Owner, Shane Campbell Gallery
In 2001, Shane Campbell opened the doors of his Oak Park home to show work by emerging talents. Over the coming years, his ambitions to collaborate with artists outgrew the walls of his suburban home and overflowed into a space in Lincoln Park. This past summer, he expanded once again, this time into a 8,500-square-foot space in the South Loop, placing him among the vanguard of big-thinking Chicago gallerists. Flooded with natural light and sky-high ceilings, the facility boasts enough room for offices, art storage and 2,900 square feet for exhibitions. Campbell tapped Chicago-based 2014 Whitney Biennial participant Tony Lewis to inaugurate the South Loop space this summer, and Mimi Lauter will fill it in the fall.
Eric T. McKissack
Founding Partner, Channing Capital Management
Eric T. McKissack began collecting work by Chicago artists in the 1980s, focusing on artists of color whom he noticed were underrepresented in museums, galleries and auction houses. By the 2000s, his collection included works by Dawoud Bey, Kerry James Marshall, Rashid Johnson and Theaster Gates. A former board member at the Renaissance Society and the Rebuild Foundation, McKissack serves on the boards of the Graham Foundation and the Art Institute, as well as the youth arts initiative Urban Gateways.
Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography
The Museum of Contemporary Photography struck a chord among Chicago audiences with its recent exhibition “Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity,” which broke attendance records and reaffirmed the institution’s relevance. Continuing its commitment to exploring photography’s relationship to social and political subjects, Director Natasha Egan co-curated their current show, “North Korean Perspectives,” drawing on her expertise in Korean photography. Next year, she will take on environmental issues with a conceptual show about the pollutant petcoke and will also guest curate in Dubai.
Julie Rodrigues Widholm
Director, DePaul Art Museum
Julie Rodrigues Widholm has only been at the helm of the DePaul Art Museum for a few months, but she has been presenting ambitious group exhibitions to Chicago audiences for years as a former curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Alongside Madeleine Grynsztejn, she co-curated this year’s groundbreaking retrospective of Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo. In 2005, Widholm brought to Chicago an in-depth exploration of Brazilian culture in “Tropicália,” and in 2007, she curated an expansive show of contemporary Mexican practices titled “Escultura Social,” complete with a bilingual English-Spanish catalogue. Notably, Widholm has consistently lived out a commitment to Latin American artists. She will bring vast experience and new energy to the DePaul Art Museum, adding further shine to that museum’s rising star.
Executive Director, Arts Club of Chicago
Among Chicago’s most historic and venerated art institutions, the Arts Club had suffered a long time from its self-imposed exclusivity until Janine Mileaf took the helm in 2012 with a mind to make the private club more accessible to the public. An artist-designed pavilion in Millennium Park co-organized with the Art Institute garnered fifty thousand visitors this year, and new garden installations of work by Chicago-based artists are likewise serving local hunger for public art. While their brilliant lunchtime lectures are still for members only, the public is now welcome at exhibition openings.
Allison Peters Quinn
Director of Exhibitions, Hyde Park Art Center
Empowered by the Hyde Park Art Center’s inclusive ethos, Quinn curates with a lepidopterist’s love of the undiscovered and unknown. The panoply of artists who show at HPAC range from the newly graduated to the already established, keeping true to the center’s unique function in the Chicago ecosystem. “This is a platform for people to try out new ideas. That’s most important,” Quinn says of HPAC. Few spots in Chicago offer such generous chances to new ideas and untested artists. The center is also an important hub of community activities, connecting local audiences with the art and artists who make our city more beautiful and much more interesting.
Owner, Andrew Rafacz Gallery
In the uncertain world of the globalized art market, Andrew Rafacz fears neither change nor movement. A West Loop dealer with a deep commitment to Chicago artists and the local scene, Rafacz sees the rest of the world as his playground. This October, between a presence at EXPO Chicago in September and in Miami in December, he’ll present the paintings of the late Norman Zammitt at Officielle Paris. Chicago has always relied on Rafacz to show challenging and unconventional work in a commercial gallery setting. On his way to New York for twelve studio visits in three days, Rafacz told us that in the coming months he’ll be expanding his roster of artists to include more of both the edgy and the approachable.
Founder, Iceberg Projects
When collector Dan Berger opened Iceberg Projects in the carriage house in his Rogers Park backyard a few years ago, he made the far North Side spot an insider’s destination for contemporary art. Going to an Iceberg opening is like attending a friend’s backyard barbecue, except the garage is full of cutting-edge work and the guests are a who’s who of the Chicago art world. Berger plays host to everything from the brutal melange of Abigail DeVille to the current exhibition of the beloved late artist and educator Barbara DeGenevieve. Artist John Neff collaborated with Berger on the first-ever archive show of Art+Positive, the AIDS/HIV activist artist collective. The scope and seriousness of Berger’s endeavors are on par with museum projects, and yet he retains all of the DIY charm of a classic Chicago alternative space.
Deputy Director for Education, Art Institute of Chicago
After fifteen years as the head of UIC’s former College of Architecture and the Arts, Judith Kirshner’s grandest achievement—to split the college into four specialized schools—was finally realized just after she left the appointment to head up Education at the Art Institute in 2013. Her newly created role puts her in charge of all public programs at the massive, encyclopedic art museum, stretching her influence beyond the halls of academia to cover the art education of myriad public patrons who come to Chicago from all over the world to see its art.