September 15 - October 16, 2017

The Unsolicited Sideshow is a pop-up exhibition and event series that explores how the contemporary condition of "otherness" informs architectural expression. It opens at the CAA as a corollary exhibit to the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial’s main stage at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Like the tents that congregate around a traveling circus, the Sideshow positions a cast of architectural "freaks" and "weirdos" to amplify the energy and visitorship of the main attraction, and give voice to a younger generation of thinkers and practitioners. The exhibition engages with the contemporary discourse of architecture, as well as contemporary culture and politics by asking contributors to explore ideas of otherness, normalcy, and taboo. In the current political and cultural moment, hard lines are being drawn to define and reward ideas of normalcy by spotlighting and punishing an expanding profile of “others.” Just as the circus sideshow challenged the bounds of normalcy, The Sideshow will explore the contemporary condition of otherness as it informs architectural expression through form, program, material, and affect.

Drawing on its history of nomadic entertainment, The Unsolicited Sideshow activates the lobby and mezzanine of the CAA, displayed on a collection of custom Sideshow Boards designed as abstracted sideshow characters.

Alongside the exhibition, the Sideshow will culminate in a four, monthly Friday night events, called Tank Takeovers. The events will highlight select exhibition contributors to expand the dialogue between the Sideshow, the Biennial, and the Chicago community through performance, installation, and celebration.

Serious frivolity and terrifying joy await you at the Sideshow!