Gallery 400 was founded in 1983 on UIC’s campus in what was then known as the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and after that college’s development into other departments, fell into the lap of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts. Gallery 400’s primary mission is to promote cutting-edge visual art, architecture, and design, to approach it through interdisciplinary exhibitions, and to challenge conventions. Although they don’t show the work of professors from UIC, they do have an MFA student thesis show in spring. Although they do feature a host of Chicago-based artists, their shows often extend to national and international artists, though recently, much of their work has been relevant to the themes of economy and social politics of the Chicago area. The range of media also varies quite a bit, although David Leggett’s multimedia paintings are here on display until the 17th of December, there is a dance performance early 2017. Often, film and video is also presented. Not only do they present individuals, but their shows have contained up to twenty people. As far as the space itself, they have to deal with the complications which come with an early 20th century industrial building, but I think the space is actually very conducive to the experience of the art. It’s spacious, light, and creates a neat geography through which the viewer experiences the exhibitions. For instance, David Leggett used wall decals to draw the viewer’s gaze around the room by placing them on the structural columns. Having never been before, I enjoyed hearing Lorelei Stewart, director, speak so highly and informatively about the space and its significance in bringing together such diverse groups of the UIC campus, such as the Black Lives Matter and activist communities, as well as being a stable, influential art presence in urban Chicago.
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