Skip to main Skip to sidebar

Opening Passages: Photographers Respond to Chicago and Paris

Afpa, électricien (electrician) from the series Territoire-Travail (Territory-Work), 2018, © Gilberto Güiza-Rojas

Afpa, électricien (electrician) from the series Territoire-Travail (Territory-Work), 2018, © Gilberto Güiza-Rojas

Villa Albertine presents a multisite photographic exhibition, plus lectures, conversations, and workshops.

May 4 – August 25, 2024 

Chicago, April 4, 2024 – Villa Albertine today announced Opening Passages: Photographers Respond to Chicago and Paris, a multi-site exhibition featuring installations in non-traditional venues and community spaces across the city: the Chicago Cultural Center (Loop), 6018|North (Edgewater), BUILD Chicago (Austin), and Experimental Station (Woodlawn). Opening May 4, the exhibition showcases ten photographers—five American, five French—whose work explores the dynamic social landscapes of Chicago and Paris.   

Today, the two sister cities are undergoing very similar processes of redefining their urban plans and futures. The unique perspectives of the 10 participating photographers, whether documentary or poetic, weave a new understanding of the issues and identities specific to each metropolis. 

Opening Passages is produced by Villa Albertine, the arts institution based in 10 US cities that supports cultural exchanges between the US, France and beyond. Villa Albertine produces major public events, offers residencies and grants for artists, thinkers, and creators across all disciplines, and publishes the magazine States. This exhibition is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities. The exhibition is curated by Carl Fuldner. 

The artists 

United-States : Marzena Abrahamik, Jonathan Michael Castillo, zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal, Tonika Lewis Johnson, and Sasha Phyars-Burgess.  

France: Gilberto Güiza-Rojas, Karim Kal, Assia Labbas, Marion Poussier, and Rebecca Topakian 

Each American photographer selected for this project received creative grants or a residency in France through Villa Albertine and Albertine Foundation, with Ateliers Médicis. The French photographers were selected from among the laureates of the Regards du Grand Paris national photographic commission.  

The exhibitions 

The Chicago Cultural Center, May 4 to August 25 | Main exhibition, featuring all 10 photographers  

6018 North, May 4 to June 9 | Works from five artists on the theme of immigration through the notions of work, diaspora and borders. 

BUILD Chicago, April 29 to May 10 | Works by Sasha Phyars-Burgess and Karim Kal on marginalized communities. 

Experimental Station, May 4 to July 31 | Works from three artists on the on the relationship between center and periphery, and each individual’s connection to public spaces. 

A signature feature of this multi-site exhibition is that each installation is curated to directly resonate with the neighborhood where it’s being shown, with reflections on urban divisions, cultural identity, immigrant experiences, waterfronts and green spaces, and the built environment. The exhibition centers stories from the margins, forming a visual collage of life within these two global cities. 

Read more about each artist, and explore the schedule of special events, here

Opening Passages: Artists Respond to Chicago and Paris is organized by Villa Albertine in Chicago, curated by Carl Fuldner in association with Pascal Beausse from the Centre national des arts plastiques and Clément Postec from the Ateliers Médicis. It is supported by the Terra Foundation for the American Arts, Albertine Foundation chapter in Chicago, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Chicago, the Institut Français, the Alliance française de Chicago and the France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago. 

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.

Learn more

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.

Learn more

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.

Learn more


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.

Learn more


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.

Learn more


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.

Learn more

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.

Learn more

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.


Learn more

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.


Learn more

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.

Learn more


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.

Read more 

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.

Read More

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.

Learn more



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.

Learn more

Sign up to receive exclusive news and updates