Presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), /Dialogues offers panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers, and arts professionals on the current issues that engaged them. Highlights of the 2022 edition of /Dialogues included a historic gathering of founding and key members of AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist; a panel addressing the rise of NFTs and their new place within the art world; a panel discussing visual practices in poetry with The Poetry Foundation; a fully bilingual conversation with 2022 EXPOSURE curator Humberto Moro and artists from his curated section of the fair; and talks with some of the world’s leading artists, including Derrick AdamsDawoud BeyKrista Franklin (SAIC Lecturer), Mary Lovelace O’NealDevan ShimoyamaGio Swaby, and more. 

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2022 /Dialogues

Mary Lovelace O'Neal in Conversation with Jamillah James

Join abstract painter and social activist Mary Lovelace O’Neal (b. 1942, Jackson, MS) in discussion about her more than six decade long painting practice, work in arts education and social activism. A vital force since the 1970s, she is known for her paintings that pair bold, monumental scale with layers of unexpected materials to explore deeply personal narratives and mythologies, as well as broader themes of racism, social justice and the environment. Lovelace O'Neal is in conversation with Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Manilow Senior Curator Jamillah James, previously Senior Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) and co-curator of the 2021 New Museum Triennial. Celebrating her 80th birthday this year, Lovelace O’Neal is one of the first African American female artist to have a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Visual artist Devan Shimoyama explores depictions of the black, queer, male body in paintings that combine fur, feathers, glitter, and costume jewels to bring dimensionality to his surfaces. In conversation with Nate Freeman, art columnist for Vanity Fair and co-host of Nota Bene, Shimoyama explores the magical aura that appears in his works – in pieces that are both celebratory and complex in their depictions of queer and black American culture. The conversation was followed by a signing of his recent exhibition catalogue, Devan Shimoyama: All the Rage.


Join art market journalist and author Melanie Gerlis for a short conversation with President and Director of EXPO CHICAGO Tony Karman on the occasion of the release of her book The Art Fair Story which examines the art fair industry’s influence on the art market in just a half century of growth. The conversation was followed by a book signing.


Panelists | AFRICOBRA artists: Gerald Williams (SAIC 1966-67, Artist), Jae Jarrell (SAIC 1959-61, Artist), Wadsworth Jarrell (SAIC 1958, Artist), Sherman Beck (Artist), and other key members of AFRICOBRA in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist (Curator and Artistic Director | Serpentine Galleries, London).

AFRICOBRA™, or the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, was an artist collective founded on the south side of Chicago in 1968. Known for creating art to address social and cultural challenges affecting the Black community, AFRICOBRA is one of the most significant arts movements of the second part of the 20th century. Internationally renowned Curator and Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, Hans Ulrich Obrist speaks to integral members of the over 50-year-old collaborative to discuss the group’s history and their individual practices seen through the lens of historic group exhibitions. Presented in partnership with Mousse Magazine.


Panelists | Amy Gilman (Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin), Adam Levine (Toledo Museum of Art), Cameron Shaw (California African American Museum), Christina Vassallo (The Fabric Workshop and Museum). Moderated by Jill Snyder (Museum Consultant).

The inaugural Directors Summit, organized by EXPO CHICAGO alongside experienced museum leader Jill Snyder, brings together a diverse group of emerging art museum leaders from across the United States for a three-day program addressing the shifting dynamics of museum leadership today.

In part one of two roundtable discussions, four emerging art museum leaders explore the shifting dynamics of museum leadership today. In lively conversation, this cohort of change agents will share insights and examples illustrating how they are leading from an imperfect past to create a more equitable future.


Panelists | Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Sarah Oppenheimer, in conversation with Prem Krishnamurthy.

Where are the limits of the modern paradigm of the “artist”? What contemporary modes of practice can help to reimagine their roles and responsibilities?

Many of the most compelling creative practitioners working within the arts today are no longer limited by a singular medium or discipline. Neither do they develop their work within the narrow mythologies of individual genius or sole authorship. Rather, their work emerges as a collaborative process that intersects with multiple communities, cultures and contexts. Sometimes, as Allan Kaprow suggested in the late 1960s, this might even entail rejecting the term “artist” itself.

FRONT International 2022, “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows,” focuses on art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. In this conversation with FRONT 2022 participants Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Sarah Oppenheimer, FRONT 2022 Artistic Director Prem Krishnamurthy explores the edges of contemporary artistic practice and asks what we need to learn to make creative work more sustainable now and in the future. Presented in partnership with FRONT International, the Joyce Foundation, and Pigment.


Panelists | Dawoud Bey (Artist), Sarah Meister (Executive Director | Aperture)

Dawoud Bey’s series In This Here Place presents images made in and around the landscapes of five plantations in Louisiana: Destrehan, Evergreen, Laura, Oak Alley, and Whitney, locations in which the history of enslavement still hangs in the air. In conversation with Aperture’s Executive Director Sarah Meister, Bey discusses this project along with other recent history-based work that examines aspects of the African American past embedded in the American landscape. The conversation was followed by a book signing. Presented in partnership with Aperture and OCULA.


Moderated by Sarah Douglas (ARTnews)

Panelists | Britt Julious, Max Lakin and Jillian Steinhauer

Historically art critics have played a pivotal role in shaping the art world: advancing or impeding artist trajectories, identifying trends and movements, and influencing collectors, galleries, and museums –even affecting their fortunes. Intentional or not, in doing their work critics cannot help but project values and priorities that perpetuate hierarchies or challenge them; there is no such thing as a neutral stance.

While the social, racial, and financial disparities that make the artworld counter-inclusive have been under fire for quite some time, the events of the past two years have provided a tipping point in seeking to redress and reverse them. In turn, we have been witnessing a proliferation of exhibitions of artists who have been historically “overlooked” and devalued.

This panel explores the role criticism can and should play in fostering an inclusive and equitable artworld. At the same time, it examines what forms criticism can take today given that its role--by definition--is to judge. The discussion is set against the ever-expanding universe of social, paid, sponsored, and other media in which the critic is just a single voice and where an Instagram post can seemingly make a greater impact than a review in a respected publication. Presented in partnership with ARTnews.


Panelists | Louise Bernard (Obama Presidential Center Museum), Miki Garcia (Arizona State University Art Museum), Halona Norton-Westbrook (Honolulu Museum of Art), Julie Rodrigues Widholm (SAIC MA 1999, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive). Moderated by Jill Snyder (Museum Consultant).

The inaugural Directors Summit, organized by EXPO CHICAGO alongside experienced museum leader Jill Snyder, brings together a diverse group of emerging art museum leaders from across the United States for a three-day program addressing the shifting dynamics of museum leadership today.

In a second public roundtable discussion, four emerging art museum leaders explore the shifting dynamics of museum leadership today. In lively conversation, this cohort of change agents will share insights and examples illustrating how they are leading from an imperfect past to create a more equitable future.


Straddling criticism and prose, this first monograph of Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen interweaves the artist’s emblematic use of symbols with the cultural history of Saturn and Melancholy from ancient myth to the present. Join Allen in conversation with author Stephanie Cristello for a short conversation and book signing on the occasion of Saturnine’s publication and concurrent exhibition at the Driehaus Museum.

Presented in partnership with the Driehaus Museum.


Panelists | Gio Swaby (Artist), Kimberli Gant (Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art | Brooklyn Museum), LJ Roberts (Artist). Moderated by Michelle Millar Fisher (Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

To the casual observer, artists engaging with textiles as their primary medium are “having a moment,” with recent exhibitions at major museums celebrating incisive contemporary artists and seminal collectives including the Gee’s Bend quilters, Jeffrey Gibson, and Bisa Butler. But the field of contemporary art has always had its fair share of artists working with thread and cloth—though has not always embraced and elevated their work as readily as other media. Join us for a wide-ranging discussion with artists and curators who will touch upon topics including the appeal of textile art to audiences and collectors alike, their work’s relationship to craft, how knowledge of processes are shared and the conceptual underpinnings of their practices, as well as how politics are developed through the medium.


Panelists | Erick Calderon (Art Blocks), Kenny Schachter (Artnet), Lesley Silverman (UTA)

Erick Calderon, creator of the generative art NFT platform Art Blocks, explores functional use cases for NFT technology, specially aimed at the art sector. This panel brings Calderon into conversation with Kenny Schacter, Artnet crypto specialist, and Lesley Silverman, head of digital assets at United Talent Agency, to address the quick ascent of NFTs to a place of prominence within the art world. The panel asks: What creative potential exists for the medium? And how might the market mature?


Panelists | Derrick Adams (Artist), Paula Panczenko (Director | Tandem Press), and Jason Ruhl (Master Printer | Tandem Press). Moderated by Jenny Gibbs (Executive Director | IFPDA).

Join artist Derrick Adams, director Paula Panczenko (Tandem Press), and master printer Jason Ruhl (Tandem Press) for a conversation on collaborative printmaking and the creative process behind Adam’s new print edition with Tandem Press commissioned for EXPO CHICAGO, Silver Lining. The print incorporates abstract collage, vintage clothing patterns, fabric, and bold, colorful forms to communicate Adams' interest in formalism, deconstruction and fragmentation. The piece merges the visual vernacular of garment making with the frenetic energy of a runway show – an ode to legendary Black designers. The panel is moderated by Jenny Gibbs, former Director of Sotheby's Institute of Art MA Program and former Executive Director of Chicagoland's Elmhurst Art Museum. Gibbs is now Executive Director of the IFPDA, the preeminent international organization for fine art prints and presenters of the IFPDA Print Fair in New York (Oct 27-30, 2022). Presented in partnership with the IFPDA.


Panelists | Radamés "Juni" Figueroa (Artist) and Nohemí Pérez (Artist). In conversation with Humberto Moro (2022 EXPOSURE Curator, Dia Art Foundation).

The EXPOSURE section, installed on the main floor of the exposition, features solo and two-artist presentations represented by galleries ten years and younger. Focusing on a curated selection of emerging artists or galleries, with an attention to Latin America, EXPOSURE 2022 exhibitors were curated by Deputy Director of Program at the Dia Art Foundation Humberto Moro. Moro speaks to Radamés "Juni" Figueroa from Puerto Rico and Nohemí Pérez from Colombia, whose work addresses the complexities and particularities of the environments they work in; at the same time that they articulate broader relations with land and living conditions in Latin America. This conversation is in English and Spanish.


Panelists | Krista Franklin (Artist, SAIC Lecturer), Alyssa Moore (poet, filmmaker, editor),  Siobhan McKissic (Design and Materials Research Librarian, UIUC)

Featuring poet, performer, and visual artist Krista Franklin and poet Alyssa Moore in conversation with librarians Siobhan McKissic. These artists and librarian discuss visual practices in poetry as well as the ways that writers, readers and artists have shaped unique approaches through cross-disciplinary practices in Chicago and beyond. Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation.