National Museum of Mexican Art

The Pilsen neighborhood is decorated with stunning large scale murals and famed ethnic restaurants, but the area's cultural guidepost is the National Museum of Mexican Art. With more than 7,000 objects in its permanent collection, the gallery space is a veritable treasure trove of Latino history. The museum's temporary exhibitions are just as profound and, often times, feature internationally recognized artists. The museum currently vaunts collections by Sergio Gomez, John Valadez and Chaz Bojórquez, but if you want to see them you'll have to plan your visit soon.

If you want to see these works in person, act now. Temporary exhibitions are tough on those who procrastinate and ALL THREE of these displays will be pulled from the museum's walls this summer. You've been warned.

Chaz Bojorquez (Through June 30)

Chaz Bojorquez

Today's street artists can thank Chaz Bojorquez for trailblazing a place in popular art culture for intellectualized vandalism. Bojorquez is a kiss-the-ring godfather for graffiti writing and one of the most accomplished street artists of all-time. His space features everything from a pair of customized Vans sneakers to his iconic The Warriors movie logo. The exhibition closes at the end of the month, so book it to Pilsen, like, now.

Puertas Abiertas by Sergio Gomez (Through August 25)


Sergio Gomez is a Chicago based artist and his exhibition features enormous works (some of which were completed in a single afternoon) stapled to the walls. The artist suggests a door by its mere absence in his works, an abstract concept that I'm far too shallow to discuss at any length. Instead, I'll let you know that there's a time lapse video of Gomez creating the exhibition's flagship piece, a spectacle that's worth the free price of admission by itself. Gomez is also the owner of 33 Contemporary Gallery and the curator of Zhou B Art Center (both in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood). If you miss this exhibition or just need more wall sized works to marvel at, Gomez's art can be found all over Chicago.

Santa Ana Condition: John Valadez (Through August 11)

Santa Anna

Southern California is the subject of John Valdez's pastel-soaked exhibition, an artful combination of over-the-top fantasy and realistic depictions of people. I was especially struck by the gallery's opening piece, which features a woman smiling in her backyard while a roaring wild fire blazes behind her. This exhibition is chocked full of shocking contrast and, for whatever reason, outrageous juxtaposition really resonates with me. The clock is ticking on this multi-room exhibition, so make your trip to the National Museum of Mexican Art before the time on this display runs out.

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