September 2020 Highlights From a Season of Art and Culture

By CGN Staff

Fall is upon us! It's a welcome season to embrace new art and fresh exhibitions. In many ways this season may instead feel more like spring, as shoots of green in area spaces big and small represent new life emerging after a long hibernation. 

Here for you is a list of fall exhibition highlights to plan for in the coming weeks and months. From showcases of Impressionism to an online photo festival, and a contemporary exploration of Pop and Modernism, the shows featured here are just a few of the many taking place in area museums and galleries. Several were due to open this past spring but were postponed. We are grateful they are happening now. 

As we head into the final months of 2020 (is it 2021 yet?) winter will likely feel uncharacteristic as well, since those of us who spent spring in hiding may not be eager to retreat indoors like we have in years past during the colder months. The upshot of embracing new routines as well as protocols could be that many of us who also find we are home-bound in the Midwest, and not traveling to art fairs and warmer climates around the country, may more deeply and fully visit the art spaces in our community. CGN is here to guide you! 

We are also resuming our weekly highlights of area openings this month, and we spotlight some of next week's public receptions here. Please keep an eye on CGN's calendar of events, since it is updated daily and events are subject to change. 

Want to see the print version of our fall issue? Subscribe here. Thank you! 



Courtesy ADDS DONNA, part of Artists Run Chicago 2.0.

Artists Run Chicago 2.0

Sept 1–Nov 1

Hyde Park Art Center

The long awaited launch of the Artists Run Chicago 2.0 exhibition celebrates the work of 50 artist-run spaces and organizations that fuel Chicago’s independent art scene.

For the first time since 2006, all six galleries in the Art Center will be dedicated to one exhibition. To mark the ten-year anniversary of the original Art Center exhibition, Artists Run Chicago (2009), this exhibition examines the motivations, trajectories, and philosophies that have made the past decade generative for new models of artist-run initiatives to exist throughout the city and suburbs.


Monet and Chicago

Sep 5, 2020 – Jan 18, 2021

Art Institute of Chicago

Claude Monet (1840–1926), often referred to as the “Father of Impressionism,” has long held a unique relationship with Chicago.

During his lifetime, Chicago was the American city that most aggressively acquired his work, with enthusiastic collectors like Bertha Honoré Palmer and Martin A. Ryerson leading the way. In 1903 the Art Institute became the first American museum to purchase one of Monet’s paintings, and today the museum’s 33 paintings and 13 drawings by the artist constitute the largest collection of works by the artist outside of Paris.

This exhibition is the first to explore Chicago’s pioneering connection to the great Impressionist artist.


Image credit: Robert Vonnoh (American, 1858-1933), Moonlit Landscape, Oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches, c. 1920

Second Impressions: Revisiting the Paintings of Robert Vonnoh

Sep 8 – Oct 30

Madron Gallery

One of the earliest practitioners of Impressionism in America, Robert Vonnoh was a brilliant colorist, portraitist, and influential teacher; he is also an artist often overlooked. In 2010, Madron Gallery — in partnership with the Butler Institute of American Art, along with the assistance of multiple private collections — organized the retrospective Robert Vonnoh: American Impressionist. The exhibition highlighted Vonnoh’s dual modes of painting, landscape and portraiture, as well as his evolution as an Impressionist painter. 



Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People

Sept 9–Dec 12

Wrightwood 659

Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People is the first international retrospective outside of Asia devoted to the work of Indian architect, urbanist, and 2018 Pritzker Prize laureate Balkrishna Doshi. Born in Pune, India, in 1927, Doshi—who was profoundly inspired by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn—was a pioneer of modernist architecture in India. Advance tickets available online only.


12th Annual Filter Photo Festival 

Sept 9–13

Filter Photo

Filter Photo's multi-day celebration of photography will take place primarily online this year—with a robust line-up of virtual programming, alongside hybrid physical and online exhibitions. Photography curators, collectors, and critics from across the country will conduct nearly 250 virtual portfolio reviews with aspiring artists and photographers. The Festival will also host a variety of virtual photography workshops and will feature a series of daily online artist talks. Supplemental virtual programming includes Roaming Reviews and the Festival Zoom Lounge, which will both serve as opportunities for Festival-goers to casually share work and connect with peers. Finally, there will be a special reception for two juried exhibitions featuring nearly 60 artists at Filter Space gallery. 


Image: McArthur Binion, DNA:Work, 2020

McArthur Binion: DNA:Work and the Under:Conscious Drawings

Sep 10 – Oct 31

Gray Warehouse

The gallery’s first exhibition with McArthur Binion. Debuting eight paintings and seven drawings from the artist’s DNA:Work and Under:Conscious series, the exhibition will be on view beginning Thursday, September 10, at Gray Warehouse in Chicago.


Deborah Kass: Painting and Sculpture

Sep 10 – Oct 31

Kavi Gupta Gallery

The canonized giants of Pop Art and Minimalism defined themselves by their opposition to each other: Pop Art could be anything; Minimalism was everything Pop Art wasn’t. However, as a young artist, Deborah Kass saw things differently. Pop and Minimalism were both equally radical. Her dual admiration, along with her commitment to examining the political climate of today, expresses itself abundantly in this show.