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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pumpkins still adorn some front doorsteps and Halloween candies still sit on some shelves but with Thanksgiving coming early this year (Nov. 23) and stores looking for a cheerful buying season, holiday decorations and events are already going up and beckoning.
If you have been downtown Chicago recently near Daley Plaza you likely noticed that the Christkindlmarket is already going up for its Nov. 17 opening and that Macy’s has already decorated its State Street and some Randolph Street windows. Its 45 foot high Great Tree is up in the Walnut Room sparkling with 2,000 ornaments and 6,600 lights.
So yes, it’s somewhat early to plan on where to go for some holiday cheer of the non-alcholoic, event type. But if you don’t want to miss a fun activity, a repeat of a delightful family tradition or something that might start a new tradition, take a look at what’s coming up, print this and circle those events worth putting on your calendar.
The events tend to fall into those that open Nov. 17 and the ones that start the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24.
Head to Millennium Park before 6 p.m. to ooh and aah when the lights switch on the 62 foot Norway sprice donated by Darlene Dorfler, Grayslake. The Oakdale Christian Academy Choir will be singing and cast members from Goodman Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ will perform. Santa and Mrs. Claus are also expected to visit. Admission is free. The tree will be up through Jan. 6, 2018.
The Chicago Christkindlmarket opens weekdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and stays open Friday-Saturday until 9 p.m. Location: Washington Street between Clark and Dearborn Streets. Admission free. For other information call (312) 494-2175.
See trees from a different perspective when the Morton Arboretum has lights moving on them to music. In addition there is an Illu-medallion that can now be purchased to reflect the interactive light display. Tickets are date and time specific. Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle. For more information call (630) 968-0074.
The festival opens Friday with activities and food from 4 to 8 p.m. in Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court) at 401 N. Michigan Avenue. The Michigan Avenue tree-lighting parade, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, happens on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. after a day of activities starting at 11 a.m. at Pioneer Court and at Michigan Avenue shops. The parade begins at Oak Street and goes south to Wacker Drive ending with Fireworks at 6:55 p.m. .
Begun in 1942 with one tree, the exhibit now has a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree plus more than 50 trees and displays. They are decorated by volunteers to represent many different cultures. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.
The European holiday market is now opening in other Chicago area attractions. On Nov. 24 it opens in Naperville at the Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St, and at the Park at Wrigley, 3637 N. Clark St.
If going to Wrigley, bring skates ($5 age 13 and older, free 12 and under) or rent them there because along with the Christkindlmarket the Park has an ice skating rink. If going there Nov. 28, take in the Tree-Lighting Ceremony when a Colorado Spruce tree from will sparkle with 2,700 bulbs. Instead of worrying about parking take the CTA Red Line or Clark bus 22 or Addison 152.
The garden welcomes winter with a wonderland of lights outside and miniature trains speeding around Chicago landmarks plus decorated halls and greenhouses inside. Entry is ticketed and datge and time specific. The garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, just east of Edens Expessway, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440
Art Institute of Chicago’s annually welcomes the holidays with a wreathing of its famous lion statues at 10 a.m., then continues the day with hot chocolate, music and drop in art activities through 3 p.m. While there, stop downstairs at the Thorne Miniature rooms because they are fun to see and some even get a holiday decoration. The museum is at 111 S. Michigan Ave.
If you don’t want to compete with other drivers going out of town Labor Day, take advantage of the long weekend to visit events and places in the Chicago area.
Cirque du Soleil
“Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico” will leave Chicago after this weekend. The final performance is Sept. 3. An amazing mix of color and culture, the show is under a tent at the United Center in Parking Lot K. For tickets and other information visit Cirque du Soleil Luzia.
Chicago Jazz Festival
Enjoy great music to sway and tap to under the stars in Millennium Park or surrounded by wonderful mosaics in the Chicago Cultural Center at the Chicago Jazz Festival this weekend. Admission is free. Millennium Park stages (201 E. Randolph St.) host music from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For Cultural Center, (78 E. Washington St.) times and for who is playing where and when visit ChicagoJazzFestival.
Art Fair on the Square
Wander around historic Market Square downtown Lake Forest Sept. 3 or 4 to see 180 exhibitors at Art Fair on the Square. Sponsored by the Deer Path Art League, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is free.
For directions and more information visit Deer Path Art League.
Catch the Gauguin exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago before it leaves. It is an exceptional show of Paul Gauguin’s sculptures, ceramics, paintings and etchings, but it ends Sept. 10 so try to fit it in during the long Labor Day Weekend. The exhibit is so popular it requires tickets. They’re included in admission price but they are date sensitive. For information and tickets visit ARTIC.
Breakfast and hike
Go to Morton Arboretum for waffles, eggs and other yummy treats in the Ginko Garden Restaurant, Saturday or Sunday. Then, hike the trails to work it off. The weather is supposed to be perfect for exploring the Arboretum, 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle. For more information or restaurant reservations call (630) 968-0074 and visit Morton Arb.
Hear UB40 or Aretha Franklin
Picnic on the lawn at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park where UB40 performs Sept. 2 and Aretha Franklin gets respect Sept. 3. The UB40 concert is 7:30 p.m. Aretha Franklin, original scheduled for June 17, also starts at 7:30. Original tickets will be honored. Ravinia Festival is at 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park. For directions, parking, tickets and other information visit Ravinia.
Go to the Art Institute of Chicago to see some fascinating paintings of Breton and Tahitian women or of Martinique landscapes by Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin.
Or go to the museum to see extraordinary ceramics by Gauguin. He called them his “monstrosities. They really aren’t.
Or go the museum to see Gauguin’s fine prints and woodwork.
But no matter what you expect to see in the Gauguin exhibit now at the Art Institute of Chicago through Sept. 10, 2017, you will be astonished.
As Gloria Groom, curator of “Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist” says in a video on the museum site, “Just when you think you know what he is doing he does something extraordinary and surprises you.”
What you will see are images that may start as drawings or be used on a ceramic piece and end up in paintings. You will also see decorative art.
But also look up on the walls. There are quotes by Gauguin that offer insight into the man, the painter, the philosopher, the traveler and the artist who influenced other artists. So don’t hurry through the exhibit.
“I must work seven or eight months at a stretch absorbing the character of the people of the country, which is essential for good painting… You must remember that I have a dual nature,” says a quote high on one of the exhibit walls.
The introductory panel at the entrance explains the exhibit’s title. “As an alchemist converts one element into another, Gauguin believed in the artist’s ability to take raw materials and transform them into something entirely new.”
Look for objects including furniture that Gauguin decorated. Also take time to watch some of the videos that show how the artist worked with different materials.
A short movie near the entrance talks about trying to define Gauguin’s style and changing focus. It offers more insight into the artist and his works.
In the video on the Art Institute site, Groom says, “This man is so amazingly layered. He’s so complex.”
So, it is very likely that what “Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist” does for viewers is introduce them to an artist they only thought they knew.
The Gauguin exhibit at the Art Institute requires tickets. Tip: get the ear phones available near the exhibit entrance. They are quire helpful. The exhibit will go to Grand Palais in Paris in October 2017.
The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois. For ticket and other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC.
Try to define “art.” Think beyond typical words that come to mind.
Think creative use of shapes, color, scenery, structures or materials. Then head over to the Art Institute of Chicago to see ‘Helio Oiticia: To Organize Delirium.’
At ‘Helio Oiticia,’ you not only see the famed Brazilian artist’s definition of art, you experience it. Be prepared to take off your shoes.
When you first walk into the Regenstein Hall you see Oiticia’s fondness for shapes and color. Then you find his actions and reactions to his country’s political upheavals and social issues.
But after exploring his large, room-like installations, his sandy beach complete with live, colorful birds and his dark room with a bouncy floor, you see that during Oiticia’s short life (1937-80) he liked to physically share his view of the world.
You will not be a mere viewer of the Art Institute’s show because Oiticia wants you to be a participant.
His “Spatial Reliefs” are hanging structures. “Nuclei” are suspended panels. His famed “Tropicália,” a large installation of sand, birds and foliage done in 1967 contrasts tropical images with what was really going on under Brazil’s dictatorship.
Organized by the Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, ‘Helio Oiticia: To Organize Delirium’ is a fascinating retrospective worth seeing and discussing.
Details: ‘Helio Oiticia: To Organize Delirium,’ is at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, now through May 7, 2017. For other information call (312) 443-3600 and visit AIC.
The Art Institute has a full Chinese menu of activities the last Saturday of January. If you at the Art Institute of Chicago Jan. 28, follow the exotic sounds you hear.
They will pull you into Gallery 101 at 10:30 a.m. and noon for Chinese Guzheng performances and to the Griffin Court in the Modern Wing at 11:30 a.m. for a Lion Dance. Then, it’s back to Griffin Court at 1 and 2 p.m. for the China National Peking Opera.
In addition to the performances there is a Mandarin tour of the museum’s Asian collection at noon and calligraphy demonstrations in the Ryan Learning Center (near the Modern Wing entrance) from 1:30 through 4 p.m.
But even before Jan. 28, the Art Institute is celebrating with drop-in Chinese New Year fun for kids in the Ryan Center, Jan. 17 through Feb. 11.
Best entrance to use for the celebration and Ryan Center is the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing at 159 E. Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603. General admission fee and free to children age 13 and younger and free to Chicago teens 14-17. Visit AIC.
If all you have is the lunch hour to celebrate, go over to the Chicago Cultural Center Jan. 30 for Chinese dances, martial arts and music in the very impressive Preston Bradley Hall. Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Fung Fu Troupe will be performing from noon to 1 p.m (free).
For more information visit DCAS The Chicago Cultural Center is across from Millennium Park at 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602.
To see the full Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe’s program get tickets to show at the Auditorium Theatre Feb. 4. Tickets start at $33. Show time is 7:30 p.m. The discount code is CFAS. The program blends dance and martial arts. The Auditorium Theatre is at 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605. Visit Auditorium and call (312) 341-2300.
The following week, Navy Pier’s ‘Neighborhoods of the World’ series spotlights the Chinese culture on Feb 12, from noon to 4 p.m. Go up to the Crystal Gardens for arts performances and a Chinese marketplace. Navy Pier is at 600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611. Visit CFA
It’s a given that Chicago winters are defined by how much snow has to be shoveled and how many layers are needed to protect against the cold. But, hey, Chicagoans know the city doesn’t shut down. So, Instead of hibernating the question is – what’s happening in and around the city to see and do early in 2017?
First was a look at some theater offerings premiering in Chicago. Now, let’s take a look at what is happening on the art scene.
Two of the exhibit sites, Intuit and Chicago Artists Coalition, may introduce you to art spaces you didn’t know or hadn’t visited.
The next two exhibits are in well-visited art museums but are quite unusual. The last venue hosts art exhibits throughout the year but the place is often under the radar.