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Galleries & Museums


Alogon Gallery With nothing to identify it but a business card stuck in a name slot, this two-year-old independent art space on a residential street is a little difficult to find. But inside it feels welcoming and homey. Maybe that’s because it’s actually home to the four current gallery owners, who took over from the founders (four UIC sculpture undergrads) a year ago. The current quartet’s method—calculated to bring in artists from outside their circle and “put forward contrasting ideas”—is to “curate curators” who will organize shows at Alogon. Though the partners don’t make money on the project, they haven’t applied for nonprofit status because they don’t want to have to compromise on the work they show. Arrow Sun 1-4 PM, 1049 N. Paulina, 3rd floor (entrance on Cortez), 713-302-9599. —Julia Thiel

The Arts of Life Founded in 2000, this nonprofit studio and gallery offers adults with developmental disabilities “an environment [in which] to experience personal growth” through art. Program participants create art from about 9 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday, and visitors are welcome. In addition to showing their work in the Arts of Life building, the artists also exhibit at local coffee shops, including Janik’s Cafe and several Starbucks locations. Their oeuvres and artist statements can also be viewed at, where the artists are categorized according to their preferred style (e.g. “the Avant-Gardes” and “the Pop Group”). Arrow Mon-Fri 9 AM-4 PM, 2110 W. Grand, 312-829-2787. —JT

Black Walnut Gallery Robert Wayner’s three-year-old gallery—named for the wood he most often uses—shows his own sculptures, furniture, and paintings, plus work by the three artists he represents. He also hosts monthly rotating shows by other artists. Wayner finds the rotating artists by posting a call on Craigslist—a method he likes because it turns up people who aren’t part of the established art scene. His own sculptures are organic-looking pieces in the tradition of George Nakashima. Most of them are made out of hardwoods salvaged from demolished buildings or trees that fell down naturally. It’s worth a visit just to feel the silky, finely sanded surfaces (Wayner encourages hands-on interaction with his work). Arrow Thu-Fri 1-7, Sat 12-7, Sun 1-6, 2135 W. Division, 773-772-8870. —JT

Corbett vs. Dempsey Owners John Corbett (a sometime Reader contributor) and Jim Dempsey describe their place as a “destination gallery”: with no storefront and only a small sign, it doesn’t rely on foot traffic to sell its collection of mostly midcentury American art, which emphasizes local paintings and works on paper. Inside, a wall of windows floods the space with natural light, and exposed brick walls and hardwood floors produce an atmosphere very different from that of the traditional white-walled, track-lit gallery. Corbett vs. Dempsey (whose moniker references boxers Gentleman Jim Corbett and Jack Dempsey) also maintains a small, noncirculating library of art books, and a large table and couch encourage you to hang out and look at them. Arrow Thu-Sat 11-4 and by appointment, 1120 N. Ashland, 3rd floor, 773-278-1664. —JT

Country Club Collective The recent change of name, from Country Club Chicago, reflects a change of management for this silkscreen studio cum gallery: after several of the original partners left to take on other projects, Myra Marie Mazzei and Mark McGinnis decided to stay on and form a nonprofit collective. Several screen printers share the basement studio area, while the ground floor is used for four annual art openings and rented out for events. There’s no sign outside, and except at those openings, the gallery’s not open to the public, even by appointment; members sell their work on the Web site ( instead. Arrow 1100 N. Damen, 773-960-1811. —JT

Lotus Keep Gallery Artist Quang Hong, who’s owned Lotus Keep with business partner Amish Patel for the past two years, uses it as both a studio and a place to display his paintings. He also hosts shows by other artists, many of them glassblowers from Chicago Hot Glass. Hong says he gravitates toward “lowbrow” work (a preference apparent in his own kitschy paintings of big-eyed girls and fairy sprites) and “root[s] for guys who can’t get into regular galleries.” There are no regular hours, but the gallery’s open by appointment and whenever Hong is there working—usually at night. Arrow 1017 N. Western, 773-360-7884. —JT

Rotofugi Gallery Creating this gallery “was honestly sort of an accident,” says Whitney Kerr. She and her husband Kirby were starting a shop trading in limited edition collectible toys (aka “urban vinyl;” see separate listing in Shopping & Services) and chose the name Rotofugi Designer Toy Store & Gallery to emphasize the artistic quality of their merchandise. But then a designer toy store in Shanghai contacted them about hosting a show of paintings depicting a vinyl monkey called Fling, and since they didn’t have enough inventory to fill their space anyway, they agreed. They’ve been hosting exhibitions ever since, and in August 2006 moved the gallery to a separate space next door, where they now have an opening on the first Friday of each month. In keeping with the spirit of the store, the gallery mostly shows character-based art and illustrations, often by people who make toys. Arrow Sat 12-4 and by appointment, 1955 W. Chicago, 312-491-9501. —JT

The Splat Flats These studios house a community of 28 artists who rent their spaces on a month-to-month basis. Artists of all sorts are accepted, as long as their work doesn’t involve fire, dust, strong chemicals, or excessive noise. For the past couple years they’ve hosted LumbArt, a “summer art extravaganza” with visual art, live music, film screenings, and readings, and in October they throw a one-night open house. Arrow 1815-25 W. Division (above neighborhood institution L. Miller & Son Lumber), —JT


Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art The institute, which has been around since 1971, has two galleries: one that hosts rotating exhibits, the other showing pieces from the UIMA’s permanent collection of works by Ukrainian artists from 1930 to the present. Only a few dozen of the more than 900 permanent pieces are on display at any given time. According to curator Roman Petruniak, the collection’s emphasis on abstract expressionist and minimalist styles bears witness to the institute’s history of support for artistic freedom. These styles, he says, weren’t allowed in Ukraine during the Soviet era, so artists there had to show their work abroad. Though the rotating shows are often related to Ukraine, they’re just as likely to be connected to the Ukrainian Village neighborhood. The next one, opening Sun 5/25, is of prints, paintings, and possibly a few sculptures by Ukrainian cubist Alexander Archi­penko. ArrowWed-Sun noon-4 PM, 2320 W. Chicago, 773-227-5522 or —JT

Ukrainian National Museum This 55-year-old museum maintains a gallery for rotating exhibits (showing Fri 5/9-Sun 5/25: drawings and paintings by Anatole Kolomayets) and a permanent collection that includes ceramics, painting, beadwork, traditional clothing, and weapons like sabers and daggers. Among the most striking elements of the collection are Maria Shumska-Hrynewych’s dolls in Ukrainian regional dress and the hundreds of pysanky (intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs). Also worth seeing are displays on the Ukrainian pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and on the artificial famine imposed on Ukraine under Stalin. There’s a library and archive, too, but most materials are in Ukrainian. Arrow Thu-Sun 11-4, 2249 W. Superior, 312-421-8020. —JT

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