/Dialogues 2019

Presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), the 2019 /Dialogues offered panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers, and arts professionals on the current issues that engaged them.


Symposium: On Utopia

Within the modernist imagination, utopias once functioned as fictitious sites of yearning—not necessarily as artificial spaces, but as indicators of what could be. Within a twenty-first century context, concepts of utopia have remained relevant, fueling discussions within fields of politics, art, architecture, and culture. The 2019 /Dialogues Symposium: On Utopia, gathered scholars and artists to discuss the various ways in which utopias are continuously being imagined through a series of panels, performances, and book signings that examine how the ‘ideal’ can exist within contemporary structures.


Performance | Concert for a Fly (1988) 
by llya and Emilia Kabakov (Artists | GALLERIA CONTINUA, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac) 
The Kabakovs present a new iteration of Concert for a Fly, a string orchestra performance and sculpture work centered around the conductor: a fly hanging from the ceiling. This performance will enact a piece by composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975), entitled Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73.

Panelists | Emilia Kabakov (Artist | GALLERIA CONTINUA, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac), Matthew Jesse Jackson (University of Chicago), and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi (Sharjah Art Foundation). Moderated by Jill Snyder (moCa Cleveland). 
Artist Ilya Kabakov, a main figure of the Moscow Conceptualists, began working with Emilia Kabakov upon relocating to America in the late 1980s. The Kabakovs have produced work together for over thirty years, imagining utopic possibilities that originated from painting to found a new genre known as ‘total installation.’ Conceived in Russia at the height of the Cold War, early ideas within the Kabakovs’ works have served as monuments to universal themes such as history and memory. Throughout their career, the duo has placed utopia as a potential outcome and influence of their work. Presented in partnership with The Art Newspaper. 

Walks to the Paradise Garden: Histories of the American South 

Panelists | Phillip Jones (Curator and Writer), Jeffrey Gibson (Artist | Kavi Gupta), and Tau Lewis (Artist | Monique Meloche Gallery).
“We make up beauty out of air, and out of nowhere.” —Jonathan Williams 
The recently published book Walks to the Paradise Garden takes a deep look into the utopian desires of artists in the Southern United States to make a paradise for themselves—from the front yard to the back garden, the parlor to the basement. The editor of the publication, Phillip March Jones, will be joined by individuals whose work has sought to revisit the histories of these artists, many of which remained little-known until the late-twentieth century. 

Have You Ever Seen a Dream Walking?  

Panelists | Samson Young (Artist) and Avery Trufelman (99% Invisible). Moderated by Orianna Cacchione (Smart Museum of Art). 
Hong-Kong-based artist Samson Young’s first museum solo exhibition in the United States, Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?, draws inspiration from a song by Bing Crosby in 1933 and the utopic ideals of the Chicago World’s Fair, subtitled “A Century of Progress,” of the same year. Joined by Avery Trufelman of 99% Invisible and Orianna Cacchione of the Smart Museum of Art, Young’s film installations will be discussed alongside the futuristic themes of the world’s fair, as well as its impact on global history years later. Presented in partnership with Ocula.

100 Years of Bauhaus | Future/Past: Bauhaus Palmistry and Astrology 

Panelists | Jan Tichy (Artist | Fridman Gallery, Galerie Kornfeld) and Laura Forlano (IIT)
The Bauhaus is often remembered for its signature austere aesthetic, yet its foundational members were motivated by unconventional subject matter. Focusing on László Moholy-Nagy’s experimentations with palmistry, Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy will relate these archives to Future/Past: Crossing Lines, his solo exhibition at IIT's Mies-designed Carr Chapel. Moderated by Laura Forlano, IIT faculty member and editor of Bauhaus Futures, this conversation will trace these lesser-known histories to define a different type of ‘future.’ Presented in partnership with 100 Years of Bauhaus, IIT Institute of Design (ID), and Wallpaper*.  

Full Program

NO PLAN(ET): Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100 

Panelists | Kim Abeles (Artist), Ekaterina Lazareva (Curator | Garage Museum of Contemporary Art), and Andrew Wetzler (Nature Program Director | NRDC).
The time has come to change our understanding of the environment. Featuring specialists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit international environmental advocacy organization whose work with contemporary artists has been used as a means of communicating their socially-engaged mission, this discussion will focus on their inaugural partnership with the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow’s groundbreaking exhibition, The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100, presented as part of the Special Exhibitions program. 

Processing Prospect.5  

Panelists | Naima J. Keith (Curator | EXPOSURE, LACMA, P.5), and Diana Nawi (Prospect.5 | Susman Curatorial Fellowship Alumni). Moderated by Sarah Thornton (Author, Sociologist of Culture). 
With the expanse of biennial models becoming increasingly ubiquitous, navigating the landscape of large-scale, place-based exhibitions is a growing global curatorial concern. Drawing upon the Prospect.5 curators’ diverse past exhibition experience, alongside research into the Southern United States and the Caribbean, join author and sociologist of culture Sarah Thornton for a discussion on the values, methodologies, and the necessary transparency within an artistic selection process that can be applied to similar undertakings. Gaining insight into the conceptualization of a triennial from a critical perspective, the talk will consider how the African diaspora has shaped the vision for P.5, slated to open in New Orleans in the fall of 2020. Presented in partnership with Cultured.  

Charles Atlas | In Conversation 

Panelists | Charles Atlas (Artist | Luhring Augustine) and Jennifer Krasinski (Artforum) 
The work of pioneering filmmaker Charles Atlas began in New York in the 1970s, following his position as a lighting designer for Merce Cunningham’s dance company, where he made his first films. Through the 1980s and ‘90s, Atlas began creating seminal media and performance works, often centered around the dancer’s body—working with artists such as Yvonne Rainer, Leigh Bowery, and Andy Warhol, among others. For the last decade, Atlas has created large-scale multi-channel installations that combine digital graphics and video. Coinciding with a newly commissioned installation as part of Art on theMART, this discussion will touch upon his lifetime of work. Presented in partnership with Artforum


Panelists | Akinbode Akinbiyi (Black Studio in South Africa), Malose Malahlela (Kelaketla! Library), and Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism). Moderated by Sepake Angiama (Chicago Architectural Biennial)

Curator Sepake Angiama convenes a discussion with contributors of the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, ...and other such stories. The talk, entitled Black Utopias?, addresses making space specifically black space outside the context of Chicago, and more broadly within the US and the African diaspora. Bringing questions of heritage, preservation, and history as well as what is brought into the future, the discussion will address how a black space be produced within the real or the imaginary. How do artists and designers build these spaces collectively? How is space produced through sound and how does the sonic as well as the visual take us to other dimensions?


Panelists | Jacob Fabricius (Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark)
Installed within the expansive, vaulted architecture of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, IN/SITU features large-scale sculpture, video, film and site-specific works. Join the 2019 IN/SITU Curator, Jacob Fabricius and featured artists as they discuss the ambitions of the program and works on view. The tour departs from the /Dialogues stage following the panel.

The Cosmos: Possibilities of a Structure 

Panelists | Edra Soto (Artist) and Eduardo Terrazas (Artist | Timothy Taylor). Moderated by Stephanie Cristello (EXPO CHICAGO, THE SEEN).
While the cosmos controls and regulates our understanding of space and structures, it is also an interminable architecture. Its unending reach has inspired contemporary artists to explore the bounds of the infinite. Thinking in terms of how we can define a cosmos, both universally and subjectively, this panel will explore the practices of Eduardo Terrazas, whose work includes the iconic pavilions designed for the Olympic games in Mexico City in 1968, and Chicago-based artist Edra Soto, whose installations explore how patterns arise from aesthetic structures of colonialism within her native Puerto Rico. Presented in partnership with the Terra Foundation of American Art and Surface.

Book Launch | Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon

Speakers | Alison Cuddy (Chicago Humanities Festival, Co-Author), Elizabeth Glassman (Terra Foundation for American Art), Barbara Kasten (Artist | Bortolami), and Edra Soto (Artist). Led by Stephanie Cristello (EXPO CHICAGO, THE SEEN).
Taking place at EXPO CHICAGO last year, Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon with Hans Ulrich Obrist was a five-hour series of conversations with artists, authors, architects, and others representing Chicago’s diverse creative community. Join Obrist, Terra Foundation President Elizabeth Glassman, Chicago Humanities Festival Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Alison Cuddy, and artists Barbara Kasten and Edra Soto for the unveiling of a publication that documents the event and explores the work of the 20+ participants. Published by the Terra Foundation for American Art, Creative Chicago features texts of Obrist’s conversations, along with photographs of the program against the stage installation by Barbara Kasten. Book signing to follow. Presented by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Chicago Humanities Festival.