/Dialogues 2023

Presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), /Dialogues brings together leading curators, artists, designers, and arts professionals for a series of panel discussions, forums, and artistic discourse on topics of the moment, including institution building and public art.

Highlights of the 2023 edition of /Dialogues included a conversation with Chance The Rapper and artist Hank Willis Thomas focused on community building through work with underrepresented artists and public art, including REACH, Thomas’ sculptural collaboration with Coby Kennedy at Chicago O’Hare International Airport presented in collaboration with DCASE. The /Dialogues stage also presented a conversation with Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), alongside Dimitris Daskalopoulos, NEON founder and collector, and artist Brendan Fernandes; a panel with the Center for Native Futures on building organizations for Native communities in the U.S. and Canada; a roundtable with the curators of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale’s U.S. pavilion and members of the Floating Museum, 2023 Artistic Team of the Chicago Architecture Biennial; a talk with Richard Bell focused on protest art and his practice; and a discussion with LAXART Director Hamza Walker (SAIC Adjunct Professor) in conversation with Lisa Corrin on his forthcoming exhibition.

Between panels, interstitial screenings of For Freedoms News and Brendan Fernandes’ large-scale, dance and video installation, Free Fall, for Camera (2019) (moniquemeloche) activated the /Dialogues stage. Throughout the run of the exposition, visitors viewed /Dialogues programming, film screenings, and participate in book signings from the Soho House Snug, a community area provided in collaboration with Soho House Chicago.

2023 /Dialogues Program


Panelists | Erol Scott Harris (Artist), Armani Howard (Artist), Nikko Washington (Artist), and Lola Ayisha Ogbara (Artist). In conversation with exhibition curators Vic Mensa and Chanelle Lacy (Kavi Gupta).

Join us for an in-depth conversation with Skin + Masks III artists Erol Scott Harris, Nikko Washington, Armani Howard and Lola Ayisha Ogbara and exhibition curators Vic Mensa and Chanelle Lacy about their creative processes. The group discusses what it is like to be an artist in Chicago, the landscape of the city's art ecosystem, and what their participation in the blockbuster exhibition has been like at the pop-up space on The Magnificent Mile®. Presented in partnership with The Magnificent Mile® Association, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Gertie and Pigment International.


This conversation celebrates Molly Zuckerman-Hartung’s (SAIC MFA 2007) first museum monograph, Comic Relief, which accompanied a major survey of her work at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, curated by Tyler Blackwell (SAIC BFA 2013). The book acts as both a record of the exhibition and the artist’s wide-ranging body of work—from her involvement in the underground punk Riot Grrrl scene to her work as a painter and creator of layered, multimedia objects. Zuckerman-Hartung and Blackwell will discuss the making of this exhibition and publication, as well as recent and upcoming projects. The Comic Relief monograph is designed by Mark Owens, Director of Design at Walker Art Center, and features new texts by Blackwell, curator/art historian Kate Nesin, archivist Lisa Darms, and artist Annie Bielski. Presented in partnership with Printed Matter and Independent Curators International. This panel was followed by a book signing of Comic Relief in the Soho House Snug. 


Panelists | Carla Acevedo-Yates (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), Suchitra Mattai (Artist), Cosmo Whyte (Artist) 

Join Carla Acevedo-Yates, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for a conversation on her exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today–which features artworks whose formal approaches reconfigure the relationship between identity and place through the lens of diaspora, displacement, and dispersal. Acevedo-Yates will be joined in conversation by contributing artists Suchitra Mattai and Cosmo Whyte. Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses craft-based processes to address topics such as legacies of colonialism and relationships between culture and gender. Whyte creates conceptual work through drawing, performance, and sculpture that explores how notions of identity are disrupted by migration. Acevedo-Yates was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has worked as a curator, researcher and art critic across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Forecast Form will travel to the ICA Boston this year and to MCA San Diego in 2024. Presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and ArtNexus. This panel was followed by a book signing of the Forecast Form catalog in the Soho House Snug.   


As the keynote for the tenth anniversary edition of EXPO CHICAGO, Chance The Rapper speaks with Hank Willis Thomas, each looking at recent public art projects and their community building potential. Chance discusses his current and upcoming Star Line Gallery visual art collaborations and recent Black Star Line Festival in Ghana, while Hank presents his recent public art sculpture REACH in collaboration with Coby Kennedy at O’Hare International Airport, in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and IN/SITU Outside, and the many recent initiatives of For Freedoms including For Freedoms News. Presented in partnership with CULTURED.

STAR LINE GALLERY AUDIO ACTIVATION | "The Highs & The Lows" by Yannis Davy Guibinga

Chance The Rapper presents a series of live audio activations and artist conversations based on works from his Star Line Gallery album. Part 1 features "The Highs & The Lows" by Yannis Davy Guibinga, in conversation with Angel Idowu, and concludes with a performance with Chance and a string septet.


Chance The Rapper presents a series of live audio activations and artist conversations based on works from his Star Line Gallery album. Part 2 features "Yah Know" and conversation with artist Mía Lee, finishing with a sextet percussive accompaniment.

STAR LINE GALLERY AUDIO ACTIVATION | "Bar About a Bar" by Nikko Washington

Chance The Rapper presents a series of live audio activations and artist conversations based on works from his Star Line Gallery album. Part 3 features "Bar About a Bar" and artist Nikko Washington, followed by an electric guitar accompaniment.


Panelists | Debra Yepa-Pappan (Center for Native Futures), Heather Igloliorte (Initiative for Indigenous Futures), Anya Montiel (National Museum of the American Indian). Moderated by Kate Beane (Minnesota Museum of American Art).

Center for Native Futures (CfNF), an arts nonprofit, invites displaced Indigenous peoples to reclaim their niche in Zhegagoynak (Chicago) and the Great Lakes region. Focusing on redefining Indigenous Futurism, CfNF will open an art center for Native artists and writers to develop their artistic practices with a location in downtown Chicago this fall. CfNF co-founder and artist Debra Yepa-Pappan (Center for Native Futures) is joined by Heather Igloliorte (Co-Director, Initiative for Indigenous Futures), and Anya Montiel (Curator of American and Native American Women’s Art and Craft, National Museum of the American Indian) for an in-depth discussion that follows the cross-cultural perspectives of these four Indigenous women artists and curators from the US and Canada. Their deconstruction and decolonization practices within Eurocentric institutions have led to reframing the Indigenous experience and furthering the agency of creative voices by building organizations for their respective Native communities. Presented in partnership with Center for Native Futures, the Terra Foundation for American Art as part of Art Design Chicago Now, the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, and Esse. 


For Freedoms News (FFN) is an artist-led reimagining of television news. Created by the artist collective For Freedoms, which centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation, this project began with a residency at the Brooklyn Museum concurrent with early voting in the 2022 midterm elections, continued at Untitled Art Miami Beach, as well as the unveiling of The Embrace, Boston. This video presentation documents some of the creative experimentation from the first phase of FFN as a news program, live art installation, performance, conversation, and rallying cry from the For Freedoms ecosystem for creative civic participation. This work was presented as a collaboration between EXPO CHICAGO and 21c Museum Hotel Chicago.


Free Fall, for Camera by Brendan Fernandes is a large-scale, multimedia dance and video installation exploring the falling body as a metaphor for queer politics. Choreographed in collaboration with Hit & Run Dance Productions Inc., Free Fall, for Camera involves 16 dancers methodically navigating a stark studio setting, accompanied by a seemingly haunting musical score from Alex Inglizian. Over the course of the film, the mournful sighs of the music abruptly pulse, prompting a single dancer to fall to the floor, while the others momentarily pause to bear witness. These moments of stillness serve to honor the victims of the devastating 2016 attack on PULSE in Orlando, Florida. Fernandes considers the role of dance as a means for protest, reclaiming agency and freedom within all spaces, notably ones like a queer nightclub that previously provided a space of sanctuary and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Presented in partnership with moniquemeloche.


This discussion features Lisa Corrin (Block Museum of Art) in conversation with Hamza Walker (LAXART) who will discuss his upcoming project MONUMENTS, a forthcoming exhibition organized by LAXART and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) that confronts the ongoing ramifications of white supremacy as symbolized by Confederate monuments and their embedded narratives. The ensuing debates following white supremacist actions and the removal of monuments across the South between 2015-2018 set the foundation for this exhibition, co-curated by LAXART Director Hamza Walker, artist Kara Walker, and MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson. 


Richard Bell’s art practice exists in parallel with the ongoing struggle for First Nations rights in Australia. His statement paintings address legacies of Western colonization, Aboriginal resistance, and awareness of global struggles for social justice, in particular solidarity with the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter movements. Following major exhibitions last year at Documenta in Kassel and at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, this May, 2023, Bell presented his major work EMBASSY (2013-2023) at Tate Modern, London. At EXPO CHICAGO, where his work was on view for the first time in Chicago, Bell discusses his practice with Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, founder of OSMOS Magazine, who published his essay titled Bell’s Theorem (Reductio ad Infinitum): Contemporary Art—It’s a White Thing!, a follow up to his 2002 manifesto on Aboriginal art in the art world, Bell’s Theorem: Aboriginal Art—It’s a White Thing. Additionally, the Gene Siskel Film Center premiered a new documentary on his life and work, You Can Go Now, which features Bell together with his close artistic collaborators, such as Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, who designed the Panther Party’s newspapers and defined an aesthetic of Civil Rights protest. Presented in partnership with OSMOS. 


Panelists | Nora Burnett Abrams (MCA Denver), Anne Ellegood (ICA Los Angeles), Virginia Shearer (Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design). Moderated by Jill Snyder (Museum Consultant). 

The second annual 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.

Responding to lessons from the pandemic, reverberations from social uprisings, and the shifts in values and ideals of a younger generation, museum leaders are deeply invested in a more inclusive museum, how it behaves, and how that inclusivity is reflected in the work culture. In part two of two roundtable discussions panelists explore how new institutional systems lead to enduring structural change. In lively conversation, this cohort of leaders share lived experiences, experiments, and new pathways forward. Presented in partnership with Sotheby’s and Risk Strategies.


Panelists | Tizziana Baldenebro (SPACES) (SAIC MArch 2019), Lauren Leving (MOCA Cleveland), Jeremiah  Hulsebos-Spofford (Floating Museum), Faheem Majeed (Floating Museum), Andrew Schachman (Floating Museum), avery r. young (Floating Museum). Moderated by Chiara Rimella (Monocle).

Join Tizziana Baldenebro (Executive Director, SPACES) and Lauren Leving (Curator, MOCA Cleveland), curators of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale’s U.S. Pavilion alongside members of the Floating Museum, 2023 Artistic Team of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, for a preview of their upcoming presentations in Venice and Chicago. Beyond the Biennial will take stock of the expanding phenomenon of biennials as a platform in themselves. The conversation explores the potential of thinking about what could happen if coordinating biennials across national boundaries can trace the way common concerns find local expression. Panelists consider how these presentations can operate more as laboratories than finalized exhibitions, and how this knowledge sharing is maintained in a new location after it is initially shared. Presented in partnership with the Chicago Architectural Biennial and SPACES. 


Panelists | Raquel Gutiérrez, Camille Bacon, Jasmine Amussen. Moderated by Maximilíano Durón (ARTNews).

As with much of the art world, art criticism has long been dominated by white writers. More recently, a new generation of critics of color have established themselves as important voices within the dialogue of art and theory—no longer voices on the margins. The voices of critics of color are essential when discussing the work of artists of color, in particular, as they bring an embodied knowledge to their writing and analysis. This panel brings together three leading art critics to discuss their career paths, how they approach their writing, the struggles they’ve faced along the way, and what they most need today. Presented in partnership with Art in America and Critical Minded, an initiative to invest in cultural critics of color cofounded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation. 


Panelists | Aimé Iglesias Lukin (2023 EXPOSURE Curator, Americas Society), Agustín Díez Fischer (ESPIGAS), Iván Krassoievitch (Artist), Susana Wald (Artist) 

This panel explores the intersection of archives and diasporas, focusing partly on the research Iglesias Lukin conducted for This Must Be The Place: Latin American Artists in New York: 1965-1975, an exhibition and book born of her doctoral dissertation researching migrant artists in the city during the surge of the neo-avant gardes. In dialogue with Agustín Díez Fischer, director of the archive Fundación ESPIGAS, and artists Iván Krassoievitch and Susana Wald, the panel investigates how the migrant experience informs their life and practice, and how archives constitute a tool to keep a memory away from home. Presented in partnership with Terremoto. This panel was followed by a book signing of This Must Be The Place. 


Artist Brendan Fernandes speaks to the screening of his film Free Fall, for Camera (2019), a continuation of his performance series Free Fall 49 with writer and critic Aruna D’Souza. Fernandes and D’Souza will discuss how the multimedia dance and video installation explores the falling body as a metaphor for queer politics, while also exploring how the performance and film aims to reclaim dance as an agent for freedom, protest and agency in the wake of the devastating attack on the PULSE nightclub in Orlando, FL 2016.  The two will also discuss about Fernandes’s new work in/visible commissioned for the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway that examines the relationship between visibility and invisibility, as a common experience of marginalized groups. Presented in partnership with Soho House Chicago.