2019: Not-to-Miss Culture List


We have just sent our fabulous 2019 CGN Arts Guide to the printer, and we have been thinking about the year ahead nonstop for weeks now. It's hard to believe that a new year is around the corner already, but as we plan for the wide-open calendar that is the month of January, we are really looking forward to a few key exhibitions and events happening in the coming months. 

A few highlights are included for you here. 

Happy planning, and happy new year! 

Courtesy Snarkitecture

The Beach at Navy Pier

Created by New York–based designers, Snarkitecture, The Beach Chicago is an EXPO CHICAGO 2019 program, presented by Navy Pier. Snarkitecture’s work focuses on the reinterpretation of everyday materials within a conceptual approach to create unexpected engagements with our surroundings — centered on the importance of experience, this premise extends to The Beach, an all-white ocean of over one million recyclable, antimicrobial plastic balls in a large, open room along with deck chairs, lifeguard chairs, umbrellas and signage that mimic a day at the beach. This immersive art installation along is surely a creative way to escape the bitter cold Chicago weather this winter. 

January 19–February 3, 2019 

Navy Pier, Aon Grand Ballroom

 Also: January 17 – Snarkitecture free panel discussion before the opening at the Graham Foundation to discuss The Beach


Dawoud Bey. Untitled #1 (Picket Fence and Farmhouse), from the series Night Coming Tenderly, Black, 2017. Rennie Collection, Vancouver. © Dawoud Bey.

Dawoud Bey: Night Coming Tenderly, Black

After Dawoud Bey turned 60, already renowned as a portraitist, he turned his camera on architecture and landscapes; accustomed to urban scenes, he decided to photograph thickets, a picket fence, and Lake Erie. Through these choices Bey wanted to make a greater shift: from pictures of the here and now to the vast, historical subject of the Underground Railroad. 

Jan 11–Apr 14, 2019   

Art Institute of Chicago


Laurie Simmons, Walking House, 1989. Pigment print; 84 × 48 in. Photo courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, © Laurie Simmons.

Laurie Simmons: Big Camera / Little Camera

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s major retrospective of works by Laurie Simmons celebrates an artist recognized as a pioneer of new directions in photography. Known for using dolls and props as proxies for people and places, Simmons has long explored archetypal gender roles.

Feb 23–May 5, 2019

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA)


A work by Theaster Gates from 2016's solo show, Heavy Sketches, with Richard Gray Gallery

Theaster Gates at Gray Warehouse

We don't have the details yet, but we are excited! Stay tuned. 

Spring 2019

Gray Warehouse


A 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial installation at the Chicago Cultural Center. Photo by: Steve Hall

Chicago Architecture Biennial Returns

The Chicago Architecture Biennial returns for a 3rd edition in 2019. CAB’s second iteration, in 2017, was the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, featuring over 140 practitioners from more than 20 countries, and it drew more than 554,000 visitors city–wide.

The Biennial will once again coincide with EXPO Chicago, making Chicago the place to be in September.

September 19, 2019–January 5, 2020

Multiple locations.


Kiki Smith, Seer (Alice II)  2005, Courtesythe artist and Pace Gallery, New York. Part of Sculpture Milwaukee 2018.

Sculpture Milwaukee 

Sculpture Milwaukee has become an annual beacon that attracts spectators and art lovers to the city center for several months each year, taking a world-class art gallery experience and turning it inside out. 2018’s edition showcased 21 works created by 22 artists from around the world.

The 2019 version returns this summer throughout downtown Milwaukee. Many works are also for sale, if you have a big enough back yard...

Multiple locations.

Summer 2019