A fail-safe guide to EXPO CHICAGO 2022

Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Two top art experts, Abby Pucker and Zoe Lukov, offer a digestible itinerary to this year’s events

Thursday 7 April 2022   By Abby Pucker and Zoe Lukov

EXPO Chicago presents the opportunity to bring together cultural influencers, artists and institutions both within the city, and those who represent more national and international perspectives to engage with how to build a more equitable creative economy. Tony Karman, president and director of EXPO Chicago has built such an important fair that attracts tens of thousands of visitors, and we’re capitalising on that momentum and excitement around art to engage other areas of the city. 
With our exhibition, Skin In The Game, it’s important to us that a show is accessible, free and open to all. To that end, what we’re most looking forward to is seeing the community engage with the works in a way they might not at a museum or an art fair.  
Below, find our suggestions for art exhibitions and installations across Chicago this week. 

Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House
Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Big Words at Blanc Gallery
Brandon Breaux’s Big Words exhibition at Blanc Gallery opens on Saturday, April 9, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it showcases the various mediums in which he works. Our friend Anna Cerniglia, founder of Johalla Projects, is one of the curators of the show; she was instrumental in helping bring Skin In The Game to Fulton Market.

Theodora Allen: Saturnine at the Driehaus Museum 
Stephanie Cristello curated what I hear is a mercurial show of Theodora Allen’s luminous work at the Driehaus Museum. A rare, intimate art space in Chicago, the gilded age backdrop presents a unique environment for the mythological interpretations of a very exciting artist. 

Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House
Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Barely Fair
Barely Fair, an invitational international fair held at Color Club, presents a tiny peek inside the programming of 30 contemporary art galleries, project spaces, and curatorial projects in 1:12 scale booths. It’s operated by Chicago-based Julius Caesar, an artist-run project space established in 2008 that’s emblematic of the multiplicity of galleries in this fair – from Chicago apartment-based galleries to those from Los Angeles – and the exciting cross-cultural dialogue that it fosters.

smallWORLD Collective – Energy
Collaborating with people in the creative community like the smallWORLD Collective, whose mission is to produce cultural, artistic, and informative programming, promote sex and body positivity, and uplift marginalised communities, has been the most stimulating aspect of the production of Skin In The Game. They will be hosting one of their intentionally curated, Energy by SmallWORLD Collective events at The Promontory. Tickets can be found on Eventbrite. 

Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House
Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Igshaan Adams: Desire Lines
The artist’s textile installations are not to be missed at The Art Institute of Chicago. His tapestries and textile works, composed of beads, shells, glass, rope, wire, and found objects weave together inspiration from his hometown of Bonteheuwel, South Africa.

Vault Gallerie: HML Home 
Vault Gallerie is a vibrant space in Pilsen that engages with local Chicago artists. One of those artists is Hailey Losselyong. Her exhibition, HML Home, opens on Saturday, April 9 and is a must-see show. 

Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House
Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Artists’ talk at Patron Gallery 
We’re excited to learn more about two fascinating artists who participated in Skin In The Game. South-Korean born Chicago artist, Soo Shin, explores the gestures of a body in relation to place, identity, and being. And Samuel Levi Jones is known for challenging historical and contemporary power structures through the act of taking apart ‘source’ material and generating new perspectives. They both join gallery director, Kristin Korolowicz, in conversation about their work and inspirations at 11.30am on Saturday, April 9 at 1612 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.

Monique Meloche, Booth 307 at EXPO Chicago 
Curator Monique Meloche represents several of Chicago’s young vanguard artists in addition to Jake Troyli, Cheryl Pope, and Ebony G. Patterson. Check out new work from these emerging artists: Candida Alvarez, Sanford Biggers, Antonius Bui, Arvie Smith, David Antonio Cruz, Dan Gunn, Kajahl, Maia Cruz Palileo, Sheree Hovsepian, David Shrobe, and Nate Young. 


Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House
Cultural Agenda: Art Expo Chicago | Soho House

Skin In The Game 
Featuring works by more than 40 diverse, local and international artists exploring touch, transmission and skin, the exhibition seeks to establish a dialogue with the erotic through lines that touch on game, colour, race, sport, religious iconography, and competition. On display from Thursday 7 to Sunday, April 24. 

Spinello Projects, Booth 353 at EXPO Chicago
Miami-based Spinello Projects will feature a Jared McGriff solo presentation "Increasing Odds By Trying".

Meriem Bennani’s Life On The Caps
Definitely stop by The Renaissance Society to see Meriem Bennani’s Life On The Caps. Myriam Ben Salah has curated a beautiful presentation of this incredible piece. The film speaks to so many of the worrying truths of the world we live in today. The setting and the whole experience are unsettling in the best way and Bennani approaches the darkness with a humour that left us when we went to see this a few weeks back. 

Life On The Caps runs until Sunday, April 17 at The Renaissance Society. Exhibitions are free and reservations can be made in advance on tock.com

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