Earthly Observatory

Earthly Observatory

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Meredith Leich, Animated Drawings for a Glacier—Kennicott, 2018. Site-specific projection. Photo: Yoni Goldstein.

September 15, 2021
Earthly Observatory
August 31–December 3, 2021
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
33 E Washington St
60602 Chicago IL
Instagram / Facebook

Earthly Observatory  explores how we sense, portray, and engage our ever-expanding planetary entanglements. Through crafted visions and close listening, legacies of conquest and movements of protest, the exhibition examines the contested relations between ecology and economy, ethics and aesthetics that dominate our experience at one moment, and evades our awareness at another. Drawn from diverse practices across art, design, and the natural sciences, the works invite questions about the ways that we—as one among many Earthlings—create knowledge of our manifold world.

Featuring: Allora & Calzadilla+Ted Chiang, Jonas N.T. Becker, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kelly Church, Xavier Cortada, Rena Detrixhe, Paul Dickinson, Mark Dion, Jeannette Ehlers, Terry Evans, Assaf Evron, The Field Museum Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies, Terike Haapoja, Paul Harfleet, Isao Hashimoto, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Amanda Hess & Shane O’Neill, Katie Kingery-Page, Tim Lamey, SAIC’s ARC Land Acknowledgment Subcommittee, Meredith Leich, Norman W. Long, Peggy Macnamara, Nandipha Mntambo, Cherish Parrish, Claire Pentecost, Ken Rinaldo, Zoé Strecker, Cole Swanson, Anaïs Tondeur, Walter Tschinkel, Erin Wiersma

Curated by Giovanni Aloi and Andrew S. Yang

Conditions of Representation: Seeing entangles two things at once: what is and what we imagine something to be.

Seeing, Marking, and Tracing: Body and landscape are mutual inscriptions—tracings of soil, mappings of territory.

Relative Visibilities: Expanding our view of the worlds we are intimately interwoven within.

Vulnerability and Communality: Life is interdependence, with possibilities for resilience, and unique vulnerability.

Down to Earth: The planet is seen as inexhaustible, and yet also not quite enough.

Exhibition team
Earthly Observatory was made possible by Director of Exhibitions Hannah Barco, Executive Director of Exhibitions Trevor Martin, and Graduate Curatorial Assistants Sophie Buchmueller (Dual MA 2022), Sydney Gush (MFA 2022), Parinda Mai  (MFA 2022), Cole Howard Thompson (MA 2021), with Director of Exhibitions Operations Steve Plaxco,  Senior Exhibition Manager Michael Hall, Assistant Director of Exhibitions Josh Fairbanks, and Administrative Assistant Kaitlyn Albrecht. SAIC Galleries is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago Galleries
SAIC Galleries is a vibrant, public art space that features the boundary-pushing work of emerging and established contemporary artists and designers. Opened in the fall of 2020, SAIC Galleries is part of a four-story gallery and studio space at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s 33 Building, located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.

SAIC Galleries welcomes the public to visit in person. Appointments are strongly encouraged. SAIC follows all guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and national health authorities. For more information and to book an appointment, please visit

Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11am–6pm. Appointments encouraged.

Press contact
Department of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies: exhibitions-saic [​at​] / T 312 845 5910

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman.

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School of the Art Institute of Chicago
September 15, 2021

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