December 5, 2019

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events 2020 Exhibition Schedule

Highlights include retrospectives of work by African American Painter Robert Colescott and Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999)

Mary May, 312.744.0576

Christine Carrino, 312.744.0573

2020 Exhibition Images


Chicago Cultural Center – 78 E. Washington St.

All exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, are presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Gallery and building hours are Monday–Friday, 10am–7pm, and Saturday–Sunday, 10am–5pm; closed holidays. Admission is FREE. For information, visit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ChiCulturCenter.


Chicago Architecture Biennial

Through January 5, 2020

Throughout the Chicago Cultural Center and across Chicago

See exhibitions, performances, films and talks at the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial and explore how architecture shapes our communities, cities and environment. As the largest exhibition of contemporary art, architecture and design in North America, the third edition of the Biennial features over 80 contributors from more than 20 countries. More than 40 sites and 100 organizations across Chicago will partner with the Biennial, serving as host venues and producing independent exhibitions and programs throughout the neighborhoods. For information, visit


Luis A. Sahagun: Both Eagle and Serpent

February 1–April 26, 2020

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Known for his intricate and fantastical paintings and sculptures built from silicone, lumber, drywall, concrete and hardware, Luis Sahagun creates symbols that represent working-class immigrants in the United States. In Both Eagle and Serpent, this solo exhibition artfully confronts the degrading rhetoric aimed at immigrants, migrants and the other, as an act of cultural reclamation to spotlight Latinx narratives of resilience and self-determination.

Curated by Teresa Silva.


In Flux: Chicago Artists and Immigration

February 15May 10, 2020

Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North

First presented by 6018 North in spring 2019, under the title 'Living Architecture,' 'In Flux is a large-scale, multidisciplinary exhibition that highlights the influence and impact of immigrant artists on Chicago. The exhibition responds to the current political climate to highlight how Chicago was built with immigrant labor, particularly in the arts, and is continuously shaped today by exemplary immigrant artists. With over 20 contemporary artists, In Flux: Chicago Artists and Immigration illustrates a living and evolving legacy between past and present work by Chicago immigrants in art and design.


NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967-1999)

February 29–May 24, 2020

Sidney Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North

The first U.S. retrospective of the work of Belkis Ayón, the late Cuban visual artist and printmaker who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society of Abukua to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. The exhibition’s 47 prints encompass a wide range of the artist’s graphic production including her signature collography technique, a printing process combining materials of various textures and absorbencies.

Curated by Cristina Vives and organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, Cuba, with the Chicago Cultural Center. Exhibition tour management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California.


What Flies but Never Lands?

May 23–August 9, 2020 

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Considering the present-day experience of time, the multi-disciplinary works inspect the idea of time and challenge its dominant Western, capitalist orders. The group exhibition includes work by Bethany Collins, Jacabo Zambrano, Hu’ong Ngo, Max Guy, Saranoa Mark, Cathy Hsiao and Amina Ross.

Curated by Minh Nguyen.


Jin Lee: Views & Scenes

June 8–August 2, 2020

Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North

This one-person exhibition by highly respected Chicago photographer Jin Lee features a series of photographs that closely examine landscapes and built environments around Chicago. The exhibition brings together four bodies of work: Train Views – images made during the artist’s weekly 2-hour Amtrak commute between Chicago and Bloomington/Normal; Great Water – views of Lake Michigan taken from a single location on the South Side of Chicago; Salt Mountains – images of piles and mounds of salt and dirt found on storage sites around the city; and Weeds – a collection of portraits of wild plants that grow in alleys and empty lots in a neighborhood.


Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott

June 20–September 27, 2021

Sidney Yates Gallery and Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North

As the first comprehensive retrospective of Robert Colescott (1925-2009), one of America’s most compelling and controversial artists, this exhibition will present 75 total works throughout 53 years of his career that both bring to the surface and challenge racial stereotypes.

Co-curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Wesley and organized by Raphaela Platow, the Contemporary Arts Center’s Alice & Harris Weston Director and Chief Curator. Major support for the exhibition tour has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sotheby’s Prize, and Richard Rosenthal; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the research phase of the exhibition and the exhibition itself; and the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation for its support of the catalogue. The exhibition presentation in Chicago is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations

September 5, 2020–January 5, 2021

Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North

League of Nations is a new body of work examining power structures and copies through architectural installation and sculpture. The show is anchored by a new installation based on Hans Meyer and Hans Wittwer’s unbuilt 1927 proposal drawing submitted for the headquarters of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.


An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman 

September 5, 2020–January 3, 2021

Michigan Avenue Galleries, 1st Floor East

Three women – Leslie Baum, Diane Christiansen and Selena Trepp – present individual bodies of work with a shared interest in color and form. Animations will enliven the exhibition space with new media.

Curated by Anne Morse.


Re:Center 2020/ Chicago Parks as Learning Labs for Civic Engagement and Cultural Stewardship

October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021

Exhibit Hall, 4th Floor North

A grant-funded initiative of the Chicago Park District, Re: Center has sought to build a process that encourages artists, park staff, and citizens to collaboratively develop community-centered arts and cultural programs at their local park. Through the display of images, field notes, cultural asset maps and learning tools collected and created over the past five years, as well as a gathering space that will host dialogues, workshops and game play, the exhibition engages participants in reimagining the cultural resources of their communities for the present/future while also considering how public spaces like parks can be hubs for creative thinking and doing that result in pleasure, leisure, learning, revitalization and social justice.

Programmed in collaboration with the Chicago Park District’s Arts & Culture Unit


Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72 – 72 E. Randolph St.

Exhibitions at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St., are presented by the Design Museum of Chicago. Building hours are Monday–Friday, 10am–6pm, and Saturday–Sunday, 11am–4pm; closed holidays. Admission is FREE. For information, visit


Great Ideas of Humanity

February 22–April 19, 2020

Design Museum of Chicago, at Expo 72,

A reimagining of a stunning mid-century advertising campaign by Chicago-based Container Corporation of America, Great Ideas of Humanity highlights a broad spectrum of human thought and reminds us that sometimes looking to the past helps us to comprehend the present. Chicago’s vibrant public art culture shares many features with the campaign: both are meant for broad public consumption, are collaborative, are bringing art to people and are meant to inspire. This iteration of Great Ideas focuses on iconic murals to inspire work generated by Chicago high school students.


All-City Visual Arts 2020 Exhibitions

May 4–June 7, 2020

Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72

Art and design share many of the same building blocks. By making art, students are also practicing communication, creative problem-solving, risk-taking and self-expression. This year, the Design Museum of Chicago has the opportunity to exhibit work by hundreds of Chicago Public School students. The All-City Visual Arts Programs provide a unique opportunity to showcase student achievement in visual and media arts and exhibit their work in highly-visible, public exhibition spaces in Chicago. The high school exhibition showcases 2D, 3D and digital artwork by students in grades 9-12 and the elementary exhibition features work by students from pre-K through 8th grade.


All Together Now: Sound × Design

August 1, 2020–January 3, 2021

Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72

In celebration of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Music in 2020, the Design Museum of Chicago is planning a blind juried exhibition to collect and highlight a body of work from visual artists, musicians and designers. The work displayed in the gallery at Expo 72 will incorporate or be inspired by music (in an abstract way), allow for the performance of music in and of itself (like the design of an instrument) or be used to sell or brand music (like a logo or packaging.) By integrating contemporary and historic work, All Together Now celebrates the integral part music plays in Chicago’s creative culture.


Growing Community

Through May 31, 2020

City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower, 806 N. Michigan Avenue

A celebration of community managed green spaces throughout Chicago. Curated by the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, in collaboration with NeighborSpace and part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019-2020.


Temporary Exhibitions Outdoors in Millennium Park – 201 E. Randolph St.

Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. Access to the park is free and open to the public daily, 6am–11pm. For information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Millennium_Park.


Luftwerk, Requiem: A White Wanderer

Sound Installation: January 31 – February 2, 2020, 11am–6pm

Sound Walks: Friday, January 31, 12:15pm; Saturday, February 1, 4pm (family oriented) and 8pm; Sunday, February 2, Noon

Concert: Saturday, February 1, 5pm (family oriented) and 7pm, registration at

Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Requiem: A White Wanderer is an ongoing project by Luftwerk inspired by Larsen-C, a 120-mile long crack that ran along the Antarctic ice shelf and broke into a trillion-ton iceberg named A 68 in 2017. White Wanderer translates seismic data from this ailing iceberg into an emotional experience, connecting the public to the urgency of climate change. Over the course of 2019 as part of their Outer Ear Residency at Experimental Sound Studio, Luftwerk has been working in collaboration with Katherine Young to create a musical composition for orchestra and voice based on these sonic signals. This composition will premiere in two concerts presented alongside a sound installation in the lattice of Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Presented by the Millennium Park Foundation


Edra Soto: Screenhouse

Through Fall 2021

Millennium Park, Boeing Gallery North

Constructed from approximately 400 charcoal-hued, 12-inch cast concrete blocks, the 10-foot high pavilion-like structure comes out of Soto’s ongoing series exploring symbolic transplants of iron grills and decorative concrete screen blocks found throughout the Caribbean and the American South. These decorative screens, known as rejas and quiebrasoles, are ubiquitous in Soto’s birthplace in Puerto Rico. In Screenhouse, Soto transforms the quiebrasol form from a planar screen that divides public from private into a nearly fully enclosed, free-standing structure that functions as both a sculptural object and a social gathering place.

Presented by the Millennium Park Foundation


Christine Tarkowski: “When we call the Earth by way of distinction a planet and the Moon a satellite, we should consider whether we do not, in a certain sense, mistake the matter. Perhaps- and not unlikely - the Moon is the planet and the Earth the satellite! Are we not a larger moon to the Moon, than she is to us?”

Through Fall 2021

Millennium Park, Boeing Gallery South

Christine Tarkowski’s work is as extravagantly conjured as its title, taken from the 18th-century British astronomer William Herschel. The startling presence of candy-colored hand blown glass boulders suspended above and about earthbound boulders evokes a strange, yet elemental landscape–ironically similar to our environment, both natural and built. The installation, set down in the midst of the highly manicured garden of Millennium Park, seems a gentle critique of how cities build, manipulate, and re-present natural forms.

Presented by the Millennium Park Foundation


Temporary Exhibitions Outdoors along the Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.25-mile promenade through the heart of downtown, is managed by the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility (2FM) with programming from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Access to the space is free and open to the public daily, 6am–11pm. For information, visit


Kwong Von Glinow and UB Studio: Give me a minute, please!

Coming June 2020

Chicago Riverwalk between Franklin and Lake Streets

As part of Designing a Better Chicago, a collaborative initiative organized and supported by NeoCon and theMART, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Design Museum of Chicago, the award-winning architects and designers Kwong Von Glinow and UB Studio will bring their unique creative vision to the project site. Aimed at highlighting, leveraging and supporting Chicago’s vast design legacy, talent and resources, Designing a Better Chicago will also include the Design Impact Grant Program, which will recognize individuals or organizations using design for civic good.


Alberto Aguilar: Echo Hecho Fresco

Chicago Riverwalk under the Columbus Bridge

“After spending time on the Riverwalk I’ve come to understand it as a transient space. This zigzag pattern, which moves in multiple directions, reflects the constant movement of people through the tunnel, cars on the bridge above, boats below, as well as the river’s flow. I used Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) traffic and pedestrian paint, which in a sense makes it a mural for the people. It’s simple in design but complex in its arrangement of color value.  Applied with a 4” roller, it has an immediacy which reveals my moves and accidents. Made with a grid, it’s also regulated and measured, allowing the eye to make up for its imperfections. Now that you’ve seen it up close, I recommend viewing the mural from the opposite side of the river.”—Alberto Aguilar, 2019


Ebony G. Patterson:...between the below…

Chicago Riverwalk just east of Michigan Avenue

“With an ongoing interest in conversations around sites of violence and witnessing, I have been thinking a lot about remnants: the things left behind and which mark the presence of bodies that were once here. These five vanitas-inspired compositions explore the garden as a metaphor and a site. The garden as something that acts as a grave, holding evidence of bodies that once marked the space. In these images, we are faced with the evidence of objects left behind that tell us something about those who once held or occupied them, above, below, beneath. They are “shrines” that ask: Where? Who? When?” – Ebony G. Patterson, 2019

Courtesy of Monique Meloche Gallery


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


Millennium Park Foundation

The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic nonprofit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction, and curation of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free, accessible and equitable venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.


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