With Chicago museums allowed to open with Covid protocols in place, there are new exhibits to see at places off the beaten path.
Among them are the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the intuit Center for Intuitive Outsider Art..
“Work People Art,” pieces done under the Works Progress Administration’s Great Depression era Federal Art Project, open at the Ukrainian Institute Feb. 20 and continue through May 16, 2021.
“Nearly 90 years later, these works speak to contemporary American struggles with a Covid-19 pandemic, its accompanying political and economic repercussions, and an era of social upheaval,” says an exhibit statement.
The exhibition is a road show organized by Doug Stapleton, associate curator of art at the Illinois State Museum.
The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art is at 2320 W. Chicago Ave. For more information visit UIMA and WorkPeopleArtOpening.
The following weekend, Intuit opens Feb. 26 with a George Widener exhibition that continues through May 9, 2021.
Called “In Focus: George Widener,” it features works from the Victor F. Keen collection.
“George Widener is an exceptional living artist who blurs the boundary between outsider and contemporary art with his works that focus on numbers, dates, cities and codes,” says Intuit President/CEO Debra Kerr.
Intuit is at 756 N. Milwaukee Ave. For more information visit art.org.
It’s sure to feel like spring is reawakening with glorious sunflowers when you visit the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, now showing through September 6.
This visually spectacular digital art exhibition invites audiences to “step inside” the iconic works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. It evokes his highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness through art, light, music and movement.
With more than 50 projectors illuminating over 14,000 square-feet, visitors are surrounded by Van Gogh’s brushstrokes and colors, including animated details from Self Portrait with Felt Hat (1888), The Bedroom in Arles (1889), Irises (1889) and The Starry Night 1889).
Immersive Van Gogh is a glorious experience that will envelop the visual and audio senses. Classical music, Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets” and other French songs stimulate the mind.
Stand in one of the circles on the main floor, then step up to the balcony to get a higher perspective.
The 1-hour Van Gogh exhibit has been designed in accordance with the latest health and safety protocols. Capacity is limited and masks are required at all times. Digitally projected social distancing circles on the gallery floors ensure appropriate spacing.
Ticket prices start at $39.99 for adults ($24.99 for children 16 or younger) with untimed and flexible ticket options available.
Immersive Van Gogh is at the Lighthouse Art Space, 108 Germania Place, Chicago. For more information, visit vangoghchicago.com or call 844-307-4644.
See an in-person exhibit on Nelson Mandela, Women in the Military, Monet or Marvel Comics.
As the number of COVID cases go down Chicago’s museums have begun inviting visitors back, enticing them with special exhibits.
Safety protocols will be followed including timed tickets and, of course, wearing masks. As an old, once popular ad said, “Don’t leave home without it.”
The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum opened in January. The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Lake County Dunn Museum are opening in February and the Museum of Science and Industry opens in March.
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
The museum welcomed the public back with free admission on Feb. 3, 2021 and will continue to offer free admission on Wednesday through March. Hours are 9 a.m. -5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday but tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. See safety procedures.
Current main special exhibition is “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” up until about Feb. 20, 2021.
Upcoming special exhibit is “Mandela’s Struggle for Freedom” opening Feb. 20.
The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and 159 E. Monroe (Modern Wing).
Bess Bower Dunn Museum
The museum, a Lake County Forest Preserves property, reopens Feb. 13 with online, timed tickets.
“Modifications have been made throughout the galleries and gift shop to minimize touch points and support social distancing,” said Director of Education Nan Buckardt.
Along with displays of Lake County history and artifacts, the museum is currently celebrating Black History Month. Its special exhibit, “Breaking Barriers: Women in the Military,” will be up through June 13, 2021.
Modified hours are 10 am to 3:30 pm, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with visitation time slots available from 10–11:30 am, 12–1:30 pm, and 2–3:30 pm. The galleries and gift shop will be closed between these time slots for cleaning and disinfecting.
The museum will be open on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb.15 and then will resume its regular schedule.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors back again to the Dunn Museum,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “Our priority remains to create a safe environment and provide peace of mind for all our visitors and staff while connecting them with Lake County history and culture.”
For tickets, safety protocols and other information visit Bess Bower Dunn Museum. The museum is at 1899 W. Winchester Rd., Libertyville, (847) 367 6640.
Museum Of Science and Industry
MSI as Chicagoans call the museum, will reopen with the premiere of “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” when it welcomes members on March 4 and the public on March 7.
A major exhibit, the ” Marvel Universe” will contain more than 300 items ranging from sculptures, interactive displays and costumes to props from Marvel films and original comic book pages.
After opening weekend, MSI will be open Wed -Sun from 9:30 a.m. to 4.p.m. For tickets, protocols, hours and other information visit MSI status.
The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.
Imagine being surrounded by the art of Vincent van Gogh translated into movement, color and sound.
If you deliberately drive or walk past theMart to see what pictures are currently shown on the huge Wacker Drive side of the building as Art on theMart or it you tried getting tickets for last year’s sold-out last year and this year’s almost sold out Lightscape, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s stroll through immersive light and sound, you are likely to want to get to tickets when they go on sale this month to “Immersive Van Gogh.”
Tickets go on sale 11 a.m. CST Nov. 23, 2020 at VanGoghChicago and (844) 307-4644. Prices start at $39.99, adults and $24.99 for youth age 16 and younger. Tickets and space conform to pandemic protocols of social distancing and hand sanitizing.
The exhibition deconstructs Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh and several of his works including “The Starry Night” and some of the “Sunflowers” series during an hour-long, 360 degree experience among changing projections and music in a 500,000 cubic foot space.
The creative team responsible for the Parisian Atelier des Lumières Exhibition in Paris is getting the Chicago edition of “Immersive Van Gogh” ready to open Feb. 11, 2021, according to Chicago Commissioner of Culture Mark Kelly during an introductory conference Nov. 16.
However, as remarkable as the Immersive van Gogh exhibition will be, Kelly also considered the space as equally important. The exhibition which leaves early May is going up in the formerly dormant, now remodeled, historic Germania Club in Old Town. The building will be known as Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, a new venue for immersive art.
After noting that the Paris exhibition drew more than 2 million visitors, Kelly pointed out that Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago would, from a global view, become a new “art destination.” He added that Chicago, already known for its art institutions, would be an “art powerhouse.”
The Field and Museum of Contemporary Art are re-opening July 24 (See Around Chicago visits the Museum Scene). Now the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry will be ready to welcome back visitors a week later.
To celebrate, the museum is offering free admission to Illinois residents July 30-Aug 3, 2020. The public will need to get tickets in advance, however the first hour will be reserved to members each day.
The El Greco: Ambition and Defiance will be up through Sept. 7 and won’t need special tickets.
Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City stays through Sept. 21.
Malangatana: Mozambique Modern opens July 30 and continues through Nov. 15, 2020.
Toulouse-Lautrec and the Celebrity Culture of Paris that opened just before the pandemic closed the museum, will stay through Jan. 31, 2021.
Coming: Monet and Chicago will open Sept 5 and go to Jan. 18, 2021.
Opening Aug. 1, MSI will have free admission thru Aug 14. Most exhibits will be open. Among those that will still be closed because of social distancing protocols are U 505 Submarine and the Coal Mine.
Put field trips of the in-person kind back on the calendar. Now that the city has moved to Phase 4, Chicago’s great museums and tourist destinations are opening their doors after about four months of living in virtual YouTube segments.
Note their new hours and days. Some will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Most have timed tickets. Some have shortened hours. All will be following protocols of social distancing, wearing masks and staying within 25 % capacity. Many will have hand sanitizing stations and one-way walkway arrows.
Here is just a sampling of what to visit now and the week of July 24.
CAC, 111 E Wacker Drive, has been welcoming visitors to its skyscraper gallery upstairs and its vast panorama model of Chicago buildings in its main-floor gallery since July 3, It had already started with Chicago neighborhood tours where guests met their docents on location on June 20. Now CAC has added several tours that start from its building including the popular Architecture River Cruise, Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time, and Must See Chicago.
Because the tours are following strict Chicago and state guidelines, they are limited in size. “They fill fast,” said CAC Communications Director Zachary Whittenburg.
CAC is worth a stop just to see how it handles the Chicago Fire and what new buildings are in its panorama and upstairs.
“The Center’s being closed meant we were able to completely update and improve the exhibits. Walk ins are OK. It’s not a problem. We’re not at capacity. We have 10,000 square feet and there are not as many tourists this summer,” said Whittenburg.
Sitting in the middle of the Chicago Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lake shore Drive, the Shedd Aquarium reopened July 3. Timed tickets needed so plan ahead.. For info and map of routes and exhibits visit Shedd /plan visit.
The first building on the Museum campus at 1400 S. Lake shore Drive, the Field opens to members July 17 and to the public on July 24. Get tickets ahead for the date and time you want. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Use the East entrance to enter but you can leave through the East, North and south exits. (Illinois healthcare workers, teachers, and first responders have free admission and their families receive Chicago admission prices, July 24–August 9).
Visit dinosaurs upstairs in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet and do Ancient Egypt by going through a three-story tomb (available with general admission). But save time for the extraordinary new Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit in the main level’s special show space (requires an All-pass ticket).
Curated by Nina Sanders, an Apsáalooke (Ahp-SAH-luh-guh) scholar, and Alaka Wali, Field Curator of North American Anthropology, the exhibit had its opening ceremony March 13, then closed until this week due to the pandemic.
“Now we’re ready to welcome visitors to this really vibrant exhibit,” said Janet Hong, Apsáalooke Field Project Manager. “At this time in the U.S. we need cultural awareness more than ever,” she said.
Although the Field has had several Apsáalooke, (also known as the Crow Nation) cultural materials that have been studied and researched by scholars, it wasn’t until recently that the Nation’s elders and leaders gave permission for them to be displayed, according to Hong.
“Most of the material has rarely been on display,” said Hong.
She noted that Sanders was an instrumental link to the Crow Nation and worked with cultural advisers in addition to bringing in current voices and material.
Located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., MCA visitors are welcomed back July 24 with a free admission policy through August but tickets are needed so make online reservations. Just note that hours and days have been changed to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the first hour limited to seniors and people at increased risk.
What to expect: Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago has been extended to September 27, 2020, Chicago filmmaker Deborah Stratman’s has an exhibition on her film The Illinois Parables, that includes a re-creation of the WFMT radio studio of Studs Terkel with a selection of his celebrated interviews. There is also Just Connect, an exhibition on how the pandemic has made us more aware of our desire to connect, and how we depend on our communities and families for a sense of belonging.
Even though Around Town typically looks for experiences out of the house, with stay home still in place in some areas and particularly in Chicago, the experiences shared since March have virtual. Stay home has been hard on theater companies and museums. Indeed, the latest museum news is the large number of people being laid off by the Museum of Science and Industry. So Around Town will continue to let readers know of virtual experiences in those areas and talk will talk about re-openings.
Stop in the DuSable museum of African American history to hear about its virtual reconstruction of The March, visit with late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington ans see his office, learn about blacks who fought in France during World War I and become more familiar with the battle for civil rights.
Your field trip leader is Mayor Lori Lightfoot who is taking viewers to the DuSable Museum on HitPlay Chicago, her fourth excursion to fascinating city destinations that are temporarily closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Named for Jean Baptiste Point Dusable, a trader of Haitian, African and French descent the museum was founded in 1961 by Margaret Burroughs and moved to its City of Chicago Park District property in Washington Park in 1973.
See this small-box, innovative theater’s latest work the “Infinite Wrench Goes Viral” with 30 digital plays in one hour. At $5 (or more if you want), it’s a very inexpensive way of seeing a performance while Chicago theaters are dark.
Dating to the 1980’s, the Neo-Futurist Theater has been a collective of writer-director-performers who fuse sport, poetry and living newspaper into their original plays that are usually shown at a late-night “The Infinite Wrench” event. They have also done more than 65 full-length interactive mainstage productions
For their latest offering, the ensemble is working from home producing new plays each week that are filmed and shared. The Neo-Futurist ensemble of writer-performers continue to work from home and produce new plays weekly, which are then filmed and shared with patrons who subscribe via the patron platform.
If you have ever debated or thought about the question of what is art you will find some interesting answers in a new exhibit at the Museum of contemporary Art. Titled “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago” it is not a photography exhibit of city places.
Organized for the MCA by Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator, with Curatorial Assistant Jack Schneider, the exhibit is curated by Nigerian-born British designer known for his women’s fashions. The exhibit presents Olowu’s ideas of how art, the world around artists, museums and the people who attend exhibits interact with each other.
It could be called “Second Look” which happens to be the title of one of the show’s explanation boards. Olowu wants visitors to remember a show, “not necessarily for names of particular artists.” Instead, he hopes guests will consider the broader concept of what” art and museums mean.”
Using objects primarily from the MCA, and from other Chicago’s public and private art collections, he groups the works to make statements of patterns and ideas.
One room, called “Look at Me” consists of portraits in paintings and other art forms. Olowu notes that the room is filled with different faces, body types, races and genders of what he calls “real life.” And that once a visitor steps into the room that person becomes part of the crowd.
Part of how he hopes visitors will understand is that portraiture varies over time according to different ideals of beauty, shape and pattern.
To put all that into perspective, the last room has mannequins dressed in Olowu designs looking at art.
On a more personal level, I was glad to find two of my favorite artists (and yes I do look at the artist’s name) included: Kerry James Marshall, represented in Portrait of a Curator (In memory of Beryl Wright) 2009, and Roger Brown, represented by “Autobiography in the shape of Alabama (Mammy’s Door) 1974.
But I’m also glad Olowu included folk art such as H. C. Westermann’s 1958 “Memorial to the idea of man if he was an idea” made of pine, bottle caps, cast tin toys, glass, metal, brass, ebony and enamel.
DETAILS: “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave Chicago, through May 10, 2020. For ticket, hours and other information call (312) 280-2660 or visit MCA Chicago/Home.
To hear Duro Olowu talk about the why behind the exhibit go to the video
The Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Orchid Show takes on another dimension in 2020.
“We’ve done destinations. This time it’s more modern,” said Visitor Events and Programs Coordinator Sara.Harlow.
Titled “Brilliance,” the show also calls attention to orchids’ colors. “Color is important because it is part of the survival strategies of wild orchids so they can reproduce,” Harlow said, referring to how color attracts pollinators.
When visitors walk in to the exhibit in the Garden’s Regenstein Center, they will see towers of colorful orchids in the Nichols Hall, gorgeous groupings with bromeliads at their base and interesting pipe ensembles above and around them in the area leading to the greenhouses. The bromeliads add even more color.
The exhibit continues around to the left in a semi-circle of greenhouses. On the way to each greenhouse, the corridor’s walls tell stories about the importance of color and offer more orchid information. The greenhouse walls along the corridor display charming metallic circle planters filled with artistically arranged orchids.
What visitors will see during the day are sun-lit orchids seemingly planted along colored stones, orchids filling towering frames and orchids hanging from the ceiling between colorful tubes of light.
However, those rivulets of stones really cover lighting circuitry that will create a different dimension during special evening hours, according to Harlow.
“Visitors should also try to come at night We are doing After Hours Thursdays. It will look different,” she said.
The Orchid Show is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through March 24. General hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. After Hours goes until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Feb. 14. For tickets, parking and more information visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid.
Enough of looking back at 2019. Instead, start putting some of the great shows, exhibitions and festivals of 2020 that you’ll want to see on the calendar. To start with, here are two biggies at McCormick Place (2301 S .King Drive) and a festival that takes place all across the city.
Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show
The Chicago Boat, RV and Sail show celebrates 90 year anniversary at McCormick Place, Jan. 8-12. Sponsored by Progressive® Insurance, the show features more than 700 of the newest power and sailboats and 100 RVs.
Along with oohing and dreaming while meandering the aisle, there are fun activities including learning to sail with the Chicago Sailing’s Sail Simulator, fishing in the Huck Finn Trout Pond, remote control sailboat racing and a chance to build a boat with aluminum foil (see if your design can hold golf balls and not sink). For more information visit www.ChicagoBoatShow.com
Chicago Restaurant Week
Chicago Restaurant Week, Jan. 24 through Feb. 9, is a chance to experience a restaurant at a favorable price. For example, The Signature Room with great views from the 95th floor of what used to be called the Hancock Building (875 N. Michigan Ave), will offer a special three course dinner (includes coffee or tea) for $48 and Lowry’s Prime Rib in the historic McCormick Mansion (100 E. Ontario), will have also have a dinner for $48.
Actually going for 17 days one week really isn’t enough to visit even a few of the 400 participating restaurants. After all, Chicago really is a foodie town with new restaurants constantly coming on the dining scene. For more information visit and restaurant choices visit Choose Chicago Restaurant Week. For participating restaurants visit Chicago Restaurant Week restaurants.
Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show, the country’s largest display of what’s coming in design and technology, is at McCormick Place Feb. 8-17. First staged at the Chicago Coliseum in 1901, the show features everything from what was, what is, what will be and what may be categorized as science fiction in some minds.
In 2020 look for concept cars, super cars, sedans, sport utilities, hybrids, crossovers, electric vehicles, minivans, luxury cars,, sports cars, convertibles, pickups, minivans, economy vehicles, hatchbacks, sporty coupes, vans diesel vehicles and wagons. Of course there will be interactive displays, test drive opportunities and simulators.