You Will Die: An Extreme Metal Art Show

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Date(s) - Fri, November 22 - Sun, February 16
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Public Works Gallery


Public Works announces its latest exhibition You Will Die, a collaborative show featuring the work of prolific artists in the extreme metal genre, running November 22, 2019 through February 16, 2020. In You Will Die, artists Dan Seagrave, Denis Forkas, Justin Bartlett and Eliran Kantor, among others, focus on exposing the flesh and blood behind the human form and the psychic terror of modern existence.

You Will Die seeks to explore how extreme metal art has learned and evolved from the work of Hieronymous Bosch, a 16th century painter who explored the fantastical and fearful aspects of human existence. Bosch was regarded as the creator of creatures and chimeras, often conjuring delightfully devilish tormentors in acts of medieval torture to teach specific moral and spiritual truths. Nearly five hundred years later in the late 1980s and early 1990s, these themes were once again explored by those on the fringe of society and subculture – metalheads. These collected works examine the relationship between the body as a physical medium for play but also as a conduit for the fear, isolation, and trauma we experience within society and the ways that trauma manifests through extreme metal art.

You Will Die is co-curated by Scott Shellhamer, an artist and former member of the Chicago metal band American Heritage, and Josh Zoerner of Public Works and Someoddpilot.  Zoerner describes the show in this way:

“Though it has a reputation as music for the disturbed misfits of society, extreme metal is built on an acute awareness of the world it exists in. The genre brought forth great bloom of seminal artistic works that explored the wasteland of human terror: death, dismemberment, terror, sexual perversion, insanity and the reality of evil. The introspection of the art of extreme metal rapidly became its own violent and raw canon that exposed flesh, sinew, and blood of existence as psychically beguiling and horrifying imagery.  This work visits the crossroads between life and death, reality and illusion, and the spiritual paradigm shift between existence and a state of non-existence. Public Works’ exhibition exists as a cold reminder…you will die and the universe doesn’t care.”

Major works to be featured in You Will Die include:

  • An original painting by Dan Seagrave. Seagrave is understood to be the godfather of modern death metal artwork and has created artwork for bands such as Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Entombed, Malevolent Creation, Decrepit Birth, and others.
  • An original piece by Justin Bartlett. Bartlett has created artwork for bands such as Danzig, Dragged into Sunlight, Lord Mantis, Trap Them and also created pieces for the anniversaries of Ridley Scott’s film Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing.
  • An original piece by Noelia Towers. Towers’ work explores themes of sex work, BDSM, femme empowerment, and the body as a medium for pain and pleasure.
  • Creature concept sculptures from The Witcher 3 video game by Tomek Radziewicz.
  • Iconic pieces by Denis Forkas, Arik Roper, Mark Riddick, and Eliran Kantor.

Public Works is launching collaborations with local food, beverage and creative teams in celebration of the exhibition:

  • Chicago-based Marz Brewery will debut the limited-release You Will Die India Pale Ale, a Nordic Double IPA, which will be available for sampling at all You Will Die You Will Die India Pale Ale uses the Kviek Hornindal yeast strain, a wonderfully unique Norwegian farmstead “kveik.” Hornindal produces a tropical flavor and complex aroma that can present itself as stonefruit and pineapple. The fermentation creates a citrus forward hybrid type beer with a semi dry finish that should please fans of hazy IPAs, or classic west coast bitter hop heads. The beer is a perfect canvas for layers of complimentary dry hops to emphasize the orange grove aspects of the yeast
  • Kuma’s Corner, Chicago’s beloved metal-centric burger restaurant, will create a You Will Die-inspired version of its famous Mac and Cheese; the blood red-hued recipe will be made with roasted sweet corn and chipotle pepper and topped with chives and a cornbread crumble and will be available at the exhibition’s opening and closing receptions and from December 5-18 at Kuma’s Avondale location at 2900 W. Belmont in Chicago.
  • In January, the Empty Bottle will host a You Will Die pop-up gallery and metal show featuring bands Oozing Wound, Indian and others. During the weekend of the show only, Kuma’s Corner in Avondale will also bring back to its menu the Oozing Wound burger (with bourbon braised spinach, corn and sundried tomato gravy, deep-friend Johnny cake fritter and fresh chives) and the Indian burger (with jumbo crab cake, arugula salad, citrus vinaigrette, roasted red pepper, spicy pickle remoulade and red onion).
  • Someoddpilot, the Wicker Park-based design studio, will collaborate with artists Justin Bartlett and Noelia Towers to create a short-run apparel collection featuring two long-sleeve shirts, one hooded sweatshirt, three one-of-one battle jackets and a crop top.


You Will Die begins with an opening reception on Friday, November 22 from 7:00-10:00PM and a discussion panel with show artists Justin Bartlett, Dan Seagrave and Noelia Towers and co-curator Scott Shellhamer on Saturday, November 23 from 3:00-6:00PM.  Public Works will conclude the exhibition with a Dark Valentine’s Day Party on Friday, February 14 from 7:00-10:00PM.  A You Will Die pop-up gallery and metal show is planned at the Empty Bottle in January – details coming soon.  Beyond those dates, the exhibition will be open by appointment only. Public Works is located at 1539 N. Damen, 2nd floor in Chicago, Ill. More information at


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