A pickup truck careened off a road in Chicago, slamming into the facade of Andrew Rafacz Gallery in West Town, destroying a large-scale ceramic work by the artist Roxanne Jackson, and damaging the building, according to a report from Block Club Chicago.
The collision happened at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday. Video from the time of the incident shows the truck charging down Chicago Avenue toward the gallery before crashing through the gallery’s glass windows. When police arrived a few hours later, half of the vehicle was still inside the gallery.
Rafacz told ARTnews the gallery was presenting a solo show of Jackson’s work called Candleholders for the Underworld, much of which had been made during her residency at the Center for Contemporary Ceramics at California State University Long Beach.
“It’s still not settling in. We are all in shock. And there is no easy way to tell an artist you admire that their work has been destroyed,” Rafacz told ARTnews.
Jackson’s sculpture, Sweet Leaf Twilight (2023), a 94-inch-tall work comprised of six pieces stacked on top of one another to form a modern, totem pole-like figure, was her largest work to date. The work, which was for sale for $22,500, has been completely destroyed. Multiple other works were damaged because of the incident.
Rafacz says the gallery, which was designed by the Chicago based architect Paul Preissner, will be closed for at least three, if not four months, during what for many in the US market is the art world’s busiest season. Their September offering, a solo show by the New York–based artist Shaun Leonardo, has been canceled, though Rafacz still plans to participate in the forthcoming Chicago Exposition Weekend.
Video footage also shows a group of three men leaving the gallery after the crash, appearing to walk away from the scene casually. While there have been reports of drag racing along Chicago Avenue, Rafacz says he believes the truck was purposefully driven into the gallery.
But he believes the gallery may not have been specifically targeted. He said he had seen footage that shows a separate group of people standing nearby as if they were spectators, waiting for the crash.
Rafacz’s gallery has been mainstay in Chicago for 20 years. It moved to the West Town four years ago to take part in the neighborhood’s emerging identity as a gallery district.