PRESENT STANDARD AT THE CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER
January 30 – April 24, 2016
Exhibition Features the Work of 25 Contemporary Artists with Latino Chicago Connections
 
Present Standard gathers 25 works by 25 contemporary, US-based Latino artists who are in one way or another identified as native, linguistic or geographic immigrants. Guest curated by Edra Soto and Josué Pellot, the FREE exhibition runs in the Michigan Avenue Galleries on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center from January 30–April 24. The artists each play with the manifold meanings of "present" – as in contemporary, attending or existing – and "standard" – referring to a flag or pennant, measuring tactic, guiding principle or a potent symbol of national identity.
 
The decision to move from one’s homeland is never simple, and immigrating, or any act of moving to a new country, can both produce moments of settling and endless questioning for the rest of an individual’s life. The work in this exhibition reflects through a filter of Latino immigrant experiences and the artists’ connection with and separation from their homes, their ancestry and their language. However, beyond this generalized and arbitrary commonality, they share little else – not artistic practice, gender identification or sexuality, or place of origin. The inescapable label “Latino/a” insists that whatever these artists do will be read through a screen of “identity” and “representation. Present Standard carefully seeks to underscore the pluralism that exists in contemporary art made by Latino/a artists.
 
Present Standard features work by Alberto Aguilar, Candida Alvarez, Luis Miguel Bendaña, Paola Cabal, Juan Angel Chavez, Mariano Chavez, Alejandro Figueredo Díaz-Perera, Dianna Frid, Diana Gabriel, Maria Gaspar, Melissa Leandro, José Lerma, Ivan LOZANO, Jorge Lucero, Victoria Martinez, Harold Mendez, Sofia Moreno, Nora Nieves, Josué Pellot, Maddie Reyna, Luis Romero, Luis Sahagun, Chris Silva, Edra Soto and Rafael E. Vera.
 
Public Programs
Opening Preview with the Artists: January 30, 2–4 pm
Gallery Talks: February 11, March 10 & 24, April 14, 5:30–6:30 pm
Roundtable Discussion: February 25, 5–6:30 pm, and April 10, 3:30–5:30 pm, Claudia Cassidy Theater
 
Catalog
Present Standard is accompanied by a catalog featuring five short essays by Stephanie Cristello, Allison  Fraunhar, Kristin Korolowicz, Teresa Silva and J. Gibran Villalobos and William A. Ruggiero. These experts from Chicago’s art and culture sphere were each invited to contribute descriptions of work by five artists with whom they share stylistic or conceptual commonalities. The catalogs will be available for free at the Chicago Cultural Center beginning in mid-February.
 
Pablo Helguera: Librería Donceles
Librería Donceles is taking place simultaneously (January 30–April 24, 2016) in the Chicago Cultural Center’s first floor Garland Gallery. Conceived by New York-based artist and educator Pablo Helguera, Librería Donceles is a traveling Spanish-language bookstore. Originating in Brooklyn in 2013 and named in reference to Mexico City’s well-known street of book stalls, the second-hand bookstore has traveled to Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle and draws attention to the dearth of access to books in Spanish. The store will be the locus of salon-like gatherings (tertulias) for conversations, performances and readings in partnership with literary center Contratiempo and others. After the close of the exhibition in Chicago, the installation will end and the books will be dispersed to Chicago schools and non-profit organizations.
 
Chicago Cultural Center Exhibitions
Admission to the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, and its exhibitions is FREE. The building and 1st floor galleries (including the Michigan Avenue Galleries and Garland Gallery) are open Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; upper floor galleys are open Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. and Friday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; closed holidays. All exhibitions are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. For information, visit chicagoculturalcenter.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ChiCulturCenter.
 
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.
 
Image: Untitled, Luis Romero, 2015. Photo by William Bengston.