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8 art gallery exhibitions to see in July

"Pizza Party" by The Bear Champ at Galerie F
"Pizza Party" by The Bear Champ at Galerie F.

The sheer variety of summery things to do in Chicago extends to all the artwork that can be seen across town. From personal family histories to the grand scale of the cosmos, here are eight great art events to attend this month.

Disco Art ExhibitRicardo “Naco” Gonzalez substitutes typical canvases for vinyl records in this solo show. Inspired by the Spanish word “disco"—which translates to "record"—his pop art portrait paintings honor inspirational and influential musicians who have broken barriers, as well as local neighborhood figures. (Pilsen Outpost, 1958 W 21st St, Opens July 1, 6-10pm. Free)

Where Do We Go from Hera?: Hailing from Frankfurt, Germany, Jasmin Siddiqui (a.k.a. Hera of the global art duo Herakut) explores the human condition in her first solo show in eight years. The classically trained artist will also be painting a public mural on South Wabash Avenue. (Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave, Opens July 2, 6-10pm. Free) 

Visible from Space: Paul Catanese, a Chicago Cultural Center artist in residence, combines science with art and the theater with the studio for his first Chicago solo show, where he’ll be drawing massive diagrams and piloting a 12-foot blimp that will record and project images as if they’re being seen from outer space. (Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Opens July 9, 10am-5pm. Free)

ACTIVATE: Smell: ACTIVATE continues its monthly tour of the senses with “Smell.” A party in an alley and the word “smell” might not seem like the best combination at first, but the artwork will include items like a “flower temple” and even the food available for purchase will be fragrant—think Jamaican jerk spice. (Hard Rock Alley, 230 N Garland Ct, July 14, 5-10pm. Free with RSVP) 

The Bearchamp and Friends: Galerie F celebrates its fourth anniversary and dedication to the community with this group exhibition of gallery favorites, led by the iconic local street artist JC Rivera, who will be presenting a collection of new pieces. (Galerie F, 2381 N Milwaukee Ave, Opens July 15, 6-10pm. Free)

Can the Spectator Speak?Rashayla Marie Brown showcases new photographs and videos in her first solo show at a gallery. Referring to feminist texts, her works contemplate the bonds between black women, especially when black women are both behind and in front of the camera, and the concepts around representation. (Aspect/Ratio, 119 N Peoria St, Unit 3D, Opens July 15, 5-8pm. Free)

My Mother’s First Exhibition: Fiber artist Aram Han Sifuentes collaborates with her mother, Younghye Han, in this show. Younghye was an ink painter in Korea before immigrating to the States and spending more than two decades as a seamstress and dry cleaner owner, and didn’t create art again until last year. Her first exhibition displays works both old and new, as well as Aram’s art in response to her mother’s drawings. (Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N Carpenter St, Opens July 22, 6-9pm. Free)

Chicago Works: Andrew Yang: Biologist and artist Andrew Yang ponders the Milky Way—which most people cannot see anymore—in his first solo museum exhibit. Inspired by Carl Sagan, Yang has built a model of our home galaxy made of sand, with each grain in the installation symbolizing a single star.  (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave, Opens July 26, 10am-8pm. Free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays, $12 adults, $7 students and seniors.)

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Sarah E

The show at Galerie F is now called "Street Level"