SAIC Kicks Off Its 146th Year of Visiting Artists

Chicago, IL—The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, announced its fall line-up of renowned visiting artists and scholars, a diverse group of makers and thinkers who will lead discussions on contemporary art and culture through public lectures, symposia, performances, and screenings. The visiting artists series, produced by SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program and Conversations at the Edge, respectively, kicks off on September 2 with a lecture by internationally recognized social practice artist and innovator, Theaster Gates.

Through the Visiting Artists Program lecture series and Conversations at the Edge screenings, students receive direct access to and engagement with leading artists and scholars working across a number of disciplines.

Visiting Artists Program

The Visiting Artists Program, founded in 1868, is one of the oldest public programs in Chicago. In addition to bringing some of the leading artistic voices to SAIC, the program plays a critical role in informing the curriculum by arranging studio critiques and roundtable discussions with students, providing them with direct access to world-renowned speakers working across disciplines.

Launching on September 2, the fall season is led by Gates, SAIC’s Bill and Stephanie Sick Visiting Artist and a full professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. He is known for his innovative social projects on the South Side of Chicago, including Dorchester Projects and the Black Cinema House.

“Learning outside of the classroom and through real-world examples is critically important to the development of our students and equally as important as the theories taught within our walls,” said Andrea Green, Director of SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program. “SAIC’s visiting artists, designers, and scholars are some of the most influential voices of their time and the education and mentorship they bring to our students and the public is invaluable.”

Additional artists include prolific Swedish artist, Henrik Håkansson who uses methods of observation, collection, and categorization to create work that examines our relation to nature; award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and TED Fellow, Anab Jain; curator Irene Hofmann; critic Claire Bishop and curator Claire Doherty; post-conceptual digital artist Wade Guyton with art historian Susan Tallman; and Lewis Hyde, acclaimed poet, essayist, and cultural critic who will deliver the keynote at SAIC’s A Lived Practice Symposium.

Conversations at the Edge

Conversations at the Edge is organized by the Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation in collaboration with SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center and Video Data Bank. Started in 2001, the weekly program offers attendees the opportunity to engage one-on-one with some of the most compelling contemporary media artists.

The fall season kicks off on September 18 with artist and animator Jonathan Monaghan’s presentation of his latest works on video, including the science fiction inspired shorts Mothership, 2013, and Alien Fanfare, 2014. Through glossy animated videos, virtual environments, and 3D printing, Monaghan seamlessly melds imagery from art history, mainstream video games, and contemporary advertising.

“Media art is the contemporary art of our time and through Conversations at the Edge, we are proud to bring in influential media artists to share their work as we host active discussions on dynamic and deep understandings of how and why media art gets made, and its impact beyond the screen,” said Jon Cates, Chair of the Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation at SAIC. “Our students and public audiences are able to engage with the artists and the art works directly in a very unique, intimate setting at Chicago’s premier venue, the Gene Siskel Film Center.”

Additional artists and programs include noted Chinese artist Cao Fei who uses documentary and virtual reality to explore Chinese culture today; filmmaker Mati Diop, whose film A Thousand Suns (Mille soleils) continues to travel the international film festival circuit; award-winning Chicago pop-noir filmmaker, Jennifer Reeder; 2013 Jarman Award winner, John Smith who presents a selection from his 40-year career; multi-disciplinary artist and queer activist Carlos Motta; Andrew Lampert, a filmmaker and performance artist whose works have been featured in film festivals and museums around the world; a retrospective program on the late Chicago video pioneer Anda Korsts; and a program of films by Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner who scathingly satirized mainstream American iconography during the Culture Wars of the 1980s.

Program Schedule: Visiting Artists Program

All presentations are free and open to the public and begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.





Theaster Gates, world-renowned social practice artist


September 2


The Art Institute of Chicago
Rubloff Auditorium
230 S. Columbus Dr.

Irene Hofmann, Director/Chief Curator, SITE Santa Fe

Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series

September 16


SAIC, Columbus Auditorium
280 S. Columbus Dr.

Art historian and critic, Claire Bishop, and curator Claire Doherty

October 2


AIC, Rubloff Auditorium
230 S. Columbus Dr.

Wade Guyton, post-conceptual digital artist, in conversation with art historian Susan Tallman

October 15

AIC, Rubloff Auditorium
230 S. Columbus Dr.

Henrik Håkansson, prolific Swedish artist

October 28

SAIC, Columbus Auditorium
280 S. Columbus Dr.

Lewis Hyde, acclaimed poet, essayist and cultural critic

November 6

AIC, Rubloff Auditorium
230 S. Columbus Dr.

Anab Jain, innovator, designer, entrepreneur and TED Fellow

November 11


SAIC, Columbus Auditorium
280 S. Columbus Dr.

Program Schedule: Conversations at the Edge

All presentations are ticketed and open to the public. All presentations take place at SAIC’s Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street and begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.





Jonathan Monaghan


Alien Fanfare

Monaghan’s work takes shape through glossy animated videos, virtual environments, and 3D printing, presents a selection of his latest videos (including the science-fiction inspired shorts Mothership, 2013, and Alien Fanfare, 2013).

September 18


Jennifer Reeder


A Million Miles Away

Award-winning Chicago artist, Reeder, presents four recent works and a preview of her latest project. A Million Miles Away (2013) listens in on the bedroom conversations of teenage girls as they forge bonds over absent parents and bad friends.

September 25


Carlos Motta


The Nefandus Trilogy

Composed of the three films, the “Nefandus Trilogy” (2013) is a haunting examination of pre-Hispanic homoeroticism and its stigmatization during Europe’s colonization of the Americas.

October 2


Andrew Lampert


Tables Turned

Lampert will create a site-specific performance for the evening—accompanied by a series of shorts, including El Adios Largos (2013), an inspired reconstruction of Robert Altman’s 1973 feature The Long Goodbye from imperfect source material.

October 9


An Evening with John Smith


An Evening with John Smith

Smith, the 2013 Jarman Award winner, presents a selection from across his 40-year career, including The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), Throwing Stones (2004), Dad’s Stick (2012), and the Chicago premiere of Dark Light (2014).

October 16


Cao Fei


Haze and Fog (2013)

Chinese artist Cao Fei mixes fantasy, documentary, and virtual reality to reflect on the ways China’s rapidly changing economy has transformed the everyday lives and imaginations of its citizens. Haze and Fog is a darkly humorous reinterpretation of the zombie film.

October 23


Anda Korsts


Anda Korsts’s Video Metropolis

In the 1970s Chicago journalist and artist Korsts helped pioneer video as a radical tool for art and activism. Filmmaker Judy Hoffman, and Media Burn Archive’s Tom Weinberg and Sara Chapman present an overview of Korsts’s work.

October 30


Tom Rubnitz, David Wojnarowicz, and Tommy Turner


The X-Ray of Civilization

The Culture Wars and devastation of the AIDS epidemic contributed to a cultural scene in 1980s New York that crackled with tension and ached with sadness. Against this background, artists Rubnitz, Wojnarowicz, and Turner transformed mass media’s detritus into transgressive responses to the socio-political order.

November 6


Mati Diop


A Thousand Suns (Mille soleils) (2013)

Mixing fantasy and documentary, Diop’s award-winning film mines her own family’s past and reflects on Senegal’s history by exploring the legacy of the revolutionary 1973 film Touki Bouki, directed by her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty.

November 13



About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,200 students from around the globe. SAIC also provides adults, high school students, and children with the opportunity to flourish in a variety of courses, workshops, certificate programs, and camps through its Continuing Studies program. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC’s resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit



Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
P: 312.499.4211 (office)