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17 Museum Exhibits to See in Chicago This December

Here’s what to do if you’re headed to the AIC, the MCA, the Adler Planetarium, and more of the city’s museums this month.

Get a look at the Orion Nebula at the Adler Planetarium’s show, Cosmic Wonder.   Photo: Hubblesite

Art & Design

Art Institute Of Chicago

Through 1/9 Violence and Virtue: Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes. The trailblazing female painter’s masterpiece travels here from Florence.
Through 1/12 Amar Kanwar, from New Delhi, shows her 2007 film The Lightning Testimonies, which gives personal accounts of rape in India.
Through 1/26 Focus: Monika Baer. The Berlin-based 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.
111 S Michigan. artic.edu


Hyde Park Art Center

Through 12/1 Light and the Unseen. Seven artists use light as material and metaphor to explore the outer reaches of the eyeball and the mind.
Through 1/14 A Study in Midwestern Appropriation. This 40-artist-strong exhibition examines the region’s artistic influences.
5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org

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. 220 E Chicago. Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Free (kids under 13) to $12; free Tue for Ill residents. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org

Renaissance Society

Through 12/15 Suicide Narcissus. Eight international artists tackle the difficult subject of self-harm. U of C, 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

Through 3/30 The Endangered Species: A Visual Response to the Vanishing Black Man. The artist Raub Welch examines the iconography around the black man. Tue–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. Free–$10. 740 E 56th Pl. dusablemuseum.org


Field Museum

Through 1/5 Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. This 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 artifacts from the famous fair.
Open daily 9–5. General admission free (kids 3–11A) to $15; all-access passes $21–$30. 1400 S Lake Shore. fieldmuseum.org

Science, Nature, Kids


Adler Planetarium

Through 4/1 Cosmic Wonder. The latest show in the spacious Grainger Theater lets visitors gawk at jaw-dropping shots of the Crab Nebula and Orion. Mon–Fri 9–4, 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 2/17 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 $18. 5700 Lake Shore. msichicago.org

Shedd Aquarium

Through 12/28 A Holiday Fantasea. Santa vists the seals in this holiday revamp of the aquarium’s popular live show. Mon–Fri 9–5, Sat–Sun 9–6. Museum open daily 9–6. General admission $6–$8. 1200 S Lake Shore. sheddaquarium.org


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