UIC Gallery 400 awarded Warhol Foundation grant

Chances Dances logo

The first exhibition funded by the grant focuses on Chances Dances, a Chicago LGBT dance party and arts collective. Photo: Chances Dances

Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $100,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts — one of only 48 grants nationally — for original exhibitions over the next two years.

The gallery plans exhibitions that respond to the foundation’s focus on challenging, experimental work, including six large-scale group shows, three commissioned projects and a series of commissioned works to be shown in the gallery building’s windows.

Lectures, panel discussions, performances, readings, film and video screenings and musical events will complement each exhibition.

“We at the gallery have been working to highlight the great exchange between contemporary art and the urgent issues affecting people’s lives,” said Lorelei Stewart, Gallery 400 director. “The Warhol’s support is a great endorsement of our vision for art, community inclusiveness, activism and accessibility.”

Among the planned exhibitions:

•    “Making Chances” for the citywide “Platforms: 10 Years of Chances.” The latter is a fall event series featuring art, performances, texts and music by Chances Dances, a queer dance party and collective dedicated to building safer spaces in Chicago. “Making Chances” features commissioned and existing art and performances, curated by artist and UIC alumnus John Neff and Lorelei Stewart. Sept. 11 – Oct. 24.

•    “Few Were Happy with Their Condition: New Tendencies in Romanian Photography, Video and Film.” This group exhibition, curated by Olga Stephen, explores life in post-communist Romania, where neo-liberalism and communist-style corruption clash and mirror each other while the young try to create a new identity. The exhibition explores Romania’s current political climate, its dark past and developing social problems. Jan. 15 – March 5, 2016.

still from "Witchual" video

Still from “Witchual,” a video by Macon Reed that appears in “Making Chances.”

•    New drawings, some in 3-D form, by Chicago-based Christa Donner address the complexities of the human body and body image. She builds on recent work by Cultural Reproducers, her advocacy group for artist-parents; research into non-human behavior; histories of utopian living; and visions for post-apocalyptic survival. Sept. 9 – Oct. 22, 2016.

•    Gallery 400 is commissioning the first large-scale presentation by Chicago-based David Leggett, who challenges hierarchies of taste and power in art and popular culture. He draws on humor by figures like painter Robert Colescott and comedians Robin Harris and Richard Pryor in paintings, drawings, ceramic sculptures, wallpaper and installations that address racism, sexism and homophobia. Nov. 4 – Dec. 17, 2016.

•    “Embodiment Abstracted: The Influence of Yvonne Rainer” gathers recent works by artists who take up Rainer’s 1960s experimental approach to the body as a material. Marwa Arsanios (Lebanon), Ralph Lemon (U.S.), Jimmy Robert (Belgium), Simon Leung (U.S.) and others tell stories in which bodies performing tasks or giving in to gravity become significant. “Embodiment Abstracted” is organized by Elise Archias, UIC assistant professor of art history. Jan. 13 – March 4, 2017.

Founded in 1983, Gallery 400 showcases work at the leading edge of contemporary art, architecture and design. Operating within the School of Art and Art History in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at UIC, Gallery 400 is recognized for its support the creation of new work, the diversity of its programs and participants, and the development of experimental models for multidisciplinary exhibition. To learn more, follow Gallery 400 on Facebook and Twitter.