate evening visits.
Details: October 12 and 13

“Koyotl Portraits: Rostros Indigenas” at Agitator Gallery
Artists who portray indigenous peoples have long stamped their subjects with otherness. Photographer Miguel Akira Mar, who works under the name Koyotl Portraits, breaks the colonial gaze in his portraits of young individuals of indigenous descent, capturing each person in settings that quietly celebrate their identities.
Details: October 19

Andy Warhol, Living Room, c. 1948. Collection of the Paul Warhola family. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

“Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again” at Art Institute of Chicago
After a successful run in New York City, this blockbuster exhibition of the Pop artist comes to Chicago. Don’t brush it off as just another Warhol show—it’s informed by recent research on his life and includes some unexpected gems like screen prints of sunsets.
Details: October 20

Barely Fair at Julius Caesar
It’s your last opportunity to catch this charming art fair that showcases tiny art. Organized like a traditional expo, two dozen galleries from around the world get creative with their displays, which must fit in white-walled boxes. Almost everything is for sale! Take a purchase home in your pocket.
Details: October 20

“Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power” at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Memes can be propaganda, and emoji, a call to arms. As this group exhibition argues, media can be weaponized to send powerful, pointed messages. Check out works by such artists as Jenny Holzer, Lorna Simpson, and Howardena Pindell, who each use language to subvert normal ways of communication and produce critical inquiry.
Details: October 26

Dara Birnbaum, PM Magazine, 1982. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, restricted gift of Joseph and Jory Shapiro, Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Bergman, and Mrs. Robert B. Mayer. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.