Artadia (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco), 134
Featuring the three Chicago recipients of the 2022 Artadia Award—Selva Aparicio, Azadeh Gholizadeh and Maryam Taghavi—Artadia’s booth is my top pick for Expo Chicago. The work of these artists is elegantly curated and installed. On a wood pedestal under a glass vitrine sits a teddy bear Aparicio found in a cemetery and meticulously covered in dandelion seeds. This work and two others featuring flower stems—also recovered from cemeteries and covered in dandelion seeds—will inspire curiosity and awe. Three tapestries by Gholizadeh depict the abstracted landscapes of Wisconsin and Michigan in monochromatic color palettes. Grounded on canvas mesh, two of these tapestries cleverly break free from their square orientation. And Taghavi’s work is based on sigils, spells that use an arrangement of Arabic letters and numbers. Working in wood sculpture and laser-cut cardstock, she employs a sense of magic in her work.
Mindy Solomon Gallery (Miami), 248
Mindy Solomon Gallery’s booth is a riot of multi-disciplinary work by artists with diasporic backgrounds. The back wall is covered by tufted cherubs and glitter-bombed oil portraits by Chicago-based artist Moises Salazar Tlatenchi. For a moment, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a shrine. Both Natalia Arbelaez and Sydnie Jimenez present small figures of red clay and ceramic, respectively. There are felted portraits by Melissa Joseph and fiber works by Basil Kincaid, Malaika Temba and Anya Paintsil. The mix of work is lively and a delight. A real feast for the eyes.
moniquemeloche (Chicago), 313
With arguably the best roster of artists in Chicago, it’s hard to overlook Monique Meloche Gallery. Every time I visited this booth, it was packed with people, even when security tried to shepherd people to the exits. Ebony G. Patterson’s vivid installation gets a starring role as the booth’s centerpiece.The works by eighteen artists are true gems and showcase the strength of the gallery’s program. You’ll see two Cheryl Pope needle-punched pieces, a Sanford Biggers antique quilt wall sculpture, a delicate hand-cut paper piece by Antonius-Tín Bui, two playful portraits by Jake Troyli, an enigmatic painting of a person and a snow leopard by Lavar Munroe and a mixed-media work by Nate Young featuring a graphite drawing and the hologram of a horse bone. I could go on. This booth deserves a long visit because there’s so much to see and, most likely, a lot of people to navigate around.
Center for Native Futures (Chicago), 419
Anchoring the left side of the Center for Native Futures’ booth, John Hitchcock’s polychromatic installation is a joy to behold. This colorful explosion mixes paper, paint and ribbons to reference his Kaku’s Comanche grandmother) beadwork and regalia. Next to it is a portrait series by Tom Jones exploring Ho-Chunk identity. Jones created floral and geometric beadwork designs on the surface of the photographs referencing the ancestral spirits that are always watching over the Ho-Chunk. Dakota Mace’s works draw from her Diné heritage and center on themes of family lineage, community and identity. And Holly Wilson’s bronze figurative sculptures are based on the artist’s lived experience and family history.
KORNFELD Galerie (Berlin), 402
Kornfeld Galerie features a solo presentation of paintings by Colombian Italian artist Giorgio Celin. The works are bold, beautiful and touching, based on relationships between a diverse set of lovers and friends. There’s a sense of melancholy about them, though, as the artist works through issues around the intersections of queerness, immigration and marginalization. He captures a tension between the desire for intimacy and questions of belonging. Celin’s portraits also depict how queer identity is signaled through adornment and dress practices today.
Jacqueline WayneGuite is a curator, strategist, artist and freelance writer based in Chicago.