February is the perfect time of year to head indoors to check out the latest exhibits at Chicago's many museums. Explore the often-misunderstood, 5,000+-year-old art of tattooing, visit with the masters of French poster art and travel to China via beautiful 17th- and 18th-century Chinese hand-scrolls... all without leaving the Windy City. Here are three unique museum exhibits you'll want to check out this winter in Chicago.
Runs through April 30
Whether you're inked up or not, The Field Museum's latest special exhibit Tattoo, which will run through April 30, is a must-see: Initially developed in Paris, this outstanding exhibit sheds light on the often-misunderstood, 5,000+ year-old art form of tattooing via ancient ancient historical artifacts and intricate contemporary designs tattooed onto skin-like silicone.
The most jaw-dropping part of this exhibit, though, is the fact that it contains a working tattoo parlor: Tattoo artists from around Chicago will work out of the in-exhibition tattoo shop on select dates between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. All appointments with the artists are booked, but you can sign up for the Tattoo e-newsletter for updates related to the exhibition. All ages may enter the exhibition, but guests under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian to enter the tattoo shop.
The Field Museum | 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive | 312-922-9410
Opens February 11
Featuring 45 posters dating from 1875 to 1910 created by five grand masters—Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha—this exhibit showcases the poster as a fusion of art and commerce. Each of the five masters of the medium will be featured in one of the period galleries located on the second and third floors of the Museum.
Although you can explore the exhibition on your own, pick up a portable Acoustiguide audio tour of the exhibition, which shares commentary by Jeannine Falino, exhibition curator, and Richard H. Driehaus, Museum Founder and Collector, on a handy phone-like device.
Driehaus Museum | 40 E. Erie Street | 312-482-8933
Runs through April 30
Many of the featured scrolls hide hidden themes within the graceful images of plants and animals, with many wishing well-being and good fortune to the viewers through visual puns or rebuses. The exhibition also features several round-handled fans of the type made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai. The Art Institute is also hosting a number of events, tours and installations to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Art Institute of Chicago | 111 S. Michigan Avenue | 312-443-3600