Fall 2019 Preview – Part I: First September Openings


Summer's end may have officially come this past weekend, but at CGN we have had fall on our minds for months, as we have prepared our big fall magazine and promoted all the plans for the September art season. While many people were off enjoying summer vacations, in our office we, along with so many dealers, artists, art fair organizers and others who must unveil their biggest projects of the year this month, were hard at work. 

Now, the September openings are finally here. This first week of September heralds a new season in the art world. These new shows are just the beginning, and in particular many shows are featuring photography as a means of examining the world as it is, in new ways, or offering chances to look in the rearview mirror again.  

A host of openings, clustered on the evening of Friday, September 6, mark the traditional start of the season, which happens throughout the area, from River North, to over on the west side in West Town and beyond, and also up into Ravenswood. There are dozens of new exhibitions opening, and many represent the highlight of the gallery's programming for the entire year. More new shows also open on Saturday night on the west side as well as in suburban Evanston.

On Friday, River North's fifth annual art and design collaboration, the River North Gallery Walk, takes place in galleries based near Superior and Franklin streets and the dozens of design showrooms from Chicago Ave. to the Merchandise Mart. Gallery artists are matched with designers and showrooms, and many individual galleries are opening their latest exhibitions. There are several special events to attend as well, including a kickoff event an after party. Complete details and a list of RNDD walk participants may be found here

Local dealer Carl Hammer is also celebrating the gallery's 40th anniversary with a group show opening the same night. 

Obviously there is a lot of great art to see, and these are just a few highlights from this opening September weekend around the city. We will share more of the season's highlights and coverage as the fall goes on, and don't forget to view our full calendar of events

Stay tuned for Part II of our Fall Preview, featuring shows opening September 13 and beyond, including many shows on the city's West Side. 

The following weekend is EXPO CHICAGO.

Enjoy this start to fall, and see you in the galleries! 



Christopher Meerdo, Eigengrau, 2017

The Way the Mystic Sees


Opening Friday, September 6. 

688 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Weinberg/Newton closed its River North space this past spring and they officially reopen on the west side on Friday night. This exhibition surveys contemporary perspectives and historical approaches to technology and surveillance. Works in the exhibition appear in a range of media – from language to video – to establish a spectrum of the technological. Certain artworks directly elucidate the subject of surveillance, while others begin to locate life beyond being and feeling watched. Artists include Nadav Assor, Mary Helena Clark, Max Guy, Asa Mendelsohn, Christopher Meerdo, Catherine Sullivan, Maryam Taghavi, and Marilyn Volkman. Presented in collaboration with Human Rights Watch of Illinois


Sandro Miller: I am Papau New Guinea

Catherine Edelman Gallery

Opening Friday, September 6. 

1637 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago

Sandro Miller is one of the most sought-after commercial photographers working today. This success has allowed him to continue working on his personal projects, most notably Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, a world-wide traveling exhibition, and his most recent body of work, I Am Papua New Guinea.

Sandro made three trips to Papua New Guinea over a two-year period, photographing 400 indigenous people from more than a hundred different tribes. At several annual festivals, Sandro set up a studio, inviting hundreds of people to have their portraits taken. For most of the sitters, it was the first time they had ever seen a photograph or what they looked like. The result is a powerful body of work of a thriving culture far removed from its industrialized neighbors.


Julian Wasser, Steve McQueen

Julian Wasser: The Way We Were

Hilton | Asmus Contemporary 

Opening Friday, September 6. 

716 N. Wells, Chicago

After starting his career at the age of 14 as a copy boy in the Washington bureau of the Associated Press news service, Julian Wasser went on to create some of the most memorable images of the past century. While at the Associated Press he met Weegee and rode with famous news photographer as he shot photos of crime scenes in Washington. Eventually Wasser went on to became a contract photographer for Time magazine in Los Angeles doing assignments for Time, Life and Fortune. His photographs have appeared in and been used for the cover of multiple US and UK publications. His photos have also appeared in US Magazine, Vanity Fair, TV guide, Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Oggi, Hello, Playboy, Elle, Vogue, GQ along with exhibitions in galleries and museums. Wasser captured the most authentic and compelling photos of revered artists of the 1960's, 1970' and 1980's. 


Boom! Jan Pieter Fokkens

Gallery Victor Armendariz

Opening Friday, September 6. 

300 W. Superior, Chicago

Jan Pieter Fokkens believes in the deep lineage between modern art and the digital image. In essence, there is something foreboding about the way the history of images feeds upon itself. It appears as if reality and images are always competing to see which of the two can be the most unimaginable. His work functions as a bridge between his fascination of reductionist approaches in abstract art and the influence it has on the creation of algorithms that make digital representations of reality.

Bonnie Lautenberg, 1963, Hud / Andy Warhol, Double Elvis, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 48 x 64 in.

Bonnie Lautenberg: Artistica. Artistica!

Jean Albano Gallery

Opening Friday, September 6. 

215 W. Superior, Chicago

Bonnie Lautenberg's latest project is a body of work that explores how one art form might have influenced another. Lautenberg is interested in the relationship between well known works of art and important films from the same year. As an example, is it possible that Pablo Picasso painted his Blue Hat With Red Ribbon in 1939 after he saw the movie The Wizard of Oz? Or could Victor Fleming, the director of the Wizard of Oz, have been influenced by the color palette of Picasso's painting when he began making his movie? You'll have to see for yourself. 


Blue Noses Group, Era of Mercy I., 2005-2009, Photograph, 30 x 40 inches

Caution! Freedom: Contemporary Art from Russia

One After 909

Opening Friday, September 6. 

906 N Ashland, Chicago

In 1990, when the Soviet Union was already dying but had not yet collapsed completely, Julia and Marat Gelman opened The Gelman (Guelman) Gallery. It was one of the first private art galleries in the Soviet Union. They were witnesses to the incredible and rapid changes that were occurring in the USSR, and during this time the Gelman’s worked with many political and social artists. They believed art was an expression of freedom, and these artists were accurately documenting the spirit of the times. In 2000 Putin came to power, and all the open doors began to shut.

The political and social art the gallery exhibited by Russian contemporary artists like Oleg Kulik, Alexander Kosolapov, and Blue Noses was considered too controversial. This caused them to be targeted by extremist groups as well as the government, which ultimately forced them to close the gallery in 2012. Seven years later Julia Gelman in collaboration with One After 909, will exhibit Caution! Freedom: Contemporary Art from Russia, with complete freedom in Chicago.



Mary Porterfield: in:dependence

Hofheimer Gallery

Opening Friday, September 6. 

4823 N. Damen, Chicago

Mary Porterfield’s drawings are influenced by her work in healthcare. With soft edges and careful rendering, she creates invented spaces and allegorical scenes that attempt to ask: If assistance is warranted, but not wanted, should it be abandoned? Why is a long life given to some, yet denied others? Is it more heroic to accept the uncontrollable or attempt change in the midst of futility or danger? Porterfield’s intention is to provide a balanced perspective between giving and receiving when assisting others.


David Antonio Cruz, onedayi’llturnthecornerandi’llbereadyforit, portrait of the texas girls, 2019, Oil and latex on wood, 48 x 48 inches

David Antonio Cruz: One Day I’ll Turn the Corner and I’ll be Ready For It

Monique Meloche

Opening Saturday, September 7. 

451 N. Paulina, Chicago

David Antonio Cruz explores the intersectionality of queerness and race through painting, sculpture, and performance. Focusing on queer, trans, and genderfluid communities of color, Cruz examines the violence perpetrated against their members, conveying his subjects both as specific individuals and as monumental signifiers for large and urgent systemic concerns.

Using a vast trove of images mined from the internet, including the personal social media accounts of his subjects, Cruz brings these individuals out of the shadows and into the light. He inserts these individuals’ likenesses into lush, sensuous compositions directly inspired by the aspirational aesthetic of luxury and fashion, creating a dissonance that critically elevates his black and brown subjects while also emphasizing the extreme injustice of their plights. This is Cruz’s first exhibition with the gallery and his first in Chicago.


Kayla Mahaffey, That's All Folks

Thinkspace presents LAX/ORD 2

Vertical Gallery

Opening Saturday, September 7. 

1016 N. Western, Chicago

After the phenomenal success of LAX / ORD in September 2016, Vertical and Thinkspace immediately discussed collaborating again. “LAX / ORD II” will have more artists than the first edition (100 this time), in what will be the largest collection of artists from the New Contemporary Movement under one roof to date in the Windy City.

All the artists have been asked to work within the same space confines of 12×12 inches (30×30 cm) and left to their own devices from there. This collection helps to showcase just how vast and varied the Movement is, from portrait based works to the more fantastical, from landscapes to design based abstract works... ‘LAX / ORD II’ promises to bring your Instagram feed to life and expose you to your new favorite artist.

The opening night will feature a special print release from Kayla Mahaffey (pictured above)