In the coming weeks, Chicago’s art scene transports visitors to a Finnish forest, uses pottery as a vessel for social and political change and gives a much-needed makeover to the dreaded waiting room.
Nature Theater of Oblivia at Links Hall
Escape the cold of Chicago by entering an uncanny Finnish forest, where dancers are trees, mushrooms and carriers of time. Staged by Helsinki-based group Oblivia during the Chicago performance festival IN>TIME, this theatrical work is part-live performance, part-augmented reality experience.
Details: February 21-23
Art for Dentists at the Yards
The waiting room—whether for medical, legal, government or other purposes—is a place of deep anxiety, so there’s no better source of inspiration for an exhibition that aims to give viewers a disorienting yet revelatory experience. From the sound of its prolix press release, anything could happen at this one-night-only group show.
Details: February 22
Atlas Unlimited (Acts V-VI) at Logan Center Exhibitions
A group of sculptural fragments referencing architecture from sites like Palmyra to the US-Mexico border sets the stage for this performance by artist Karthik Pandian and choreographer Andros Zins-Browne, which occurs every Thursday through March 17. The pair is presenting an ongoing project that explores movement, displacement, and migration of people and objects across place an time—an ambitious-sounding work.
Details: February 26-March 17
TooTiredChicago: A Conversation on Mental Health and Photography at LATITUDE
It’s not often that cultural sites stage conversations on mental health, and it’s even rarer that discussions are for such specific communities. In this talk, photographer Tara Wray will speak about her photo project that encourages therapy through creative expression, and panelists will continue discussion of how photography can break down stigma around mental health.
Details: March 1
Zoetic at Elastic Arts
Love art? Love plants? Come to this sensorial reception that celebrates botany in all forms. Marine Tempels’ exhibition will explore our age of the Anthropocene through lush, acrylic and ink works, and Black Diamond will perform a jazzy set. Enjoy some food and pick up a houseplant or two, provided by pop-up plant shop Ebimera Vines.
Details: March 2
Pottery of Protest 2 Exhibition at Lincoln Square Pottery Studio
Don’t expect to find simple, pretty pots here. This pottery studio has invited its members to show their dissent through clay, and the results are on view in this spirited, powerful show. Among the causes confronted: gun violence, political corruption and climate change.
Details: March 2
Pocket Vinyl’s World Record Tour at Happiness
This will be a performance unlike any you’ve experienced: Connecticut group Pocket Vinyl is attempting to break the world record for “Fastest to Play a Concert in Each of the 50 States,” with a Chicago stop at the event space Happiness. They won’t just play piano songs about “death, sex, and theology”; they’ll also create a painting live on stage. Sounds too weird? Have a listen to their work on Bandcamp before you commit.
Details: March 13
The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Last year, Chicago-based cartoonist Ken Krimstein published his debut graphic novel: a fictionalized biography of celebrated political philosopher Hannah Arendt. See how he worked through the challenge of illustrating her life in this exhibition, which spotlights his creative process through original illustrations and sketches.
Details: March 14
Out of Nowhere at DfbrL8r
Come check out recent work by Polish artist Tomasz Szrama, the debut artist-in-residence of this performance-focused art space. Szrama’s previous pieces have involved him affixing his body to furniture to become a human marionette and suspending himself above a pile of xylophones, so you can expect to witness something dramatic and wholly unexpected.
Details: March 15
Comics and Art Book Fest at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Chicago has a vibrant and energetic comics scene, and this free celebration of this community is a good opportunity to get acquainted with it. Hosted by comic artist Jessica Campbell, the lineup for now includes performances by comics-reading collective Zine Not Dead. While you’re at the museum, be sure to check out Campbell’s solo exhibition of carpet paintings.
Details: March 16