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Opening Passages: Photographers Respond to Chicago and Paris

Exhibition

zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal, entry #7. 35mm film scans on Canson.

Chicago | Multiple locations

May 4 - August 25, 2024

From May 4 to August 25, explore Villa Albertine’s new multi-site exhibition featuring installations in non-traditional venues and community spaces across Chicago. 

Curator: Carl Fuldner

Associate curators: Pascal Beausse (Cnap) and Clément Postec (Ateliers Médicis)

Opening Passages is a photographic exhibition bringing together the perspectives of ten emerging French and American artists whose works explore the dynamic social landscapes of Chicago and Paris.  The unique approaches of the photographers highlight the historic processes of urban redefinition taking place in both cities with subtlety and accuracy.

The exhibition offers reflections on urban divisions, cultural identity, immigrant experiences, waterfronts and green spaces, and the built environment, centering stories from the margins and forming a visual collage of life within these two global cities. 

In addition to the main exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, three other venues and community spaces around the city―6018North, BUILD Chicago, and Experimental Station―host smaller installations, featuring additional works by the photographers selected for their resonance with the neighborhoods in which these institutions are located.

Additional screenings, workshops, and conversations aim to foster greater transatlantic dialogues among the artists and fruitful exchanges with the public.

Opening Passages is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities and Villa Albertine’s City/Cité program that seeks to foster a multidisciplinary transatlantic conversation on urban issues. Pairing metropolitan areas from both countries, it brings together diverse stakeholders, including researchers, artists, architects, journalists, urban planners, community activists, culture professionals, and political leaders.

All works featured in this exhibition were supported through one of several artistic grants. Gilberto Güiza-Rojas, Karim Kal, Assia Labbas, Marion Poussier, and Rebecca Topakian were laureates of a photographic commission Regards du Grand Paris, launched in 2016 by the French Ministry of Culture and managed by the Ateliers Médicis, in collaboration with the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap)Marzena AbrahamikJonathan Michael Castillo and zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal each received creative grants as part of “Chicagoland Scene,” an open call initiated by Villa Albertine. Thanks to the Ateliers Médicis, Sasha Phyars-Burgess was awarded a residency in Clichy-sous-Bois/Monfermeil at Ateliers Médicis in 2022, and Tonika Lewis Johnson became the first American recipient of Regards du Grand Paris in 2023. 

Since 2021, the Paris-Chicago dialogue has been flourishing under the umbrella of “Clichycago,” with the support of the Ateliers Médicis in Clichy-sous-Bois / Montfermeil (France) and the Chicago branch of Villa Albertine. It is conceived as a platform for community-based cultural exchange and artistic experimentation.

Discover the participating French and American artists below.

American Photographers

Marzena Abrahamik


Series: Return

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Jonathan Michael Castillo


Series: Immigrant Owned

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zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal


Series: in the open you are here

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Tonika Johnson


Series: Belonging

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Sasha Phyars-Burgess


Series: UNTITLED AND YET TO BE DETERMINED

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French Photographers

Gilberto Guiza-Rojas


Series: Territoire-Travail

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Karim Kal


Series: Ligne Dée

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Assia Labbas


Series: RER B-ANLIEUES

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Marion Poussier


Series: On est là

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Rebecca Topakian


Series: (n=6–9)

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In partnership with

Chicago Cultural Center

Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago.

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BUILD Chicago

BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) is one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations. Our mission is to inspire hope and offer opportunities so youth facing systemic obstacles can achieve positive futures. We focus on hard-to-serve youth in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods.

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Experimental Station

Experimental Station is an independent cultural infrastructure established on Chicago’s South Side, fostering a vibrant ecology of innovative educational and cultural programs, small business ventures and community initiatives. It was founded in 2002 by Dan Peterman and Connie Spreen based on over 30 years of socially, artistically, and environmentally significant projects.

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6018|North

Founded in May 2011, 6018|North is an artist-centered, sustainable, nonprofit platform and venue for innovative art and culture. Located at 6018 North Kenmore in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, 6018 North encourages artists to collaborate and reconfigure its intimate space. This intimacy allows artists and audiences to connect in transformative ways. At home and away in other non-traditional spaces, 6018North’s site-specific exhibitions and events include artists performing, creating installations, and directing communal engagement events.

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DCASE

The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city — to strengthen and celebrate Chicago.

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Picto New York

Picto was created in Paris in 1950 by Pierre Gassmann, a true pioneer of photography. Since then, Picto has become a leading partner of the world’s most famous photographers as well as the most prestigious brands in the world of fashion, luxury and beauty.

As part of its international expansion, Picto New York was open in 2015. Picto New York services professional photographers’ needs from scanning, retouching, printing and framing images as well as global luxury brands’ needs for image production, prepress and traffic.

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France Chicago Center

The France Chicago Center (FCC) is a University of Chicago-based interdisciplinary organization with a two-fold mission of: (1) facilitating, promoting, and fostering stronger ties between University of Chicago students and researchers and their colleagues in France, and (2) increasing awareness within the University of Chicago community of French culture, art, and thought. To this end, FCC sponsors a range of programs including conferences, workshops, public lectures, visiting professors, fellowships, travel grants & fellowships, exchange programs and various cultural, scientific, and outreach activities.

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Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap)

The Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) is a public institution under the French Ministry of Culture. It manages over 105,000 works from France’s national contemporary art collection, the Fonds national d’art contemporain. It aims to support and promote artistic creation in France, and assists artists and art professionals with their projects.

 

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Ateliers Médicis

Located in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, the Ateliers Médicis endeavors to promote new and diverse artistic voices. Its artistic residencies, open to artists working in any artistic field, support the creation of works conceived in collaboration with French territories and fosters encounters between artists and inhabitants.

 

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Alliance française de Chicago

The Alliance Française de Chicago is over 120 years old and is part of an international network of over 1,100 Alliances and affiliated cultural centers worldwide. It is the second oldest Alliance Française in the US and second largest after the Alliance Française in New York City. Classes are offered for all ages and levels of French, leading to certifications in French for professional purposes or simply for experiencing another language and its various cultures. It also hosts an impressive array of events, bringing notable lecturers to Chicago: authors, filmmakers and directors, winemakers, chefs, designers, historians, actors and performing artists.

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University of Chicago

For more than 125 years, the University of Chicago, one of the world’s leading research universities, inspires scholars to pursue field-defining research, while educating students in the sciences, medicine, economics, law, business, history, culture, the arts, and humanities focused on careful reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking. The University of Chicago Center in Paris is an intellectual destination for faculty, students, and alumni worldwide, and important convening point for the University’s collaboration with universities and research institutions across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As the University’s first facility for study abroad programs, the Center in Paris serves as a model for scholarly engagement worldwide.

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Institut français

The Institut français is responsible for France’s international cultural program. Supervised by both the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the Ministry of Culture, it promotes French culture abroad through cultural exchange initiatives. Operating in a space where the arts, intellectual exchange, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic partnerships interact and intersect, it is also responsible for promoting the French language and the sharing of works, artists, and ideas all over the world. The Institut français is one of Villa Albertine’s main French partners.

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Terra Foundation for the American Arts

In partnership with organizations and individuals locally and globally, the Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art.

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Albertine Foundation

Previously known as FACE Foundation, Albertine Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In close partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and its arts institution Villa Albertine, Albertine Foundation promotes artistic, literary, and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries thanks to corporate, foundation, and individual support.

Follow Albertine Foundation on InstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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