Art

Puppets, Climate Change, and a Book Bazaar Highlight These Must-Do Art Events in Chicago

“Awakening,” 1998 © Tetsuya Ishida, 2019 Photograph Takemi Art Photos/Courtesy Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Ltd.

Shop for artsy doodads, tour a special show at the Arts Club of Chicago, attend a book bazaar, celebrate Human Rights Day, and mingle with puppets at these upcoming art events, fairs, and exhibitions in Chicago.

Installation view of “Abraham Cruzvillegas: Pending Sculptures,” Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Kurimanzutto, Mexico City and New York.

Thing-O-Rama at Kimball Arts Center
Pick up some one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at this sale of doodads galore—from original art to artist-made items to found objects. Among the treasures: glasses etched with chicken feet, cyanotype-printed shirts, and beaded necklaces made with paracord.
Details: November 30

Artist Talk at Heaven Gallery
Catch “Vaulted Breath/Winded Spirit,” the gallery’s current exhibition, and hear from artist Jacqueline Surdell during this intimate walk-through. Learn how her various fiber works relate to storytelling, mythic pasts, and self-understanding.
Details: November 30

Curator’s Tour at the Arts Club of Chicago
Learn about Abraham Cruzvillegas’s current exhibition at the gallery, “The Ballad of Etc.,” during this public walk-through, which will be followed by a performance interpreting texts by the Mexican artist. The installation of assemblages that draws connections between Chicago’s laboring class and indigenous people from Michoacàn closes at the end of the month, so this is a prime opportunity to see it.
Details: December 4

Holiday Photo Book Bazaar at the Museum of Contemporary Photography
This free three-year-old book fair gathers together local presses that specialize in beautifully designed photo books. Find the perfect gift for your art-loving friend and meet some of the artists to chat about their work.
Details: December 11

“No Wall, No Cages” at Uri-Eichen Gallery
To mark Human Rights Day, this gallery is bringing in work by printmakers that speak out against the violence of deportations, detention, criminalization, and incarceration of immigrant communities in the Chicago area. The nine artists work in a range of styles and are deeply involved in grassroots organizing.
Details: December 13

John Akomfrah, still from Vertigo Sea, 2015. 48 min. 30 sec. Purchased jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, with funds provided by the Pritzker Traubert Visionary Art Acquisition Fund, and by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2018
© Smoking Dogs Films/Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

“Water After All” at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Artists confront the climate crisis in this group exhibition of works that examine our lasting mark on the environment. Don’t miss the centerpiece video installation by filmmaker John Akomfrah, which emphasizes the loss of life caused by global warming.
Details: December 14

“Self-Portrait of Other” at Wrightwood 659
This is your last chance to catch this spectacular survey of work by Japanese painter Tetsuya Ishida, which casts a critical eye on modern Japanese society. In his Surrealist scenes, Ishida pulls no punches in expressing the isolation and alienation felt in a world of fast-paced production and consumption.
Details: Ends December 14

Puppets in Progress at Comfort Station Logan Square
Get acquainted with contemporary puppetry during this super-low-key gathering of local puppet lovers. Artists are encouraged to share their performances in progress and receive feedback in return.
Details: December 17

Teen Creative Agency Zine Party at Museum of Contemporary Art
What are teenagers into these days? There might be no better event to find out than this zine fete celebrating DIY publications made by Chicago artists under 21 years old. Pick up a zine, or many, to read about what this generation cares about in their own words and forms of expression.
Details: December 21