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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsNovember 2015

Art and Design
Museums and Institutions

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

 

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

Through 1/30 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.

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

BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

Through 11/30 Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures. For his first museum solo show in Chicago, sculptor Geof Oppenheimer prods diverse topics, such as office culture, systems of social control, and public servitude, with an interactive installation in the form of a series of walls that trap and release viewers. 40 Arts Circle, Evanston. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu

DePAUL ART MUSEUM

Through 12/20 Idol Structures. Photographer Matt Siber turns his camera to what he calls “advertising architecture,” the tall freestanding sign structures that, when photographed from certain angles, take on the appearance of totemic sculpture. Also showing: The Andy Archetype, a group exhibition about consumerism inspired by Andy Warhol’s imagery. 935 W. Fullerton. museums.depaul.edu

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. grahamfoundation.org

HYDE PARK ART CENTER

11/1–1/24 Onyx Odyssey. A near 10-year survey of the work of the West Loop performance artist Jefferson Pinder.

Through 1/10 Keeping Time. Daniel Bruttig manipulates real cuckoo clocks into sculptural abstract paintings.5020 S. Cornell. hydeparkart.org

INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF SURGICAL SCIENCE

Through 11/15 Synaesthetica. The medical history museum revives its contemporary art program this fall with sculptures by Stevie Hanley, who explores the neurological phenomenon of synaesthesia, a condition often found in artists, which causes people to see actual colors with certain words and sounds. 1524 N. Lake Shore. imss.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 last year, leaving behind a large body of therapeutic art. 756 N. Milwaukee. art.org

LOGAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS

11/20–1/10 So-Called Utopias. The gallery’s newest curator, Yesomi Umolu, makes a sprawling 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

‘Photogenic Painting, Untitled 75/21’ by Barbara Kasten
Photogenic Painting, Untitled 75/21, 1975 by Barbara Kasten Photo: Courtesy of the Graham Foundation

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

11/21–5/8 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 insane celebrity aspect.

11/21–6/5 Surrealism: The Conjured Life. See “Surrealism Takes Center Stage at This MCA Show.”

 

Through 11/22 The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now. The avant-garde jazz of the 1960s continues to reverberate today, as revealed by this large exhibition of work by contemporary visual artists inspired by Chicago’s jazz history, including Nick Cave, Cauleen Smith, Renée Green, and Rashid Johnson.

Through 1/31 BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Ania Jaworska. The 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.
220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART

Through 12/13 La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead. The museum’s annual Day of the Dead exhibition is the largest of its kind in the United States, with a community festival on 11/1 and newly commissioned skull art from local artists. Folk art and dozens of ofrendas (artistic altars) honor deceased artists and missing children. 1852 W. 19th. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

POETRY FOUNDATION

Through 11/27 Textile Exhibition. A brilliant curatorial pairing unites text and textile, bringing together Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña’s rarely seen large-scale weaving installations and Chicago artist Dianna Frid’s dazzling interpretations of Homer’s Odyssey. 61 W. Superior. poetryfoundation.org

RENAISSANCE SOCIETY

11/8–1/24 Paul McCarthy: Drawings. Bad-boy artist Paul McCarthy 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) within the larger context of an entire century. 5550 S. Greenwood. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

UKRAINIAN INSTITUTE OF MODERN ART

Through 11/29 All.go.rhythm. The group show highlights five of digital art’s most progressive practitioners: Paul Hertz, Jean-Pierre Hébert, Roman Verostko, and Colette and Jeff Bangert. 2320 W. Chicago. uima-chicago.org

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