Arlo Chicago expands art programming

Arlo Hotels, an independent hotel brand with properties in New York, Miami and Chicago, is expanding its signature Living Room Gallery series to Chicago with a new exhibition exploring themes in gender and queerness during Pride Month. The installation will be displayed starting June 20 at Arlo Chicago on Michigan Avenue. 

Created by Arlo Hotels art curator Jasmine Arakel, Arlo’s Living Room Gallery serves to bring contemporary art typically reserved for galleries and private collections to publicly accessible spaces at Arlo Hotels across New York, Miami and, now, Chicago. In partnership with Chicago-based Monique Meloche Gallery, the exhibition at Arlo Chicago showcases pieces by Antonius-Tín Bui, whose work features hand-cut paper, community engagement, performance and soft sculpture, and David Antonio Cruz, who explores the intersectionality of queerness and race through painting, sculpture and performance.

Originally from the Bronx, Bui is a multidisciplinary artist whose hybridized identity as a queer, gender-fluid Vietnamese-American informs how they employ beauty as a refuge for fellow marginalized communities. Bui’s work depicts friends, relatives, fellow artists, organizers and creatives, most of whom are intimate to the artist, though they sometimes portray historical characters and porn stars as their subjects. 

“This exhibition not only showcases incredible talent, but also embodies Arlo’s commitment to inclusivity and the community,” Jimmy Suh, chief commercial officer at Arlo Hotels, said. “We invite the public to join us in celebrating these artists and maybe even take a piece home with them.”  

Bui’s piece Don’t call me sir, call me strong call me shooting star, call me sea, call me wave upon wave, call me womb, call me woman (2022) is a portrait of Kitty Tsui, a Cantonese-American author, activist and poet whom Bui learned of while in San Francisco at an LGBTQ+ bookstore. Every morning I said my hungers aloud, rehearsing for my future body (2021) is a portrait of Z, a trans tattoo artist and therapist known as @hotbirdbath on Instagram; Bui honors their transcended “transness” in a larger-than-life portrait to almost deify them and their practice. 

Focusing on queer, trans and gender-fluid communities of color, Cruz examines the violence perpetrated against their members, conveying his subjects both as specific individuals and as monumental signifiers for large and urgent systemic concerns. Cruz’s recent series, “chosen family,” explores the nonbiological bonds between queer people and expands the idea of family as structures that build hope and resilience, chosen out of mutual love and support.

Thosetreasuresthatyoukeepjustoutofreach,theycomeandgointruckloads,butnoonestopstoseethem (2022) is a portrait of Chicago-based artist Brendan Fernandes and his chosen family, Kyle and Dominick. The collective of friends toy with masculinity, cultural identifiers and sex through high fashion, leather and bondage wear, and cultural beads and fabrics covered in coded motifs of butterflies and owls. Each painting in the series depicts the likeness of the artist’s community while striving to capture the overall structure of queer relationships through intimate moments of touch, strength, support and celebration.

Arlo Chicago will debut the Living Room Gallery exhibition with a special-edition Chicago Pride Opening Reception on Thursday, June 20, from 7-9 p.m. The evening will include live beats by a local Chicago-based DJ, food and drink specials, and discussion by art specialists from Monique Meloche Gallery. Art enthusiasts and open minds can RSVP for free on Eventbrite

Arlo Chicago is located in the heart of Downtown Chicago at 168 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601. The 218-room hotel represents the stylish sophistication of the Magnificent Mile, the artistic refinement of the Cultural Mile and the savvy street smarts of the Loop business district, creating a unified community vibe.

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