Best of 2013: Top arts and culture stories in Chicago

Veronica Roth, Hebru Brantley, Luna Negra and more made our list of the top arts and culture stories of 2013.

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At the risk of presenting a top-10 list with a cliché disclaimer about the futility of making top-10 lists, we'll admit that our roundup of Chicago's most notable arts and culture events of 2013 only scratches the surface. So much happened this year in the worlds of art, dance and literature in our culturally rich city that this could've easily been a top-50 list. Among them: the publication of Aleksandar Hemon's brilliant nonfiction collection, The Book of My Lives (if you haven't read his devastating essay "The Aquarium" yet, get on that); Daniel Clowes' major survey at the MCA; a trio of Africobra exhibitions; the closure of Mess Hall; Solveig Øvstebo taking over for Suzanne Ghez at director of the Renaissance Society; award-winning short story writer Christine Sneed publishing her debut novel, Little Known Facts; Kavi Gupta's inaugural exhibition at the gallery's new Elizabeth Street space, and much more. But clicking through 50 slides? Ain't nobody got time for that. Check out our 10 picks.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best of 2013


  • Photograph: Jay Wolke

    Industry of the Ordinary, Secure, 2006.

  • Photograph: Alberto March

    Eduardo Zu�iga of Luna Negra Dance Theater in rehearsal for CARMEN.maquia

  • Photograph: Carl Wiedemann

    Wrigleyville performance space Links Hall has hosted experimental dance, music and theater for over three decades.

  • Photograph: Eileen Ryan

    Hedwig Dances

  • Movin' on up: Don Share, the current senior editor of Poetry, becomes editor in July.

  • Lindsay Hunter

  • Hebru Brantley remembers his rootsA lot of what you'll read about Brantley is how he sold a painting to Jay Z and had a birthday blowout with Q-Tip, but a more noteworthy story is how the rising-star artist has held onto his hometown roots. The 2014 Chicago Ideas Week Artist-in-Residence spoke with us about his Chicago upbringing and The Watch, his sculptures of childhood superheroes in Pioneer Court Plaza.

  • Photograph: Windy City Times/Outlines Archives

    A new chapter for Women and Children FirstThis fall, Linda Bubon and Anne Christophersen-founding co-owners of the beloved feminist bookstore-announced they're moving on from the book-selling biz. They spoke to TOC about why they're selling the store and what they really think of that Portlandia sketch.

  • Veronica Roth, rising superstar in YA fictionMove over, Hunger Games. This fall, the 25-year-old Chicago author wrapped up her wildly popular YAtrilogy, Divergent, set in a post-apocalypticChicago. The first movie, starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, is due out in March 2014.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    A strong Chicago presence at the 2014 Whitney Biennial A year ago, Michelle Grabner was announced as one of the curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, along with Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer. Last month, we found out that Chicagoans will figure prominently in this year's influential contemporary art showcase, with 17 local artists making the list.

  • Curbside Splendor's splendid yearChicago press Curbside Splendor brought its A-game in 2013, releasing appealingly designed books-such asThe Desert Spaces, a collaboration between Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss, with bewitching illustrations by Matt Kish-and the award-winning Meaty by Samantha Irby(bitchesgottaeat), which we featured in our fall book preview. Among the forthcoming titles is an oral history of the Empty Bottle.

Photograph: Jay Wolke

Industry of the Ordinary, Secure, 2006.


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