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Chicago Loop’s Must-See Summer Art Exhibitions

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Posted  3 months ago  in  Arts and CultureTrending

4 MIN READ - The Chicago Loop is the ultimate destination to explore art, culture, history, and the world. Whether you’re a tourist visiting the city or a local looking for something to do on your day off, these art exhibitions are must-see this summer.


Fresh Paint

Now through July 30, 2019
Commons Club

Chicago's local artist and celeb Lauren Asta will be doing a six-week art installation featuring 18 new exclusive paintings entitled FRESH PAINT. This work is a celebration of color, improvisation, and doodle art designed to help individuals escape to a happy place. Asta’s artwork, which has attracted a large local following, visually stimulates the audience and inspires to find humor in the human experience. Her murals are created freehand without any aid of a sketch, projector, or traced outline. Her illustrations, street art, and murals aim to remind us of art’s positive communal impact. Learn More

Everyone’s Art Gallery: Posters of the London Underground

Now through September 5
The Art Institute of Chicago

In 1919, 39 posters came to the Art Institute of Chicago, courtesy of the Underground Electric Railways London. The posters, full of brilliant colors and innovative designs, were part of an effort to encourage Londoners to use this commercial transportation system: to visit the city’s cultural attractions, go shopping, attend sporting events, and even venture into the countryside—all by taking Underground trains and buses, of course. Installed outside Underground stations on public streets and on the front of buses that traversed the city, these posters formed a vibrant civic art presence—a public gallery available to all. Learn More

Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre

Now through January 5
Design Museum Chicago

Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions. Using objects on loan from Chicago theatres, this exhibit will emphasize the diversity, depth, and breadth of theatres in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theatres are made. Learn More

Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race

Now through July 28, 2019
International Museum of Surgical Science

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder, and, ultimately, genocide. From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to “cleanse” German society of people viewed as biological threats to the nation’s “health.” Enlisting the help of physicians and medically trained geneticists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists, the Nazis developed racial health policies that started with the mass sterilization of “hereditarily diseased” persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry. Learn More

The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster

Now through September 2, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago

The Medu Art Ensemble formed in the late 1970s in opposition to South Africa’s apartheid policy of racial segregation and violent injustice. Through graphic design and poster production, members forcefully articulated a call for radical change, advocating for decolonization or majority (nonwhite) rule in South Africa and in the neighboring countries of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Medu, meaning “roots” in the Sepedi language, evolved organically and operated underground, as its name suggests. Persecuted by the South African Defense Force, Medu members lived and worked in exile just across the South African border in Gaborone, Botswana. Defying a ban on their existence, the Medu collective at its height numbered as many as 50 South African and international artists, musicians, and writers. Learn More

Bob Dylan: Electric

Now through Fall 2019
American Writers Museum

Bob Dylan has been a towering presence in our music and our culture for more than 55 years. From the brief, explosive period in which Bob Dylan electrified music, language, and history to his controversial Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, this exhibit does look back – and celebrates Dylan’s extraordinary contributions and enduring impact. Learn More

Manet and Modern Beauty

Now through September 8, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago

This exhibition is the first to focus on this important period in the Édouard Manet's career, bringing together an impressive array of portraits of fashionable women—favorite actresses and models, bourgeois women of his acquaintance, and his wife—as well as intimate male friends. Supplementing this display are the delicate and rarely seen letters Manet wrote to his friends, featuring exquisite illustrations of fruits and flowers; garden pictures, which themselves often feature elegantly attired women; and flower studies, consummate expressions of Manet’s favorite subjects at the end of his life. Learn More

Benjamin Patterson: When Elephants Fight, It Is the Frogs That Suffer—A Sonic Graffiti

Now through October 20, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago

Benjamin Patterson’s When Elephants Fight, It Is the Frogs That Suffer—A Sonic Graffiti, an immersive 24-channel sound installation, transforms the Art Institute of Chicago’s McKinlock Court into an acoustic frog pond with a symphony of croaks from eight frog species. These croaks, emanating from the bushes and fountain, are echoed by human imitations in English, German, and Greek—each language having its own onomatopoeia for the amphibian’s call. The playful animal chatter intermingles with human choruses intoning proverbs and political messages, including excerpts from texts by Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and former president Barack Obama, and passages from the Brothers Grimm fairytale The Frog King (1812) and Aristophanes’s ancient Greek comedy The Frogs (405 BC). Learn More

Go Down Moses

July 18 – September 29, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Photography

The exhibition Go Down Moses is guest curated by Teju Cole. An acclaimed writer, photographer, and critic, Cole is the former photography critic of the New York Times Magazine and is currently the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard University. This is his first major curatorial project. Go Down Moses presents a reinterpretation of the MoCP’s permanent collection that can be understood as a visual tone poem of contemporary America, exploring elemental themes of movement, chaos, freedom, and hope. In doing so, Cole uses the photographic archive to interweave the past and present, suggesting an aesthetic approach to understanding the current psyche. Learn More

Art on theMART

Every night 15 minutes after sunset, now through September 29, 2019
Starting August 4, projections will begin approximately 30 minutes after sunset
Merchandise Mart

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world with a projection area of 2.5 acres. The first-of-its-kind for Chicago, it represents the innovative and welcoming spirit of Chicago. This year’s program aligns with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. Projections begin approximately 15 minutes after sunset. Beginning August 4, projections will begin approximately 30 minutes after sunset. Learn More

Tools of the Trade

American Writers Museum
Every day from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The typewriter connects two universes: that of the writer’s mind, and that of the readers. It is the vessel that brings inspiration to fruition, maintaining a truly invaluable relationship with the author. In our newest temporary exhibit, The American Writers Museum showcases over a dozen typewriters and writing tools that have given rise to some of the most celebrated works of American literature. Bear witness to the personal typewriters of literary legends such as Ray Bradbury, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Ernest Hemingway. Delve into the rich history of revolution and technological breakthrough with tools such as Fredrick Douglas’ inkwell, Helen Keller’s braille typewriter, and Maya Angelou’s 1980 electric Adler Meteor. With exact replicas available for visitor use, experience the famed lore of these machines and their owners, and channel the exhibit’s historic energy with some inspired writing of your own. Learn More