Art exhibits closing and opening in April

It’s arguably hard to keep up with all the exceptional art exhibits put on in Chicago area museums without some kind of program card. Hopefully the following list for April 2019 will help.

Don’t miss

At the Chicago Cultural Center

Arts of Life artists among exhibits ending this week at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Cultural Center and Arts of Life)
Arts of Life artists among exhibits ending this week at the Chicago Cultural Center. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Cultural Center and Arts of Life)

April 7,2019  is closing day for these three exhibits in Cultural Center’s first floor galleries.

“Furtive,” curated by Filter Photo, is a photographic exhibit that explores  personal and collective memory by Daniel Hojnacki, Karolis Usonis, and Krista Wortendyke.

“Forgotten Forms” is an exhibition of works by artists exploring everyday objects to tell a story about neighborhood identity and urban life. The artists are members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

“In Good Company” is a group exhibition is from seven artists and four volunteers of the Arts of Life  studios. Visit artsoflife.org/events/in-good-company.

The  Chicago Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington St.. Chicago. For more information visit Chicago/Dept/Cultural Center.

 

Detail) Kurt Schmidt, Construction for fireworks, from the Stage Workshop, 1923, lithograph / Reproduction 2017. Photo: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Screen short photo courtesy of Elmhurst Art Museum)
Detail) Kurt Schmidt, Construction for fireworks, from the Stage Workshop, 1923, lithograph / Reproduction 2017. Photo: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Screen shot photo courtesy of Elmhurst Art Museum)

 

At the Elmhurst Art Museum

The Whole World a Bauhouse,” an internationally traveling exhibition making only one stop in the United States, is at the Elmhurst Art Museum just through April 20.

The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the famed Bauhaus school in Germany. Even though it operated from 1919 to 1933, it had a revolutionary influence on art, architecture and industry. Instructors included such influencers and artists and Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Lily Reich.

The Elmhurst Art Museum is at 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst. For more information visit Elmhurst Art Museum.

 

'The Great Wave' by Hokusai will be on view for a short time in a special Japanese prints exhibit the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Art Institute of chicago
‘The Great Wave’ by Hokusai will be on view for a short time in a special Japanese prints exhibit the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago)

 

Opening

At the Art Institute of Chicago

“The Great Wave” by Holusai will be among the prints explored in Connoisseurship of Japanese Prints  in Gallery 107 beginning April 6, 2019.

“The People Shall govern!,” opens April 24 in Galleries 1-4. This is the first North American exhibition on the Medu Art Ensemble begun in late 1970s to oppose South Africa’s apartheid.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. For hours, admission and other information visit ARTIC.

 

Jonathas de Andrade Still from Jogos dirigidos (Directed games), 2019. HD video (color, sound). Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Commission. (photo courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art )

At the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Jonathas De Andrade: One to One” opens April 13 with photographs, installations and videos that reflect his take on a northeast area of Brazil.

Can You Hear Me Now,” opening April 27, deals with communication problems in a divisive political climate.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. For hours, admission and other information visit MCA.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

Where to go for a fun and interesting spring break day

© Isak Pretorius, South Africa 2017 photo. A Wildlife photographer of the year winner (Photo courtesy of Field Museum)
© Isak Pretorius, South Africa 2017 photo. A Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner (Photo courtesy of Field Museum)

We often put a place on the “some day” go-to list. But with school’s Spring Vacation days to fill, that chance is now.

The four places suggested here have something new to see or have something that is fun in addition to their regular attractions.

 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

You probably know the museum has more than 1,000 butterflies flitting around its Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. But it also has an indoor tree house and visitors can roam from tree to tree to see what lives in a forest canopy.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for butterflies, tree houses and the Thomas D. Mangelsen photography exhibit. (Photo courtesy of the Nature Museum)
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for butterflies, tree houses and the Thomas D. Mangelsen photography exhibit. (Photo courtesy of the Nature Museum)

However, Spring Break is also a great time to visit because the “Thomas D. Mangelsen-A Life in the Wild” photography exhibit is there. The exhibit includes his famous photo of a bear catching a fish. Photography buffs will also want to catch Mangelsen’s lecture and book signing of “The Last Great Wild Places,” March 19 at 2 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. (reservations needed).

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is at 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago.  Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5p.m., Sat-Sun 10 a,m,-5 p.m. For more information  call (773) 755-510 and visit Nature Museum.

 

 

At 'Sensing Chicago' young visitors can become a Chicago-style hot dog. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)
At ‘Sensing Chicago’ young visitors can become a Chicago-style hot dog. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

Chicago History Museum

Youngsters can see, feel, hear and smell bits of the city’s history in ‘Sensing Chicago,” They will get their own toolkit to go around the exhibit where they can ID a Chicago item such as chocolate  or the Great Chicago Fire, by its smell and sit in a stadium seat to activate a baseball clip. They can pretend to fly over the city or pretend to be a Chicago-style hot dog.

However, an exhibit coming April 8, 2019, “Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ‘40s,” will look at Hollywood’s glamour influence on American styles after 1929 on catalogues, home-made clothes, man-made materials and the use of the newly invented zipper.

The Chicago History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St.,Chicago. Hours: Mon. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tues. 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Wed.-Sat. 9:30a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. For more information call (312) 642-4600 and visit Chicago History.

 

Putting together Maximo the Titanosaurin the Field Museum. (J Jacobs photo)
Putting together Maximo the Titanosaur in the Field Museum. (J Jacobs photo)

Field Museum

Go upstairs in the Field to see where SUE now resides among other interesting, ancient skeletons and fossils.  SUE, who used to be in the Great Hall on the main floor, is  a 40-foot-long and 90-percent-complete Tyrannosaurus rex.

And go what feels like descending into an Egyptian tomb. It is replica of a mastaba that has two chamber rooms from the burial site of 5th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Unis’s son Unis-Ankh, dating to 2400 BC. See one of the largest collections of mummies in the United States.

However, a fascinating new exhibit, “Wildlife Photographer of the Year,” features the winners from several years. (See Isak Pretorius photo at top) They bring visitors up close and personal to wild animals and other amazing nature pictures. The exhibit opens March 22,2019.

(Ed Note: Exhibitions Project Manager Janet Hong pointed out something that is also true of the Mangelsen exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Museum. “Sometimes, the animal in the photo is the protagonist —you identify with that animal and its story. But the hero of a photograph can also be its photographer,” Hong said. “It takes perseverance to get a great shot. Understanding an animal’s behavior can mean tracking it for days and a great visual composition often comes from deep knowledge of a place or plant or animal.”)

The Field Museum is at 1400 S.Lake Shore Dr. on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Hours: 9 a.m,.-5 p.m. daily For more information call (312) 922-9410 and visit Field Museum.

 

Art Institute of Chicago is a popular destination for tourists and residents. (J Jacobs photo)
Art Institute of Chicago is a popular destination for tourists and residents. (J Jacobs photo)

Art Institute of Chicago

Visit paintings that are old friends and wander to make new friends. Go down to the Thorne Miniature Rooms to see 68 European and American interiors. Visit the Artist’s Studio to see what family programs are taking place.

However, “Rembrandt Portraits,” opened March 8, goes through June 9, 2019  in Gallery 213. It’s an interesting analysis of what went into doing a portrait.

The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and open until 8 p.m. Thursday. For more information call (312) 443-3600 and visit ARTIC.

 

 

Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinatown New Year's Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)
Chinatown New Year’s Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)

If the new year that began Jan. 1, 2019 didn’t bring much luck so far or you really enjoy celebrating a new year, join in the fun and good luck of Chinese New Year  4717 that begins on Feb. 4.

Chicago celebrations kick off with a pre-New Year’s celebration Downtown Feb. 2, continue Feb. 5 and beyond until they end Feb. 16. However, Chinese New Year celebrations do go from Feb. 4 through Feb. 17 and end in some places with a Lantern Festival.

There is a lot going on in the city to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac’s lunar year sign – the Year of the Pig.

Also known as the Spring Festival, this Lunar Festival (there are others, particularly in Asia,) begins the eve before the first day and is often a time for families to get together.

Think “new moon” to know when it begins. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, 2019.  This year, the new moon is Feb. 4, 2019.

Here are some events that honor the Chinese culture and arts. More information is at Choose Chicago Chinese New Year   and  Chinese Fine Arts Society. Unless otherwise noted, the events are free.

 

Art Institute of Chicago pre-New Year celebration followed by a Lantern Procession

Head over to the Art Institute at 111 S. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 2 for music, crafts, stories, games and some talks in English and Mandarin about the museum’s Chinese art collection from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Then, cross Monroe Street to Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for more activities. A Lantern Procession will line up about 5 p.m. and wind with a lion dance over to Maggie Daley Park about 5:30. Crafts and ice skating take place there until 7:30 p.m. The event is a partnership of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Choose Chicago.

 

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)
Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)

Official City kickoff at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the Chinese Fine Arts Society at noon Feb. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Watch lion dancers, Silk Road pipa master Yang Wei, martial arts and the Flying Fairies dance troupe. A special feature will be the China National Peking Opera Company including a sneak peak of comedic and acrobatic “At the Crossroads,” a famous opera based on a story from Water Margin.

The event is co-sponsored with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preston Bradley Hall is up the south stairs of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St Chicago Find more information at  (773) 935-6169

 

Annual Argyle Lunar New Year Parade

Join Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood festivities Feb. 9 for the Chinese New Year parade of dragons, lions and floats. It starts at 1 p.m. at Argyle and Winthrop near the Argyle “L” stop then goes east on Argyle Street to Sheridan Road, south to Ainslie Street, west to Broadway and then back to Argyle.

Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization
Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization)

 

Today at Apple

At the Apple store on north Michigan Avenue there will be Music Lab of Chinese Instruments with Yang Wei, artist-in-residence at Chinese fine arts society on Feb. 9. The event, running from 1 to 3:30 p.m. also includes hands-on GarageBand on the  iPad for the digital version and Sound-of- Wishes Ensemble. Plus, calligrapher Yijun Hu will draws to the music on an iPad. Apple is at 401 N. Michigan Ave.

 

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade attracts thousands of folks from all over the Chicago area. The celebration takes place at Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street in the heart of Chinatown from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb 10. Cosponsors are the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation and Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

 

A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)
A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)

 

Chicago Symphony Center Fifth Annual Chinese New Year Concert

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Symphony Center’s fifth annual concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10. The event features the China National Peking Opera Company and the Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra. This is a ticketed program.

A pre-concert performance is in Buntrock Hall at 1:30 p.m. featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts Association, Yellow River Performing Arts and the Chicago Chinese Qipao Association. These performances are free to ticket holders of the 3 p.m. concert. Orchestra Hall is at, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

 

Global Connections: Chinese New Year Celebration at Navy Pier

Navy Pier celebrates the Chinese New Year with colorful performances and crafts and food booths in its AON Grand Ballroom, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Performing are the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, pipa master Yang Wei, Mongolian throat singer Tamir Hargana, the Flying Fairies dance troupe, Beidou Kung Fu, Zhong Hua Kung Fu plus traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Instrument Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team and others from Chicago’s Chinese community.

The Chinese Marketplace opens at 12:30 p.m. Performances are at 1 P.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around town: Not gone yet

 

With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.

Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera
Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera

Shows

Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information  visit Lyric Opera.

Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.

Women of Soul” at the Black Ensemble Theatre goes to Jan. 27. See tickets and more information at Black Ensemble Theater.

“ A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, opens this weekend (Dec. 14 2018), and runs through Jan. 27. Tickets and more information at Chicago Shakes.

At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted, “Familiar” continues through Jan. 13 and “”La Ruta” goes through Jan. 27.  Visit Steppenwolf.

 

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Festivals

Illumination” at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle, goes through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Winter Wonderfest” continues at Navy Pier, Chicago, through Jan. 6. For tickets, parking and other information visit Navy Pier.

Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show)  For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.

Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.

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Thoughts on Art Institute anniverserary

 

The space between the lions will be filled with well wishers for the Art Institute anniversary photo Dec. 8, 2018 (Photo by J. Jacobs)
The space between the lions will be filled with well wishers for the Art Institute anniversary photo Dec. 8, 2018
(Photo by J. Jacobs)

First Happy Birthday AIC.!

Secondly, everyone is invited to celebrate with the Art Institute of Chicago by participating in a humongous group photo on the building’s front steps, 111 S. Michigan Ave. at 10 a.m. Dec. 8, 2018.

The photo is followed by Gallery Talks at noon and again at 2 p.m.

See the wonderful video to go with the anniversary celebration by visiting this YouTube Anniversary site.

The video’s scenes are delightful but what I remember is taking classes there back in the late 1950’s in rooms off, what seemed like an immense basement-like hall.

It appeared to me to have a ceiling three-stories up. But the space didn’t matter because before and after class I could wander the galleries, visit my favorite works and pick up postcard-sized pictures to take home.

Of course this space later was finished, additions were added as the museum kept growing until it looks like it does today and the school moved to other buildings.

But to me, changes and all, the Art Institute of Chicago still feels like a second home.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Chicago becomes art central last September weekend

 

Visitors at the opening night Vernissage event see Expo Chicago exhibits. (Expo Chicago photo)
Visitors at the opening night Vernissage event see Expo Chicago exhibits. (Expo Chicago photo)

When Art Expo rolls around each year, lots of galleries and art institutions not only participate in the Expo’s Navy Pier events and exhibits, they also hold their own new exhibitions

With so many places taking part as partners ranging from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, The Block Museum of Art and the Elmhurst  Art Museum to the American Writers Museum, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago Cultural Center, the Richard H. Driehouse Museum, the Dusable Museum of  African American History and Peninsuala Chicago,(to name just a few) about the only way to fit in all the terrific art and events is to plan ahead. So take a look at what is being offered when.

Art Expo

Held Sept. 27-30, 2018 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, Art Expo visitors get to can see works that are making statements in 135 galleries from 63 cities around the globe. For hours and tickets visit tickets.

For a special viewing opening night, Sept. 27, that includes cocktails and benefits a fine Chicago institution see Vernissage.

While at Expo,  look for the large sculptures and hanging works of the In Situ artists including Judy Chicago’s “Cartoon for The Fall from the Holocaust Projgect 1987″ from the Jessica Silverman Gallery of San Francisco and NY.

Try also to take in one of Expo’s informative treats, Dialogues – Symposium on Sept. 28. It is a day-long progam that has a variety of  informative discussions with artists, curators, and other art professionals. Dialogues partners  include theArt Institute of Chicago, Art Design Chicago and Terra Foundation for American Art..

To learn about other fine exhibits and programs by partnering organization and museums visit art week.

One place you don’t go inside but will see if you are near the Merchandise Mart after dark is “Art on the Mart” Sept. 29. Look for an artistic light show on the front of the Mart starting at 6:30 p.m. Wacker Drive will be closed to traffic between Wells and Franklin Streets because of the projections,  a Lantern Procession by Light Up My Arts, food trucks and a DJ.

Jim Nutt "Miss K Knows" at the Art Institute of Chicago in the" Hairy Who" exhibit opening Sept. 26, 2018. (AIC photo)
Jim Nutt “Miss K Knows” at the Art Institute of Chicago in the” Hairy Who” exhibit opening Sept. 26, 2018. (AIC photo)

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Expo weekend is the last chance to see “John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age” which closes Sept. 30. It surprises viewers with the depth of art styles used by Sargent who is best known for his portraits.

But this week is also the opening of “Hairy Who,” another surprising exhibit. The name is attached to a group of six influential Chicago artists known for their unconventional, graphic works.

Museum of Contemporary Art

“Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release” opens at the MCA Chicago Sept. 29 of Expo weekend. Within an easy bus ride from Navy Pier, the show introduces viewers to this Italian-born artist who currently resides in London and has works in such renown institutions as the Tate Modern and Hirshhorn Museum.

The MCA show is the first United States exhibition of Enrico David’s work.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

The John Singer Sargent you only thought you knew

If you think you can recognize any painting by John Singer Sargent you are likely to be surprised when you visit “John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age” now at the Art Institute of Chicago through Sept. 30, 2018.

John Singer Sargent, 'Thistles' is in the Art Institute of Chicago Show. (Photos by Jacobs)
John Singer Sargent, ‘Thistles’ is in the Art Institute of Chicago Show. (Photos by Jacobs)

Of course there are some of his famed portraits, but as you wander through the show, an extensive exhibit of nearly 100 objects, you will see landscapes.

You will find not just oils but also watercolors. You will see that Sargent not only did traditional portraits but also did murals and captured the movement of wind-blown plants, water scenes, people on city streets and western ranges in an impressionistic style.

You will also learn that he and artists in his circle painted each other such as in Sargent’s ” An Artist at His Easel” painting of British artist Adrian Stokes.

John Singer Sargent, 1914 'An artist at His Easel'
John Singer Sargent, 1914 ‘An artist at His Easel’

The exhibit explains that Sargent (1856-1925) had several ties to Chicago and that many of his works were displayed in the city  including at the World’s Columbian Exposition and at the Arts Club of Chicago.

But Chicago ties aside, what the Art Institute exhibit accomplishes most of all, is to present the many dimensions of a brilliant artist.

DETAILS:  “John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age” is at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. through Sept. 30, 2018. This is a ticketed exhibition so for tickets or more information call (312) 443-3600 and visit Sargent artic 

Jodie Jacobs

‘Flesh’ exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago explores Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright. Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943/44. Gift of Ivan Albright. © The Art Institute of Chicago.
Ivan Albright. Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943/44. Gift of Ivan Albright. © The Art Institute of Chicago.

No one looked at the aging process of the human body quite like Chicago artist Ivan Albright (1897–1983). His obsession with the body’s physical decay earned him the well-deserved title, “master of the macabre.”

The Art Institute of Chicago has curated more than 30 Albright in a retrospective called “Flesh,” now showing through August 5, 2018.

Based on Albright’s 1928 “Flesh,” the exhibit covers many of his paintings. They demonstrated every wrinkle, boil and fold of human skin, equally depicting unflattering portraits of men and women.

Albright’s process was painstaking and labored, often taking him many years to complete a work. Some paintings he just gave up on to pursue other projects.

“That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door),” considered his most important work, is a prime example of a painting that took him ten years. But it leaves us with an acknowledgement of life’s brevity and the road often not taken.

Former Indiana University faculty member, Jerry Findley, PhD, said, “This work focuses on moments that humanity finds hard to address –  about regrets and the human experience.”

Albright’s portrayal of the body’s decay led him to his most important commission – painting The Picture of Dorian Gray for the 1945 film of Oscar Wilde’s haunting novel. This hideous, well-detailed portrait captures the essence of Wilde’s “Gray” as he descends into madness.

“The works they selected were excellent choices of Albright’s depiction of flesh of the human body… the vulnerability of time that overtakes all of humanity,” said Findley.

In exploring “the way of all flesh” throughout his career, Albright purposefully pushes the envelope of decency to shock his viewers.

“Flesh” is at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, through Aug. 5, 2018.  For more admission and other information, call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC/IvanAlbright.

Mira Temkin

 

 

Chinese bronzes exhibit is timely and timeless

 

The actual bronzes pictured in a photo of a Chinese delegation to Chicago are on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
The actual bronzes pictured in a photo of a Chinese delegation to Chicago are on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

A timely new exhibit, “Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors and their Bronzes,” fills the Art Institute of Chicago’s Regensenstein Hall.  Opened Feb. 24, 2018, to coincide with the Chinese New Year, the exhibit’s ancient ornamental containers and related art pieces were used for a variety of ceremonies.

The exhibit, which continues through May 13, 2018, brings together many objects not seen outside of China.

Goblet (Late Shang dynasty about 1250-1046 BC) Art Institute of Chicago, Lucy Maud Buchkingham Collection.L. and Goblet of Father Ding (Western Zhou dynasty 1046-771 BC) Xiling Collection. Jacobs photo
Goblet (Late Shang dynasty about 1250-1046 BC) Art Institute of Chicago, Lucy Maud Buchkingham Collection.L. and Goblet of Father Ding (Western Zhou dynasty 1046-771 BC) Xiling Collection. Jacobs photo

A good chance to see how the bronzes, which are primarily from the second and first millennia BC, is to visit the Art Institute March 3 when the museum is holding a Lantern Celebration from 1 to 7:30 p..m. (free with museum admission) and “Concert Music of China – Past and Present” (free) from 3 to 4:15 p.m.

But no matter when visitors go there are few tips that should add to their experience.

Upon walking into the exhibition space, it is easy to start looking at all the vessels. There are nearly 200 works assembled from Beijing’s Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, other museums and from private collections.  They mirrored what was important in the Chinese culture during their period.

However, turn right first to see a large, wall-sized photo reproduction of a Chinese delegation that visited Chicago in the early 20th century. Look at the bronze set being held. Then see the actual pieces in a case across the room. The spectacular set is on loan from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A video shows how a clay mold is used to form the bronzes. Jacobs photo taken of the video
A video shows how a clay mold is used to form the bronzes. Jacobs photo taken of the video

Next, while meandering through the exhibit, stop in front of a small, easy-to-miss video screen on a long, wall to the right.. It shows how bronzes were created in molds.

However, this exhibit is not merely about the bronzes. It also is about the emperors who valued and collected them. So when turning the corner of the main room, stop and sit a minute where a short movie on Emperor Quianlong shows some of the treasures he housed in the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The complex is home to the Palace Museum.

The film and exhibition curator Tao Wang, the Art Institute’s Pritzker Chair of Asian Art explain Quianlong’s and other emperors’ views on the importance of collecting bronzes.

“For the emperor-collectors, ancient bronzes were more than a collection piece,” said Wang. “They were perceived as the Mandate of Heaven – an embodiment or symbol of moral and political authority.”

DETAILS: “Mirroring China’s Past: Emperors and their Bronzes” is at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, now through May 13, 2018. For admission fees, hours and other information call (312) 433-3600 and visit ARTIC.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Unique gifts that work double time

 

A penguin with a purpose. A Wright that is right. Those are just two of the special gifts that can be found in Chicago museums.

Instead of fighting crowds on Black Friday, use the day off to visit a favorite museum and its gift shop. Museum stores are not only filled with fun and artistic gifts, they also funnel that money you spend back into programs and other costs.

Plus, holiday shopping when you can also watch penguins play or visit a favorite art period adds to the fun of finding a present that matches a person’s interest.

However, if you don’t make it down to Chicago, browse the museum stores’ web sites. They are easy to maneuver because most are broken into different categories so don’t worry if the first link you find merely says store. Watch for scrolling options and look for such links as jewelry, toys and home decor.

On Chicago’s Museum Campus

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd, in the middle of the Museum campus at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., is a favorite destination when youngsters and adults have a day off. However, you can also look in the shop on line to find everything from toddler shark hoodies to soft, plus animals that have wallett friendly prices. Visit Shedd Shop and call (312) 939-2438 if you have some questions.

A plush baby penguin is just one of the delightful items found on line in the Shedd Aquarium store. Shedd photo
A plush baby penguin is just one of the delightful items found on line in the Shedd Aquarium store. Shedd photo

Adler Planetarium 

Past the Shedd, all the way out to the eastern point of the museum campus is the Adler Planetarium,  at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive.

The shop is perfect for the budding astronomer or astronaut wannabe. Think telescope, NASA hoodie or night sky projection.

The products are high quality and come in all prices. Check out Adler Shop and call (312) 922-7827 with questions.

Field Museum

First museum on the campus, the Field at 1400 S. Lake shore Dr., has a huge store worth a visit anytime you are on the museum campus. However, the store’s website is also huge. Note that different shop areas scroll across the Field store site. Click on one that particularly catches your attention or merelyh look for such categories as home  décor and toys. Among the sites is one for Ancient Mediterranean objects.  For other information call (312) 922-9410.

Art Museums

Art Institute of Chicago

Both sections of theArt Institute of Chicago, the traditional building at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern Wing at 159 E. Monroe St. have wonderful gift shops near their entrances so visitors can shop without paying admission. But if there, it is hard to resist visiting a favorite gallery.

If shopping  on line look for different categories such as apparel, stationary, books (even coloring books for famous paintins or architectural items, glass objects or a particular artist at AICShop.  There is even a site for all Frank Lloyd Wright items.  For other information call (312) 443-3600.

Frank Lloyd Wright decorative items, tgies and clock can be found on the Art Institute of Chicago's store website. Art Institute of chicago photo
Frank Lloyd Wright decorative items, tgies and clock can be found on the Art Institute of Chicago’s store website. Art Institute of chicago photo

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Visit the MCA, as it is popularly known, to see its latest exhibition of important contemporary works upstairs on the Fourth Floor but also to dine in its new restaurant on the ground floor. The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave.

But if saving that visit for a day after the holidays, go on line to the MCA Store to vfnd such fun objects as desktop and hanging mobiles or fun, objects by artist Murakami.

For more information call (312) 289-2660.

 

Other Museums

Chicago History Museum

If trying to match a present to a history buff or someone interested in Chicago, a great place to find a book or related gift is at the Chicago History Museum Shop. The building, situated in Lincoln Park at 1601 N. Clark St., is  also an easy bus ride from downtown Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry

Visit MSI to see its Robots, Lego or Mirror Maze exhibit or for its fairy castle or coal mine. You will find related items and gifts for you young scientiist in the museum gift shop. The museum is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive near the Hyde Park/ University of Chicago neighborhoods.

But you can also shop on line for toys, books and other gift items. The store has a gift guide.

Happy shopping and have a joyous holiday.

Jodie Jacobs