Preview of Exhibitions Opening First Week of November


This coming weekend a signifiant number of new exhibitions will be opening around the city. Many galleries are opening major shows that will be their final exhibitions of the year. Friday and Saturday evenings also coincide with the virtual opening of Intersect Chicago (formerly SOFA) which is taking place online instead of on Navy Pier, Nov 6–12, with a virtual preview party on Thursday, November 5. 

Our overview of highlights from this coming weekend is below. There are honestly are too many to include here, so we stopped at 10 – something we haven't had to do in a long time (like the old days!)  Our full calendar may be viewed here

After a long week/election season/year, open your eyes and your mind to some new art, and go out and support these creatives who have been hard at work behind the scenes to bring you art that is enlightening as well as beautiful. 


Amanda Williams: What black is this you say?

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Nov 6–Dec 19

In What black is this you say?, over 40 new watercolor, oil and mixed media paintings interrogate the complexities, variations and degrees of difference in black as color and identity.

What black is this you say? is a multi-platform color project conceived June 2, 2020, otherwise known as Blackout Tuesday. Williams posted a different “black” to her personal Instagram each day, using the ubiquity of the platform to imagine black as nuanced and highly variable, and reject black as monolithic. 


Royal Specter: Kajahl

Monique Meloche

Nov 7–Dec 19

Kajahl's oil paintings merge icons from parallel histories along with his own constructed mythology prodding the viewer to re-examine mainstream historical paradigms. Re-appropriating African garments, ancient Roman military attire, and science fiction iconography, Kajahl references traditional Western portraiture, contemporary technology, and questions both the legitimacy of past records and the direction of future cultures.


Biala: Intimacy & Exile Paintings 1952–1962

McCormick Gallery

Nov 7–Jan 9

An important figure of historic scale, the painter known simply as Biala had a career that stretched over eight decades and was heralded from Paris to New York. On view are paintings defined by a decade where the artist expanded upon her established style inspired by School of Paris painters like Bonnard, Matisse and Braque, and broadened by the community of loft-living artists in downtown New York that included Willem de Kooning. Critic Michael Brenson aptly described her as “a blend of intimacy and exile.”

The Long Dream

Museum of Contemporary Art

Nov 7–Jan 17

This November, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents The Long Dream, a major exhibition inspired by the current moment that gives shape to issues heightened by the pandemic and social unrest. The exhibition features over 70 Chicago artists collaboratively selected by the museum’s diverse team of curators and programmers with different backgrounds and specialties, ranging from the visual arts to performance and public practice. Named after a novel by renowned author Richard Wright, The Long Dream is part reflection on the state of the world after the arrival of COVID-19, and part celebration of Chicago artists and creatives. Blending work by emerging voices with established artists in Chicago, The Long Dream presents many never-before-seen works, along with labels written in collaboration with youth groups and civic practitioners, honoring a multiplicity of perspectives from the community. The final section of The Long Dream is a live arts event that takes place online on the exhibition’s closing weekend.



The Imaginative World of Heorhii Narbut and The Making of A Brand

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA)

Nov 7–Dec 15

In addition to the work of Narbut, known for designing key elements of Ukraine’s national identity (including currency and postage stamps), the exhibit will feature works by Narbut’s followers from the 1920s and 1930s, Ukrainian artists Oleh Tistol, Mykola Matsenko and other contemporary voices. The virtual exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information visit This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.


Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory

Krannert Art Museum

Nov 5–Mar 6

Long before such words were an active part of the contemporary art lexicon, Bea Nettles was a multi-media artist who pushed the boundaries of what was considered photography. Using alternative photographic processes like liquid light, cyanotype, Kwik Print, dye transfer as well as traditional “women’s” mediums like sewing and crocheting, Nettles integrated these into her layered and textured works, which included self-portraiture, investigations of her body and its relationship to nature and the landscape; the experience of mothering and loss and aging.


Place in the Sun

Catherine Edelman Gallery

Nov 6–Dec 31

There will be an opening reception on Friday, November 6, from 12:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Since the inception of the camera, photographers have been drawn to the majestic landscapes throughout the Southwest, attempting to capture the land’s unimaginable splendor. scott b. davis (b. 1971, Silver Spring, MD) is one of these artists drawn to such settings, bearing witness to nature’s beauty and its nuances. His ongoing search for remote places is what sets his work apart.


Erin Washington: Bodies feel dangerous right now

Western Exhibitions

Nov 6–Dec 19

Using fugitive and symbolic materials like ashes, blackberries, bones, chalk, moss, and space blankets, Erin Washington sources imagery from the Sciences, Mythology, and Art History that represents ruptures and failures in the search for meaning and truth. Colors fade or pigments are burned: the objects emulate the cycles they describe. Washington’s actions and products are in a state of flux, highlighting the disharmony between meaning, beauty, and a fundamentally messy universe.


Anders Gjennestad: Allies

Vertical Gallery

Nov 7–18

“Allies” assembles 16 new pieces and a full edition of 16 smaller paintings spotlighting Gjennestad’s signature hand-cut, multi-layered stencils, leveraging elevated angles and dramatic, elongated shadows to create stunningly photorealistic, intricately detailed images that evoke an alternate universe where gravity has ceased to exist and time is frozen — a fleeting glimpse into a realm of other possibilities (or, if you prefer, the possibilities of the other, whether metaphysical or supernatural). 


Background Noise with Birds and Beasts

Hofheimer Gallery

Nov 7–Dec 19

Background Noise with Birds and Beasts features original artwork by Teresa James and Eleanor Spiess-Ferris.

Teresa James has long explored spiritual and religious themes. In her art, she lifts the veil that obscures our double existence in the temporal and metaphysical worlds. Everyday people and animals are revealed as agents in the eternal battle of good and evil, their heroic spirits armored or winged. These are portraits of faith.

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris is an American symbolist painter cited as a significant surrealist, narrative figurative and feminist artist. Her numerous visual works display powerful influences of the Spanish and Native American cultures of Northern New Mexico, where she grew up. She populates her visual landscapes with human forms – often women paired with birds, plants, and natural phenomena.