Tavarus Blackmonster's The Rabbit Told the Cookie Credit: Deanna Isaacs

Last August when Arc Gallery put out a call for submissions for an exhibition to be titled “I Can’t Breathe,” the idea was to “begin a conversation” about “the shocking violence by police against unarmed citizens” that had been revealed in “video after video” over the previous year.

When the show opened this week, the city was already deep into that conversation.

Nancy VanKanegan's <i>Speak No Evil</i>
Nancy VanKanegan’s Speak No EvilCredit: Deanna Isaacs

The title is drawn from the last words of Eric Garner, repeated multiple times to no avail after he was taken down by New York City police for allegedly trying to sell loose cigarettes. On the indelible video of this travesty, a witness can be heard protesting, from the beginning, that all Garner had done was break up someone else’s fight.

But that was New York, last year.

Matthew Miklavcic's <i> I Can't Breathe When You Hover Over Me</i>
Matthew Miklavcic’s I Can’t Breathe When You Hover Over MeCredit: Deanna Isaacs

A week ago, Chicago got to see its own indelible, racially charged video: the long-withheld record of the killing of Laquan McDonald. This exhibit, which could just as well be called “16 Shots,” is appallingly timely. Curated by Romi Crawford and Mary Patten, it features work in multiple media by dozens of artists from around the U.S. and beyond.  

Raymond Thomas's <i>Warrior Queen of Ferguson</i>
Raymond Thomas’s Warrior Queen of FergusonCredit: Deanna Isaacs

There’s an opening reception Friday from 6 to 9 PM at the gallery. Also, a jurors’ talk from 4 to 6 PM, Saturday, December 12. Gallery hours are noon to 6 PM Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4 PM Sunday.

Arc Gallery, 2156 N. Damen, 773-252-2232, arcgallery.org.