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21 Chicago Museum Exhibits to See in January

With Vivian Maier, pioneering painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and selections from the Walt Disney archives, 2014 gets off to a good start in the city’s museums.

Sculpture by Mariana Castillo Deball, part of The Way of the Shovel   Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Art & Design


Art Institute of Chicago

1/25–5/18 Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness. Revitalizing the tradition of pop art, Williams parodies consumer culture by photographing realistic fakes of advertising, fashion, and photojournalistic imagery. This is the first museum retrospective for the L.A.-born, Düsseldorf-based conceptual photographer.
Through 1/9 Violence and Virtue: Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes. The trailblazing female painter’s masterpiece travels here from Florence.
Through 1/26 Focus: Monika Baer. The Berlin artist shows 30 colorful paintings that manage to be both stoic and playful, with forms drawn from her “shape archive,” including salami and breasts.
Through 1/27 Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. The exhibit highlights more than 100 works involving fine dining and fast food.
Through 4/20 Amar Kanwar, from New Delhi, shows her 2007 film The Lightning Testimonies, which gives personal accounts of rape in India.
111 S Michigan. artic.edu

DePaul Art Museum

1/9–3/30 The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus. New photos and films document the traumatic memories of Soviet communism and genocide—very different from the Russian beach town’s holiday veneer. 935 W Fullerton. museums.depaul.edu

FREE!

Hyde Park Art Center

Through 1/12 A Study in Midwestern Appropriation. This 40-artist-strong exhibition examines the Midwest region’s artistic influences. 5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org

Museum of Contemporary Art

1/25–5/18 William J. O’Brien. Organized like a poem, the multimedia artist’s first survey exhibition demonstrates his prodigious output in both drawing and ceramics.
Through 3/9 The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology. This exhibition looks at art through an anthropological lens, with politically provocative work influenced by the 20th-century artist Robert Smithson.
Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Free (kids under 13) to $12; free Tue for Ill residents. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org

FREE!

Museum of Contemporary Photography

1/20–4/6 Archive State. Six artists display their collections of images, each with an unusual or thoughtful theme, such as Arab video selfies, the East German secret service, and American soldiers in Iraq. 600 S Michigan. mocp.org

Renaissance Society

1/12–2/23 Nora Schultz. The museum’s new director, Solveig Øvstebø, curates her first Chicago show, featuring the sculptural installations of Berlin artist Nora Schultz. 5811 S Ellis. renaissancesociety.org
 

History & Culture


Chicago History Museum

Through 1/5 Vivian Maier’s breathtaking black-and-white photos of Chicago in the 1960s.
Through 1/5 Ebony Fashion Fair. Dazzling designer garments from the archives of the famed traveling fashion show on custom-made mannequins.
Through 3/2 Siam: The Queen and the White City. Photographs, costumes, and other artifacts from the Siamese queen Savang Vadanafor’s collection.
Mon–Sat 9:30–4:30, Sun 12–5. $14. $12 students, seniors. 1601 N Clark. chicagohs.org

DuSable Museum of African American History

1/2–4/1 Beyond the Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. When the Nazis forced Jewish academics to flee Europe, some scholars relocated to the United States and found refuge in an unlikely place: historically black colleges. This exhibit explores the surprising relationship between two oft-marginalized groups.
Through 3/30 The Endangered Species: A Visual Response to the Vanishing Black Man. Artist Raub Welch examines the iconography around the African American male.
Tue–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. Free–$10. 740 E 56th Pl. dusablemuseum.org

CHILD FRIENDLY

Field Museum

Through 1/5 Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. This fascinating exhibit illuminates the many life forms that produce light.
Through 9/7 Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair. The museum reveals rare artifacts from the famous fair.
Through 9/30 Before the Dinosaurs: Super Reptiles of Pangaea. Learn how to read fossils for clues about the animals that roamed the earth long before humans came along.
Open daily 9–5. General admission free (kids 3–11) to $20; all-access passes $21–$30. 1400 S Lake Shore. fieldmuseum.org
 

Science, Nature, Kids


CHILD FRIENDLY

Adler Planetarium

Through 4/1 Cosmic Wonder. The latest show in the spacious Grainger Sky Theater lets visitors gawk at jaw-dropping shots of the Crab Nebula and Orion. Mon–Fri 9:30–4, Sat–Sun 9:30–4:30. General admission $8–$12. Packages $18–$28. 1300 S Lake Shore. adlerplanetarium.org

CHILD FRIENDLY

Museum of Science and Industry

Through 5/4 Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. Look through more than 300 drawings, scripts, and costumes from the icon’s films. Timed-entry tickets required, $7–$9, not including general admission. Open daily 9:30–4. General admission free (kids under 3) to $27. 5700 S Lake Shore. msichicago.org

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