Lanterns, dragons, colorful dances, art and instrumental music – there are Chinese New Year events in the next couple of weeks that will enrich our appreciation of Chinese culture.
But do you know your zodiac animal? If you go to any of the Chinese New Year programs in Chicago, you will likely hear that 2020 is the Year of the Rat. Because different elements also take turns, you might hear that it is the metal rat. A good, easy place to find out your animal sign and more about the Chinese Zodiac is the astronomy site of Time and Date.
Now you’re ready to check out the following events to see which fits into your calendar. They are free, open to the public and in Chicago unless otherwise noted.
Chinese Fine Arts Society Chinese New Year Kickoff
On Jan 24 at noon go to the Chicago Cultural Center during the lunch hour to see lion dances, martial arts, traditional Chinese dance and hear China’s Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre. The location is the Preston Bradley Hall on the third floor of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. For more information visit ChicagoCulturalCenter/events.
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.
There still are a few days left to explore the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and some of Chicago’s other world-class museums without dipping into fall school supply funds.
Some museums are always free. Others have free admission on certain days or hours of the week. But check what is available with free admission because at some museums general admission is free but there still are ticketed exhibits. A valid ID with proof of residency is needed. if the free day is for Illinois residents or Chicago youth.
Children under age 14 always admitted free. Chicago teens under age 18 are also admitted free. In addition, admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. The Ryan Learning Center near the Modern Wing entrance is always free to families and children’s care givers.
The main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. but there is also an entrance around the corner at the museum’s Modern Wing, 159 E. Monroe St. For hours and more information call (312) 443-3600 or see artic/visit.
The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Admission is free for youth 18 and younger every day and for Illinois residents on Tuesdays. For hours and more information call (312) 289-2660 or see MCAChicago/visit.
The museum is free to Illinois residents Tuesdays from 12:30 to 9 p.m. and always free to Illinois youth under age 18. Located at 1601 N Clark St., the museum is on the edge of Lincoln Park. For more information call (312) 642-4600 or see ChicagoHistory/visit.
Located at 740 E. 56th Place in Washington Park at 57th and cottage Grove, the museum’s exhibits feature augmented reality when tied to an app that can be easily downloaded. Admission is free every Tuesday.
The museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive at the west end of Chicago’s Museum Campus. It has free basic admission for Illinois residents on Wednesdays from Aug. 14 to Nov. 13, 2019.
Go to FieldMuseum/exhibitions then click on the individual exhibits to see which ones are included in basic admission or needs an All Access or Discover Pass. For more information call (312) 922-9410 or see Field Museum/visit.
Think of this museum as an iceberg with much of what there is to see below the Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive level. It is inside the Southwest Bridgetower but entry is down at river level at 99 Chicago Riverwalk at the northwest corner of Michigan and Wacker. Sundays are free. Visitors learn about the historic structure, the river’s bridges and the Chicago River.
Located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in a building from the 1893 Columbian Expostion, MSI is among the world’s largest science museums so there is plenty to see on free general admission days for Illinois residents even though they don’t include the ticketed exhibits. Coming free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
The museum is at 1852 W 19th St, in the Pilsen neighborhood, south west of downtown Chicago. Admission is free, daily. For hours and more information call (312) 738-1503 or see National MuseumofMexicanArt/faqs.
The Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is the second building on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Lines are long any day but particularly on free days so go early. Capacity is limited so some people reserve their tickets on line for a $3 transaction fee. Illinois resident free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
Illinois residents get access to all exhibits, chats, presentations and Stingray Touch. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or see Shedd/visit.
If curious how a famed 19th century artist dresses his models and sees 1870s-1880s Parisian apparel, visit “Manet and Modern Beauty” at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Wired to Wear”
Some day, probably sooner than you expect, your what-to-wear question will be which of your wired apparel would best suit the day’s activities.
Choices could range from Nike’s Self-Lacing Shoes because of time constraints to a D-Air Racing suit with a cushion that inflates before your crash to prevent injury such as when racing a motorcycle. Or the choice might range from an Iridescence collar that will detect the mood of people encountered to a Smart Tattoo on the arm that interfaces with your mobile device and makes a personal style statement.
Designed by Microsoft, the tattoo in the exhibit allows visitors to create notes on an instrument and even control lighting. To hear more about it go to Duoskin.
Similar to the Coal Mine, visitors need a special ticket in addition to museum entry. Opened in Mid-Mach 2019, the exhibit continues to May 2020. MSI is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. For hours and other information see Visit.
“Figures of Speech”
Engineer, architect, artist, fashion designer, Virgil Abloh is a 30-seomthing, black male from Rockford, Il whose creativity and determination has taken him from t-shirt designs to founding “Off-White,” his own line in Milan, and becoming Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director.
But what the MCA exhibit which opens to the public June 10 does, is more than highlight Abloh’s career to date. It also offers the artist’s sense of astonishment that he has been successful in an industry not exactly populated by blacks.
So race is an underlying theme. However, Abloh also hopes the exhibit will inspire youngsters to go for their dreams undeterred by obstacles. There is an accompanying store, called “Church and State,” that is on the same 4th floor as the exhibit. It has Abloh items and a catalogue that further explains the theme and the “go-for-it philosophy.
The exhibit goes to Sept. 22, 2019. MCA is at 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Admission is by timed tickets. For more information or tickets call 312-397-4010.or see Visit and Events.
“Manet and Modern Beauty”
In his early years, 19th century French artist Édouard Manet had primarily focused on historical and religious subjects. But in his later years when he transitioned to Impressionism he became interested in modern life and ladies’ fashionable apparel and leisure activities. The exhibit features more than 90 works from paintings to letters.
The audio devise that accompanies the exhibit and some of the wall descriptions explain clothing choices and mention the stylish apparel of men and women.
The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The exhibit is only up this summer and ends Sept. 8, 2019. For admission and hours see AIC/visit.
These exhibits deserve to be on the summer do list.
If you are only familiar with 19th century French artist Édouard Manet’s early and middle period styles you are likely to find quite a few surprises in “Manet and Modern Beauty,” a wonderfully extensive, new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago that showcases his later works.
Before he died in 1883 at age 51 from complications from syphilis and rheumatism, Manet was influencing other painters as he moved from a transgressive style in the 1860s to Impressionism in the 1870s and from historical and religious subjects to modern life and what he could capture “plein air” as influenced by Berthe Morisot.
Now, get to know his late 70’s and early 80’s works plus see some earlier, important Impressionism pieces. “Manet and Modern Beauty” is the first Art Institute show to focus just on Manet in more than 50 years.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.