Anticipating a Season of Art: Five to Talk To

Spring is once again the season of the visual in Chicago. Knowing that all eyes will be on this year’s art fairs, markets and notable exhibitions, we spoke to five art community leaders about what they’re working on now and looking forward to next. – GV


Photo by Audia

Tony Karman, Founder EXPO CHICAGO

“As we approach our tenth anniversary edition, I am deeply proud of both our legacy, and the future of EXPO CHICAGO. Our annual exposition activates our great city in collaboration with, and in service of, our institutions, galleries, artists, and the broader cultural tourism and hospitality communities. Our core programs – /Dialogues, Curatorial Forum & Exchange, Override, In/Situ and In/Situ Outside – and the Directors Summit continue to grow, while providing opportunities for international artists and generating important discourse for the global arts community. I remain proud that we make an annual contribution to the global image of our diverse, innovative and vibrant city and that we generate direct support to Chicago’s civic and cultural ecosystems.”  

• EXPO CHICAGO runs April 13-16 at Navy Pier.


Photo by M. Lindsay photography

Sally Schwartz, Founder Randolph Street Market

“I can’t believe how much the West Loop has grown – especially at the West end and Fulton Market area, just since we had to shut down for the pandemic in 2020. Since we reopened Randolph Street Market last summer, so many new visitors are coming who have never been to an antique flea market before. Art is actually the top purchase now, next to vintage fashion. I think no matter the size of a city dwelling, these buyers want to adorn their walls. 

We’re happy to give them a lot to choose from. What makes the Randolph Street Market so unique is the depth and quality of our vintage “pickers” who hit all the fanciest estate sales and flea markets throughout the U.S., plus dealers who bring global textiles and artifacts from France, Germany, Poland, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Columbia, Argentina, Guatemala, Turkey, Syria, Mexico and elsewhere.”

• Randolph St. Market returns May 27 and 28.


Monique Brinkman-Hill, Exec. Dir., South Side Community Art Center

“The South Side Community Art Center’s (SSCAC) exhibition, where the light corrupts your face, features artists Andres L. Hernandez, Roland Knowlden, and Tonika Lewis Johnson and is curated by Lola Ogbara, SSCAC Exhibitions Manager and Curator. These incredible Spatial griots – historians and storytellers – invite you to consider how socio-economic and geographic oppressions impact the way we see (or don’t see) our environments. Hernandez uncovers embedded histories and systems of power within built and speculative landscapes to imagine these spaces otherwise. Lewis Johnson advocates for urban communities by documenting disparities among Chicago residents who live on opposite ends of the same streets across the city’s racial and economic divides. Knowlden critically deconstructs the elements of our urban fabric and its architectural histories to reassemble them as cartographic abstractions and imagined landscapes. Gwendolyn Brooks, a brilliant author, poet, and life-long resident of the historic Bronzeville, becomes the Mecca of these stories as this exhibition interrogates dilapidation, buried histories, and what it could mean to be Black in space.” 

• Opening April 7, 5-8pm


Photo by Meg T. Noe.

Karsten Lund, Curator – The Renaissance Society

“Intermissions at the Renaissance Society is an ongoing series of new performances staged twice a year in our empty cathedral-like space in between exhibitions. For the tenth installment in the series—on April 22nd and 23rd—I’m excited to present a new installation by the artist Özgür Kar that pushes the boundaries of what qualifies as a performance. Özgür creates striking black-and-white animations that lean into the idea of live performance, but a bit uncannily, without human actors. His works are effectively deconstructed theater pieces and multipart soundscapes: figures isolated on their own video screens become performers in looping scenes that are both austere and emotion-filled, with existentialist overtones. He has developed his own memorable style, but familiar things echo around inside too: hints of early animated film, Saturday morning cartoons, experimental theatre in the vein Samuel Beckett, or danse macabre like in medieval drawings. For one weekend, visitors can wander around freely in Özgür’s installation or settle in like you’re watching a play.” 

More info at




Vincent Uribe, Gallerist – LVL3 and Arts of Life 

“LVL3 just opened up a show celebrating our 13-year anniversary as an artist-run space. It’s a tradition of ours to bring back several artists we have exhibited over the years, and this year’s roster made all new work I couldn’t be more excited about.

At Arts of Life we have a small survey exhibition going on with INTUIT. Arts of Life will also be presenting work for the 2nd year in a row at EXPO CHICAGO. We are thrilled that one of our artists, Susan Pasowicz, is having her first solo show open up EXPO weekend at Ruschman Gallery. 

I’m staying busy as usual with multiple projects, but everyone should save the date, as I am in the middle of planning Arts of Life’s annual Benefit auction and dance party that is not to be missed, May 5th, where we will be honoring the one and only Jason Pickleman.”

• Neon Dreams Benefit Auction takes place May 5. 

More info at

More info