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Picks from Cultural Center, galleries and museums

Ah, fall. A changing of the leaves, and a changing of the art on the walls. Changing, too, of institutional trends, as a focus on identity — and identity politics — is eschewed by many of the big museums around town in favor of a turn toward aesthetics. What’s that all about? See it, and enjoy it, for yourselves.

“Yo Soy Museo: New works by Alberto Aguilar”: What could it possibly mean for a person to be a museum, as suggested by the translation of this exhibition title? If Aguilar’s past work is any indication, the answer will involve much good humor, lots of conceptual portraitures and a highly idiosyncratic arrangement of stuff found in odd corners of the institution. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through Feb. 12, 2023, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.; free, more information at 312-738-1503 and

“Capturing Louis Sullivan: What Richard Nickel Saw”: Today Louis Sullivan is widely recognized as one of the fathers of modern architecture. But this was not always so, and some of the only surviving records of his demolished buildings exist thanks to photographer Richard Nickel, who ultimately lost his life to the preservationist cause. The exhibit features 40 of Nickel’s photos and over a dozen architectural fragments. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 19, 2023, at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St.; admission is $20, more information at 312-482-8933 and

“A Natural Turn: María Berrio, Joiri Minaya, Rosana Paulino, and Kelly Sinnapah Mary”: Four female artists of the Americas make surrealism their own, redefining what it means to be human, to be beautiful, to have a body, to live in reality and to be powerful. Is this the natural lineage of historic surrealism? Only an umbrella and a sewing machine will ever know. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Feb. 19, 2023, at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave.; free, more information at 773-325-7506 and

“For Each Other”: The pandemic has revealed much, including that caring for others, and being cared for, is central to the existence of a livable world. This group exhibition features Chicago artists and collectives exploring interdependence via a photo essay on in-home care for disabled people, a citywide network of fridges for food donation, a psychedelic space of respite for viewers and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17 at Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St.; free, more information at 312-996-6114 and

“Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s-1980s”: Limited understandings of modernism as a Western style be damned! Drawn from the collection of the United Arab Emirates-based Barjeel Art Foundation and arranged by formal affinity rather than identity-based categories, this traveling show presents almost 90 paintings, prints and sculptures by 57 artists from North Africa, West Asia and the Arab diaspora. Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 22 through Dec. 4 at the Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston; free, 847-491-4000 and

“Monochrome Multitudes”: Some art is just one color — Robert Ryman’s white canvases, Sheila Hicks’ yellow knotted linen, Samuel Levi Jones’ deconstructed black footballs. Rarely do we get to consider it as such, but in this novel collection show we do, with more than 100 works by 90 modern and contemporary artists, many arranged in groupings according to hue. Sept. 22 through Jan. 8, 2023, at Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave.; free, more information at 773-702-0200 and

“The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930″: Taking as its starting point the year in which the word homosexual was coined, this first of a two-part show (the second will be in 2025) surveys the beginnings of self-consciously queer art. Included among more than 100 individual works are postcards and magazine illustrations; photographs by Claude Cahun and F. Holland Day; vintage Japanese and Chinese erotica; and paintings by Marsden Hartley and Thomas Eakins. Oct. 1 through Dec. 17 at Wrightwood 659, 659 W. Wrightwood Ave.; tickets are $15, for mature audiences only, more information at 773-437-6601 or

“Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s-Today”: This innovative, intergenerational survey of 38 artists — all connected to the region but living across the globe — eschews questions of geography, language and ethnicity to propose the Caribbean as a place defined by the constant movement of people, commodities, money, oil and weather. Including artists Candida Alvarez, Ebony G. Patterson, Teresita Fernandez, Lorraine O’Grady and Peter Doig, the exhibition launches the MCA’s transition toward becoming a fully Spanish-English bilingual institution. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays Nov. 19 through April 23, 2023, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave.; tickets are $15, more information at 312-280-2660 and

“Nelly Agassi: No Limestone, No Marble”: Lots of artists work site-specifically, but Agassi does it differently, as if she is uncovering the self of a building and entering into an exploratory and historical relationship with its biography. In the past, this has involved fabric and embroidery, blueprints, and the anthropomorphization of architecture. What will she uncover about the monumental Chicago Rooms? 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Sept. 24 through Jan. 15, 2023, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; free, more information at 312-744-6630 and

“Citing Black Geographies”: What is Black space? Cultural theorist Romi Crawford explores its historical, speculative and emergent possibilities in this star-studded multimedia group show. This exhibit features Dawoud Bey’s photographic series on the Underground Railroad; Rashid Johnson’s video version of the Hamptons; Amanda Williams’ planting of red tulips on the South Side to mark the history of redlining and more. By appointment through Oct. 27 at Gray Chicago, 2044 W. Carroll Ave.; more information at 312-883-8277 and

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