Brief Bio

J. Thomas Pallas received his MFA in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice from the University of Chicago.  His studies focused on the dialectics of abstraction/representation, authenticity/appropriation, complicity/political activity, and ethics/aesthetics.  He earned BA degrees in Studio Art/Art History and English from Rice University with a thesis focused on contemporary queer drama, and has also studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the European College of Liberal Arts (Berlin). His work has been exhibited in Chicago and at venues throughout the country, such as Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin), Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids), Truman State University Art Gallery (Missouri), Arizona State University, and the Indianapolis Art Center.  
He works as the Manager of Community Engagement and Arts Learning at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.  He is currently a HATCH Curatorial Resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition.

Also credited as: Jaxon Pallas, Jaxon Velociraptor, Ajax Athena


Selected Exhibitions


Mapping Space The Could Return to Earth Again, 12th Havana Biennial, Fabrica de Arte (Havana, Cuba)

Migrant Files, ACRE Projects (Chicago)

In Bringing Forth, Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago)

Terrorists In The Library, City Colleges of Chicago

2nd Floor Rear - Festival of Art in Alternative Places, Multiple Venues (Chicago)


Bling, Bling, EXPO Chicago

Hoarding, Amassing, Excess, NIU Art Museum, Northern Illinois University (Dekalb, IL)

Now Is The Closest Approximation of the Future, Centre de Desarollo de las Artes Visuales (Havana, Cuba)


Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation, Dittmar Gallery, Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

Word on the Street: Image, Language, Signage, Center for Book and Paper Arts, Columbia College (Chicago)

Front & Center, Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago)

Mid-American Print Council Biennial, McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH)


Arte No Es Facil, Links Hall (Chicago)

No Printing Necessary, Arizona State University Art Gallery (Tempe, AZ)

Combs and Other Found Collages, Intelligentsia (Chicago)


MDW Art Fair, Geolofts Building representing High Concept Labs (Chicago)

Remake, Eel Space (Chicago)

Minority Art: Inspiration, Obligation, Governors State University Art Gallery (University Park, IL)

Collage in Three Time Spans, South Suburban College (Holland, IL)


Art from the Heartland, Indianapolis Art Center (Indianapolis, IN)

U.N.I.T.Y. and UNITY: Jumpman Series (two exhibitions), High Concept Laboratories (Chicago)

National Wet Paint, Zhou B. Art Center (Chicago)

Around the Corner, Artists and Residents project at School of the Art Institute of Chicago

New Work (two-person show with Joe Miller), The Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY)

Gwendolyn Brooks Brothers, (((antenna))) (Chicago)


American Race, Truman State University Art Gallery (Kirksville, MO)

Barbara/Michael Jordan, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids, MI)

Armed 'n Hammered, Reception Gallery (Chicago)

Evolving Artists, Beverly Arts Center of Chicago


Don't You Hear Those Cavalry Drums, The Ghetto Gallery (Chicago)

Adaptation, The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

New American Talent, Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin, TX)

One Brick Country in the Sea - MFA Exhibition, DOVA Temporary (Chicago)

Ghetto Bus Tours (with Beauty Turner), Continued Public Presentations throughout Chicago


Selected Recognition


Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago

Curator In Residence, HATCH Projects at Chicago Artists Coalition


Residency, ACRE (Artists' Cooperative Residencies & Exhibitions) (Stueben, WI)

Symprovisation, Sector 2337 (Chicago)


Winter Residency, Anchor Graphics and The Center for Book & Paper Arts, Columbia College (Chicago)

Center Program Residency, Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago)

Commission of Semi-Permanent Installation, 6018North (Chicago)


Experiment #56: Pedestrian Speech Acts, Red Rover Series (Chicago)


Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Chicago

Artist-in-Residence, High Concept Laboratories (Chicago)

Open Crit Program (Hamza Walker, Moderator), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago)

Mutualisms Symposium, Co-Prosperity Sphere (Chicago)

Political Art Doesn't Matter, Front Street: Surround Sound for the Underground


Reframing Photography: Theory and Practice, Routledge Press and accompanying website

NEA-Funded Fellow and Artist-in-Residence, Elsewhere Collaborative Museum (Greensboro, NC)


Community Scholarship Grant, Center for Race and Culture, Maryland College Institute of Art (Baltimore)


Full Graduate Fellowship, Division of the Humanities, University of Chicago


Selected Exhibitions - As Curator


Reference Rot, Chicago Artists Coalition

As Stars At Daybreak, Chicago Artists Coaltion

William Cordova - chapters: making the invisible visible, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Edra Soto - I In The Sky, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Citizen Cartographic, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Cheryl Pope - Just Yell: Unfolding the Folds, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Mike Schuh - Heavenly Choice, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Josh Rios & Anthony Romero - Is Our Future a Thing of the Past?, Precedence Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Mikyung Jeon - Chromogenic, Precedence Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)


The Condition of the Frog Is Uncertain, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Institutionalized, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

The Making of Artists, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Where Appetites Find Shapes, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Demons, Snake Girls, and Evil Trees: Hand-Painted Ghanaian Movie Posters from the Odd Obsession Collection, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Dig. Mine. Core. Erase., President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)


Jaclyn Jacunski - Now Is The Time, President's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Face Forward: Portraiture from the Permanent CollectionPresident's Gallery  |  Harold Washington College (Chicago)

Nattering Nabobs, South Suburban College (Holland, IL)


Well Done Well, High Concept Laboratories (Chicago)

Psycha-Bobble, High Concept Laboratories (Chicago)


The Illuminated Thread, ALL RiSE Gallery (Chicago)

Chicago Artists to Watch (series), Chicago Artists Coalition


This Ain't Yo Mama's Fridge, Pasadena Chamber of College (Pasadena, TX)