Program Statement

Participating Artists


John Bankston | Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
Olaf Breuning | Carbon 12, Dubai
Brian Calvin | Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago
Judy Chicago | Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco and Salon94, New York
Douglas Coupland | Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto
Sam Durant | Praz-Delavallade, Paris, Los Angeles
Theaster Gates | Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, New York
Paul Heyer | Night Gallery, Los Angeles 
Glenn Ligon | Luhring Augustine, New York, Brooklyn
Portia Munson | P.P.O.W, New York 
Anahita Razmi | Carbon 12, Dubai
Lee Wan | 313 Art Project, Seoul 
Amanda Williams | Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago with Andres L. Hernandez 

Curated within a public context, and the broader phenomenon of billboard advertising, the OVERRIDE exhibition program takes its name from industry terminology—placing artworks by major international artists throughout the City of Chicago’s digital network, the initiative intercepts our everyday experience of visual culture. The 2018 program, entitled Interlude at Hand, will feature twelve international artists whose work addresses various contemporary thematics that employ a hand-made gesture—from signs of protest, to texts, archives, and modes of representation—within a poetic framework, in addition to a dedicated site-specific installation commissioned by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates (Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, New York).

Located at 515 W. Congress Pwky, visible from both the highway into downtown Chicago and at pedestrian level on the street, Gates’ latest series Black Madonna (2018) will be presented on this single screen, configured from selections of his recent body of work that interrogates and delves into the Johnson Publishing Archives, coinciding with the artist’s exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Basel (Switzerland), Fondazione Prada (Venice, Italy), and in advance of his show at Haus der Kunst (Munich, Germany, opening October 2018). Gates’ sourcing of the Johnson image collections and archives both exposes and adopts the unique viewing experience of the OVERRIDE program, as a site both embedded within, and critically engaged with, the advertising language it adopts.

Throughout Chicago’s downtown and neighborhoods, the expansive network of over 28 sites will feature John Bankston (Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco), Olaf Breuning (Carbon 12, Dubai), Brian Calvin (Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago), Judy Chicago (Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco and Salon94, New York), Douglas Coupland (Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto), Sam Durant (Praz-Delavallade, Paris, Los Angeles), Paul Heyer (Night Gallery, Los Angeles), Glenn Ligon (Luhring Augustine, New York, Brooklyn), Portia Munson (P.P.O.W, New York), Anahita Razmi (Carbon 12, Dubai), Lee Wan (313 Art Project, Seoul), and Amanda Williams and Andres L. Hernandez (Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago).

The presence of text is explored through many of the 2018 OVERRIDE pieces, such as Sam Durant’s Consider Listening, whose script is sourced from photographs of protest marches, sit-ins, and uprisings, among other events surrounding liberation struggles, Paul Heyer’s poetic and illusionistic work I am the Sky, with black cursive text among realistically rendered paintings of clouds, or Canadian artist and novelist Douglas Coupland’s It’s not an illusion. Time is moving more quickly., which harkens to concerns of science and physics, as much as it does to the rapid and ephemeral visual landscape of the billboards themselves. Durant’s employment of handwritten text serves as a backdrop to experience works such as Glenn Ligon’s Hands, a closely cropped black and white isolation of endless hands in the air that could depict either a concert or a protest, John Bankston’s seemingly innocent coloring book aesthetic in Farewell, or Portia Munson’s careful arrangement of pink objects, a sculptural installation first exhibited at the New Museum’s Bad Girls exhibition in 1994. This feminist tact is developed through the inclusion of a still from Judy Chicago’s seminal performance Women and Smoke—also featured in the 2018 EXPO VIDEO program curated by Anna Gritz—a work known for the term ‘feminizing the landscape,’ and its criticism of the male dominated field of Land Art in 1970s California. In Purple Atmosphere, Chicago’s piece takes on new contexts. As if travelling through both space and time, the billowing lavender cloud floats above a seascape, amid the skyscrapers and transitory space of the city’s digital highway monitors. 

Unfolding at various points within the urban landscape, the OVERRIDE program builds upon the City of Chicago and DCASE’s longstanding commitment to public art, and provides EXPO CHICAGO a key platform to showcase works by leading international artists beyond Navy Pier. 

Curated by Stephanie Cristello, Alexis Brocchi, and Daniel Schulman