Two majestic bronze lions greet you at the door of the Art Institute of Chicago in the heart of Chicago's Loop.
Home to renowned masterpieces — in addition to the third largest collection of art in the country and new groundbreaking exhibits each year — you'll find yourself steeped in art history and education with an event calendar filled with hundreds of insightful gallery talks, films, lectures and performances.
The Art Institute of Chicago boasts such an immersive experience, the cultural attraction was recognized as one of TripAdvisor's top three museums in the world in 2013, 2014 & 2015.
Navigate your way through approximately 300,000 works spanning the globe and ranging from ancient to modern. With so much to see and do for families and arts enthusiasts of all ages, use the online and downloadable maps, guides and apps to help navigate, plan your visit and even narrate your own tour.
Edward Hopper. Gas, 1940. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1943. © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY.
Plan your visit around the special featured exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago, which include the following highlights:
America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s
June 5, 2016 — September 18, 2016
The decade from the Wall Street Crash of 1929 until the United States' entry into World War II was perhaps the most diverse and dynamic artistic period for American artists in the whole of the twentieth century. Painters sought styles that spoke to European abstraction, realism, populism, labor, urban and rural themes, the new, and the traditional. This summer, the Art Institute of Chicago invites visitors to discover how those artists sought to rethink modernism and forge a new national art and identity, in an exhibition titled America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s. On view in the Abbott Galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing, the show will then travel to the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris and the Royal Academy in London. Vincent van Gogh's painting of his bedroom at Arles is arguably the most famous chambre in the history of art and the painting the artist considered his finest.This exhibition will bring together all three Bedroom paintings for the first time and present the documentary, scientific, and physical evidence pertaining to all three versions.
Featuring fifty masterpieces of American painting - including seminal works by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O'Keeffe, Aaron Douglas, Charles Sheeler, Stuart Davis, and others - the exhibition tells the story of the turbulent economic, political, and aesthetic world of the 1930s and how artists in the United States sought to come to terms with the critical question: What is American art? America After the Fall documents not only the artistic milieu of the post-crash depression era, but also the sense of a nation's fall from grace and the irrevocable changes to the American republican dream.
Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem
Through August 28, 2016
Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison are both recognized as major figures in American art and literature: Parks, a renowned photographer and filmmaker, was best known for his poignant and humanizing photo-essays for Life magazine. Ellison authored one of the most acclaimed-and debated-novels of the 20th century, Invisible Man (1952). What is less known about these two esteemed artists is that their friendship, coupled with a shared vision of racial injustices and a belief in the communicative power of photography, inspired collaboration on two projects, one in 1948 and another in 1952. Both projects aimed to make the black experience visible in postwar America, with Harlem as its nerve center.
This exhibition reunites for the first time the surviving photographs and texts intended for the two projects, including never-before-seen photographs by Parks from the collections of the Art Institute and the Gordon Parks Foundation and unpublished manuscripts by Ellison. Revealed in these frank depictions of Harlem is Ellison and Parks' symbiotic insistence on making race a larger, universal issue, finding an alternative, productive means of representing African American life, and importantly, staking a claim for the black individual within-rather than separate from-the breadth of American culture.
Edward Hopper, American, 1882-1967. Nighthawks, 1942. Oil on canvas. 33 1/8 x 60 in. (84.1 x 152.4 cm) The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection.
Contemplate treasures such as sculpture, architecture, photography, textiles and paintings, and get an intimate view of some of the world's most famous art. Some of the best known works at the Art Institute of Chicago include: Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day; Georges Seurat's A Sunday on the Isle of La Grande Jatte-1884; Grant Wood's American Gothic; Edward Hopper's Nighthawks; and Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist.
Embrace the grandeur of the 11 curatorial departments, from African to Medieval, housed in a total of eight buildings totaling nearly one million square feet. You'll find many areas with particularly strong holdings:
- The expansive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, the largest outside of the Louvre in Paris, is so impressive you could be engulfed for hours. It is among the most significant holdings of European Painting and Sculpture, which includes more than 3,500 works from the 12th through the mid-20th century.
The Department of American Art boasts over 1,000 paintings and sculptures from the 18th century to 1950 and nearly 2,500 decorative art objects from the 17th century to the present. Browse the Alfred Stieglitz Collection and major groups of work by John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt and Winslow Homer, as well as iconic Modernist holdings from Georgia O'Keeffe to the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Admire the distinguished Asian collection, which comprises works spanning nearly five millennia from China, Korea, Japan, India, southwest Asia, and the Near and Middle East. You'll find 35,000 objects of great archaeological and artistic significance, including Chinese bronzes, ceramics, and archaic jades; Japanese woodblock prints; and Indian and Persian miniature paintings.
And make time to enter the world of modern art during your visit. This world is so vast and rich that the Art Institute recently built and dedicated an entire structure to it. The stunning Modern Wing displays the collections of modern art, contemporary art, photography, and architecture and design more comprehensively than ever before.
- Delve into the Department of Contemporary Art, showcasing international art from 1945 to the present. It comprises over 1,000 works - encompassing painting, sculpture, installation, and new media - and you can count works by Willem de Kooning, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Joan Mitchell, Bruce Nauman, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, and Cy Twombly as some of the notable holdings.
Considered one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world, the Art Institute's extraordinary collection of Modern Art boasts some of the greatest icons of the period, including Matisse's Bathers by a River; Brâncusi's Golden Bird; Magritte's Time Transfixed; O'Keeffe's Black Cross, New Mexico; Orozco's Zapata; Ivan Albright's Picture of Dorian Gray; and Lachaise's Woman (Elevation).
The museum architecture alone is enough to blow you away, with a bold new building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. Breeze between sunlit Griffin Court
and the open-air Bluhm Family Terrace
sculptures, spend time in the state-of-the-art Ryan Education Center
or along the floating Nichols Bridgeway
, and take advantage of the expanded dining options, green spaces and visitor amenities.