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SKIN IN THE GAME Exhibition To Open in Chicago | Spotlight on Lake

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The acclaimed exhibition Skin in the Game will open in Chicago from April 7-24, 2022 presenting works by over 40 diverse, local and international artists, including several from Chicago. Curated by Zoe Lukov and produced by Abby Pucker, Skin in the Game and its vibrant public program is a collective offering, exploring touch, transmission, and skin—the potential, vulnerability and risk contained therein—as a boundary to protect from danger or as a porous border to receive. It seeks to establish a dialogue with the erotic and has through lines that touch on game, color, race, the hunt, sport, religious iconography and competition.

Images left to right: Raúl de Nieves, The longer I slip into a crack the shorter my nose becomes, 2016, courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery; Isabelle Albuquerque, Orgy for 10 people in One Body: 5, 2020, courtesy of the artist and Nicodim Gallery; Moises Salazar, Ready when you are, 2021 courtesy of the artist and Mindy Solomon Gallery

The Chicago iteration features newly commissioned works and site-specific installations by several Chicago-based artists, including Brendan Fernandes, whose work will include a performance that engages with a number of his bondage-related sculptures, toeing the line between the mundane, the torturous and the pleasurable; Yvette Mayorga, who has created an experiential journey through a curated selection of her works that harness the main emblems of her iconic, nostalgic Polly Pocket pink aesthetic while exploring issues around migration, immigration and home; Moisés Salazar, who has been commissioned to create an altar piece that appropriates traditional Mexican religious reliquary and repurposes the sacred structure as a site of adorned queer brown bodies; and Jake Troyli, who is creating a new painting that explores sport, competition and performance. Los Angeles-based Gabriela Ruiz is building a new, entirely immersive environment that is magically fantastical and transportive while also highlighting issues of surveillance.

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In addition to works from important collections such as Theaster Gates’ Reliquary, Lynda Benglis’ Eat Meat, Clarity Haynes’ Genesis, and Marilyn Minter’s Pamela Anderson, historic and iconic works have been added by Chicago-based artists Nick Cave, Samuel Levi Jones, Kerry James Marshall, Ebony Patterson, Cheryl Pope and Soo Shin.

“Having skin in the game is about power, danger, currency, play, joy and indulgence as well as the taboo, the voyeuristic and the hedonistic. There is an inherent violence and vulnerability, as well as a promise of pleasure, that comes with being in one’s skin,” said Lukov, an independent curator based in Los Angeles on her inspiration for the exhibition. “Reimagining the show for Chicago has provided me the opportunity to explore the multi-layered landscape of the city through the eyes of its artists and their creative processes.”

Chief among the organizers’ goals for the exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is to create a new and accessible space, a hub for arts and culture that breaks down the divides of a heavily siloed art world and provides opportunities for dialogue and cross-pollination of diverse opinions and sectors of the city. Located in the Fulton Market area of the city in the former meat-packing district, the neighborhood is now teeming with nightlife, barbershops and tattoo parlors, attracting a large cross-section of the city’s arts and culture community.

Abby Pucker, an early supporter of the exhibition and the producer spearheading the presentation in Chicago said, “My mission in bringing the exhibition to Chicago is to create space for convening across multiple communities that may not always interact. I believe that it is vital to make arts and culture a key part of our civic engagement and to highlight this diverse ecosystem by bringing together community groups, small businesses, artists, important private collections and arts patrons.”

An international roster of artists from Argentina, Barbados, China, Colombia, Cuba, France, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Syria, the U.K. and the United States lend diversity to the presentation in terms of genre, trajectory and perspective.

Featured artists: Derrick Adams, Isabelle Albuquerque, Tosh Basco, Carlos Betancourt, Lynda Benglis, Rashayla Marie Brown, Zoë Buckman, Nick Cave, Raúl de Nieves, Jen DeNike, Jane Dickson, Amir H. Fallah, Brendan Fernandes, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Nicholas Galanin X Merritt Johnson, Theaster Gates, Clarity Haynes, Micol Hebron, Camille Henrot, Zhang Huan, Rashid Johnson, Samuel Levi Jones, Jesse Krimes, Kerry James Marshall, Yvette Mayorga, Marilyn Minter, Maynard Monrow, Carlos Motta X Tiamat Legion Medusa, Ebony Patterson, Paul Pfeiffer, Cheryl Pope, Erin M. Riley, Florencia Rodriguez Giles, Sheena Rose, Gabriela Ruiz, Kathleen Ryan, Moises Salazar, Soo Shin, Hank Willis Thomas, Jake Troyli, Juana Valdes, David Wojnarowicz, Agustina Woodgate, Kennedy Yanko and Jwan Yosef.

Skin in the Game is generously sponsored by Alec & Jennifer Litowitz and Shapack Partners.

The original conception and first iteration of Skin in the Game at Miami Art Week 2021, was presented by Palm Heights


Skin in the Game

Curated by Zoe Lukov and produced by Abby Pucker Address: 400 N. Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60642


April 7: 12-10PM; 8PM Brendan Fernandes performance April 8: 12-6PM April 9: 12-10PM April 15-19: Closed for holidays

April 20-24: 12-8PM


Derrick Adams is a Brooklyn-based, multidisciplinary artist, whose practice is rooted in deconstructivist philosophies, such as the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, and the marriage of complex and improbable forms.

Isabelle Albuquerque is a Los Angeles-based artist, who works in sculpture and performance, utilizing her own body to create depictions which flip the narrative of vulnerable female sexuality into a story of power.

Tosh Basco is a Zürich-based, American-born, movement-based performance artist whose practice employs improvisation as mode of survival and world-building.

Lynda Benglis is an American sculptor, whose wax paintings and poured latex sculptures result in metaphorical and biomorphic shapes, exploring the physicality of form and how it affects the viewer.

Carlos Betancourt is an American artist, whose work in performance, installation, photography, and video explores issues of memory and personal experience by recycling and reinterpreting fragments of the past.

Rashayla Marie Brown is an artist scholar whose work blends installation design, photography, performance, writing, video and filmmaking with the implementation and critique of power structures.

Zoë Buckman is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice incorporates sculpture, textiles, ceramics, photography, and large-scale public installations with an explicitly feminist approach.

Nick Cave is a Chicago-based artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance.

Jen DeNike is an American artist based in New York, whose work spanning video, photography, and performance negotiates a distinctly feminine perspective on gender roles.

Raúl de Nieves is a Mexican artist based in New York, whose opulent and joyful sculpture, installation, and performance pieces borrow from religious iconography, mythology, and BDSM to reference both traditional Mexican carnival and queer drag ballroom culture.

Jane Dickson is a New York-based artist who has been exhibiting her nocturnal paintings of peep shows and porn parlors internationally for two decades. Her work was pivotal in defining the city’s downtown cultural scene in the 1980s.

Amir H. Fallah is an Iranian-born, American sculptor and painter, whose work utilizes personal history as an entry point to discuss race, representation, the body, and the memories of cultures and countries left behind.

Brendan Fernandes is an internationally recognized Canadian artist currently based out of Chicago working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement.

Gonzalo Fuenmayor is a Colombian artist based in Miami, whose drawing practice utilizes charcoal to consider the symbolism and mythology of Latin America via common tropes of “tropicalia.”

Nicholas Galanin X Merritt Johnson are multidisciplinary artists living and working in Sitka, Alaska. Their collaborations, rooted in indigenous histories, are vessels of knowledge, consciousness, and technology which carry close engagements with contemporary culture.

Theaster Gates is an American sculptor and performance artist, whose interventions contend with contemporary land development, drawing from his own training in urban planning and preservation.

Clarity Haynes is a queer feminist American artist and writer, whose painted portraits of queer, trans, cis female and nonbinary bodies fixate on themes of survival, self-definition, and self-determination.

Micol Hebron is an artist, educator, and organizer based in Los Angeles, whose multidisciplinary work displays a strong commitment to feminist activism.

Camille Henrot is a French artist, whose video, sculpture, and drawings reference self-help, second-hand online marketplaces, cultural anthropology, literature, psychoanalysis, and social media as a means of questioning what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject.

Zhang Huan is a Chinese painter, photographer, sculptor, performance artist, and opera director whose work engages with Buddhist philosophy and his own conflicted feelings toward it. Huan is best known for his time-intensive performances that have tested his own physical and mental endurance.

Kerry James Marshall is a Birmingham-born, Chicago-based artist whose practice foregrounds painting but encompasses a range of media, from comics to sculpture, striving towards a literal and conceptual Black aesthetic.

Rashid Johnson is a Chicago-based contemporary American artist whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history.

Samuel Levi Jones is an American artist known for his paintings and assemblage art, often abstract, and centered on African-American history, and identity; using historically sourced materials

Jesse Krimes is an American artist, whose multidisciplinary work spotlights criminal injustice and contemporary perceptions of criminality.

Yvette Mayorga is a Chicago-based artist who navigates the intersection of feminism, immigration, and post-colonialism. A first-generation Mexican-American, she works with subject matter specific to personal accounts of border crossing and border politics within the United States.

Marilyn Minter is an American artist, whose work blurs the line between commercial and fine art through gaudy and hyper-realistic paintings and photographs that examine desire and sexuality as cultural anxieties placed on the female body.

Maynard Monrow is an American artist informed by his interest in art history, critical theory and culture. His text-based works feature witticism, bon mots, and maxims ranging in tone from the quotidian to the extraordinary, from the polemical to the uncontroversial.

Carlos Motta is a Colombian artist whose film, photography, and sculpture challenge ideas about sexuality and gender using a myriad of archival material, art historical references, and the body. He serves as both collaborator and interlocutor in the video installation When I Leave This World, created with body-modification artist Tiamat Legion Medusa.

Ebony Patterson is an artist living and working in Chicago and Kingston, Jamaica whose multilayered practice in painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video uses beauty as a tool to address global social and political injustices.

Paul Pfeiffer is an American artist working in video, sculpture, and photography, whose work samples, dissects, and edits scenes from mass media as a way of exposing the eerie emptiness that lies beneath contemporary existence.

Cheryl Pope is an interdisciplinary visual artist that questions and responds to issues of identity as it relates to the individual and the community, specifically regarding race, gender, class, history, power, and place.

Erin M. Riley is a New York based artist, whose hand-woven tapestries serve as both violent and sexy explorations of webcam documentation.

Florencia Rodriguez Giles is an Argentine artist, whose drawing and performance practices employ dreams and illusions to explore the meaning possessed by ritualistic and religious customs in society.

Sheena Rose is an emerging artist from Barbados, whose paintings explode with emotion and celebration of their Black subjects while exploring themes of victory, play, and hope.

Gabriela Ruiz is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and model based in LA. Her work is a mix of kink, queer and Mexican iconography.

Katheen Ryan is a New York based artist who creates sculptures in the palette of the American vernacular, drawings on trinkets, hobbies and leisure; the glory and rudimentary phenomena of nature; and the playground-cum-junkyard of abundance at that country’s heart.

Moises Salazar is a first generation, nonbinary queer artist working in the U.S., whose practice selects marginalized and neglected bodies as its subject, providing them with a safe space to exist on the canvas.

Soo Shin is a South Korean-born artist who lives and works in Chicago, creating sculptures with varied materials, such as wood, metal, clay, and appropriated personal objects.

Hank Willis Thomas is an American conceptual artist, whose work addresses how systems of popular culture perpetuate inequality, especially as it relates to race.

Jake Troyli is an artist who utilizes techniques formalized during the High Renaissance to investigate the construction of otherness and the commodification of the Black/Brown body. His energetic paintings often feature a self-portrait or avatar of himself embedded in engaging scenes.

Juana Valdes is an Afro-Cuban artist based in Miami, whose works in ceramics explore issues of identity and race in the Caribbean.

David Wojnarowicz was an American painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, songwriter/recording artist, and AIDS activist prominent in the East Village art scene.

Agustina Woodgate is an artist from Buenos Aires whose practice is focused on the study of systems, the theories of value, power relations and logics operating in society.

Kennedy Yanko is an American sculptor, painter, and installation artist working in found metal and paint skin to explore the limitations of optic vision.

Jwan Yosef is a Syrian-born, Swedish-patriated conceptual artist, whose work queers modernist principles of abstraction to release entendres towards a plurality of perspectives.


Zoe Lukov is a curator, producer and writer. Formerly chief curator of Faena Art in Miami Beach and in Buenos Aires, Lukov conceived of and produced both the first and second Faena Festivals in 2018 and 2019. In addition, she organized major solo exhibits by internationally recognized artists throughout the Faena Districts. She is a founding board member of Desert X, the non-profit site-specific exhibition based in California and recently produced a documentary about Desert X 2021 that made its premiere at the Getty Museum and broadcast on PBS. She produces independent curatorial projects, among them the well-received Fair, an alternative, all women, non-commercial art fair that took place in Miami at Brickell City Centre in 2017. She got her start in the art world working for Rashida Bumbray at The Kitchen in New York, Jeffrey Deitch at MOCA Los Angeles and Franklin Sirmans on Prospect 3, the New Orleans biennial. She is a Fulbright scholar and a graduate of Oberlin College. Follow @zoelukov.


Abby is a cultural producer who is involved in initiatives sitting at the nexus of arts & culture, civic engagement, and technology. She is interested in leveraging the collective power and resources of this next generation of cultural influencers, artists and institutions to find more sustainable solutions to building a just and equitable creative economy. Most recently Abby produced Madison Wells’ Chicago-based immersive art experience, Nevermore Park, based on Hebru Brantley’s Flyboy. Her film credits include Emily Cohn’s “CRSHD,” which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and was released in virtual theaters May 2020, “When Jeff Tried to Save the World” starring Maya Erskine, and Erica Rose’s “Girl Talk” which premiered at Outfest in 2018. Additionally, she is a board member of The Marshall Project, Pioneer Works, Ghetto Film School and the progressive American political organization, Run for Something. Previous to her producing career, Abby worked in a business development capacity at Sotheby’s NYC and ran Strategic Expansion at a workforce development centered tech company called Catalyte.

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