Making Chances

an exhibition in the citywide program Platforms: 10 Years of Chances Dances

Artists and organizations included: Black and Brown Punk Show Collective, Elijah Burgher and Gordon Hall, Margaret Bobo-Dancy, Julius DC Bautista, Chain Reaction, Jed Dulanas for, Hope Esser and Daviel Shy, Edie Fake, Nicole Garneau, Rami George, Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero in collaboration with Sofia Moreno and Molly Hewitt, Amanda Gutierrez in collaboration with Mitch Said, Leon Andrew Hensley with A/S/L_Media, Christa Holka, Meg Leary, Riva Lehrer, Rebecca Mir Grady, Madsen Minax, Fawzia Mirza and Ryan Logan, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Matt Morris, Dan Paz, Mugsie Pike, Aay Preston-Myint, Macon Reed, Jules Rosskam, Marian Runk, Matthew Schlagbaum, Seth & Kellen, Michael Sirianni, Sky Cubacub, 3rd Language, Transgender Oral History Project, Charles Vinz, Katie Vota, Dion Walton, Ethan A. White, Bruce E. Wiest, Youth Empowerment Performance Project, and Latham Zearfoss and Micah Salkind.

Making Chances is an exhibition of the identity, history, and community of Chances Dances, the radically inclusive queer dance party that builds safer spaces and supports local artists and activists. The exhibition is presented as part of the citywide program Platforms: 10 Years of Chances Dances, a multi-venue series of events and exhibitions featuring artwork, ephemera, herstory, performances, texts, and music by artists who have been supported by the Chances Dances granting program, past and present Chances organizers, and the greater Chances community. Gallery 400’s Making Chances, the central exhibition of the Platforms program, illuminates how the multifaceted Chances Dances collective—with their radically inclusive ethos, non-hierarchical organizational structure, broadly welcoming and safe spaces at their parties, and yearly micro grants—functions as a community catalyst.

Curated by artist/curator/educator John Neff and Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart, Making Chances meshes artworks, histories and exhibition design in a reflection of the intertwined activities and lived experiences in the Chances community. Contrary to conventional retrospectives, this exhibition is not about constructing a unified identity but rather an attempt to channel and present for exploration an ongoing process of creating/working through difference. Within the Platforms program various curators, galleries, and groups of artists represent distinctive facets of the work being generated by queer artists in Chicago today, while the Making Chances exhibition examines the visual/physical manifestations of collectivity, process, and ideology. Evoking the fluidity of Chances’ community, the blending of private and public in its work, and the nomadic nature of the parties, Making Chances at Gallery 400 combines grantees’ artworks, oral histories from Chances organizers and community members, historical objects, ephemera from the organization of Chances, and exhibition design elements commissioned from Chances community members.

Making Chances is organized in three parts: 1/ art objects, ephemera, documentary photography, audio and video histories, and textual accounts of events in the histories of Chances Dances, Chicago’s LGBTIQ communities, and larger social change, all presented along a dynamic, non-linear timeline designed by artist Edie Fake, 2/ a video archive of work from Chances awardees and organizers accessible on multiple monitors along an upholstered banquette designed by artist Charlie Vinz, and 3/ a central performance platform designed by artists Elijah Burgher and Gordon Hall and planned to host a series of performances by Chances¬awarded performers, as well as other public events including a fashion show, poetry readings, and more.

In the way objects in the exhibition straddle positions as artworks and exhibition environments, and the multidimensional contexts for practice are presented alongside personal histories and created objects, the complexity that is Chances comes to life in Making Chances.