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Must-See Spring Exhibitions in Chicago

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Posted  6 months ago  in  Arts and CultureTrending

2 MIN READ - Spring is here! While Chicagoans are dreaming about the promises of summer including ACTIVATE and summer music festivals, a fresh crop of exhibitions is sweeping the museums of the Chicago Loop and beyond. To help you sort out which of them are must-sees, we offer our guide to top exhibits.


Rembrandt Portraits

Now through June 9, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago
Rembrandt complicated the genre, constructing identities through props, lighting, and ambiguous settings—leaving us to ask, “What is a portrait?” This spring, two portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn are visiting the Art Institute from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. The paintings, Portrait of a Boy and Self-Portrait, join the Art Institute’s own Old Man with a Gold Chain and Young Woman at an Open Half-Door for a look at Rembrandt’s approach to portraiture—one that is decidedly more complex than it may first appear.

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Rembrandt Portraits Image courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago
Christien Meindertsma Everything Connects Photo Courtest of The Art Institute of Chicago

Performance Space and Activations

March 21 – October 20, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago
Since graduating from the Eindhoven Design Academy, Christien Meindertsma has become known for her research-oriented work that explores the potential of raw materials and reveals processes that have become obsolete due to industrialization. Her prototypes, documentary videos, and finished objects highlight our relationship to the materials and products in the world around us and address concerns of environmental sustainability.

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Jon Chambers: The Practical Applications of Networks to the Body

March 29 – May 12, 2019
International Museum of Surgical Science
Drawing parallels to how we interface with the enigmatic electronic and technological devices and networks today, Chambers contemplates our relationships with how our body interfaces with these systems and the exchange that happens between them. Using a variety of mediums, Chambers focuses on the hand as the main point of entry into how we interact with these networks that produce labor and troves of data by clicking, tapping, moving, swiping, and typing for increasingly corporate systems.

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Chambers Diathermy Photo courtesy of IMSS
Exhibition announcement for Jan Hafstroem Nattens Industri Photo courtest of The Art Institute of Chicago

Beyond Temporary: Art Ephemera and the Design of the Exhibition Announcement

April 1- June 7, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago
In years past, galleries routinely mailed announcements to a long list of interested parties in order to advertise an exhibition and its opening. Despite being designed for transience, some of these objects are artworks in themselves. This exhibition celebrates a recent substantial gift of books and art ephemera from Terry R. Myers, an art critic, independent curator, and former chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well

April 4 – July 14, 2019
The Art Institute of Chicago
I Wanna Be Well—named after the 1977 Ramones song—marks the first comprehensive overview of Greg Bordowitz’s prodigious career, which spans three decades of production. Moving between multiple genres including video, art made for television, published poems, site-specific installation, live performance, and rare selections from the artist’s personal archive and library, the exhibition contemplates an expanded concept of portraiture as a mode of political and artistic address.

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Gregg Bordowitz Photo courtesy of The Chicago Art Museum
Image courtesy of Design Chicago Museum

All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions

April 10 – May 12, 2019
Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72
The Design Museum of Chicago will exhibit work by hundreds of Chicago Public School students. All-City Visual Arts Programs provide a unique opportunity to showcase student achievement in visual and media arts and exhibit their work in highly-visible, public exhibition spaces in Chicago. The high school exhibition showcases 2D, 3D, and digital artwork by students in grades 9–12, and the elementary exhibition features work by students from pre-K through 8th grade.

Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star

Apr 11 — Jul 7, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Photography
Dawoud Bey/Black Star responds to the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama—an event that resulted in six deaths of black children by white supremacists. Organized by Dr. Gaëlle Morel, exhibitions curator at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, the exhibition pairs Dawoud Bey’s (American, b. 1953) The Birmingham Project (2012) with a selection of prints from the Black Star archive of photojournalism, providing a historical context for the bombing, and revealing the political and social turmoil that placed the American Civil Rights Movement in the spotlight.

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Dawoud Bey The Birmingham Project Braxton McKinney and Lavone Thomas 2012 Photo courtesy of MoCP

Chicago Stories: Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol

Apr 11 — Jul 7, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Photography
In response to Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star, this exhibition showcases photographs and films by Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol pulled from the museum’s permanent collection and the Midwest Photographers Project (MPP). Both artists separately investigate forms of systemic racism in Chicago and beyond through the lens of individual stories.

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Tools of Trade

June 2019
American Writers Museum
Opening June 2019, the American Writers Museum presents Tools of the Trade, a new special exhibit featuring the typewriters, inkwells, pens, and more used by some of America’s most well-known writers. From Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 Underwood Standard Portable to Maya Angelou’s 1980 Adler Meteor 12, and even Helen Keller’s braille writer, witness up close and personal the very writing instruments used to craft some of your favorite works of literature. With lookalike versions of the typewriters available to use and after-hours programs in conjunction with Tools of the Trade, this exhibit is one you will not want to miss.

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Chicago Gallery Photo by James Steinkamp

Chicago Gallery

Ongoing
Chicago Architecture Center
From Louis Sullivan to Mies van der Rohe, Chicago has been home to many architects who have created groundbreaking new architectural styles and tested bold experiments in city design. This gallery explains their impact while also examining the far reach of architecture throughout the city. Visitors will get an introduction to common Chicago home styles and evolving neighborhoods. They’ll also have a chance to compare wards, community areas, and the construction dates of buildings across the city on a large map.

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From Me to We: Imagining the City of 2050
Ongoing
Chicago Architecture Center

The world is becoming more populated, and the growth is urban. In the face of unrelenting change, creating functional, livable cities is a monumental task for us all. Innovative design can solve some of our most acute challenges in urban housing, infrastructure, mobility, ecology, and personal health and well-being. Healthy cities equate to a healthier world. This exhibit kicks off CAC’s multi-year investigation into the development of future cities. Take a glimpse of the new reality as posed by several top Chicago design firms. Learn More

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