Saturday, March 5, 2016

Art Gems to Visit in Chicago

So you're at the NAEA convention in Chicago, and you have some down time.  What is there to do?

I've collected a list of artsy places you can visit around Chicago that are either free or inexpensive.  If you're an art history nerd like me, I'm hoping you get a chance to visit some of these places while you're in town!

If you walk along Lake Michigan for a few miles, you'll come across Navy Pier, which stretches into the lake.  In the big complex, there's the Chicago Children's Museum, a ton of little shops, an IMAX movie theater, beautiful gardens, and the stained glass collection that stretches the length of the building.  It's free to walk in and view all the amazing glasswork!

Update:  I just came across this article dated from September 26, 2014.  It states that this stained glass gem was taken down, but you can still find random pieces throughout the museum.  (Insert sad face)  I was there a few years ago and I'm shocked that this has disappeared.

(And in case you're wondering about the ferris wheel missing, Navy Pier's designing a new one that will be an ode to the Chicago World's Fair, coming soon!)

Graceland is home to many famous names in Chicago, from Pullman, McCormick, Palmer, and one of our legendary artists and architects, Louis Sullivan.

Louis was known as the father of skyscrapers as well as modernism.  After the Chicago fire of 1871, architects were in high demand.  In 1879, Louis joined with Dankmar Adler is designing over 200 residential, commercial, religious, and multi-use buildings in the midwest area.  If you walk down State Street heading north, you'll come across the old Carson Pirie Scott building, which displays many of Sullivan's highly decorated designs around the building.

Another well-known monument in Graceland is this mysterious statue named "Eternal Silence" by the sculptor Lorado Taft.  The sculpture is a monument to Dexter Graves, who led a group of families moving to Chicago from Ohio in 1831.  Lorado's sculptures are also all around Chicago, so you may catch his stoneworks and bronze masterpieces walking down the street in the loop area!

The Chicago Cultural Center hosts a number of exhibitions throughout the year.  If you'd like to see what 's happening during conference time, click here for the list of events!  The Cultural Center offers FREE events all year round, and it's a few blocks north of the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Ave.

One of the exhibits at the Cultural Center is Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen.  I totally want to check this out myself!

Thank you to Theresa McGee for the photos of the event at the Cultural Center!

Down the street on Michigan Ave. (north from the Hilton), there's Millennium Park, which is loaded with an array of art and architecture.  One of the most recognized sculptures in the park is Cloud Gate by the artist Anish Kapoor, which reflects the city skyline.  Please click here for a list of artwork and architecture located in the park!

Crown Fountain was designed by the artist Jaume Piensa, which is made of two 50 ft tall block towers on each end of a shallow pool of water.  The website state that the water is in operation in mid-Spring, so I do not believe the full effects of the artwork can be viewed during the convention, but if you visit in summertime, it's totally interactive!

Wabash Lights is a public art project that adds shots of color to the underside of the "L" tracks downtown.  Twelve rods of LED lights were installed beneath a small patch of the tracks on Wabash Ave.  
If you're interested in meeting the artists of Wabash Lights during the convention, click here for the Facebook invitation!

The news was shared on the Facebook group!  There is a Van Gogh Bedroom exhibit taking place at the Art Institute of Chicago during convention time!  Not only can we get into the Art Institute for free, but we can also get into the Van Gogh exhibit for free!!!!  Make sure you bring your conference badge!

The current exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art is Pop Art Design.  The MCA is straight up Michigan Ave. and a bit of a hike, so put on your walking shoes and make the trip!

There are so many museums to visit in Chicago and it would take me too long to list them all, but Wikipedia gathered the list for me!  There's the Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Veterans Art Museum, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Smart Museum of Art, and so much more!  If you click this link, you will be given the total list of museums to visit in the city, along with their links for details.

See the red lines in the above picture?  The streets highlighted a filled with gallery after gallery of artwork and exhibition space.  On warm Friday nights, it's a blast to walk from one space to another to view the local artists in the area!  I feel this spot is a true art gem of Chicago...the diamond in the rough!  Make sure you click on the above link to view the list of galleries in the district!

Artist Jim Bachor creates mosaics of ice cream sandwiches, tulips, and logo designs from high-end brands like Gucci and Burberry. And he puts them in potholes.  Yes, our city is filled with them, which gives an open canvas for Jim to fill with mosaic tile art!

Here is a recent article shared about Bachor's art in the streets of Chicago.  There's also a map in his website that gives the spots where you can find the mosaic spots in the streets!

Please click here for the addresses and map of where Jim had created his mosaic pothole creations!

Interested in seeing more than just art?  Here's two links that list tons of restaurants, eateries, book stores, and shows that are must-sees when in the windy city!

More Hidden Art Gems in Chicago

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