A Night Out

Let These Autumn Art Events Move You, Scare You, Entice You, and Enlighten You

Michiko Itatani, “Cosmic Wanderlust Painting From CTRL-Home/Echo CRH–2,” 2011, 78 x 96 inches, oil on canvas. Courtesy of One After 909.

Subjects of offbeat furniture, rope bondage, the AIDS crises, and humans’ fleeting existence on earth all star in this next batch of riveting art events and exhibitions in Chicago.

“Between a Rock and a Dream” at Heaven Gallery
This is a show of strange furniture by local emerging artists Catherine Hu and Yunhee Min—objects that, as the exhibition’s title suggest, exist in a world of their own. Take care to mine each piece for multiple interpretations, like delightful visual puns.
Details: October 25

“Cosmic Codes” at One After 909
Revel in Michiko Itatani’s oil paintings of futuristic worlds that reflect on humans’ fleeting existence on earth. Made over the span of 14 years, each work reveals a familiar site, like libraries and gardens, situated in some cosmic setting of dazzling orbs.
Details: October 25

Man Bartlett, End Game Video Still, 2019. Courtesy of Bert Green Fine Art.

“Restrain” at Monique Meloche
Chicago choreographer Brendan Fernandes is having quite a year, with inclusion in the Whitney Biennial on top of multiple exhibitions that illustrate his interest in the power dynamics of ballet. He returns to Chicago with a solo show at this esteemed gallery. Not much info has been released yet, but considering how he weaves traditional dance with rope bondage and leather culture, expect it to be kinky.
Details: November 2

“Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989)” at Iceberg Projects
The late Nigeria-born photographer’s first solo show in this city will feature portraits taken during the height of the AIDS crisis in Europe and the U.S. Fani-Kayode died of complications from an AIDS-related illness—tragically young, at age 34. See his gorgeous, moving photographs of black men made during his short career, together addressing themes from the diaspora to gay rights.
Details: November 2

“The International Boutique for Middle-Aged Ladies” at Goldfinch
Guest-curated by Chicago painter Mari Eastman, this group exhibition is also a shopping experience. Intended to replicate a boutique for women, the show will include sophisticated works like painted wallpaper and evocative perfumes.
Details: November 3

Emilio Rojas Performance at DePaul Art Museum
In conjunction with a group exhibition that explores narratives of exclusion and erasure of heritage and place, Mexican artist Rojas is staging this performance. Using his body, he will address colonial legacies, specifically those tied to the oft-described discoverer of the Americas, Christopher Columbus.
Details: November 9

Zeng Shanqing, Control, 2007. Courtesy of the artist.

“End Game” at Bert Green Fine Art
New York artist Man Bartlett presents a trippy multimedia installation that takes one through the afterlife. Expect video, sound, and scent, plus some illuminated rocks, in this timely show, which invites one to consider where we go once earth is no longer habitable.
Details: November 9

“Expressive Ink” at the Art Institute of Chicago
It’s your last chance to catch this enlightening exhibition of the work of Yang Yanping and Zeneg Shanqing, a Chinese couple whose painting practices were shaped by traditional Chinese techniques, the cultural revolution, and a move westward to America. See the evolution of their style in this show—their first in a major U.S. art museum.
Details: Through November 10

“Video Playlist” at Museum of Contemporary Photography
Tied to a group show on contemporary photography from Asia, this program of videos centers on artists from China and Southeast Asia. The specially curated group of moving-image works explores ritual and performance in experimental approaches.
Details: November 13