For fourteen years, Newcity has published its annual list of Breakout Artists in the late spring, a fitting time for the budding hopes of every Chicagoan finally seeing the warm light at the end of the gray and dismal tunnel of winter. Unlike Newcity’s other lists, Breakout Artists turns the telescope backward, looking from the outside-in at the city’s art community and getting into the nitty-gritty details of practitioners who are making amazing work in Chicago right now. To do this right, we offer a small sample of what feels good to us, expending our energies on profiling a handful of incredible artists rather than every one of the Chicago makers who undoubtedly deserve our attention and admiration.
This feature has been introduced in past years as Chicago’s “next generation of image makers.” This year, we bring to you today’s image makers. These artists are not on the cusp of making insightful, mesmerizing and beautiful work—they already have, and we’re certain they’re going to keep at it. In a world where images mean more than they ever have—and perhaps more than they should—these artists show how images work for and against us: in life, in politics, and in society at large. Whether beautiful protest posters wheat-pasted in dive-bar bathrooms or gorgeous fabrics woven from pictures and memories, these images move us to feel, to think and to act. For these things and so much more, we have artists to thank.
After three years at Newcity Art’s editorial desk, this editor is more grateful than ever for the hard work of the team of contributors that sustains our coverage of Chicago’s visual arts. (Elliot Reichert)
The 2018 Breakout Artists was written by Kerry Cardoza, Luke Fidler, Jameson Paige, Chris Reeves, Erin Toale and Elliot Reichert.
Elliot J. Reichert is a Chicago-based curator, critic, and editor. He is a currently Curator of Contemporary Art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana Unversity, and Hatch Projects Curatorial Resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition. Formerly, he was Art Editor of Newcity and Assistant Curator at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. His writing has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Newcity.