How Chicago Became an Art-World Capital Without Giving In to Art-World Clichés

Stephen Mooallem , Harper's Baazar, December 11, 2022

If there is a great creative tradition in Chicago, it is in that unerring sense of potential and place. It’s in the work today of artists like Gates and Nick Cave, who have cultivated practices and studios that have become part of the fabric of the neighborhoods that surround them. It’s in the plethora of public-art projects that fill the city, like Kerry James Marshall’s mural at the Chicago Cultural Center honoring 20 women who helped shape Chicago’s creative landscape. It’s in the constellation of venues to see and exhibit art, which is now vast and varied: from mainstays like Gray, Kavi Gupta, and Rhona Hoffman; to independents like Mariane Ibrahim, Monique Meloche, Patron, Document, Regards, Volume, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Stephen Daiter, and FLXST Contemporary; to nonprofits like 3Arts, Art on theMART Foundation, Chicago Artists Coalition, ThreeWalls, Woman Made Gallery, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Hyde Park Art Center; to artist-run spaces like Prairie. And it’s in Jackson Park, on the South Side, where the Obama Presidential Center broke ground in 2021 not far from where Michelle Obama spent her formative years and former president Barack Obama got his start as an organizer. The complex will include a museum, numerous parks, and a branch of the Chicago Public Library, with a sculpture by local luminary Richard Hunt near the entrance, the first of six planned art commissions to be installed throughout the campus.


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