Chicago Art Advisor Joel Straus Recommends 8 Gallery Shows to See During EXPO Chicago

This month's guide, organized by Chicago art advisor Joel Straus, features David Hockney, Liliana Porter, Edie Fake, and more.

Edie Fake, The Back Door (2018). Courtesy of Western Exhibitions.

The Windy City gets its annual turn at the center of the international art world this week, as EXPO Chicago returns for its seventh edition. And while the city has plenty of cultural opportunities to offer year round, the local art scene is turned up a few notches this time of year, showing that Chicago is on its way to becoming one of the country’s elite art cities.

Just ask Chicago-based art advisor Joel Straus, the principal of Straus Art Group and a founding director of EXPO Chicago. Straus has worked in the art scene for over 30 years. He’s seen a lot of growth in his time.

“Chicago’s creative landscape is ever-evolving,” Straus explains to artnet News. “Recently, there has been an exciting migration of galleries moving to the West Town neighborhood. All of these galleries are within a three-minute drive of each other, making it an ideal destination for visual art.”

Joel Straus. Courtesy of Straus Art Group.

It’s been a big week for Straus. He made headlines at Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale this week when he sold Kerry James Marshall’s 1997 painting, Study for Past Times for $1.5 million. And though the sale of the study may not have brought in as much money as the resulting painting (which sold at auction in May to Sean “Diddy” Combs for a record-breaking figure of $21.1 million), it was nonetheless a notable night as Straus announced that he will be giving a percentage of the profits back to Marshall.

Just ahead of the sale, we spoke with the decorated art advisor to hear about some of the shows that he’s most excited for this week.

See his list, and others, below!

Sanford Biggers, Neroluce (2018). Courtesy of Monique Meloche Gallery.

Exhibition: Sanford Biggers: New Work
September 15–October 27, 2018
Monique Meloche Gallery, 451 N. Paulina Street, Chicago, IL

“This exhibition displays new work that shows the influence of his fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. I really loved the carved marble sculptures that were derived from brick brock statues the artist purchased on eBay. They were assembled from different kitschy sculptures and then digitally modeled and carved mechanically in 3-D.” —JS


Installation view of “The Water Lily Pond of Life,” 2018. Courtesy of the Zhou B Art Center.

Exhibition: The Water Lily Pond of Life
Oct 10, 2015–Dec 31, 2020
Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL


Installation view of “Torkwase Dyson: James Samuel Madison,” 2018. Courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

Exhibition: “Torkwase Dyson: James Samuel Madison
September 14–October 27, 2018
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, 1711 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL

“This exhibition displays powerful paintings in tonalities black and white. While non-representational, they have references to both landscapes and architecture. There is a spontaneity of an abstract expressionist painting with the graphic quality of a blueprint. There is three-dimensional space created in two dimensions in the same way that a Fred Sandback sculpture creates space in 3D.” —JS


Dianna Frid, Desbordar (2018). Courtesy of Alan Koppel Gallery.

Exhibition: NoNonchalant: Abstraction by 10 Chicago Artists
September 21–November 21, 2018
Alan Koppel Gallery, 806 N. Dearborn Ave., Chicago, IL


Installation view of “David Hockney: Time and More, Space and More…” 2018. Courtesy of Richard Gray Gallery.

Exhibition: David Hockney: Time and More, Space and More…
September 13–November 21, 2018
Richard Gray Gallery, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

“These works display images of a studio with Hockney’s paintings on display in the print, created in a monumental scale. The paintings and furniture are photo-based, with a skewed dimensionality that is created in Photoshop, forming an environment that has the classic Hockney perspective. For me, it doesn’t matter whether a master artist uses a paintbrush or Photoshop because it is about the composition, not the technology.” —JS


Installation view of “Liliana Porter: Memorabilia,” 2018. Courtesy of Carrie Secrist Gallery.

Exhibition: Liliana Porter: MEMORABILIA
September 15–November 3, 2018
Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd. # 1B, Chicago, IL


Installation view of “Stan VanDerBeek: Poemfield,” 2018. Courtesy of Document Space.

Exhibition: Stan VanDerBeek: Poemfield
September 14–October 27, 2018
Document Space, 1709 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL

“This exhibition displays Poem Field film loops that were generated from an IBM computer in the ’60s and ’70s. It is a rare opportunity to see one of the first of its kind of generative films.” —JS


Edie Fake, I.O.U.D (2018). Courtesy of Western Exhibitions.

Exhibition: Edie Fake: Gut Rehab
September 14–October 27, 2018
Western Exhibitions, 1709 W. Chicago Ave. Suite 2C, Chicago, IL

“The exhibition is comprised of small, precise geometric urban landscapes that reference trans and non-binary bodies using complex structures and a bright color palette. The blurring between architecture and the body creates an incredibly visceral experience.” —JS

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