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11 art gallery exhibitions to check out in December

Written by
Jenny Lam

This month, let the holidays and art bring you joy. Here are 11 art shows where you can get cultured, buy some gifts or do both.

Lights in the City: Inspired by Zen Buddhism to reveal the interconnected relationships between people through photography, Satoki Nagata uses unique illuminations to capture the cultural complexities within our society. (Rangefinder Gallery at Tamarkin Camera, 300 W Superior St, December 4, 6-9pm. Free)

One of a Kind: This show is returning for its 15th year hosting more than 600 juried artists. In addition to handcrafted fine art, there will be live music, special demonstrations from exhibiting artists, fashion shows featuring artist-designed apparel and more. (Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 7th Floor, December 3 & 4, 11am-8pm; December 5, 10am-7pm; and December 6, 10am-5pm. $12)

Full Empty: In this exhibition of new work from Everything Is Collective, the premise of 1971 cult classic sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic—a society faced with the presence of powerful and often misunderstood technology—sets the tone for a series of photographs, digital images and sculptures that approach the contemporary image landscape as a zone of unexplained phenomena and a source of dubious economies. (Filter Photo Festival, 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207, December 4, 6-9pm. Free)

SketchmasFifty artists have taken the #Sketchmas challenge and created art pieces in custom-made sketchbooks, giving a glimpse into the complex and beautiful lives of artists. (Pilsen Outpost, 1958 W 21st St, December 4, 6-9pm. Free) 

Shapeshifters: WTSFIM: Featuring works from nine Chicago-based artists who work in sound, film and video, this two-night exhibition questions the distinctions of "dis/connection" and the "un/real" in an attempt to activate space through a series of aesthetic investigations. These uncanny notions of materiality illuminate the mundane in the manner of magical realism. (Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W Chicago Ave, December 4 & 5, 7-10pm. Free) 

VeilingThrough charcoal drawings, film and sculptural installation, Chicago-based visual artist and filmmaker Chris Hefner addresses the notion of veiling and offers a variety of forms that a veil, whether material or not, may take in this solo exhibition. (Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave, December 5, 5-8pm. Free)

KrampusnachtThis one-night extravaganza begins with a parade procession at Maria’s Packaged Goods at 7:30pm that arrives at Co-Prosperity Sphere at 8pm, where there will be an exhibition of visual art and paraphernalia, treats and Krampus creatures. (Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan St, December 5, 8pm-1am. $10 suggested donation includes drink ticket / $5 with Krampus-related costume includes drink ticket, 21+.) 

Bring Your Own Body: Transgender between Archives and AestheticsThis exhibit presents the work of transgender artists and archives, from the institutional to the personal, that contest existing archival narratives in favor of new historical genealogies through paint, sculpture, textiles, film, digital collage and performance. (Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 S Wabash Ave, December 10, 5-8pm. Free)

Silenced Prayers: Chicago-based artist Heather Gabel refines her collage-based practice with a new body of work that confronts ideas about systemic religion, gender and representation. (Johalla Projects, 1821 W Hubbard St, December 11, 7-10pm. Free)

WondersUK artist Dan Mumford and Chicago-based artist Andrew Ghrist have teamed up to give us their interpretations of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. (Galerie F, 2381 N Milwaukee Ave, December 11, 6-10pm. Free)

asperity economy asymmetry austerity intimacy: INSIDE\WITHIN’s first curatorial project explores the anti-precious materials central to four artists’ practices. The resulting pieces are formed from materials that are meant to be tossed around or aside, shifting focus from the works’ imperfections to the labor of their construction. (The Franklin, 3522 W Franklin Blvd, December 12, 6-9pm. Free)

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