The Petty Biennial.2

The Petty Biennial.2

Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago

Carlos Barberena, Exodus, 2019. Linocut on paper, 24 x 18 inches.

November 1, 2019
The Petty Biennial.2
November 7, 2019–February 14, 2020
Opening: November 7, 5–7pm
Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago
1104 S Wabash Ave
60605 Chicago IL
Hours: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm

With more than 100 biennials and triennials around the world, the large-scale international events have been a valued mode of artistic display in contemporary exhibition practices that have fueled the mass production and consumption of contemporary art. Used as a means to flex global status and distinction, the hegemonic format is a frequent topic of debate and critique. The Petty Biennial.2 is an exhibition project that seeks to challenge and reimagine dominant biennial culture by centering multiple cultural diasporas as a nexus of local exchange and dialogue for marginalized and queer communities. 

Challenging the notion of diasporic communities as a dispersion of ethnicities across the globe, participating artists understand diaspora as a network and community of people across races, geographies, and ethnicities who are impacted and connected through the legacies of colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism. This connective tissue of social systems represents the efforts on the part of people of color to find each other and ourselves, a constant struggle to free our mind, body, and soul from inherited violence and oppression. 

The Petty Biennial.2 engages with pettiness as an act of seizing agency within the telling of one’s own story. Pettiness is a claiming of space. Pettiness creates a space where one asserts themselves unapologetically, confronting a society that values and privileges whiteness above all, while finding solidarity from a community of peers. Pettiness is therefore a performative gesture that seeks liberation through exposing, and finding humor in oppressive social systems.

Glass Curtain Gallery will serve as the project’s anchor site, with two satellite locations at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park and NYCH Gallery in Pilsen. The exhibition will feature the work of sixteen participating artists across the disciplines of painting, drawing, printmaking, performance, photography, sculpture, installation, and video.  

Participating artists include: D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem, Alexandria Eregbu, Liz Gomez, Jacquelyn Carmen Guerrero, Jesus Hilario, Jennifer Ligaya, Damon Locks, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Carlos Barberena de la Rocha, Amina Ross, Luis A. Sahagun, Edra Soto, Yasmin Spiro, Raelis Vasquez, Rhonda Wheatley, and Santiago X  

Curated by: Courtney Cintrón, Sabrina Greig, and Adia Sykes

About The Petty Biennial
The Petty Biennial, co-founded by La Keisha Leek and Sadie Woods, is not a biennial itself, but a curatorial investigation towards queering the canon of traditional biennials. Every two years, the founders pass the curation of the project on to a new team. This exhibition project that complicates dominant narratives of contemporary cultural, social, political norms. Inspired by digital media, this project embodies “petty” or “clapback” culture as a disruption in respectability politics and a performative assertion in the contemporary art world. It is a response to classist views towards communities of color and peripheral art practices. At the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, featured artists showcase a range of regional and national perspectives unique to North and Central America and the Caribbean. In 2017, Leek and Woods worked with academics, cultural producers, and curators to select artists for the inaugural Petty Biennial. The project selected seventeen artists for its exhibition produced Arts + Public Life of the University of Chicago along with an additional nine artists for ancillary programming produced in partnership with The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Black Cinema House, and OpenTV. 

Satellite exhibitions 

Heaven Gallery
1550 N Milwaukee Ave, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60622
December 6, 2019–January 19, 2020       
Opening: December 6, 7–11pm
Hours: Friday & Saturday 1–6pm
Sunday 1–5pm or appointment

NYCH Gallery
2025 S Laflin St, 1st Floor, Chicago, IL 60608
January 10-February 7, 2020
Opening: January 10, 6–10pm
Hours: Monday–Saturday 11am–7pm or appointment

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Contact: Mark Porter, mporter [​at​], T 312 369 6643

RSVP for The Petty Biennial.2
Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago
November 1, 2019

Thank you for your RSVP.

Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.