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

Art and Design
Museums and Institutions

Jean Francois Lamoureux and Jean-Louis Marin, FIDAK - Foire Internationale de Dakar, 1974, Dakar (Senegal).
Jean Francois Lamoureux and Jean-Louis Marin, FIDAK - Foire Internationale de Dakar, 1974, Dakar (Senegal). Photo: Courtesy of the Graham Foundation

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

3/5–8/7 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.
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. Dedicated to crafting unusual yet refined forms in metal and wood, he has also worked quietly in prints and drawings during his six-decade career. The exhibit focuses on Puryear’s rarely seen works on paper, with a dozen sculptures providing context.
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 the famed Yellow House, where Van Gogh worked out some of his best images and lived with pal Gauguin.
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. In conjunction with the City of Chicago’s Latino Arts Festival brings out the best works by Latino artists in its collection and borrows key works from private collections, including Nicolás de Jesus’s engrossing view inside a Halsted bus.
Through 4/29 Split Complementary. The first show curated by the museum’s new director, Matthew Girson, thoughtfully pairs the abstract works of Dianna Frid and Richard Rezac.
935 W. Fullerton. museums.depaul.edu

ELMHURST ART MUSEUM

3/5–5/8 Presence. Multimedia artist David Wallace Haskins debuts eight site-specific installations, such as Soundcube and Skycube, immersive environments that bring the illusion of heaven on earth with technical tricks. Clearly inspired by James Turrell, the popular light and space artist, Haskins puts his own spin on earth art. 150 S. Cottage Hill, Elmhurst. elmhurstartmuseum.org

 

GRAHAM FOUNDATION

Through 4/9 Architecture of Independence: African Modernism. African countries aren’t widely known for their contributions to modernist architecture; thankfully, this exhibition corrects that. Here, the avant-garde 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

Through 4/20 The Weight of Rage. Inmates at Stateville Prison create portraits, poetry, and fiction, which are on display here. A lecture series will run in conjunction. 5020 S. Cornell. hydeparkart.org

LOGAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Through 3/13 Unsuspending Disbelief. A large survey of contemporary international photography is a rare viewing opportunity, despite the medium’s ubiquity. The exhibit of 10 artists includes work by Yamini Nayar, Mickalene Thomas, and more. 915 E. 60th. arts.uchicago.edu

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART

Through 7/24 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 7/24 South Williamsburg. William Castellana’s street photographs of his Brooklyn neighborhood capture the lives of Hasidic Jews against the changing background of gentrifying Williamsburg.
820 N. Michigan. luc.edu/luma

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

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.
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; that her designs are whimsical, inventive, and highly crafted is icing on the cake.
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

3/25–10/9 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

Through 4/3 Secrets of a Trumpet. The German artist Peter Wächtler has spent a month in Chicago creating new work, including ceramics, a video installation, and his first large-scale bronze figures. Free. 5811 S. Ellis. renaissancesociety.org

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