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How much can artists RISK? A city-wide look at social practice art in Chicago

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Columbia College Chicago’s exhibition "RISK: Empathy, Art and Social Practice", opening Monday, February 10, (city-wide exhibits run through Saturday, April 26) takes a city-wide look at the social practice art movement in Chicago. Showcasing Chicago’s most diverse exhibition to date by socially engaged artists, RISK explores questions such as:

· What would a wedding be like with 100 strangers?

· Does Alderman Harry Osterman and the residents of the 48th ward hold a secret to happiness?

· Can one make voices “visible” on the subject of gun violence in Chicago?

This unprecedented activation of more than 25 museums, galleries, schools, community centers, businesses and other non-traditional art spaces across Chicago includes the Museum of Contemporary Art, 6018North, Hyde Park Art Center, the Rebuild Foundation and more. For the first time ever, the exhibition also charts the myriad of connections between sites/art spaces that reveal the vast network of Chicago artists engaged in social practice art.

RISK 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 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. Most of the events listed on the calendar of events are free and open to the public; some require advance reservations.

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