- The 25 Best Things to Do in March
- Other Events
How we pick the events: These listings are not advertisements. They are a selective guide to arts events recommended by Chicago’s culture critics.
Know before you go: Details of listings can change at the last minute. Please call ahead to confirm.
Art & Design
Art Institute of Chicago
Through 4/20 Amar Kanwar, from New Delhi, shows his 2007 film The Lightning Testimonies, which gives personal accounts of rape in India.
Critic’s Pick Through 5/11 Christopher Wool. The Chicago painter—whose stencil paintings of slogans like “Sell the House Sell the Car Sell the Kids” made him famous in the ’80s NYC art scene—gets an overdue career retrospective.
Through 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.
111 S Michigan. artic.edu
Arts Club of Chicago
Through 5/17 Émilie Charmy. Who was Charmy? She had a successful art career during her lifetime but never became a household name in the United States. This retrospective brings to light the modern artist who painted portraits, nudes, and still lifes in Paris alongside some of her generation’s best, including Matisse. 201 E Ontario. artsclubchicago.org
Chicago Cultural Center
Through 4/27 Jan Tichy: Aroundcenter. Tech artist Tichy distributes nine multimedia artworks, including videos and projections, throughout the landmark architecture of the Cultural Center as a way to comment on its history and current uses.
Through 5/4 Thirty-Five Years of Public Art. This display celebrates the gains of the Percent-for-Art Ordinance, which funds new public art for every new public building.
Through 5/11 Mecca Flat Blues. A microcosm of Chicago’s class struggles, the storied preservation battle around a massive apartment building (called Mecca Apartments) gets an exhibition.
78 E Washington. cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca.html
DePaul Art Museum
Through 3/23 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
Loyola University Museum of Art
Through 6/15 Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey. A nationally touring exhibition of artwork by everyone’s favorite gothic grandpa makes a stop in Chicago (where he was born and raised). Artifacts from Gorey’s notoriously hermitic life are included alongside drawings and printed ephemera from his long career illustrating children’s books. 820 N Michigan. luc.edu/luma
Museum of Contemporary Art
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.
Through 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.
Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Free (kids under 13) to $12; free Tue for Ill residents. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org
Museum of Contemporary Photography
Free! Through 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
3/9–4/13 Teen Paranormal Romance. This new group exhibit depicts teen culture in the contemporary world, emoting through devices, bending gender and race, and having fun while being progressive intellectuals. A lost generation this is not. 5811 S Ellis. renaissancesociety.org
Smart Museum of Art
3/25–6/15 Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Art. Can a medical doctor dissect a nude portrait? This exhibition, organized by three doctors at the University of Chicago, proposes that art can be diagnostically revealing. 5550 S Greenwood. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu
History & Culture
Chicago History Museum
Through 3/2 Siam: The Queen and the White City. Photographs, costumes, and other artifacts from the Siamese queen Savang Vadanafor’s collection.
Through 5/11 Ebony Fashion Fair. Dazzling designer garments from the archives of the famed traveling fashion show on custom-made mannequins.
Mon–Sat 9:30–4:30, Sun 12–5. $12–$14. 1601 N Clark. chicagohs.org
DuSable Museum of African American History
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.
Through 4/6 Beyond the Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges. This exhibit explores the surprising relationship between two oft-marginalized groups.
Tue–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. Free–$10. 740 E 56th Pl. dusablemuseum.org
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: Tracking the Reptiles of Pangaea. Learn how to read fossils for clues about the animals that roamed the earth long before humans came along.
Through 1/4/15 The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. Get the inside scoop on the bodily functions of both humans and animals at this kid-friendly exhibit.
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
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
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 for kids under 3, to $27–$36. 5700 S Lake Shore. msichicago.org