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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsApril 2016

Art and Design
Museums and Institutions

Dan Ramirez art
The Peacock and the Hawk/El pavo real y el alcón by Dan Ramirez Photo: Michael Tropea

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

Through 5/1 Nothing Personal. Photography by Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, and Lorna Simpson.
Through 5/3 Multiple Dimensions. Martin Puryear is one of the greatest living abstract sculptors, but this exhibit focuses on Puryear’s rarely seen works on paper.
Through 5/10 Van Gogh’s Bedrooms. One of the most famous scenes in art history depicts where Van Gogh rested his weary head after long days of painting in the South of France. This exhibit focuses on life in and around that famed Yellow House.
Through 8/7 Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print. Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck is known as one of the most important painters of the 17th century, but he also produced a significant body of printed work depicting his peer artists—the first “yearbook” in art history.
111 S. Michigan. artic.edu

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER

Through 4/24 Present Standard. In conjunction with the citywide Latino Art Now! conference, this large group exhibit makes a case for art that addresses issues facing Latinos in the United States today. It’s an opportunity to see great work by José Lerma, Dianna Frid, Paola Cabal, and Maria Gaspar. 78 E. Washington. chicagoculturalcenter.org

DEPAUL ART MUSEUM

Through 4/24 Nexo/Nexus: Latin American Connections in the Midwest. DePaul brings out the best works by Latino artists in its collection and borrows key works from private collections, including Nicolás de Jesus’s view inside a Halsted bus.
Through 4/24 Split Complementary. This show, curated by Matthew Girson, thoughtfully pairs the abstract works of Dianna Frid and Richard Rezac.
935 W. Fullerton. museums.depaul.edu

ELMHURST ART MUSEUM

Through 5/8 Presence. Multimedia artist David Wallace Haskins debuts eight site-specific installations, immersive environments with technical tricks that give the illusion of heaven on earth. 150 S. Cottage Hill, Elmhurst. elmhurstartmuseum.org

 

GRAHAM FOUNDATION

Through 4/9 Architecture of Independence: African Modernism. African countries aren’t appreciated for their contributions to modernist architecture, and this exhibition corrects that. Here, the experimental buildings of Kenya, Zambia, and Senegal can be considered on the level of masterpieces by Mies and Wright. 4 W. Burton. grahamfoundation.org

HYDE PARK ART CENTER

4/3–7/17 La Paz. Chicago’s figurative sculpture scene is booming because of artists like Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, who carves clay into hyperrealistic, shocking faces and expressions. He transforms a gallery into a chapel to address the religiosity of Mexican American immigrants. 5020 S. Cornell. hydeparkart.org

 

INTUIT

4/8–7/5 Self-Portraits. Fans of Cindy Sherman, take note: The late Lee Godie emerged nearly simultaneously with Sherman and, like Sherman, played with the notion of identity. The local outsider artist used bus terminal photo booths as her studio. Homeless and having no formal art education, Godie made poignant self-portraits, often costuming herself as royalty or drawing makeup on the black-and-white prints by hand. 756 N. Milwaukee. art.org

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART

Through 7/23 Persistence of Memory. A lifelong series of portraits by William Utermohlen documents his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The canvas was his therapy but also a devastating mirror.
Through 7/23 South Williamsburg. William Castellana’s street photographs of his Brooklyn neighborhood capture the lives of Hasidic Jews against the backdrop of gentrifying Williamsburg
820 N. Michigan. luc.edu/luma

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

 

4/23–9/25 Mastry. Kerry James Marshall, Chicago’s greatest living painter, has said there are “enough” pictures of white people, so he won’t paint them. See “This Modern Master Spent His Life Bringing Black Faces to Classic Art” for more.

Through 5/8 Kathryn Andrews: Run for President. Perfectly timed with the election cycle, the Los Angeles pop sculptor’s first U.S. museum solo exhibition comments on its celebrity aspect.
Through 6/5 Surrealism: The Conjured Life. With more than 100 paintings and objects, this exhibit tells the story of surrealism’s roots. On display: masterworks by Magritte and Ernst and contemporary pieces by Paschke and Koons.
Through 7/3 BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Diane Simpson. Now in her 80s, the longtime Chicagoan is finally being recognized for her contributions to contemporary sculpture.
220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY

Through 4/10 MoCP at 40. Chicago’s only museum dedicated to contemporary photography celebrates 40 years of free exhibits with a choice selection of its greatest hits, including Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol. Free. 600 S. Michigan. mocp.org

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART

Through 10/9 Dan Ramirez. Raised on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez worked as a steel hauler for years before discovering minimalist painting. His palette favors silver, black, red, and blue over sharply cut planes of color on large canvases. 1852 W. 19th. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

RENAISSANCE SOCIETY

4/24–6/26 Between the Ticks of the Watch. How is a gas mask like a megaphone? This and other object riddles play out in a group show posed around the topic of doubt and uncertainty in modern life and art. Free. 5811 S. Ellis. renaissancesociety.org

UKRAINIAN INSTITUTE OF MODERN ART

4/1–5/29 Chernobyl: Impact and Beyond. The Ukrainian city decimated by its own power plant is now a symbol for nuclear disaster. This exhibition commemorates the accident’s 30th anniversary with works tackling environmentalism, human rights, and physics. 2320 W. Chicago. uima-chicago.org

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