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18 Reasons to Visit Chicago’s Museums in November

The MCA examines art as archeology, the AIC looks at art and appetite, Vivian Maier’s photos show Chicago’s past, and Paul D’Amato’s are a portrait of its present.

Wayne Thiebaud’s Salad, Sandwiches, and Dessert (1960) is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago’s upcoming exhibit, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine.   Photo: Art Institute of Chicago

Art & Design

Art Institute of Chicago

11/12–1/7 Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. The exhibit highlights works involving fine dining and fast food, with more than 75 pieces, from menus to Warhol.
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.
111 S Michigan. artic.edu.

DePaul Art Museum

Through 11/24 Paul D’Amato: We Shall. The photographer doesn’t sugarcoat his subject matter: the lives of the socially dispossessed trapped in a wasteland—specifically, African Americans on Chicago’s West Side, whom D’Amato has been photographing for a decade. 935 W Fullerton. museums.depaul.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 1/13 A Study in Midwestern Appropriation. This 37-artist-strong exhibition examines the region’s artistic influences.
5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org.

Museum of Contemporary Art

11/9–3/9 The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology. This exhibition makes several attempts at answering that question: with art made exclusively after the year 2000, with art that is politically provocative, and with art influenced by 20-century icon 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.

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.

Swedish American Museum

Through 11/24 Michael Söderlundh. The Swede’s eccentric visions of peculiar narratives hidden in landscapes are rendered in a symbolist, painterly style. 5211 N Clark. swedishamericanmuseum.org.

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

11/15 at 6 Ten x Ten. Some of the city’s best emerging printmakers and designers pair off with local contemporary classical music composers to producer a limited edition print portfolio and an LP. The fruit of their creative collaborations are available at this one-night event and performance, produced by Homeroom, Spudnik Press, and Access Contemporary Music. 2320 W Chicago. tenxtenchicago.com.

History & Culture

Chicago History Museum

Through 1/4 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 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 11/20 KKK—Kin Killin’ Kin. James Pate’s charcoal drawings and colorful paintings combine symbols of African cultural heritage with urgent scenes of urban gun violence. Tue–Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5. Free–$10. 740 E 56th Pl. dusablemuseum.org.


Field Museum

Through 9/7 Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair. The museum reveals artifacts from the famous fair.
Through 1/5 Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. This show illuminates the many life forms that produce light.
Open daily 9–5. General admission free (kids under 3) 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 Theatre permits visitors to gawk at jaw-dropping shots of the Crab Nebula and Orion. Open daily 9–4:30. 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. 57th and Lake Shore. msichicago.org.


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