Rowland Contemporary


Chicago Art Scene

It was September 2005 when Mark Rowland returned to the Chicago art scene after a stint in the corporate world. If Mark was known for anything, it was his ability to demystify the ominous process of building an art collection. Armed with this knowledge, he opened a contemporary art gallery on the southwest corner of Fulton and May Streets. This endeavor was not without success. The gallery soon became a platform for many well-known artists, including New York-based Ida Applebroog, Kelly Kaczynski, Carrie Moyer, Anders Ruhwald, Jason Karolak and Wallace Whitney.


In the four years of its existence, until 2009, Rowland Contemporary organized more than thirty individual and collective exhibitions of masters and emerging artists. The last exhibitions held at the gallery were:

  • •  2008  The Greatest Companions | Edra Soto | Summary
  • •  2008  Coming Apart - In-Visible Cities | Karen Lebergott
  • •  2008  Much More Than Previously Imagined | Tom Denlinger
  • ★  2007-2037  The Pillow and the Painting | Matthew Girson | Summary
  • •  2008  One is never so close [..] | Anders Ruhwald | Summary
  • •  2008  Project Space | Nancy Ford | Summary
  • •  2007  If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now 1-3 | Boyle et al.
  • •  2007  Photogenetics | Ida Applebroog | Summary
  • •  2007  One Last Single Solitary Moment | Diana Puntar | Summary

Among these works is a special exhibition called 'The Sleep (of Reason Produces Monsters, I Think), 2007/2037' from Matthew Girson. The sound sculpture is an artwork in progress and will be completed in 2037 — on the 400th anniversary of Descartes' publication Discourse on Method — when it is broadcast into space.

Contemporary Art

For those unfamiliar with contemporary art, it refers to the art produced in the present time, typically post-World War II and encompasses a wide range of styles and mediums, including conceptual, minimalist, pop, installation, and performance art. Although these styles differ, they all reflect and critique the cultural, political and social developments and issues of their time. For Rowland Contemporary, for example, feminism, identity and the environment were some of the recurring themes.

  • Karen Lebergott

    Karen Lebergott, Disruption, detail, 2008

  • Tom Denlinger

    Tom Denlinger, Around the Art Institute of Chicago: Josephson

  • The Franks

    The Franks, No Public Bathroom Only For Customer

  • Wallace Whitney

    Wallace Whitney, Air 2007

  • Matthew Girson

    Matthew Girson, The Sleep (of Reason Produces Monsters, I Think)

  • Ida Applebroog

    Ida Applebroog, It Is My Lunch Hour

Not Confined

As contemporary art is not confined to a particular movement or style, it is constantly evolving. The work exhibited at Rowland Contemporary included modern art in the broadest sense by artists from both the United States and Europe.

Outer Space

In addition to the physical gallery at the West Fulton Market, Rowland Contemporary operated on the Internet under the name It is this address — where you are now — that is the only tangible remnant of this remarkable gallery. A place that provided a window to the world for over 40 great artists and their audiences. And perhaps also into outer space, when one of its exhibits is sent beyond the stars in 2037.


  1. is the first part of a contemporary work of art that is in the making. To enquire about the project 'When Galleries Become Art' click .

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