2021 Culture List


2020 saw swaths of carefully planned exhibitions cancelled. Several of those shows have been moved to 2021 and will take place alongside other dynamic shows opening around the city and surrounding area.

Full calendars for the year ahead for all area galleries and institutions are not yet available, but we expect the exhibitions highlighted here to open on schedule and in person –or virtually if needed. Please check with each institution and space prior to visiting. 

Visit for highlights and previews throughout the year. 

– GV


Hurvin Anderson: Anywhere but Nowhere

The lush, overdetermined spaces in Hurvin Anderson’s new paintings reference touristic sites of simultaneous development and dereliction in Jamaica, his ancestral home. For the exhibition at The Arts Club of Chicago, Anderson pairs this new work with earlier paintings from his acclaimed Barbershop series, for which he won a nomination for the Turner Prize in 2017. 

April 9–August 7, 2021

The Arts Club of Chicago


Christina Quarles, Can Yew Feel? Tha Days Are Gettin’ Shorter, 2018. Acrylic on canvas. 60×48×1” © Christina Quarles, Courtesy of the artist, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Pilar Corrias Gallery, London

Christina Quarles

Christina Quarles’s ambiguous and evocative scenes feature figures whose limbs, torsos, and faces collide and merge with familiar domestic objects made strange through her color choices and experimental painterly gestures. 

The MCA brings together a selection of her work made over the last three years, as well as a new, large-scale installation.

April 17–August 29, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art


Barack Obama, 2018, Kehinde Wiley. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. 

The Obama Portraits 

This summer the Art Institute of Chicago welcomes two acclaimed portraits, on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, to its galleries: Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. The museum was the site of the couple’s first date.

June 18–August 15, 2021

The Art Institute of Chicago


Tony Fitzpatrick, The Scavenger Searching for Jesus of Chicago, 2020, color etching. Courtesy of the artist.

Tony Fitzpatrick: Jesus of Western Avenue

Jesus of Western Avenue will feature more than 30 recent works by world-renowned multimedia artist and celebrated Chicago resident Tony Fitzpatrick. The artist says this will be his final museum show. 

Oct. 2, 2021–January 31, 2022

Cleve Carney Museum of Art



More Highlights Happening Now and This Spring In Galleries