Friday, October 18th 7-10pm
PAINTING THE FIGURE NOW seeks to show quality painting that investigates the many ways we see the human figure now. Contemporary approaches to portraiture, narrative, and any and all visualizations focusing on the human form in life, action, play, work, and repose. We want to exhibit artists who understand the finest traditions of figurative art. We believe the human form is an endlessly interesting subject with inexhaustible potential. We want to see humanity with a relevant, fresh, and contemporary feeling.

Friday, September 20th 7-10pm

CENTERLINE is the official annual showcase for the Zhou B Art Center artists. The over 50 resident artists of the Zhou B Art Center represent diverse styles and media that include traditional forms such as painting, drawing, sculpture and photography.

July 19th, 7pm – 10pm
Second Floor Exhibition Space

An art exhibition by artists of Filipino and Mexican heritage co-discovering significant shared histories through art. The exhibition explores contemporary issues and ideas in all areas of everyday life from social, political, emotional and/or philosophical nature. Curated by Cesar Conde and Sergio Gomez for the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago

The Acapulco – Manila Galleon Trade (1570-1815)
“The languages spoken on the trip to Acapulco were Spanish and Tagalog. The languages spoken on the trip back to Manila were Spanish and Nahuatl. The ships usually laid over at Acapulco for three months, allowing the Filipino crew to disperse and go to other towns of Mexico where they usually got married to local girls. The Filipino crews were usually replaced by Mexicans, usually Nahuatl—Indians and Mexican creoles (Spaniards born in Mexico), and mestizos of Spanish and Mexican parentage. There are about a thousand Nahuatl words spoken in the Philippines today, words such as tianggui (weekly fair), palenque(market), zacate (grass fodder for horses), zapote (a kind of fruit). There are also many Filipino words in the Mexican language, such as palapa (coconut leaves), tuba (coconut sap juice), ylang ylang (a variety of fragrant flower), mangga (mango).”

Maria Cristina Barron Soto, scholar, professor, and historian. (This study by Prof. Barron Soto was quoted from the book Manila Men In The New World by Floro L Mercene; Published by The University of The Philippines Press.

A series of critical responses by Jennifer Huang, Molly O’Connell, John Tennisson, Maire Witt O’neil and Cassandra Davis

June 21st, 7pm-10pm
Lower Level North

What does it truly mean to support emerging artists?

How do we support one another, over and above the framing of work within the white cube?

In conversation with peers, issues of self-care, exhaustion & financial precarity often arise. Working more than two to four jobs to financially sustain arts practices or moving cities to align with steady employment opportunities in an unsteady art world; the pressure on emerging artists and curators is rising. Somewhere between acceleration and an exit, artists, writers and curators are searching for new forms of resilience, creating their own worlds, networks and collaborations, establishing self-determining hybrid careers in an attempt to dissolve familiar systems. What then does it mean to have an artistic practice today?

It is impossible to talk of resilience and the individual agency of an artistic practice without considering the capitalization of art and artistic labor. It has become harder for artists and curators to sustain their practices without a commercial practice to make a living, even in academia. Working at the peripheries of the art

world – practitioner’s function within a capitalist reality while constantly trying to present themselves with the challenge of dedicating their fundamental practices to the field of art. It becomes of a question of how their so called “other” lives are considered or deliberately overlooked – upholding the status quo in the precious singularity of an “art world”.

This exhibition proposes how do we maintain the agency to remain open, to think of alternative structures within which we operate?

Alternatively, artists present in this exhibition respond to the theoretical prompt; where does the intersection of livelihood and artistic practice meet? Here, a unique display of forms unfolds; propositioning the viewer to think what new ways of doing could look like in the art world. Instead of presenting a solo or large group exhibition, we propose a formation of wildly discursive artists, who work well together, unafraid of addressing their

“other” professions within the format of the exhibition. We set out on a mission to daydream collectively.

This is not to re-imagine alternative economic models, or more cerebral exhibitions, or more vibrant cultural programming. It is to work with radically different artistic practices and livelihoods, to find results that are weirder and provide more fertile ground for recontextualizing our relationships to art and labor.

When speaking about art and financial precarity, there is latent pressure on cultural workers as the conversation becomes less about art and autonomy and more about having a sustainable work/life balance. With the professionalization of practices, concerns regarding rent, career-building-strategic-moves… an increasingly stressful environment forms the conditions in which we work. Neoliberal subjectivity, financial precarity and sustainable income – shift the position of practices from one that is critical, rooted in theory, to one that operates from an art world center.

Whether paying for healthcare or rent for an apartment or studio, each of us are committed to perform within a system not because it is asked of us, but because it is necessary for us to work outside or at the peripheries of the art world. In order to continue living on the basis of what we want to do- artists, administrators, critics, curators, and the likes, find ourselvesstraddling roles within the field of art and outside of it. While much of the ‘work’ central to art practices is often perceived as a source of pleasure, vis-a-vis work, we suffer the same capitalist fate as everyone. Student debt, loan payments, a desire for an improved quality of life…. pressures mount with time and circumstance, serving as triggers, splitting artists practices in two.

The inextricable discrepancy of what you want and what is societally required of you finds its roots in the Marxist dialectic on art and labor. At present, the split is not only between artists’ primary and supplementary pursuits but rather, an intrinsic split of constantly harboring a fear of what is expected of an artist versus the unheeded demands of their artistic aspirations. Burning an unreasonable amount of hours working at art world peripheries to get by, artists and cultural workers are exhausted.

What lies beyond exhaustion? Amidst the constant demand to produce, there lie anxieties and depressions that are no longer individual, but collective. What then gets made and shown leads to the critique of the artwork, feeding back into a never ending loop feeding the center. In sharing these anxieties, or expelling them, there lies a space ripe with latency. The show is imagined as a space for rejection of the center in order for experimental practices to emerge in a system of no rest or release

How then do we begin to leverage existing art world structures to use exhaustion as a point of departure to form solidarity networks? Networks that are in-‘active’ and non- productive of creating new platforms for articulating the potential of an exhausted community? A community that does not act within institutional frameworks, a community dedicated to building and articulating its potent sense of latency, of alternate means of making, reading and moving beyond the edifices of the art world… Perhaps the other side of exhaustion gives artists the opportunity to leave traditional frameworks of producing institutional work, in a move towards platforms beyond the white cube. Perhaps the potential of latency allows artists and art workers to move towards meditation, meaningful exchange, deeper engagement, and alternate conditions for artistic endurance to keep moving them forward.

Chicago I June 2019

​A Performance Art festival celebrating the Bridgeport neighborhood


Santina Amato | Jessica Elaine Blinkhorn | Óscar González-Díaz | Carlos Salazar | Lemont | Giulia Mattera | Smeza+Keegan | Diana Soria | Nicolina Stylianou | Ieke Trinks

DAY 1 | THU 13 JUN | 7-9PM | cross-pollination: Community Partnering | Location TBA
Co Prosperity Sphere | 3219 S Morgan Street | Chicago IL 60608

DAY 2 | SAT 15 JUN | 5-9PM | in_visible: In Situ Performances around Bridgeport.
Guerrilla-style: Follow instagram for times+locations: @DFBRL8R

DAY 3 | SUN 16 JUN | 7-9PM | inner.action : Live Art Event | Zhou B Art Center | 1029 W 35TH ST

​FRI3RD | FRI 21 JUN | 7-10PM | [re]action: Visual Art Opening | Zhou B Art Center | Lower Level

This project celebrates the Bridgeport neighborhood and is an homage to Chicago’s rich labor history and how it relates to and influences the local art community. Bubbly Creek is a part of the Chicago river that forms the western border of Bridgeport. It derives this nickname from gases bubbling out of the riverbed from decomposing animal waste dumped into the river a century ago by the Union Stockyards. It still bubbles to this day. Brought to notoriety by Upton Sinclair in his exposé on the American meat packing industry, The Jungle, the contaminated river is a revolting reminder of the harshness of industrial capitalism, exploitation of [often immigrant] labor, and disproportionate concentrations of wealth in America. From the Haymarket Affair in 1886 to the Pullman railroad strike in 1894, labor issues were at the forefront of late 20th century social concerns and are [obviously] still relevant today.
Statement by Curator, Angeliki Tsoli

May 17th, 7pm-10pm
Second Floor Exhibition Space

Steven Alan Benett | Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt

This year’s exhibition at the Zhou B Art Center is being curated by Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt and it features figurative diptychs. The multi-panel works of art, usually a diptych or triptych, provides enormous creative opportunities for visual artists because it supplies expansive and varied ways for an artist to speak using juxtaposition, contrast, comparison, expansion, connection and separation. From the Roman Empire to today, artists both known and unknown have used the multi-panel work to make statements that are both subtle and obvious, complimentary and conflicting. The accompanied exhibition will include a catalog of all the artworks exhibited.

Steven Alan Benett established The Bennett Collection of Women Realists in 2009. The Collection is limited to figurative realist paintings of women by women artists and includes work by some of the most exciting women painters currently working: Margaret Bowland, Aleah Chapin, Andrea Kowch, Alyssa Monks, Katie O’Hagan, Pamela Wilson and dozens of others on the cutting edge of figurative realism. Bennett bases the Collection on two similar but different beliefs. First, while women painters have produced remarkable work for centuries, they have not received the same degree of acceptance as their male counterparts. Second, in addition to gender discrimination, figurative realism is disfavored in many art schools, universities and galleries, which have ignored or repudiated the realistic depiction of persons or figures. Thus, Bennett has limited the Collection to women figurative realists to celebrate the fabulous work that these women are creating. In 2013, Bennett and his spouse and co-curator, Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, began discussing the creation of an art prize that would enable them to address discrimination against women painters and support and promote figurative realism. Over a period of several years, the Bennetts refined this idea, ultimately endowing The Bennett Prize Fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation. The goal of the Prize is to celebrate and honor women figurative realists by encouraging their work and helping to launch or propel their careers as fine art painters. Bennett has a BA in Art History from the University of Notre Dame and pursued a fine arts degree at the University of Kansas.

Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt spent her work career facilitating the education of younger students. As teacher and administrator she was involved in creating learning environments for students with special learning needs. Elaine is now spending her time and energy on a number of other projects she holds close to her heart. She lives with her husband, Steven Alan Bennett, in San Antonio, Texas. She and Steven are art collectors who specialize in realist paintings of women by women artists. This undertaking has afforded them the opportunity to create a collection of women experiencing various emotions from all walks of life as well as to meet many creative artists. The couple recently launched The Bennett Prize, designed to propel the careers of women painters who are or seek to become full-time professional painters. The first prize winner will be announced in May 2019 in conjunction with a show featuring all the finalists’ work called “Rising Voices: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realists” at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Dr. Schmidt also was one of the curators for the successful show “Visions of Venus/Venus’s Visions” held at the Zhou B. Center in 2018. Current and future art related projects include co-curating the exhibitions.

April 19, 7:00 pm
Second Floor Exhibition Space and Lower Level Space
Gallery Hours: Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm

The IMPACT Performance Festival showcases MFA and BFA Candidates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who are presenting work in live performance and time based media. This year participating artists include: Aram Atamian, Wanbli Gamache, Li-Ming J. Hendrix, Christopher Huizar, SUNGJAE LEE, Helen Lee, Kyra Lehman, Chloe Yu Nong Lin, Katie L. O’Neill, polina protsenko, Zachary Sun, Lariel Joy, Phaedra Beauchamp, Maria Luisa, Marie Peña.

Free open to the public.

The associated exhibition highlights the many forms through which contemporary performance work can be presented. ​IMPACT is co-presented by the SAIC Departments of Exhibitions and Performance.


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March 15th, 7pm – 10pm
Lower Level South

Out of Nowhere is about artists who harness the unexpected; conjuring magical moments from thin air. The artists in this exhibition have in common their use of everyday objects and their skillful manoeuvres to transcend the quotidian. Improvisation, participation, risk, and all things unexpected come together in one evening of performance art.

Defibrillator Gallery is proud to launch our Artist In Residence [AIR] program in March 2019. International artists are invited to spend three weeks in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago to make and show artwork and engage with the community. With a focus on performance practices, visiting artists are asked to exhibit visual art as part of Zhou B Art Center’s popular Third Friday; present live Performance Art in a shared program; and engage with the community through a workshop, artist talk, discussion, screening, or collaboration.

Tomasz Szrama [Finland] | Gabriele Longega [Italy ] | Vicente Ugartechea [Chicago]


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