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.
Visitors to the Art Institute of Chicago’s new blockbuster, “Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again,” will see that the famed artist moved way beyond commercial illustration.
Before entering the exhibit, read the copy on the wall either to the left or right outside the hall where it says to start here. Then go into the foyer to admire the celebrities he pictured and walk through the wallpaper edged doorway into the world of Andy Warhol.
Primarily known as a leader in the Pop Art movement, Warhol’s work reflected his cynical attitude towards advertising and how it influenced the public.
If one picture of a soup can, a Coke bottle, a celebrity is good, would multiple images of that person or object be better?
He wondered if people believe they will be happier, for example, if they have a nose job because they saw an ad. (He eventually did.) See his “Before and After” series.
Then there is his sober side which includes disaster and death motifs, both of which are in the exhibit.
In an Art Institute show of Warh’s workol about 30 years ago that gave an excellent interpretation of his views on life and trends, there were more examples of how seriously he took guns, car accidents and other tragedies.
However, the current exhibit illustrates with newspaper clippings covering a wall and his work of Jackie before and after.how he was affected by the Kennedy assassination.
Plan on spending enough time at the exhibition to get to know the different sides of Warhol. Filled with more than 400 of his works, it includes drawings, paintings, prints, films, art installations and videos.
Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the exhibit goes beyond the too easily dismissive pop art label.
Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh in 1928, he died of surgery complications in 1987. But in his short life he was an author, rock-band producer, magazine founder and a collector of a broad spectrum of people from celebrities and intellectuals to street people and those he was comfortable with as an openly gay guy before being gay was understood and acceptable.
Many of them were invited to The Factory, his New York studio where he often experimented with different processes including oxidation, his thumb the nose view of some artists’ works. No alert here, because you should go to the exhibit and hear more.
By the way, Warhol is also credited with the “15 minutes of fame” expression.
DETAILS: Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again” is at the Art Institute of Chicago, from the Michigan Avenue entrance at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe, St., Chicago, Oct. 20, 2019 through Jan. 26, 2020. For tickets and other information visit ARTIC/AndyWarhol.
Expect to see really good ceramics, fiber art, metal work, wood working, jewelry and other crafted items when walking through the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend. But also, expect the unexpected.
While browsing the American Craft Exposition during a Thursday preview party that benefited mental health services at NorthShore University Health System, an attractive wall piece that looked as if it could have been painted clay turned out to be wood.
There was also a charming floral wall arrangement that might have been aluminum or steel but was pewter and works that appeared to be oils and water colors were actually fine stitchery.
But it’s not all serious. A booth of unusual and fun objects turned out to be jewelry.
Just don’t expect a visit to ACE, as it is known in the art show world, to be a quick walk through.
A highly competitive, juried show of nearly 150 artisans, ACE booths stretch from a tent at the north end of the Regenstein Center through the building to the Greenhouses at the south end and into rooms and hallways on either side.
Visitors will likely see old favorites but many crafters, such as St. Joseph, MI artist Rebecca Hungerford who works in peweter and Marquette, MI artist Joseph Graci who works with wood, are first timers and good show addiions.
However, as glass worker Joseph Pozycinski of Pozycinski Studios in Sparta, Missouri said, pointing to its high quality.. “I’ve been coming over 25 years. It’s a very good show.”
Tip: Don’t neglect the side rooms indicated to by signs that say More Art. The works there are just as good as what is seen on the main walkways.
DETAILS: The American Craft Exposition is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., just east of Edens Expressway, Glencoe, IL, through Sept. 22, 2019.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is by three-day passes, $18 for Garden members and $20 non-members. A three-day pass with one-day parking is $35. General admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden is free but parting costs $25 weekdays and $30 Saturday and Sunday.
It’s free. It’s open to the public beginning Sept. 19, 2019. And it’s a very different experience and scope from two years ago.
Titled” And Other Such Stories,” this year’s exposition focuses on neighborhoods, their make-up and revitalization in countries and cities across the globe, environmental and industrial impact and it encompasses North America’s indigenous populations.
The main venue is the gorgeous Chicago Cultural Center, a city treasure at 78 E. Washington St. formerly known as the People’s Palace, where there is a southern marble staircase lined with beautiful mosaics, a third floor that has two glass domes including one by Tiffany and exhibits on first, second and fourth flours.
Off-site curatorial venues range from the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 8000 S. Halsted St. and the former Anthony Overton Elementary School at 4935 S. Indiana Ave. to the National Public Housing Museum at the Jane Addams Homes, 1322 W. Taylor St. and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at Homan Square, 906 S. Homan Ave.
In addition, are more than 100 institutions partnering with the biennial such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Center, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Beverly Arts Center and Dusable Museum of African American History. Go to the Chicago Architecture Biennial for a complete list and more exhibition activities and places.
You don’t have to be interested in entomology to enjoy and be fascinated by the new exhibit opened the end of June at Chicago’s Field Museum. You are even likely to go home from the exhibit, called “Fantastic Bug Encounters!” with some interesting facts to pass along such as how one of the species, the jewel wasp, performs’ brain surgery” on cockroaches to turn them into zombies.
By the way, the word “fantastic” is a perfect description because the exhibition is on loan from New Zealand’s famed Te Papa Tongarewa museum where it developed the exhibition with the Academy Award-Winning Weta Workshop.
Think “Lord of the Rings” and you will walk in prepared for what you will encounter. The Weta Workshop produced sets, costumes, weapons, armour, and creatures for director Peter Jackson’s film trilogy. And Weta is the name of a giant, flightless prehistoric cricket group native to New Zealand.
So be warned, you walk into giant, pod-like homes of such real bug creatures as the Japanese honey bee and the jewel wasp. Take a selfie if you dare turn your back on one of them.
But for those visitors who would like to know more about the insects and some spiders, there are several interactive stations that tell about different creatures’ wing design, camouflage, speed, reflexes and superpowers.
Not all of insects will be dead. The exhibit includes a small Live Bug Zoo where a museum staffer will handle some of them so visitors can see them up close.
These encounters are on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a patent leather beetle, a lubber grasshopper, a death feigning beetle and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Plus, there are some live bugs in glass enclosures to see and not touch such as the emperor scorpion, a stick mantis and a pink-toed tarantula.
“Bugs are weird, beautiful, and fascinating creatures, and we’re proud to be able to share them with visitors of all ages in Fantastic Bug Encounters!” said Jaap Hoogstraten, Field Museum Exhibitions Director. “This exhibition is full of gorgeous larger-than-life models that show what these animals look like close-up and how they’ve perfectly adapted to the world around them—our visitors will never look at bugs the same way again.”
DETAILS: Fantastic Bug Encounters!” is at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, on Chicago’s museum campus near Soldier Field, Chicago now through April 19, 2020. For hours and ticket information call (312) 922.9410 and visit Field Museum.