January 2021 Preview: First New Exhibitions

A new year is nearly upon us, and a slate of fresh exhibitions will open in the first days of January 2021. Area galleries are all still observing safety measures in consideration of COVID-19, but many are taking viewing appointments and will also be hosting all-day open houses in lieu of once-traditional evening opening receptions. 

A few highlights are shared here. We are updating our calendar of events daily, so please check back often. 

– GV


Ben Murray: If I needed you

Jan 9 – Feb 13, 2021

Monique Meloche Gallery

Operating between painting’s long history of image-making and the immediate vanishing of images in film, If I needed you is in direct conversation with works created by pioneers of Avant Garde cinematography, such as Rose Lowder, Hollis Frampton, Joseph Cornell, and Steve McQueen.

While inspired by the oeuvres of other artists, this new body of work reflects a deconstructed vantage point of Murray’s life at the time of applying paint to canvas. Drawing its name from the celebrated Townes Van Zandt song, If I needed you recalls Murray’s complicated relationship with the notion of home, surveying both the solace and suffering that can be experienced when strongly tethered to family histories and responsibilities.


Virginio Ferrari: Cosmos

Jan 15 – Mar 5, 2021

Bridgeport Art Center

The 83 year-old Virginio Ferrari opens a show of new work at the Bridgeport Art Center. 

His latest artist statement reads, "In an urban environment with its social problems, the individual can decide either to become involved or to remain indifferent, but he must make that choice again each day since the problem remains. They are part of society and have made the city; art, architecture and city planning are extremely important, and they take shape from this urban reality. I have been completely absorbed by this social reality, its negative/positive dynamics, its empty and full spaces. Today, in this period of mass production of images, of mass production in general, it is perhaps time to consider how fast things disappear and to become more aware of making art to live with”.  


Narrative Art Exhibition Suite

Jan 12 – Feb 26, 2021

Northern Illinois University (NIU) Art Museum

NIU re-opens with a multi-part exhibition focused on visual artwork employing the familiar narrative motifs found in oral traditions, fairy tales, fables, myths and legends to grapple with the harsh truths of contemporary reality.

• Mirth and Mayhem: Landis Blair Selections of Drawings and Books 

• From the Mind of Ellen Roth Deutsch 

• Storied References 


Reproductive: Health, Fertility, Agency

Jan 19 – May 23, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

The exhibition explores the psychological, physical, and emotional realities women encounter in the years leading up to, during, and after fertility. The exhibition features eight artists who consider a range of topics including birth, miscarriage, pleasure, the lack of access to abortion, trauma, and the loss of fertility, with works ranging from photography to video installations.


Western Exhibitions Drawing Biennial

Jan 8 – Feb 20, 2021

Western Exhibitions

Western Exhibitions is thrilled to announce the inaugural “Western Exhibitions Drawing Biennial,” a salon-style, ceiling-to-floor celebration of works on paper by gallery and affiliated artists celebrating our commitment to drawing and works on paper. The approaches on view will capture the current state of contemporary drawing practices while placing a focus on the gallery artists’ core concerns of personal narratives and cosmologies, identity and gender, sexuality, pattern and exuberance, all with a keen attention to materiality.