18 Great Museum Exhibits to See in Chicago in July

A new exhibit at the AIC is among the rich group of events at Chicago’s museums this summer—there’s art, science, and plenty of fun culture for kids.

Photo: Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago
 

The Degas painting Woman at Her Toilette is on view in Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy, a new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Art

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Through 9/29 Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy. What happened behind closed doors was a topic of perennial fascination to Degas, Manet, Bonnard, and other 19th-century French artists. Were they testing the waters of public decency with their depictions of bathing maidens and prostitutes, or were they reveling in common pleasures? 111 S Michigan. artic.edu.

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER
Through 8/27 Modernism’s Messengers: The Art of Alfonso and Margaret Iannelli. At the request of Frank Lloyd Wright, the sculptor Alfonso Iannelli (1888–1965) moved to Chicago, where he made iconic public monuments at Midway Gardens and the Prudential Building. He was also an industrial designer who turned consumer products into modernist masterworks. Iannelli’s wife, an illustrator, finally gets her spotlight, too. 78 E Washington. cityofchicago.org.

EVANSTON ART CENTER Free! Critic’s Pick
Through 7/21 Linda Kramer has been working on the fringe of the Chicago art world in ceramic, painting, and watercolor for more than 50 years. This retrospective shows the diversity of her work—colorful, naughty, metaphysical, carnal, and ephemeral. Mon–Thu 10–9, Fri–Sat 10–4, Sun 1–4. 2603 Sheridan, Evanston. evanstonartcenter.org.

GRAHAM FOUNDATION Free!
Through 8/24 Where If Not Us? This exhibit’s subtitle, Imagining Participatory Design and Its Radical Approaches, name-drops an urban-planning movement in which community members determine the shape and function of their built environment. 4 W Burton. grahamfoundation.org.

HYDE PARK ART CENTER Free!
Through 7/28 Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: Hall of Khan. The artist creates living equestrian statues to honor historical and contemporary figures. Mon–Thu 10–8, Fri–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. 5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART Critic’s Pick
Through 8/10 More Than Naked. This exhibition, featuring seven contemporary Chicago-based artists who like to experiment with unorthodox materials in their work, includes Betsy Odom, who carves cork and graphite to trick the eye. Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex, 1131 W Sheridan. blogs.luc.edu/artsalive

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Through 10/13 Homebodies. The exhibit explores domestic existence with paintings, sculptures, video, and other media. There’s also a living room where the artist Dzine can do your nails. José Lerma: BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works. A painting propped on an electric keyboard and attached to the D minor key is just one of Lerma’s exuberant works.
Through 10/23 Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes. If Chris Ware and Robert Crumb had a love child, it would be Clowes—who was born and raised in Hyde Park and returns to Chicago for a retrospective exhibition of 124 of his beautifully crude drawings. Also on view: the long-awaited installation by Theaster Gates, 13th Ballad, Gaylen Gerber, and Amalia Pica’s first major US showing. Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Free (kids under 13) to $12; free Tue for Ill residents. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.

SOUTH SIDE COMMUNITY ART CENTER
Through 7/7 The Philosophy of AfriCOBRA. Though still active today, the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, or AfriCOBRA, made their biggest contributions in Chicago in the 1970s. This is the first of three retrospective shows. 3831 S Michigan. southsidecommunityartcenter.com.
 

History & Culture

ADLER PLANETARIUM
Through 4/1/14 Child Friendly Cosmic Wonder. The latest show in the Adler’s spacious Grainger Theatre permits visitors to gawk at jaw-dropping shots of the Crab Nebula and Orion. Open daily 9–4:30. General admission $8–$12. Packages $18–$28. 1300 S Lake Shore. adlerplanetarium.org.

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
Through 9/2 Shalom Chicago. Personal stories, rare artifacts, and multimedia storytelling illustrate the Jewish community’s contribution to Chicago.
Through 1/4/14 Vivian Maier’s breathtaking black and white photos of Chicago in the 1960s are on display.
Through 1/5/14 Ebony Fashion Fair. Dazzling designer garments from the archives of the famed traveling fashion shown on custommade mannequins. Mon–Sat 9:30–4:30, Sun 12–5. $14. $12 students, seniors. 1601 N Clark. chicagohs.org.

DuSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
7/26–9/29 AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact. The final exhibit in the multipart series on the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists examines the effects of the all-black art collective on the South Side of Chicago, where the group was founded in 1968. Tue–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. Free to $10. 740 E 56th Pl. dusablemuseum.org.

FIELD MUSEUM
Through 1/5 Child Friendly Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. This show illuminates the many creatures that use self-produced light in nature. Open daily 9–5. General admission free (kids under 3) to $15; all-access passes $21–$30. 1400 S Lake Shore. fieldmuseum.org.
 

Science, Nature, Kids

MITCHELL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
Through 9/8 An exhibition of artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection. Open Tue–Sat 10–5, Thu 10–8, Sun 12–4. $3–$5. 3001 Central, Evanston. mitchellmuseum.org.

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Through 9/2 Child Friendly Animal Inside Out. A sequel of sorts to the controversial Body Worlds exhibit, view more than 100 specimens preserved through the process of plastination. Timed-entry tickets required, $8–$12, not including general admission. Open daily 9:30–4. General admission free (kids under 3) to $18. 57th and Lake Shore. msichicago.org.

SHEDD AQUARIUM
Through 10/31 Child Friendly Stingray Touch. Don’t worry; the slippery creatures in this outdoor exhibit—new this year—have had their barbs clipped. A guide is on hand to answer questions. Open daily 9–6. General admission $6–$8; all-access passes $28.95–$68.95. 1200 S Lake Shore. sheddaquarium.org.

 

More events:
Museums | Art Galleries | Festivals | Gardens, Parks, and Zoos
Theatre: Musicals | Dance | Theatre: Dramas | Theatre: Comedies

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