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Spring Is Here: Must-See April Art Exhibitions

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 7, 2015 8:10PM

The Art Institute of Chicago
Two major exhibitions happening right now at the AIC should absolutely be on every Chicagoans and tourist's radar. Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design: 1690-1840 is on view through June 7 and highlights furniture, paintings and other decorative and functional works from the Emerald Isle. Incredibly unique in that it is the first exhibition of its kind on either side of the pond, it is intensely engaging for visitors with interests in all manners of art— from ceramics and paintings to musical instruments and textiles. Through June 7.

An exhibition to appeal to visitors’ inner Modernist, Shatter, Rupture, Break beautifully illustrates the kinetic energy of the changes happening in the world a century ago. Featuring work by Ilse Bing, Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dali and many more, this is a highly stimulating exhibition that converses with our own rapidly-changing world. Through May 3.

Museum of Contemporary Art
The first retrospective of Colombian artist Doris Salcedo contains work that possesses a deep, poetic vigor that documents the social and political narratives of her homeland. Her work is fraught with soul since she participates in the landscape and those living within it by interviewing people who have been touched by violent political and social conflicts. Efficiently commenting on the massive events and the tangible impression it leaves, such as the works in the Atrabiliarios, a series that documents the violence and sheer cruelty inflicted on women during her fieldwork in Colombia. These are soft portraits of shoes, often the only way to identify a woman inflicted with such violence. Through May 24.

While at the MCA, visit another thought-provoking exhibition, Body Doubles, on view through April 19. Featuring works by Cindy Sherman, Christina Ramberg, Paul McCarthy, Lorna Simpson and more, this is a show that tackles the complexity of the body, form and identity. This is an engrossing exhibition that beckons memories of Bowie Is while conversing interestingly with Salcedo’s work as they both discuss transformation coming from different contexts to give viewers exceptional new perspectives on the mind / body / political / societal axis. Through April 19.

Gage Gallery
Crime Then and Now: Through the Lens of the Chicago Tribune is part of their year-long celebration of photojournalism in Chicago. These works drip with reality as documents of some of the darkest moments and harsh realities of the city while they convey a gritty beauty that envelopes a viewer. Through April 11.

Ed Paschke Art Center
One of the best new art spaces in the city, the center eponymously named after the incomparable Ed Paschke has acquired Vaca Victoria, a gift from Averill and Bernard Leviton. It is from the Cows on Parade public art display with Chicago as the first city to host this "parade." Adorned with Paschke-esque imagery, the cow is now on permanent display at the art center and is a stellar addition to the gallery housing the late Imagist's work. The re-imagining of Paschke's studio will transport a viewer into his process as well as the images, objects and subcultures that continuously inspired him.

Zg Gallery
The work of local artist, Brandice Guerra deals with mutation and anatomy that draws parallels and associations to a sideshow meets a natural history museum. Naturalia, the title of the exhibition, furthers the idea that these works come together to create a case study of the strange, the beautiful and the supremely fascinating. Always a gallery with an edgy and wondrous taste for provocative artists, Zg will again be pleasing the crowds entering River North for this opening on April 10 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Corbett vs. Dempsey
The main gallery in Corbet vs. Dempsey will be hosting the exhibition, Echo, by Jackie Saccoccio. Her work is abstract while emotion is carried along the canvases. The mica and the oils solidly interact as they ponder and express texture with her finished canvases appearing to be pulling in a viewer using the media. While there, also check out the work of Matthew Metzger who uses MRMDF as his utilitarian, architectural "canvas" and drawings by Morris Barazani that drip with a self-conscious modernity. Through April 25t.

Catherine Edelman Gallery
Ysabel Lemay's Wonders will be on view starting April 10 at this River North staple. Her work challenges the usual notions of natural landscape photography by layering images she captures with a camera and turns each work into painterly, whimsical and earthy montage. Through July 3.