This Friday, January 16, Kruger Gallery Chicago (KGC) reopens in its new 1,300-square-foot space in Lakeview at 3709 North Southport with a solo exhibition of new work by Chicago-based artist Heather Green. Kruger was previously located in River North where, owner and director Mikelle Kruger explains, it has been dedicated to an avant-garde model that art can be a mediator for political and social change and showcasing emerging artists working with an array of design and media. After an initial six-month run in 2011 as a sort of pop-up gallery in the River North arts district, Kruger took three years off to focus on siting a more permanent home.
Apart from the apparent perks of being situated near a Brown Line stop for easy accessibility and having a pleasant milieu of restaurants and cool shops to explore, the Lakeview neighborhood is a prime spot for the gallery, says Kruger: “While I love the current art districts of Chicago like the West Loop and River North, I really believe in the potential of Lakeview—more specifically the Southport Corridor. Being a resident of Lakeview, I know many of my neighbors are art enthusiasts and collectors, and I aim to make the space a hub of cultural, art-inspired events for our community. I would love to work with other Southport businesses to do collaborative events like fashion shows, wine tastings, readings, movie screenings, etc.” Additionally, she has built two-week breaks between the gallery’s scheduled exhibitions in hopes of using the space to engage schools in the Lakeview community. “I would love to invite high school students at Lake View High School the opportunity to show their work in a Chicago gallery,” she says,”—an experience that could really have a positive, life-changing impact for those students. I am passionate about art and keeping it a part of school curriculums, and I want to support art programs in any way that I can.”
Heather Green, the gallery’s first artist to be featured in its new location, talks about being chosen for the opening: “I couldn’t be more honored. I’ve known Mikelle Kruger for a few years now, and she’s highly intelligent and has all the integrity in the world. I am so pleased she chose my work for her inaugural show and I look forward to working with her again in the future.” Green will present two bodies of work in her forthcoming exhibition, “Victims & Villains.” Large-scale paintings based on mugshots (like those of George Zimmerman and Marissa Alexander) will be shown alongside a project entitled “#yesallwomen” which scrutinizes rape culture, looking particularly into the 2012 Steubenville rape case and the ensuing 2013 imprisonment of Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays. A public reception will be held on January 16, from 6pm to 9pm, with the exhibition continuing through February 28.
by Mahuabeen Syed for Newcity Art