Museums

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is located on the waterfront in Chicago's Grant Park. It has one of the world's most notable collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in its collection because Mary Cassat, an American woman who showed with the Impressionists, talked her American friends into collecting Impressionist work when the French were still turning their noses up at it. Consequently the Institute's Impressionist collection rivals Paris.

The Art Institute, founded in 1879 opened its present site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893 on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire. Its visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school's graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country.

The addition of the stunning Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano in 2008 increased the Institute's size to one million square feet. The collection with 300,000 objects, is the second largest art museum in the United States behind only the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

 

The Museum of Contemporary Art

One of the nation’s largest facilities devoted to the art of our time, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) asserts that it exhibits some of the most thought-provoking art created since 1945. Its mission is to "document contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance" and to be "an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can directly experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time."

The museum delivers on that promise. It debutted exhibitions of Frida Kahlo's and Jeff Koons' first solo museum exhibition. Koons later presented an exhibit at the museum that established the museum's current attendance record for an exhibition. Its collection includes Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Alexander Calder and becuase of Chicago collectors keen interest in surrealism, the collection includes pivotal examples of surrealism. The museum holdings include contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and related media. The museum also presents dance, theater, music, and multidisciplinary arts.