If the Art institute’s impressive Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary exhibition (on view through 10/13) has sparked your taste for mind-bending art, and you need a new fix of the absurd, Chicago has several surrealist art shows up its sleeve.
Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo
Arguably more famous and more beloved than Rene Magritte is Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Her paintings are so rare they are hardly, if ever, on view in local museums, but now two small and immaculate paintings by the queen of surrealism can be seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The two paintings, both from 1946, introduce Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, a large exhibition of contemporary artists who have been influenced by her life and artwork.
Through October 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art , 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.
Surrealism and War
The National Veterans Art Museum in Portage Park recently opened Surrealism and War, an exhibition of artwork by war veterans. These artists have processed their experience of combat with gut-wrenching artworks, including a powerful mass grave-like sculpture by Jim Leedy, titled “The Earth Lies Screaming.” Others are more playful recalling the parlor game exquisite corpse.
Through November 1 at 4041 N Milwaukee. nvam.org.
Rescue or Destroy
At Rescue or Destroy, viewers are encouraged to save artworks from imminent demise (i.e., by hatchet) by buying them. Attend the high-pressure event for no other reason to cheer with the other philistines. The surrealists would have loved this kind of thing.
July 29, 8pm, at Fulton Market Kitchen, 311 N Sangamon. rescueordestroy.blogspot.com.
The Art Institute is challenging visitors to make a work of art worthy of showing in the world-class museum. “Come to the museum with your own everyday surrealist object,” reads the announcement, and admission to the Magritte show is free on July 24 only (it's regularly $15–$23). In August, all of the objects brought by visitors will be on display in the Modern Wing. If you're unsure of what an everyday surrealist object might be, here's a guide from the poet Lautreamont: Surrealism is like “the chance encounter of a sewing machine and umbrella on an ironing board."
July 24, 5 to 8 p.m., at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan. artic.edu.