Art Picks, Exhibitions, Featured, Happenings

May Art Picks

Image: An abstract composition of yellow organic shapes with violet and orange in the background. Illustration by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you know that our Art Picks offer a wide scope of events that are relevant to our audiences because we and the artists, cultural workers, curators, spaces, and projects we support live full lives that know no boundaries. We maintain expansive practices and work toward justice for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disability communities in Chicago and the Midwest.  

Created in collaboration with The Visualist and adapted for social-distancing due to COVID-19, this list offers online exhibitions, streaming events, a list of online collections from Black and LGBTQIA+ archives, and other ways to spend time in the virtual space. 

Featured image: An abstract composition of yellow organic shapes with violet and orange in the background. Illustration by Ryan Edmund Thiel.

This is a growing list, so check back often with new additions.

Through May 2, 2021
Chris Saint Martin: CONSUMER SERIES: SERIES 1-4
The Silver Room: 1506 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL
Free

Through May 7, 2021
9th ANNUAL BRIDGEPORT ART COMPETITION JURORS EXHIBITION
The Bridgeport Art Center, Fourth Floor Gallery: 1200 W 35th St, Chicago, IL
Free

Through May 8, 2021
John Neff: 101
Regards: 2216 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Through May 22, 2021
Online Benefit for Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Chicago Asian Pacific Islander Artists United: Online
Free

Through May 22, 2021
Suzanna Zak: Flesh of Earth
Prairie: 2055 W Cermak Rd
Free

Through May 23, 2021
Unraveled. Restructured. Revealed.
Trout Museum of Art: 111 W. College Ave., Appleton, WI
$0-$15

Through May 30, 2021
Long Braids, Strong Backs
LVL3: 1542 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 2021
Randomly Selected Podcast
The Silver Room: 1506 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 2021
Flowers for Fighters
P.O. Box Collective: 6900 N. Glenwood Ave. Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 11am-6pm
Louis Masai Hatch: MEAT my Friends
Vertical Gallery: 1016 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 12pm
Black Arts in Anti-Black Worlds
Northwestern University: Online
Free

Sat, May 1, 12-3pm
Just Above My Wall, (To The Right)
South Side Community Art Center: 3831 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 12-3pm
Julia Arredondo: Accessories
VVP Showroom: Text preferred time/date to (312) 857-3024
Free

Sat, May 1, 1pm
May Sound Selector Series
The Silver Room: 1506 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 4-10pm
Andi Crist & JP Culligan: Routine Maintenance
Comfort Station: 2579 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 4-5pm
Jeanette May: Tech Vanitas
ARC Gallery: 1463 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 4:30-7pm
wont you celebrate with me
FLXST Contemporary: 2251 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 5-10pm
Liz Gómez: Lake Journeys To The Ocean
The Honeycomb Network: 2659 W Division St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 2-4pm
CAPE: Teaching Artistry Garden Talk
Compound Yellow: 244 Lake St, Oak Park, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 6-9pm
Lauren Sudbrink / Blake Lenoir / Sonya Bogdanova
Ignition project space: 3839 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 1, 7-8pm
Worker Writers School 10th Anniversary Celebration & Book Release
Pilsen Community Books: Online
Free

Sat, May 1, 7-9pm
Paul Ashford Trio
Compound Yellow: 244 Lake St, Oak Park, IL
Free

May 1 – June 31, 2021
Art of Water V
James May Gallery: Online
Free

May 1 – May 24, 2021
Momentum
Springboard Arts: 1910 W. North Ave. Chicago, IL
Free

May 2-3, 2021
The Meta Simulacrum Vol. 1
Walker: Online
$0-20

May 2, 2021
NEROINK Community Printlab open house
Contratiempo Magazine: 1048 W. 37th St., Chicago, IL
Free

Sun, May 2, 1-4pm
Re-Fuse 2021
Compound Yellow: 244 Lake St, Oak Park
Free

May 3-19, 2021
2021 Graduate Exhibition
SAIC Galleries: 33 E Washington St, Chicago, IL
Free

May 3-July 24, 2021
Faheem Majeed: Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds
Hyde Park Art Center: 5020 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Mon, May 3, 6pm
Chicagoski: Writers on Polish Chicago
Chicago Public Library: Online
Free

Tues, May 4, 4pm
Write About It! Writing Club
Chicago Public Library: Online
Free

Tues, May 4, 6pm
Bystander Intervention Training with Advancing Justice
Chicago Public Library: Online
Free

Tues, May 4, 7pm
Poetry Reading: Rachel Mennies with Cortney Lamar Charleston & Emily Jungmin Yoon
Women & Children First Bookstore: Online
Free

May 5-26, 2021
2021 Art and Art History MFA Thesis Exhibition
Glass Curtain Gallery: 1104 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Wed, May 5, 6-7pm
Michelle Zauner: Crying in H Mart: A Memoir
The Seminary Co-op Bookstores: Online
Free

Wed, May 5, 6-7:30pm
How We Got Here, Where We’re Going
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Wed, May 5, 6pm
Contemporary Artist Lecture: Michael Rakowitz
The Oriental Institute: Online
Free

Wed, May 5, 6-8pm
Tanda Spring 2021: The Love, Rage & Roses it will take to Welcome the Death of White Manhood, Charles Ryan Long
Chuquimarca: Online
Free

May 6-June 21, 2021
A Bruising Gaze on a Faltering Landscape: 2021 Art Theory and Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition
Block Museum: Online
Free

Thurs, May 6, 4pm
Gender and Sexuality in Early-Modern European Art
Smart Museum of Art: Online
Free

Thurs, May 6, 8-9pm
Virtual @ LOW END | Pamela Z
Bemis Center: Online
Free

Thurs, May 6, 8-9pm
Whisper & Shout
Contemporary Art Center of Peoria: Online
Free

May 7 – May 30, 2021
Rachel Hausmann Schall: Affix & Repeat
Real Tinsel: 1013 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee, WI
Free

May 7 – May 30, 2021
Raúl Ortiz: PATTERNS
Side Street Studio Arts: 15 Ziegler Court, Elgin, IL 
Free

May 7 – June 16, 2021
Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero: Human Shell
Chicago Artists Coalition: 2130 W. Fullerton St., Chicago, IL
Free

May 7 – June 6, 2021
Translucent Beauty and other Guardians
Chicago Artists Coalition: 2130 W. Fullerton St., Chicago, IL
Free

May 7 – June 6, 2021
Leticia Burnous: We Are Safe Here
Chicago Artists Coalition: 2130 W. Fullerton St., Chicago, IL
Free

May 7-June 20, 2021
ruby onyinyechi amanze: Thinghood
MARIANE IBRAHIM: 437 N Paulina St, Chicago, IL
Free

May 7-June 20, 2021
Bounce Back
Heaven Gallery: 1550 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

May 7-July 6, 2021
Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life
Wrightwood 659: 659 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, IL
$15

Fri, May 7, 12pm
Photos at Zoom Discussion Session: Peter Cochrane
Museum of Contemporary Photography: Online
Free

Fri, May 7, 12pm
Art Talks! Docents in Dialogue – Claire Corridon (’21) & Karan Gowda (’22)
Block Museum: Online
Free

Fri, May 7, 6-9pm
Juan Arango Palacios: Payasadas
Epiphany Center for the Arts: 201 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Fri, May 7, 7-10pm
TQC: Flow Symposium Attendees Live Performance
Experimental Sound Studio: Online
Free

May 8-16, 2021
2021 School of Art + Design Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition
Krannert Art Museum: 500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 9-5pm
Mother’s Day Africa Dance Marathon
Ayodele Drum & Dance: 1301 W. 52 St. Chicago, IL
Class: $10 | Day pass: $60

Sat, May 8, 12-4pm
Open House for David Leggett: Four Door Lexus
Aspect/Ratio Gallery: 864 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 1pm
May Sound Selector Series
The Silver Room: 1506 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 12pm
Planks & Pistils Sidewalk Pop Up
The Silver Room: 1506 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 2-5pm
Rebecca Gray Smith: Alphabet & Numbers: The Pandemic Prints
Bert Green Fine Art: 8 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 2pm-12:30am
Chicago: Home of House
Epiphany Center for the Arts: 201 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 8, 7-10pm
TQC: Flow Symposium Attendees Live Performance
Experimental Sound Studio: Online
Free

Sat, May 8, 1-4pm
GnarWare Workshop Mommie’s Market
GnarWare Workshop Ceramics Studio: 2233 South Throop Street, Chicago, IL
Free

May 8-June 26, 2021
DIS- an exhibition highlighting the advocacy work of Artists with Disabilities
Chicago Printmakers Collaborative: 4912 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL
Free

Sun, May 9, 12-1:30pm
The Impasse of Blackness: Interrogating the Possibility of Resolution
Block Museum of Art: Online
Free

Sun, May 9, 12-1:30pm
TQC: Flow Symposium Lunchtime
Experimental Sound Studio: Online
Free

May 10-16, 2021
Film, Video, New Media, Animation, and Sound Festival
Gene Siskel Film Center: Online
Free

Mon, May 10, 6-8pm
Mothers of the Movement
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Mon, May 10, 7-8:30pm
Workshop on Equity and Allyship
Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership: Online
Free

May 11-18, 2021
Anna Martine Whitehead: FORCE! (our labor has become more important than our silence)
Roman Susan: 1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Tues, May 11, 7-8pm
Open Door: Xandria Phillips, S. Yarberry, kiki nicole & Red Samaniego
Poetry Foundation: Online
Free

Tues, May 11, 7-8pm
Comics Superstar Alison Bechdel in Virtual Conversation
Chicago Humanities Festival: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 7pm
INTIMATE EXPOSURE: Shabez Jamal & Derrick Woods-Morrow in conversation
Concerned Black Image Makers: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 6-7pm
Harold Mendez: In Discussion
Institute for Contemporary Art: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 12pm
Release of LatinXAmerican Spotify Playlist curated by DJ CQQCHIFRUIT
DePaul Art Museum: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 6-8pm
Maker Session with CTJM
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Wed, May 12, 12pm
SUBJECT MATTERS: EP. 2
Kresge Arts in Detroit: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 6-7pm
Nature & Creativity: Demystifying Public Programming & Art-Making with Najee-Zaid Searcy
Garfield Park Conservatory: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 6-7pm
Dr. Shantanu Nundy: Care After Covid: What the Pandemic Revealed Is Broken in Healthcare and How to Reinvent It
The Seminary Co-op Bookstores: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 8pm
Charles Joseph Smith & Angel Bat Dawid
Elastic Arts: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 7-8pm
Casey Wilson in Conversation with Jessi Klein and Andrew Rannells
Chicago Humanities Festival: Online
Free

Wed, May 12, 6-7pm
The Black Maternal Health Crisis Series: Bridging the Gaps in Health Policy
The DuSable Museum: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 2021
In Search of the Color Purple
The Silver Room: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 2021
If/Then online sharing #2: Honey Pot Performance with Special Guests (May 13)
Honey Pot Performance: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 11am-12pm
Art77 Info Session: Reopening Guidelines
City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Office of the Mayor: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 6-7pm
That Image of a Dead Man on DuSable Bridge
Art Design Chicago: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 7-8pm
Art of the Heist: Arts of Life Annual Benefit
Arts of Life: Online
$0-$250

Thurs, May 13, 6-7pm
Nandana Dev Sen: Acrobat
The Seminary Co-op Bookstores: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 6-7:30pm
Artists’ Visions: Latina/x & LGBTQ Histories, Monuments for Chicago’s Future
University of Illinois at Springfield: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 6:30pm
Monuments out of Movements: Redefining Community Spaces
Equity Arts: Online
Free

Thurs, May 13, 4:30pm
A Preview of “The Belly of the Beast” with Da’Shaun Harrison
Northwestern University: Online
Free

Fri, May 14, 12pm
Behind the Lens: Tabitha Soren
Museum of Contemporary Photography: Online
Free

Fri, May 14, 7-8:30pm
Songs From the Deep: Music Performance
MSU Broad Art Museum: Online
Free

Fri, May 14, 5-6pm
Sensory Overload: 2021 Loyola Fine Art Senior Exhibition
Ralph Arnold Gallery: 1131 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL
Free

May 14 – May 30, 2021
The Black Archives Project: Chicago Uprisings 2020
Blanc Gallery: 4445 MLK Dr., Chicago, IL, 60653
Free

May 15-June 5, 2021
Carter Mull
Regards: 2216 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

May 15-June 26, 2021
Jaclyn Jacunski: Burning Oneself Out
Tiger Strikes Asteroid: 2233 S. Throop St. #419, Chicago, IL
Free

May 15-June 27, 2021
Audrey Barcio and Rachel Leah Cohn: Sapientia Gloria Corona Est
New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art: 506 Main St, New Harmony, IN
Free

May 15-August 15, 2021
Visualizing a Year Like No Other
MSU BROAD: 547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI
Free

Sat, May 15, 6-9pm
Performative Acts of the Everyday
Zhou B Art Center: 1029 W 35th Street, Chicago, IL
Free

Sun, May 16, 11am
Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories: Panel Discussion co-sponsored by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives
Women & Children First Bookstore: Online
Free

Sun, May 16, 7-9pm
Beyond the Box 4.3 – Black Hair E {m} urge
Links Hall: Online
$20

Tue, May 18, 6pm
Curator Conversations with DPAM’s Assistant Curator Ionit Behar and Artist José Lerma
DePaul Art Museum: Online
Free

Tue, May 18, 7-8pm
The Education Trap: Cristina Groeger and Jon Shelton
Pilsen Community Books: Online
Free

Tues, May 19, 4-5pm
Joseph Yoakum’s Atlas
Art Design Chicago: Online
Free

Wed, May 19, 8-9pm
Keisha Janae/Ben Lamar Gay & Ayako Kato/Jason Roebke
Constellation: 3111 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL
Free

Wed, May 19, 3-4pm
Politicized Healing with Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson and Prentis Hemphill
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Wed, May 19, 6-8pm
Prison Industrial Complex Abolition Symposium: Intro to Abolition
Crown Family School: Online
Free

May 19- August 29, 2021
HOME OF MEMORIES: PORTRAITS AND STORIES OF IRAQI MINNESOTANS
Rochester Art Center: 40 Civic Center Dr SE, Rochester, MN
Free

Thurs, May 20, 7:30pm
Artist Talk with Resita Cox
Blanc Gallery: 4445 MLK Dr., Chicago, IL
Free

Thurs, May 20, 12pm
Dawoud Bey and Tonika Lewis Johnson 2021 Public Humanities Awards Recipients
Illinois Humanities: Online
Free

Thurs, May 20, 6pm
On Collaboration with Dianna Frid and Carla Nappi moderated by Cesáreo Moreno
DePaul Art Museum: Online
Free

Thurs, May 20, 7-8pm
Alex McElroy and Alex Higley celebrate THE ATMOSPHERIANS
Pilsen Community Books: Online
Free

Thurs, May 20, 6pm
Addressing Sexuality, Gender, and the Decorative since the 1970s: Los Angeles-Based Artist Lari Pittman and Art Historian David J. Getsy
Art Design Chicago | Terra Foundation: Online
Free

Thurs, May 20, 7-8pm
The Past and Future of Comics
Chicago Humanities Festival: Online
Free

May 20-30, 7:30-10:30pm
2021 Co-MISSION Festival of New Works
Links Hall: Online
$20

May 21-26, 2021
Amina Ross: Specular Cry
Roman Susan: 1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

May 21-30, 2021
BIPOC Playwrights Festival
Perceptions Theatre: Online
Free

Fri, May 21, 4-9pm
Devin Balara & Bobby Gonzalez: Deeper and Deeper
Roots & Culture: 1034 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Fri, May 21, 7pm
Virtual Reading: FAT AND QUEER: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives
Women & Children First Bookstore: Online
Free

Fri, May 21, 7-8:30pm
Amplify Series 2020-21 Commissions Concert
Poetry Foundation: Online
Free

May 22-August 5, 2021
Laughter & Resilience: Humor in Native American Art
Eiteljorg Museum: 500 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN: Online
Free

Sat, May 22, 7-8pm
Visions & Voices Virtual Performance
Red Clay Dance Company: Online
Admission starts at $15

Sat, May 22, 12-3pm
Abolition and Chill
Justice Cream | The Honeycomb Network: 2659 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 22, 12-2pm
Prison Industrial Complex Abolition Symposium: Practical Applications for Abolition
Crown Family School: Online
Free

May 24, 2021
If/Then online sharing #3: Honey Pot Performance with Special Guests (May 24)
Honey Pot Performance: Online
Free

Mon, May 24, 6:30pm
May Intro to Printing Workshop
LATITUDE: Online
Free

Tue, May 25, 5-6pm
Documenting Our Lives: A Conversation about Film, Memory, and Preservation
Newberry Library: Online
Free

Wed, May 26, 12pm
SUBJECT MATTERS: EP. 3
Kresge Arts in Detroit: Online
Free

Wed, May 26, 6-7:30pm
Performance with Special Musical Guest avery r. young
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

May 27-June 2, 2021
Cherrie Yu: Lydia and Matthew
Roman Susan: 1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL
Free

Thurs, May 27, 7-8pm
Club de lectura #4
Pilsen Community Books: Online
Free

Thurs, May 27, 6pm
Shoot Your Shot; archiving event
Blanc Gallery: 4445 MLK Dr., Chicago, IL
Free

May 28-June 3, 2021
Kelly Kristin Jones
062: 1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL
Free

May 28-June 30, 2021
Evanston Made
Evanston Art Center: 1717 Central St, Evanston, IL
Free

Fri, May 28, 7-9pm
Angel Bat Dawid
Compound Yellow: 244 Lake St, Oak Park, IL
Free

Fri, May 28, 7pm
TES presents The Jazz Hoofing Quartet
The Promontory
$20-$200

May 29 – June 26, 2021
Liberation Among The Stars: A Past & Future Dream
Co-Prosperity Sphere & Public Media Institute: 3219-21 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL
Free

Sat, May 29, 1:30-2pm
Workshop in the Garden: Visualizing Breath
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Sat, May 29, 2-4pm
Experimental Black Dance in the Garden
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Free

Write For Us:
Sixty welcomes writers and artists to contribute through traditional and experimental arts writing around ideas, topics, and practices that are relevant to Chicago’s cultural landscapes. Priority will be given to writing by, about, and for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists, artists with disabilities, and the long list of writing, art-making, and cultural practices that have been neglected in mainstream conversations and canons about art and culture. If you are interested in pitching an idea or covering one of the listed art events, contact us at WriteForSixty@sixtyinchesfromcenter.org. See full pitch guidelines here.