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I Have Vivid Memories of Lightning

I Have Vivid Memories of Lightning

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in partnership with Chicago Artists Coalition are proud to present the fourth exhibition of their joint Curatorial Fellowship program, I Have Vivid Memories of Lightning curated by Kate Pollasch with work by Nikki Renee Anderson, Iris Bernblum, Helen Maurene Cooper, Assaf Evron, Gunjan Kumar, Noritaka Minami, Judy Natal, Betsy Stout, Allison Svoboda, The Weaving Mill, Rhonda Wheatley, and Stacia Yeapanis.

Curator's Statement

I was immersed in two texts while developing this exhibition, When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams and Tongues of Flame by David Wojnarowicz. While each text appears to be of two disparate worlds, one contains a conservationist’s reflections on womanhood and environmentalism after her Mormon mother died, while the other is a soulchurning battle cry of autobiography and experience as an HIV positive man during the AIDS crisis in the 1990s. Both texts, both authors, use their creative voice to breach through the world around them, to puncture the status quo and demand a shift in thinking, a divorce from normativity, and a call to healing and transformation. The alchemic power of their words are echoed throughout my conceptual formation of this exhibition and harmonized within each artist exhibited in I Have Vivid Memories of Lightning.

Why do we so often damage and draw borders around those things that are most fragile in life? Owning land and constraining citizens into states of immobility; demolishing ecosystems while exploiting natural resources; and binding individuals into frozen states of binary labels, social expectations, and economic class structures. Each artist in this exhibition transcends these habits of trauma and constraint, to visualize a new way of being or interpreting the human condition in the context of the environment and the body.

I Have Vivid Memories of Lightning is an exhibition of earth and marrow, of healing and unraveling from the binders of land formation and human development, of pollution and the environment, and of the body and constraint.

About the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Curatorial Fellowship

Launched in 2016, the Curatorial Fellowship program offers an emerging curator who has completed Chicago Artist Coalition’s yearlong HATCH Projects a next-step in their professional development. The Curatorial Fellowship program charges the chosen curator to create a show with work selected from nonprofit visual arts galleries and organizations supported by the Foundation in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Visual Arts Organizations Represented

Chicago Art Department, Chicago Artists Coalition, Elastic Arts Foundation, Elmhurst Art Museum, Filter Photo, Heaven Gallery, LATITUDE, Ragdale Foundation, Riverside Arts Center, Spudnik Press, Threewalls, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Woman Made Gallery

Viewing is by appointment only.


Kate Pollasch is an art historian, curator, and writer. Her curatorial practice interrogates preexisting notions of history and normativity through queer tactics, network theory, archival studies, and considerations of affect and digital pedagogy. In 2012, she curated the exhibition “Roger Brown: This Boy’s Own Story” of Chicago Imagist artist Roger Brown’s artistic relationship to HIV, sexuality, mortality, and Chicago’s gay leather community. The exhibition unearthed previously censored artworks and archival materials from Brown’s career and resulted in Brown’s induction into the Visual AIDS Artist Registry.

Pollasch holds a MA in Modern art History and Theory and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. Kate is the Director of Collections and Curation at the University Club of Chicago and she has held positions with The American Visionary Art Museum, The Art institute of Chicago, the Roger Brown House Museum, Sullivan Galleries, and most recently Rhona Hoffman Gallery. She has lectured at The Chicago History Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The University of Chicago and is a contributing writer for New City, The Seen, and Elite Daily.

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