Chicago on My Mind: Selections from Private Chicago Collections

January 20 - February 26, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 20, ​6–8pm

Arts + Public Life’s inaugural Resident Curatorial Collective present Chicago On My Mind, an exhibition which shares a story of many Chicagos. Expanding on the intended curatorial vision of the 1969 exhibition Harlem on My Mind presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chicago on My Mind explores cultural values driven by Chicago-based social and civic-minded collection practices. 

This exhibition takes form through a collaborative spirit between Curatorial Collective residents La Keisha Leek and Sadie Woods, and ten private collectors who are practicing artists, curators, cultural producers, educators, and founders of independently run arts organizations. Each participant, having stakes in the Chicago arts community, is treated as co-curator throughout the selection process of works featured in the exhibition. Chicago on My Mind creates a documented history and contemporary narrative that links to feminist and civil rights movements, the erasure of black masculinity through the prison industrial complex, immigrant rights, displacement, hope, and resilience. 

A key focal point to the practices of Leek and Woods is to further the reach of the local. Curation, as a point of departure, inserts the artist and social understandings of the city into a larger discourse of the intersections of art and politics. Chicago on My Mind features select works from the collections of Janice Bond, Dwamina K. Drew, Lou Mallozzi, Rob McKay, Cesáreo Moreno, Sabina Ott, Edra Soto, Tricia Van Eck, Raub Welch, and Eric Williams. Ranging from emerging to established, artists featured in the exhibition are Carl Baratta, Jaap Blonk, Hebru Brantley, Carlos Cortéz Koyokuikatl, Shani Crowe, Dorit Cypis, Dana Duff, Stephen Flemister, Krista Franklin, Maria Gaspar, LaMont Hamilton, Rogelio Reta Navarette, Ferdinand Kriwet, Dayo Laoye, Kirsten Leenaars, Tim Leeming, Lindsey Liss, Harold Mendez, Melissa Potter, Aay Preston-Mint, Anna Shower-Cruser, Kara Walker, and Raub Welch.

Presented by the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative. Additional exhibition support is provided by the Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces (DEPS) at Columbia College Chicago.


Opening Reception
Friday, January 20, 6:00–8:00pm
Arts Incubator, 301 East Garfield Boulevard

Table Talk
Thursday, February 16, 12:00–1:00pm
Currency Exchange Café, 305 East Garfield Boulevard

Collector's Talk + Closing Reception
Friday, February 24, 6:00–8:00pm
Arts Incubator, 301 East Garfield Boulevard

Closing Night After Party
Friday, February 24, 8:00–10:00pm
BING Reading Room, 307 East Garfield Boulevard

About Exhibitions at the Arts Incubator

The exhibitions program at the Arts Incubator offers a platform for Chicago-based artists to thoughtfully engage with the global, contemporary art world in a localized environment. The unique positioning of this program acts as a catalyst for collaboration and exchange, creating a dynamic and critical space. Exhibitions are realized throughout the entirety of the building and the surrounding Washington Park area, fusing temporal, public space with the dedicated interior. This coupling is echoed with the public programming efforts, as we introduce the work of national artists to the local conversation.

Arts + Public Life Curatorial Collective Residency 
Through this new residency program, Arts + Public Life (APL) provides one Curatorial Collective the necessary space and resources to realize innovative projects through the planning and execution of exhibitions at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park. The residency gives preferences to curators whose practices examine themes relevant to South Side communities both on and off campus of the University of Chicago; engage issues of race and ethnicity including, but not limited to, questions of discrimination, anti-racism, and institutional manifestations; and that deepen understandings of race, class, gender, and sexualities, as well as their interconnections and implications.


pin301 E Garfield Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60637

Wed-Fri 12:00pm-6:00pm
Extended hours during events