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Join us for Art After Hours powered by Gertie, with screenings from filmmakers Rachel Gadson and Briana Clearly!



We’re thrilled to host filmmakers Rachel Gadson and Briana Clearly for rotational film screenings as part of Art After Hours Powered by Gertie, for EXPO art week!


Sponsored by Arete Wealth & Masterworks, AAH takes place from 5-8 pm on Friday, April 12 during EXPO ART WEEK and offers extended hours at over 45 galleries and creative spaces throughout the city of Chicago. With a myriad of exciting events unfolding throughout the evening!



Rachel Gadson will screen her feature-length documentary project Dear Black Artist featuring The Seventy-Sevens. Between 2019 and the close of 2020, Gadson interviewed 77 Black artists from the Chicagoland area (an ode to the 77 neighborhoods existent here in Chicago).


Dear Black Artist integrates the findings from this interview series with a love letter to her participants. A wonderful short film has emerged from this insightful and stimulating work, and we’re excited to have our first screening of this project.


Briana Clearly will screen several of her short-form film works, which will include: The Sum of Her Parts and Bloed Susters.

EXPO ART WEEK partners annually with the city’s most prestigious institutions to feature select programming, including museum exhibitions, gallery openings, and more. EXPO CHICAGO showcases leading contemporary and modern art galleries each April at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, alongside a diverse and inventive program of talks, on-site installations, and public art initiatives.

Inaugurated in 2012, EXPO CHICAGO draws upon the city’s rich history as a vibrant international cultural destination, while highlighting the region’s contemporary arts community. In 2023, EXPO CHICAGO was acquired by Frieze, the world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art.


Works in EMERGENCE are diverse in their subject matter and media, but a few themes reappear throughout. Working in abstraction or in the traditionally peaceful genre of still life, artists like William Carter, Allen Stringfellow, and Jonathan Green express themes of interiority or sociability, history or modernity. Notably, Stringfellow and Ralph Arnold both experimented with media and materials and worked extensively in collage, which allowed them to combine abstract design, figurative imagery, and on occasion political ideas.

Viewers typically expect Black artists to focus on particular aspects of their social and political identities within their work. Where might those expectations come from? Still life, abstraction, and collage may express many different things about artists’ interior lives and their visual and social observation, whether connected to public manifestations of identity or not.

William Carter’s mid-century still life Untitled presents a group of vibrantly colored bottles that invite the viewer’s gaze, set against a similarly colorful background with floral elements like grapes and leaves. They give evidence of conviviality and might be interpreted as symbols of social gatherings, but they could also just be a collection of pleasing forms. We might put Carter’s still life in dialogue with that of Jonathan Green, who became close friends with Carter while living in Chicago. Green’s close-up view of an eloquently simple composition presents oranges, a pear, and a lemon in front of two vessels. Works like this piece call the viewer to examine the objects the artist chose to include, to consider how they interact with each other like bodies in space, and to reflect on their meaning within the traditional genre of still life painting.

Collage might suggest the piecing together of identity from different components that might not usually coexist, giving room for more expansive imaginations of meaning than a straightforward representational image might allow. It could also just be an inventive way of combining colors, shapes, and textures. Allen Stringfellow’s Untitled, a collage from 1962, brings familiar motifs from still life—fruit and flowers, desserts and glassware—together with imagery of artist’s models and performers. Layered with paint and tissue paper that frustrate the viewer’s attempt to get clarity on the subject matter, the bursts of form and colors hint at the splashy abstraction of Stringfellow’s untitled, textured painting made from house paint and particulate on cardboard. Here the artist tests commonly found materials to create new textures and plays with the creation of colors and finishes that diverge from “Western” academic painting methods.

In The Waiting, Arnold constructs a large collage from different paper components, lace, and paint. In the piece, elements of European and African art are placed in dialogue with one another, while some figures appear alone and isolated, others in large groups. Without giving easy answers, Arnold implies questions about social issues. Who is waiting, and for what? In his Love Sign II, which bears the words “Love is Universal,” Arnold asserts the equal validity of all types of romantic affection and love, utilizing collage to convey a more straightforward political message.