The ten best bets for fall visual arts | Fall Preview | Chicago Reader

The ten best bets for fall visual arts 

Expo Chicago, "Tattoo" at the Field Museum, and more

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click to enlarge "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" - TORIMITSU MOMOYO
  • "Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art"
  • Torimitsu Momoyo


"Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art" and Birth Death Breath: An Inflatable Opera by Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning
September 10-November 27

Inflatable objects aren't just gaudy enclosures that sequester screaming toddlers at neighborhood block parties. For evidence, look no further than "Blow Up," an exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum that presents the works of ten artists whose preferred medium is helium. In Birth Death Breath, Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning harness the inflation and deflation of garish Christmastime decorations into an original opera composition. a Artist talk and reception for "Blow Up" Fri 9/9, 5 PM. Birth Death Breath Opening reception Sat 10/1, 3 PM. Through 11/27, Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill, Elmhurst, 630-834-0202,, $8.

  • "Ben Rivers: Urth" production still
  • Courtesy of the artist and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago


"Ben Rivers: Urth"
September 10-November 6

London-based artist Ben Rivers's experimental films focus on natural environments and utopian communities and the unsettling ways they reflect mankind. Previous works are supplemented with a new project commissioned by the Renaissance Society that was filmed in Arizona's Biosphere 2. a Opening reception Sat 9/10, 5-8 PM. Through 11/6, Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis, 773-702-8670, F

click to enlarge Mixed architecture, commercial building, 1982 - RIFAT CHADIRJI
  • Mixed architecture, commercial building, 1982
  • Rifat Chadirji


"Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation"
September 15-December 31

Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji designed nearly 100 buildings in Baghdad between the 1950s and 1970s. His unconventional style reflects Iraq's burgeoning modernity, and his photography captures the growing unease during the time period leading up to Saddam Hussein's rule. This exhibition provides an overview of his work with photographs and building documents. a Opening reception Thu 9/15, 6 PM. Through 12/31, Graham Foundation, 4 W. Burton, 312-787-4071, F

click to enlarge New York, New York (World Trade Center), 1979 - COURTESY © MUNA TSENG DANCE PROJECTS, INC., NEW YORK
  • New York, New York (World Trade Center), 1979
  • Courtesy © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc., New York


"Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera"
September 17-December 11

Photographer Tseng Kwong Chi was born in Hong Kong and participated in the downtown Manhattan art scene during the 1980s. This biographical information is reflected in his work, primarily photographs he took of himself in a Maoist uniform standing in front of such famous landmarks as the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. The first major solo exhibition of his output includes rare archival material. a Opening reception Sat 10/1, 2 PM. Through 12/11, Northwestern University Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston, 847-491-4000, F

click to enlarge Expo Chicago - KELLY TAUB/BFA.COM
  • Expo Chicago
  • Kelly Taub/


Expo Chicago
September 23-25

The fifth annual edition of this contemporary-art showcase displays artwork from 140 international galleries underneath Navy Pier's roof. But the highlight might be "Override," for which artists (including Sanford Biggers, Vik Muniz, and Cheryl Pope) were commissioned to work on 28 billboards all across the city. a Vernissage Thu 9/22, 6-9 PM. Fri 9/23-Sat 9/24, 11 AM-7 PM, and Sun 9/25, 11 AM-6 PM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, F

click to enlarge Saturday Morning Reverie - PHILIP MALLORY JONES/ALCHEMY MEDIA PUBLISHING
  • Saturday Morning Reverie
  • Philip Mallory Jones/Alchemy Media Publishing


Dateline: Bronzeville
September 30-December 18

This collaboration between the Rebuild Foundation and Video Game Art Gallery spotlights the work of Bronzeville artist Philip Mallory Jones and the title video game, in which a newspaper columnist solves a mystery in the south-side neighborhood. The exhibit includes screenshots, historical material, and a playable vignette of the game. a Artist talk and reception Fri 9/30, 6 PM. Through 12/18, Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative Center, 1456 E. 70th, F

click to enlarge Untitled, bronze, work in progress - MICHAEL TROPEA
  • Untitled, bronze, work in progress
  • Michael Tropea


"Heavy Sketches"
September 30-November 20

Many people are familiar with Theaster Gates's urban planning efforts, such as the Dorchester Projects and the Stony Island Arts Bank, and even his musical projects, such as the Black Monks of Mississippi. His fine-art background, on the other hand, is often overlooked. Richard Gray Gallery hosts an exhibition of the artist's new bronze and mixed-material sculptural work. a Through 11/20, Richard Gray Gallery, 875 N. Michigan, 38th floor, 312-642-8877, F

click to enlarge Raum der Gegenwart (Room of the Present) - 2016 HATTULA MOHOLY-NAGY/VG BILD-KUNST, BONN/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK
  • Raum der Gegenwart (Room of the Present)
  • 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


"Moholy-Nagy: Future Present"
October 2-January 3, 2017

Hungarian-born multimedia artist László Moholy-Nagy made his mark on the Chicago art scene in 1937 when he founded the New Bauhaus school, now the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Through a collection of works from the last 26 years of his life, the Art Institute reintroduces Moholy-Nagy to the city that bears his undeniable influence. a Through 1/3/17, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, 312-443-3600,, $20.

click to enlarge "Tattoo" - THOMAS DUVAL
  • "Tattoo"
  • Thomas Duval


October 21-April 30

Whether for purposes of body art, tribal distinctions, or religious rituals, mankind has participated in tattooing practices for millennia. This special exhibition of more than 170 relevant objects and historical tattoo designs, produced and premiered by Paris's Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, makes its U.S. debut at the Field Museum alongside artifacts from the Field's own archives. a Through 4/30, Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore, 312-922-9410,, $38.

click to enlarge A Cast of Falcons, 2008 - PHOTOGRAPHY ©2015 FREDRIK NILSEN
  • A Cast of Falcons, 2008
  • Photography ©2015 Fredrik Nilsen


"Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination"
October 29-January 8

Most artists attempt to reproduce the human experience, but Diana Thater contemplates the perspectives of animals. Multiple projectors, monitors, and LED lights enhance her film and video work for a walk on the wildlife side. a Artist talk Sat 10/29, 3 PM. Through 1/8/17, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-280-2660,, $12.   v

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30
Galleries & Museums
May 07

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