November Openings Preview


Friday, November 2, 2018 will be a big opening night around the city, as many galleries open major shows that will be their final exhibitions of the year. The busy night also coincides with the 25th edition of SOFA, which takes place on Navy Pier all weekend. Following the end of the fair's show on Friday, art lovers are encouraged to go out into the city's dozens of art spaces to see what is new in area galleries.

Per history, it's a big opening night in River North, and more openings are also happening in other city arts districts like West Town neighborhoods. On Saturday, more openings take place in West Town and Ukrainian Village, while several also are planned in Evanston. 

Our short list of highlights is listed below, and our full calendar may be viewed here.

Note that there are several tours, artist talks and auctions also happening through the weekend, so plan ahead and enjoy these early days of November! 

Don't forget that CGN has a booth at SOFA too, so stop by and say hi! 

See you in the galleries! 



Michael Rakowitz: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (Room Z, Northwest Palace of Nimrud)

November 2–December at Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Based in Chicago, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz makes work that explores recent contested social, political, and cultural histories. Drawing on personal experiences and research on these subjects, as well as history and popular culture, Rakowitz creates illustrated objects, installations, and performances that invite viewers to contemplate their complicit relationship to the political world around them, recognizing that hospitality and hostility are interlinked.

For this exhibition, the gallery’s architecture has been transformed into the layout of Room Zin King Ashurnasirpal II’s 9th century BC palace (near present-day Mosul in northern Iraq), which stood uncovered as a powerful testament to the Assyrian Golden Age from its 1854 excavation by British archaeologists until its tragic destruction in 2015. Working with a team of assistants, Michael Rakowitz has reconstructed the monumental limestone reliefs that once lined the palace walls with depictions of apkallu or winged guardians with human heads, who hold offerings of pollen and young date fronds, beneath cuneiform extolling the King’s greatness. Room Z appears as it stood at the time of its untimely demise with only seven of thirteen panels present.



Michael Koerner: My DNA

November 2–December 22 at Catherine Edelman Gallery

On August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the town of Nagasaki, a short distance from the home of artist Michael Koerner's mother. The chemical fallout from the bomb instantly killed tens of thousands of people, and left many more reeling from its effects for the rest of their lives. Koerner's family is just one example of the devastation that chemical warfare had during WWII. Koerner (b. Okinawa, Japan, 1963) is the oldest of five brothers. Due to genetic deformities resulting from cancer, he is the only remaining living sibling. His brothers' fates (and potentially his own one day) can be linked to their mother, who was eleven years old on that ill-fated August day and lived in Sasebo, Japan, 45 miles away from the blast. With a family history of various cancers, it is no wonder Koerner became an organic chemist, currently teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Koerner's 6 x 8" tintypes seduce the viewer with glistening deep blacks, metallic silvers, and odd green, yellow and blue hues, to talk about disease. By blowing through a straw, or dripping chemicals from an eyedropper onto tin plates, Koerner manipulates collodian to create sunbursts, explosions, amorphous shapes, and double helixes, all of which reference his family history.


David Lozano, Madera Picado,

Blake Aaseby, Gather Round

John Fraser, Found in the Making

November 2–December 28 at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery

The work of three artists will be on view at Zolla/Lieberman in River North, and each artist is focused on materials. Papel Picado is a Mexican Folk Art of cutting decorative paper into cut designs that are then displayed as brightly colored banners. Inspired by this historic practice, David Lozano fashions his Madera (wood) Picado series.

Within layers of condensed mapping, Blake Aaseby balances a push and pull of painted planes, documented line-work, and recalled shapes in order to form convoluted re-tellings of past events. His work aims at creating maps to a landscape he finds is both fading and forming, one that rests between the past and present. 

John Fraser's acrylic/wax on carved wood constructions make for playful material illusions that draw the viewer close, out of a desire to know how something was done, and then make the viewer also step back to behold a new artistic object created from a natural resource. 


Shade Garden: Jessica Labatte

November 2–December 22 at Western Exhibitions

Shade Garden, Jessica Labatte’s second solo exhibition at Western Exhibitions, continues the artist’s explorations of paradoxes and illusions within photographic images.  The works in Shade Garden champion beauty in the everyday as a radical political gesture in our contemporary moment. The images explore photographic notions of the visible and invisible, the present and withdrawn. Shade Garden will include two interrelated series of color photographs.

The first series is a group of floral still lives. Small and medium sized prints will be installed in a salon fashion in the gallery alongside three monumentally scaled prints. The second series of photographs capture the experience of being in the garden, as color and dappled light are constantly in flux. In these seemingly abstract works, color, light, and shadow explore an imagined virtual space beyond traditional notions of photographic representation. 


Keysook Geum: Moving in Colors

Opening November 2 at Andrew Bae Gallery

Dr. Keysook Geum, known for her delicate and wearable creations, is an author and professor at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea in the Textile and Fashion Design Department. She had the honor of designing the dresses and uniforms for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in 2018. Multiple new works will be on view at the gallery and the artist will be present at the opening on November 2. 


KA-BAM! HOLY MOLY! 70's and 80's Chicago Art from the Lonn Frye Collection

November 2–December 29 at Carl Hammer Gallery

A unique look at a host of Imagist works from a private collection will be on view at Carl Hammer in River North, and the opening takes place in conjunction with many other area galleries on November 2. 


On Guard, a group exhibition curated by Kasia Kay

November 2–December 2 at Matthew Rachman Gallery, curated by Kasia Kay Art Projects

Kasia Kay had a gallery for several years in the Fulton Market district, and today she deals privately and curates pop-up exhibitions. On Guard, a group exhibition will open and be on view at Matthew Rachman Gallery in West Town. On Guard is meant to be a reminder of the courage within all of us and to empower viewers to fight for their rights on both personal and collective levels. The exhibition brings together a group of contemporary artists exploring the sport of boxing in relation to the nature of life that always keeps us on our feet and on guard. While On Guard centers on female-identifying artists, the multifaceted components of their identities and practice are to be present in the exhibition as well. With a multisensory experience that features multidisciplinary works, the show examines not only courage and fears, strength and vulnerability, but also notions of gender equality, safety and violence, as well as the sport’s poetic contradictions, all through traditional and non-traditional depictions of boxing-related imagery. 


Two ticketed special opening events take place also on Friday evening: 

Mansion - A SOFA Soiree

November 2, 7–9pm at The Golden Triangle with the River North Design District 

The Golden Triangle and The River North Design District (RNDD) have partnered with SOFA CHICAGO on Friday, November 2 to host The Official SOFA After-Party for the art fair, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The private event features 20 works from artist Adam Siegel who will debut his new show Archetype: Excavation and Expectation at The Golden Triangle.Guests will enjoy an evening in a private mansion full of art and ancient antiquities and experience global design in an intimate, glamorous, and comfortable setting. The evening is being bill as a secret night of culture, with dance, cool music, performance art, fashion, innovative food and artisanal beverages. Tickets are $35.


Annual Fall Show of New Work in Lakeview

November 2–30 at Art De Triumph & Artful Framer Studios

Artist Nancie King Mertz hosts a fall party at ArtDeTriumph & Artful Framer Studios on Friday, Nov. 2nd, 5-8pm.

Featuring Mertz's new paintings of 2018, complimentary wine and delicious appetizers from Gundis Kurdish Kitchen will be offered. If you book a spot for $25 per person, you will have $25 to spend on cards, coasters, gifts, prints, framing or originals.



Samira Yamin: Passing Obliquely From One Medium Into Another

November 3–January 18 at PATRON

PATRON's first solo exhibition with Los Angeles based artist Samira Yamin opens on November 3rd. In a 2012 interview with In the Make Yamin explained "On a very basic level, I’m drawn to images of the Middle East because I know they in some way represent me to myself, or at least they’re representations against which I’ve constructed my identity." Yamin's parents left Iran in 1982, not long after the Iranian Revolution, and just as the Iran-Iraq war was beginning. She also said, "I think of my work as an interrogation of photojournalism, so yes, absolutely. I want my work to create, or reveal, or emphasize tension at various points in the life of the image."


Greg Gossel: Labor of Love

November 3–24 at Vertical Gallery 

Gossel has a background in design, and his work is an expressive interplay of many diverse words, images, and gestures. Gossel’s multi-layered work illustrates a visual history of change and process that simultaneously features and condemns popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Japan, London, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and Chicago. His commercial clients include American Express, Levi’s, Burton Snowboards, Stussy, VICE Magazine, and Interscope Records.


Top of page image: Michael Koerner, Finger Prints #6191, 2018, from the Finger Prints series, 6 x 8" collodion on tin, Unique