Dutch artist Kirsten Leenaars is participating in “RISK: Empathy, Art and Social Practice”. This exhibition considers the interdependent role of empathy and risk in socially engaged art as practiced by Chicago contemporary artists. The exhibition features artists who work in a public arena to foster connections between individuals and to activate communities. Their work invites the outside in, blurs the lines of public/private, reveals our mutual dependencies and effects social change. The “success” or “failure” of these relationship-driven projects, however, can never be guaranteed, as this porous, process-based art form exists in unpredictable, shifting environments.
The works in RISK are divergent in medium, content and scope, but all share an interest in initiating and negotiating relationships through personal interaction. Projects range from a community Shack built in the gallery to the staging of an actual Wedding Party to herbal remedy offerings from an Anxiety Garden and vintage Tintype Portrait sessions. Working with cultural partners and sites across the city, RISK highlights some of the most exciting practice emerging in this field and explores artists’ motivations and viewers’ expectations for socially engaged art.
Kirsten Leenaars is Assistant Professor Contemporary Practices at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
Opening Reception: February 13, 5:30–8:30pm. The exhibition runs from February 10 until April 26. The agenda of the event can be found here.