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

Art and Design
Museums and Institutions

‘Liz #3’ by Andy Warhol
Liz #3 by Andy Warhol Photo: The Stefan T. Edlis Collection, partial and promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
 

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

Permanent The New Contemporary. The largest donation of artwork ever to the museum includes 44 masterpieces of modern art, with iconic pieces by Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.

 

Through 1/3 Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye. A front-runner to design the Obama library, the Tanzanian-born British architect imbues his work with a distinctive “Afropolitan” point of view. This sprawling midcareer survey offers visitors a look at his renderings, photographs, and art deco–influenced furniture.

Through 1/10 Deana Lawson: Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series. The Brooklyn-based photographer poses her subjects, who are often nude and black, in domestic settings from New York to the Congo.

 

Through 2/14 Homegrown. See works on paper by distinguished alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s printmaking and drawing programs, including magical realist painter Ivan Albright, graphic novelist Chris Ware, Chicago imagists the Hairy Who, and dozens more.

Through 2/14 Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments. Kesa (exquisitely patterned robes worn by Japanese monks) from the museum’s textile collection are on view together for the first time.
111 S. Michigan. artic.edu

BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

1/16–7/17 A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s. Performance artist and cellist Charlotte Moorman contributed to the wild 1960s experiments in art, sound, and technology. A collaborator of Nam June Paik and Yoko Ono, Moorman famously played her cello while suspended by helium balloons over the Sydney Opera House in 1976. In the museum’s largest exhibit ever—with over 300 artworks and artifacts—Moorman finally gets her due center stage in art history. 40 Arts Circle, Evanston. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER

1/30–4/24 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

1/28–4/16 Split Complementary. The first show curated by the museum’s new director, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, hints at an exciting programming change that will focus on current Chicago artists. Here, Rodrigues thoughtfully pairs the abstract works of Dianna Frid and Richard Rezac. She also juxtaposes hidden treasures from the museum’s vault, such as Iranian miniature paintings and a South African hat, with Frid’s and Rezac’s art. 935 W. Fullerton. museums.depaul.edu

ED PASCHKE ART CENTER

Through 2/28 Tom Palazzolo. Few admirers of the Chicago imagist movement may realize that a filmmaker is among the ranks. This exhibit includes Palazzolo’s historical photos from the Riverview Amusement Park, such as the tattooed lady and an eyeball-popping performer, which influenced Paschke’s early paintings. Get a preview of Palazzolo’s in-progress documentary on legendary Outsider artist Lee Godie too. 5415 W. Higgins. edpaschkeartcenter.org

ELMHURST ART MUSEUM

Through 2/21 Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial: Chicago Statements. The museum stages the region’s first biennial, featuring emerging artists who comment on the cultural climate of Chicago. They include Lise Haller Baggesen, whose interactive installation, Mothernism, looks at the role of artists who are mothers. 150 S. Cottage Hill, Elmhurst. elmhurstartmuseum.org

GRAHAM FOUNDATION

Through 1/9 Barbara Kasten: Stages. Prismatic, abstract, and beautifully staged, the latest work by this Chicago photographer recalls such modernist masters as Calder and Miró. 4 W. Burton Pl. grahamfoundation.org

HYDE PARK ART CENTER

1/10–4/19 The Weight of Rage. Inmates at Stateville Correctional Center create portraits, poetry, and fiction, which are on display here. A lecture series will run in conjunction.
Through 1/10 Timekeeper. Daniel Bruttig manipulates real cuckoo clocks into sculptural abstract paintings.
Through 1/24 Onyx Odyssey. A near 10-year survey of the work of the West Loop performance artist Jefferson Pinder.
5020 S. Cornell. hydeparkart.org

INTUIT

Through 1/3 Mad as Hell: The Collages of Richard Saholt. Abused as a child and diagnosed with schizophrenia as well as posttraumatic stress disorder from World War II, Saholt died in 2014, leaving behind a large body of therapeutic art. 756 N. Milwaukee. art.org

LOGAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS

1/22–3/13 Unsuspending Disbelief. A large survey of contemporary international photography is a rare viewing opportunity, despite the medium’s ubiquity. Curated by Laura Letinsky, an artist and academic, for the University of Chicago, the exhibit of 11 photographers includes work by Yamini Nayar, Mickalene Thomas, and more.
Through 1/10 So-Called Utopias. The gallery’s newest curator, Yesomi Umolu, makes a statement about globalization and its sometimes devastating effects on migrants and colonizers. The group exhibition draws from areas such as the Amazon and Bangalore to show art as a form of survival.
915 E. 60th. arts.uchicago.edu

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Through 1/31 BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Ania Jaworska. Jaworska, a Polish-born architect and designer creates kooky sculptures that play with traditional structures such as arches and obelisks.
Through 3/6 MCA DNA: Rafael Ferrer. The Puerto Rican surrealist, who first exhibited at the museum in 1972, tackles topics of colonialism and magic, using pipe cleaners, bones, and portrait painting.
Through 3/27 Pop Art Design. The pop art movement of the ’60s also flourished in the field of industrial design, giving an ironic, colorful slant to furniture, lamps, and architecture. See work by some of that era’s most forward-thinking designers, such as Charles Eames and Ettore Sottsass.
Through 5/8 Kathryn Andrews: Run for President. Perfectly timed with the presidential 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. Few people realize how strongly French surrealism took hold in Chicago—it’s a cornerstone of the MCA’s collection, and it influenced the 1960s-era Hairy Who artists. With more than 100 paintings and objects, this exhibit tells the story of surrealism’s roots, with masterworks by Magritte and Ernst, and its legacy in contemporary art, from Paschke to Koons.
220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

 

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY

1/25–4/10 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 and treasures, including Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol. Free. 600 S. Michigan. mocp.org

PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM

1/9–4/16 Mr. Wild’s Garden. The nature museum is a perfect setting to display David Weinberg’s photo series, which depicts children trapped in an overgrown greenhouse. It’s more of a fairy tale than a nightmare, imploring viewers to imagine how life could be different if humans lived more closely with plant life. Child friendly. 2430 N. Cannon. naturemuseum.org

RENAISSANCE SOCIETY

Through 1/24 Paul McCarthy: Drawings. The bad-boy artist often explores the humorous and sometimes psychotic side of sexuality, but this exhibit of rarely seen drawings gives insight into his process, with architectural renderings and sketches from the last seven years. 5811 S. Ellis. renaissancesociety.org

 

SMART MUSEUM OF ART

Through 1/10 Expressionist Impulses: German and Central European Art, 1890–1990. Deemed “degenerate” by Hitler and censored, German expressionism has since become known as one of the 20th century’s most freeing art movements. This show considers some of Germany’s masters: Kandinsky, Kollwitz, Schwitters. 5550 S. Greenwood. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

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