Sometimes it’s a good thing to be outside of the U.S.’s usual art-world circuit of New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles. Over the past decade, Chicago has emerged as a vital voice in our national artistic landscape, due in part to its long incubation of artists and curators through institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, which recently moved into a new, modern wing designed by Renzo Piano, and the museum’s attendant university, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The city has given rise to artists with original, groundbreaking practices, like the post-surrealist sculptors Sterling Ruby and Theaster Gates, whose works move between making objects and renovating urban neighborhoods.
Then there’s Chicago’s vibrant street life, where the art spills out into the city. Anonymous artists like Bored, Don’t Fret, and Penny Pinch build on Chicago’s already rich body of public art—after all, it is the city of Anish Kapoor’s reflective “Cloud Gate” sculpture, more commonly known as “The Bean.” With that, here are 10 young Chicago artists that will soon be household names.