Extase is an apartment gallery located in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago. The gallery is committed to exhibiting experimental work by local, emergent, and often underrepresented artists, giving them a space to execute new ideas in the comfort of a home. Solo exhibitions are the primary format through which the gallery operates, and many of the exhibited artists have had their first solo shows at Extase. Beyond exhibitions, Extase is invested in community building and in facilitating and nurturing relationships. Programs and receptions serve doubly as a moment to view art as well as foster connections.
All receptions and programs are open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 1-5pm and by appointment.
Julia (Budgie) Birka-White, Director and Curator
Julia (Budgie) Birka-White is a Chicago-based art historian, arts organizer, and writer. In 2019, she graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the Art History Master of Arts department. Birka-White received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a Creative Writing emphasis from Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, IL). Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Birka-White worked at Gagosian San Francisco prior to moving to Chicago to acquire her MA.
Her academic interests and thesis are concerned with contemporary Polish art, representations of nationalism in art, postsocialism and postcommunism studies, post-colonial theory, decommunisation practices in Poland, and monument photography in former socialist and communist countries. Birka-White was a Graduate Curatorial Assistant for her first year at SAIC, and a Graduate Curatorial Fellow tasked with curating the largest MFA show to date for the duration of her second year.
She has operated and managed Extase since April of 2018. There she has curated numerous exhibitions, subsequently working intimately with 20+ artists. Birka-White writes all of the supplemental exhibition texts accompanying each show.
Extase exhibitions have been reviewed by publications such as Chicago Magazine, New City, Chicago Artist Writers, Journal.fyi, The New Art Examiner, and F News Magazine.