July's Gallery Openings: A Summer Hurrah Before the Fall


Following a 4th of July holiday that blended into a long weekend, everyone is back this week and we have a busy weekend of art to look forward to.

There is a lot to see through Saturday, though the bulk of the openings taking place in River North on Friday evening, July 12. Openings also take place on Chicago Ave. in West Town, as well as in Pilsen East. On Saturday you can head to Michigan Ave as well as Ukrainian Village and back to West Town.

In River North, the traditional July happening that was a much loved fixture on the art calendar for many years is back, with the third annual Midsummer Art Walk. Resurrected and reimagined in 2017 by a group of dealers who wanted to reinvent a familiar seasonal energy for a district long associated with art, the event is casual but promises to be a lively evening of mingling in the name of art discovery.

Many galleries embrace the spirit of the summer group show, while others are showcasing new work from artists putting on solo shows – some who have not exhibited in years. Both formats invite art collectors and visitors to the city to spend time in multiple districts and explore Chicago's unique visual culture by viewing work created by living artists. 

Throughout the city galleries have spent time planning this season's bright, largely easy going shows – a final stop before the fall art frenzy opens in early September and continues through the eighth edition of EXPO CHICAGO.

Our summary of this weekend's highlights is below. We add new events to our calendar daily. 


Enjoy a summer night out at the Smart on July 11

Smart Museum of Art

Opening event July 11. 

• Hyde Park.

On Thursday evening from 5–8pm attend a social summer opening evening jointly hosted by the Smart Museum and National Museum of Mexican Art celebrating the exhibition Cross Currents/Intercambio Cultural, an exhibition exploring how issues of Latin American and Latino/a identity and place are manifest in the practices of artists working in Chicago and Havana at a moment of social change and strained political relations between the United States and Cuba.

The outdoor evening get-together features a DJ set from the collective (((SONORAMA))), a printmaking activity, exhibition-inspired food, beer provided by Lagunitas Brewing Company and other refreshments, plus a first look at work by Chicago- and Havana-based artists who took part in an artist exchange.

Also on view: Tara Donovan: Fieldwork



Joanne Mattera, Silk Road 446, encaustic on panel, 12" x 12"

Addington Gallery

Opening Friday, July 12. 

• River North.

Addington Gallery has been enthusiastically promoting its summer show for the past couple of week and is proud to be part of River North's 3rd Midsummer Art Walk with many other area spaces. Addington also features new work by Lisa Pressman and welcomes Alicia LaChance and encaustic artist Joanne Mattera to the gallery with an installation of new paintings by each. 



Left: Peter Lupkin; Right: Steve Banks

Gallery Victor Armendariz

Opening Friday, July 12

• River North

Victor's gallery features a joint show, Not Windmills, But Giants: Peter Lupkin and Steve Banks, featuring a range of dynamic, active figurative works by two artists.



Zolla/Lieberman Gallery

Opening Friday, July 12

• River North

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. 



Lawrence Schiller

Hilton Asmus Contemporary

Opening Friday, July 12

• River North

You'll recognize at least one face at Hilton Asmus's opening: Marilyn Monroe. Lawrence Schiller: Who Wants to Live Forever? features the photographs of Schiller, whoseimages appeared in LifeSportPlayboyGlamour, and the Saturday Evening Post even while he was still in college. Schiller’s interests and ambitions soon developed into a profession in print journalism, documenting major stories for glossy magazines all over the world. His iconic images include those of Robert F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, and Madame Nhu, among others.



Jason Pickleman at Ken Saunders

Opening Friday, July 12

• River North

New wall works in neon by Jason Pickleman will be on view at Ken Saunders Gallery through the end of August. These (literally) bright, stylized works show that what's old can in fact also be very new. 



Works by Gina Szulkowski and Larry Fox at Vale Craft

Additional River North Openings

Openings on Friday, July 12

Vale Craft Gallery heralds a summer group show devoted to accessible works of art created by artists using a range of materials. 

Other galleries who opened new shows recently but who will be open for Friday's celebration are Rangefinder Gallery, and Carl Hammer.



Tami Bahat

Catherine Edelman Gallery

Opening Friday, July 12

• West Town

The gallery's second show in their new space in West Town features images by Los Angeles based photographer Tami Bahat (1979, Tel Aviv, Israel). At an early age, she realized her curiosity and interests were more aligned with the sensibility, formality, and style of dress from the Victorian era. She gravitated to photography as a teenager. With support from her parents, who are both in the arts, she rejected the traditional path of art school and learned the history of art from books, museums and family trips, where she was exposed to the paintings of Vermeer, Botticelli and Rembrandt, whose works have had a lasting effect.


Martha Tuttle

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Opening Friday, July 12

• West Town

The gallery's second exhibition with Martha Tuttle, The Dance of Atoms, takes inspiration from early Greco-Roman understandings of molecular matter. Tuttle’s new textile-based paintings are composed of hand-spun wool and linens dyed with mineral pigments. Hovering between abstraction and materiality, the works explore the notion of relational arrangement, rather than the inherent self or object, as a mode of understanding the physical world.


Daniel Ramos

Filter Photo

Opening Friday, July 12

• West Town

The Land of Illustrious Men is a solo exhibition featuring the work of Daniel Ramos, curated by Paul D’Amato.

Ramos states, “The Land Of Illustrious Men is a story about my family, which began with the migration of my parents to the United States of America. My father entered the US illegally to pursue the American dream, whereas my mother was forced to immigrate to the US by my grandmother in order to live a better life. My parents met at an English language class in Chicago. They never learned the language, but they fell in love, and built a life together. Throughout my entire life in the United States we lived in Pilsen, a Mexican American neighborhood. All the storefronts were in Spanish, everyone spoke Spanish, and everyone lived a working-class life. During the summers, my parents would send me to Mexico to avoid the gang violence in my neighborhood. I spent every summer in Mexico until I was 22 years old." Following the death of Ramos's mother and while his wife was pregnant, Ramos and his wife temporarily relocated to his family home in Monterrey, Mexico, when he photographed the people and places who shaped the person that he is now. Ramos graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Photography in 2003 


Mau Mau

Vertical Gallery

Opening Saturday, July 13

• Ukrainian Village

Mau Mau: Bombing walls and painting bridges opens Saturday night. Mau Mau is a renowned British urban graffiti artist who’s gained an international following with his humorous street, print and graffiti work. He incorporates political, environmental and cultural commentary to his work – often with his trademark character of a mischievous and fun loving Fox. With roots planted in surf and country vibes of the North Devon coast, Mau Mau brings an air of rural sophistication to the art he has been creating for twenty years. He has painted his way around the world, his artwork appearing on everything from shipwrecks to surfboards and billboards to city walls.



Chicago Truborn

Opening Saturday, July 13

• West Town

Lie (Jay Turner | b. 1982 | USA) is a Chicago Suburb based painter. After graduating from The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg, he was a package designer/illustrator for 4 years until he opened Paper Crown Gallery (an urban/street art inspired gallery) in Arlington Heights, IL (2011-2016). Most of his work includes spray paint, acrylic, pencil, and some non-traditional techniques/mediums. 

This will be his third large show with Chicago Truborn.


View the full CGN calendar here.