11 art gallery exhibitions to see in February

Written by
Jenny Lam

It may be the shortest month of the year, but February in Chicago is never short on art and culture. Here are 11 exhibitions that you'll be able to enjoy this month.

Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen: In their first major American exhibition tour, Theo Jansen’s wholly distinctive kinetic creations blur the lines of art, engineering, science and performance. The sculptures are accompanied by drawings, videos, daily demonstrations of their movements, a display of “fossils” and photography by Lena Herzog. (Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, February 5 to May 1. Free)

SentienceIn “Sentience,” five Chicago-based artists embrace mediums of construction, assemblage and collage in a range of vastly differing practices. Their works share a strangeness that results from the tension of commingling imagination with everyday life. (Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W Chicago Ave, February 5 to March 27. Free) 

A Lullaby to the City: This light installation by Chiara Galimberti with musical performances is an invitation to see winter (and the semi-hibernation that comes with it) as a time for reflection and a necessary slowing down, instead of something to fight and overcome. (Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave, February 6, 6-9pm. Free)

2nd Floor Rear 2016: We Are Here: To celebrate its fifth anniversary, 2nd Floor Rear has added Pilsen and Little Village to the annual alternative space art hop. This year, the festival is interested in the sociocultural politics of being and acting in a specific space. (Various locations in Avondale, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Bucktown, and Wicker Park on February 6 and various locations in Pilsen and Little Village on February 7. Free)

Winter Group Show: Vertical Gallery presents its first exhibition of 2016 with a massive group show, with all artists contributing two 24x24-inch original works. (Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave, February 6 to February 27. Free) 

Monster Roster: Existentialist Art in Postwar Chicago: Join the Smart Museum for the first major exhibition to examine the history and impact of the Monster Roster, a group of postwar artists who established the first unique Chicago style, creating deeply psychological works that draw on classical mythology and ancient art. (Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S Greenwood Ave, February 11 to June 12. Free) 

Sanford Biggers: the pasts they brought with them: With an emphasis on materiality, form and collage, Sanford Biggers’ first solo gallery exhibition in Chicago features a new series of transmogrified quilts alongside bronzed, deconstructed sculptures sourced from street vendors on 125th Street in Harlem. Narrative video works accompany each sculpture. (Monique Meloche Gallery, 2154 W Division St, February 11 to April 2. Free)

19th Bike Winter Art Show: Party with the local creative community at the annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show, curated by Steven Lane and Stuart Hall. There will be a whole new crop of bike-related art for 2016 (not to mention drinks for donations). (Motor Row Gallery, 2345 S Michigan Ave, February 12, 5:30-11pm. Free)

Turning Spoons into Forks, who cares for the sky? and Regenboog BroerAlex Chitty liberates ordinary objects from mundanity in her solo show “Turning Spoons into Forks;" Sabina Ott’s “who cares for the sky?” features an 8,000-cubic-foot mountain of canvas, cardboard, polystyrene and wood inspired by Gertrude Stein’s The World Is Round; and Justin Witte’s “Regenboog Broer” is an immersive painting installation using geometric distortion, light and color. (Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell Ave, February 21, 3-5pm. Free) 

Winter Open House: Join Mana Contemporary for an afternoon of open artist studios and new exhibitions, including the first in a series from the Pellizzi Family Collection that highlights two remarkable Mexican painters: Julio Galán and Daniel Lezama. (Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S Throop St, February 21, 12-4pm. Free)

Typeforce7: Curators Ed Marzsewski and Dawn Hancock have selected installations from some of the best type- and lettering-based art created by emerging artists and designers in our city and beyond. (Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan St, February 26 to March 11. Free)

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