Featured Artists & Scholars


Christine Sun Kim

Christine Sun Kim is a renowned artist working primarily with sound. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2013 TED Fellowship,and has been included in major exhibitions at the MoMA and held a residency at the Whitney Museum of Art. Born deaf, Sun Kim’s work calls into question everything we think we know about sound—ideas of ownership, the limits of sound, and the many ways in which the most banal of objects can push the boundaries of how we experience the world.

John Yau

Poet, art critic, and curator John Yau has published over 50 books of poetry, fiction, and art criticism. Yau is a Guggenheim fellow and was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by France. In 1999, he started Black Square Editions, a small press devoted to poetry, fiction, translation, and criticism. He was the Arts Editor for the Brooklyn Rail (2007-2011) before he began writing regularly for Hyperallergic Weekend. Yau’s work frequently explores, and exploits, the boundaries between poetry and prose and offers complicated, competing versions of the legacy of his dual heritages as Chinese, American, poet, and artist.

Jason Lazarus

Jason Lazarus

Jason Lazarus is a Chicago based artist, curator, writer, and educator who received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2003. Selected recent solo exhibitions include Jason Lazarus: Chicago Works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Live Archive at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and THTK (Toronto) at Gallery TPW in Toronto, CA.  Jason is a Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Chicago Artist Writers, an online art criticism platform. Throughout 2013 and 2014 he will be screening internationally a feature length film comprised entirely of animated GIFS calledtwohundredfiftysixcolors, a collaboration with Eric Fleischauer. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in major collections across the USA.  Other major exhibitions include Black is, Black ain’t at the Renaissance Society, Love to Love You at MASS MoCA, On the Scene at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Not the Way You Remembered at the Queens Museum of Art.


Theaster Gates

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates has developed an expanded practice that includes space development, object making, performance and critical engagement with many publics. Founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, Gates is currently Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago. Gates has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; among others. Gates has received awards and grants from Creative Time, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, United States Artists, Creative Capital, the Joyce Foundation, Graham Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Artadia.


 Faheem Majeed

Faheem Majeed is an artist, curator, and community facilitator. Majeed blends his unique experience as a non-profit administrator, curator and artist to create works that focus on institutional critique and exhibitions that leverage collaboration to engage his immediate but also the broader community in meaningful dialogue. He has participated in multiple panels, committees, and lectures at institutions including Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, 3Arts, and the Hyde Park Art Center.

hannah higgins

 Hannah Higgins

Hannah B. Higgins is Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a writer and Fluxus artist.   Daughter of the Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, Hannah has lived and breathed art since birth. Her research and course topics examine twentieth century avant-garde art with a specific interest in Dadaism, Surrealism, Fluxus, Happenings, performance art, food art and early computer art. Her books and articles argue for the humanistic value of multimodal aesthetic experiences. Her most recent works include Mainframe Experimentalism, published by UC Press in 2012 and  The Grid Book, published by MIT Press in 2009.

miguel aguilar

Miguel “Kane One” Aguilar

Miguel Aguilar, known as “Kane One”, is a graffiti creative and instructor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Miguel founded Defiance Gallery and curated international graffiti art exhibitions. He also has been contracted as a graffiti artist for Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Sprite, Ford, Jeep, and U.S. Cellular. Miguel was a recipient of the 3Arts award in 2012 and currently coordinates the Graffiti Institute, which he founded in 2013.

elise archias

 Elise Archias

Elise Archias is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has presented her work on performance and sculpture in various venues nationally and internationally. Archias was a scholar at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center in 2011. She is currently working on a book entitled The Concrete Body – Schneemann, Rainer, Acconci (forthcoming) that explores the the use of the body as a material in the work of three prominent performance artists.  Her published writings include research on Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton, catalog essays, and exhibition and book reviews. She has advised master’s theses on landscape artists after Robert Smithson, Sharon Hayes’s public love letters, and public sculpture as a site of performative activism.


 Matthew Metzger

Matthew Metzger is Assistant Professor of Studio Arts at The University of Illinois at Chicago, and is an intense and electrifying painter. His work has shown around the world including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York; Catherine Bastide, Brussels and Arratia Beer, Berlin; Art |43| Basel, and the Tony Wight Gallery. His work explores abstraction, and its relationship to the copy.  Metzger is also the co-editor of Shifter Magazine.

 Riva Lehrer

Riva Lehrer is a portrait artist who has made groundbreaking work on issues of physical identity, especially in regards to disability.  Riva is currently curator for Cultural Programs at Access Living of Chicago, and adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She has been the recipient of awards including the 3Arts Award, the Wynn Newhouse Award and received recognition from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois and the National Endowment for the Arts.


 Alberto Aguilar

Alberto Aguilar is currently a tenured instructor of studio art at Harold Washington College in Chicago, and coordinates Pedestrian Project, an initiative dedicated to making art accessible to people from all walks of life. Aguilar’s current practice merges his various roles in an attempt to capture fleeting moments, personal discoveries, and his interaction with others in tangible form. Aguilar challenges the notion of public and private space as well as what role family plays in relation to the art making practice. He has presented in the Queens Museum in New York, and has given guest lectures at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kansas City Art Institute, and most recently had a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

 Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is a poet, educator, and organizer based in Chicago. He is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and is currently Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, LTAB’s non-profit home. Kevin is a 4x HBO Def Poet and teaches hip-hop aesthetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Numerous collections of his poems have been published, and he is co-author of a play about a group of Chicago graffiti writers that will premier in the winter of 2015 at Steppenwolf Theater.


 Krista Franklin

Krista Franklin is a poet, visual artist and performer who lives and works in Chicago. Much of Franklin’s creative output concerns itself with the intersection of the literary and the visual, and often explores the conceptual concerns of Afrofuturism and Afro-Surrealism. Her collages have been featured as the cover art of award-winning poetry collections and exhibited nationally. Franklin is the recipient of the Chicago’s Community Arts Assistance Program Grant, the Albert P. Weisman Award, and Columbia College Chicago’s Aiko Fellowship, and held residencies at Cave Canem, A Studio in the Woods, and Arts + Public Life/Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. A co-founder of 2nd Sun Salon, a community meeting space for writers, visual and performance artists, musicians and scholars, Franklin holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago.


(Camera Shy Art Historian)

 Catherine Becker

Catherine Becker is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her research and teaching focus is on the art and architecture of South Asia.  She investigates how objects, images, and monuments shape our worlds and mediate a range of social interactions.  She teaches the arts of Asia broadly, but with special attention to a range of themes and subjects, including the ritual animation of images, visual story-telling practices, colossi, popular religious imagery, and the reuse of objects from the past in the present.  Her current book project, Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh, investigates the production and use of Buddhist art in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh from the early centuries of the Common Era to the present.  In her second book-length project, she analyzes India’s son-et-lumière shows, which juxtapose the monuments of India’s past with markers of modernity, such as electricity and Bollywood showmanship.


 Jennifer Reeder

Jennifer Reeder is a filmmaker and visual artist who is the Head of Art at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She constructs very personal narratives about landscapes, coincidence and trauma. Most recently, she won the Best Female Filmmaker Award in Vienna for her film A Million Miles Away that screened at Oberhausen and at the Vienniale. Additional solo screenings include at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm Sweden and group screenings/exhibitions at The New York Video Festival, at The Lincoln Center; Double Heart/Hear the Art, at the Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria; The 2000 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; In the Middle of Nowhere at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; Generation Z at P.S.1, New York; The 48th International Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy. She was nominated for the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008 Rockefeller Grants for Film/Video/New Media and was also nominated for a 2001 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award for visual art and a 2004 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award. She is a recent Efroymson Family Fund Fellow.

Peterman, Dan

 Dan Peterman

Dan Peterman is an artist combining innovative strategies of local engagement and activism, with national and international exhibitions. Peterman is represented by Galerie Klosterfelde-Berlin, and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.  His works have been exhibited at museums including the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Venice Biennal, and the Smart Museum of Art. Peterman is a founder, former board president and current board member of the Experimental Station, an innovative Chicago-based incubator of small-scale enterprise and cultural projects. Peterman is also an Associate Professor in the College of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 Perry Chen

Perry Chen is an artist based in New York City. He has exhibited his artwork in New York City, Berlin and most recently Mexico City, where he exhibited LUNAR, a site-specific installation in an abandoned theater using video, light, and sound. Perry is also the creator of Kickstarter and co-founder of the Southfirst gallery in Brooklyn, New York. In 2013 he was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

 Irina Zadov

Irina Zadov is a socially-engaged artist, educator, and cultural organizer. Born in Soviet Belarus, her practice explores home, place, and the relationship between the domestic and the public, the intimate and the political. She received her BA and BFA in philosophy: social policy and community-based art at the University of Colorado in Boulder (2005) and her MAT art education at the Art Institute of Chicago (2007). She served as the Director of Experience and Community Engagement at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco and co-founded Feast of Words and Open Feast a site-specific and global storytelling series curated around communal meals. She is the Education Coordinator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum where she engages inter-generational audiences with issues of social justice – at the turn of the twentieth century and today. She is also a founding organizer of the Chicago Home Theater Festival andHyde Park Dacha, a collective live/work/play space located on the South South Side of Chicago.

Dan S. Wang

Dan S. Wang (b. 1968) is a writer, organizer, blogger, and printmedia artist living in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Dan’s texts have been published internationally in journals, exhibition catalogues, and book collections. His art projects circulate constantly in functional activist settings and through artist-run networks. Along with seven others he co-founded Mess Hall, the renowned experimental cultural space in Chicago that operated from 2003-2013, and regularly works in groups, including in Compass, Red76, and Madison Mutual Drift. For the year 2013 Dan was named a Fellow in Arts and Culture Leadership from the Rockwood Leadership Institute of Oakland, California.