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BEST Things To Do In Chicago

The Event Oracle knows ALL the fun things to do in Chicago. Select your date above then scroll down for all the Arts, Entertainment, and Events in my crystal ball...

  • Chicago Water Taxi

    Wendella Tours & Cruises
    400 N. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Chicago Water Taxi

    Chicago Water Taxi is Chicago's river transportation service with seven stops located on all three branches of the Chicago River. Hop on/ hop off at all your favorite river locations with a Chicago Water Taxi All Day Pass. Water taxi stops include, but are not limited to; Michigan Avenue, Chinatown, The Chicago Riverwalk, Ogilvie/Union Train Stations, and more. All Day Passes are valid for unlimited rides for one person for 24 hours on Chicago Water Taxi.

  • Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life in the Wild

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
    2430 N. Cannon Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life in the Wild

    Renowned nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen has traveled the world for over 40 years, observing and photographing the Earth’s last great wild places. Featuring rare moments and vast panoramas, Mangelsen’s extensive portfolio includes millions of images of wild animals and landscapes, from polar bears in the Arctic to tigers in India.

    A Life in the Wild showcases 40 of Mangelsen’s signature, award-winning photographs of wildlife and landscapes on all seven continents. Every image was captured by Mangelsen under natural conditions and involves no digital manipulation, demonstrating his sensitivity to animal behavior and masterful skill in waiting for the “picture perfect moment” often in the face of hostile environmental conditions.

  • Chicago Works: Jessica Campbell

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E. Chicago Ave.,
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Chicago Works: Jessica Campbell

    The satirical drawings, comics, and textiles by Chicago-based artist Jessica Campbell (Canadian, b. 1985) take aim at everyday experiences that reveal the sexism women face in the 21st century. Drawing from a wide range of influences including science fiction, art-world politics, and her Evangelical upbringing, she infuses her work with humor and vulnerability. Her recently published graphic novels include Hot or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists (2016) and XTC69 (2018).

     

  • Jonathas de Andrade

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Jonathas de Andrade

    At once intimate and historical, the work of Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade evokes love, memory, and place. His photographs, installations, and videos often respond to the geography and culture surrounding Recife, the city in the northeast region of Brazil in which he lives and works. He grapples in particular with the promises, failures, and inequities of Brazil’s “modernist project” as the often-overlooked region undergoes rapid and often rocky urbanization. This exhibition will be the artist’s first solo presentation in a major US institution. This exhibition is organized by José Esparza Chong Cuy.

  • Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos

    Wrightwood 659
    659 W. Wrightwood
    Chicago, IL 60614
    Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos

    Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos, the official U.S. entry at the recently-concluded 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, will be on view for the first time in the United States at Wrightwood 659, a new art space located at 659 W. Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago, from February 15 through April 27, 2019. Devoted to exploring the notion of citizenship today and the potential role of architecture and design in creating spaces for it, Dimensions of Citizenship comprises seven unique installations, each created by a transdisciplinary team of architects and designers. Commissioned by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and The University of Chicago (UChicago) on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S. presentation of Dimensions of Citizenship on view at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago is made possible by Alphawood Foundation Chicago. The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of public programs exploring citizenship and belonging, including talks, performances, workshops, and engagement with local partners (to be announced shortly).

  • Andrew Bearnot: Fruiting Bodies

    Leather Archives and Museum
    6418 N Greenview Ave,
    Chicago, IL 60626
    Andrew Bearnot: Fruiting Bodies

    The Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) is pleased to present FRUITING BODIES, a solo exhibition by Andrew Bearnot in the Guest Artist Gallery (GAG). The exhibition will include new artworks by Bearnot shown alongside archival objects from the LA&M collection, including important artifacts from Chuck Renslow and Sam Steward, as well as the personal erotic correspondence collection of Robert Gaylor, recently acquired by the LA&M.

  • Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera

    This exhibition showcases four decades of work by Laurie Simmons, a pioneer of new directions in art photography. Since the late 1970s, when she began to develop her mature style using props and dolls as stand-ins for people and places, Simmons has explored archetypal gender roles, especially women in domestic settings. The exhibition follows her work and continues to use the theme of the doll and costume play, making her early ideas about private life and public presentation as poignant today as they were in her early career. Often isolating the dolls and photographing them situated in tiny, austere settings, Simmons uses fictional scenes to make observations about real life. These works are now iconic of her career. In addition to her photography, there is a small selection of sculpture and two films: The Music of Regret (2006), starring Meryl Streep interacting with vintage puppets; and My Art (2016), written and directed by Simmons playing the role of an artist who is frustrated with her work and lack of recognition. Simmons’s more recent series, such as The Love Doll, feature life-size Japanese dolls in day-to-day scenarios, and How We See, where Simmons hired make-up artists to paint open eyes on her sitters’ closed eyelids, examines cultural trends of masking in everyday online interactions. Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera is organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

  • THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

    Fashion Outlets of Chicago
    5520 Fashion Outlets Way
    Rosemont, IL 60018
    THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

    THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion, the multifaceted contemporary art program of Fashion Outlets of Chicago, will welcome a rotating exhibition by 2018 Olympic costume designer Dr. Keysook Geum to the shopping center this February. Dr. Keysook Geum’s rotating exhibition will feature three life-sized sculptural forms, entitled Enlightenment III, Nirvana in Red IV and NIGHTINGALE. Dr. Geum is an author and professor of Textile Art and Fashion Design at Hong Ik University in Seoul, Korea, and recently served as the Artistic Director for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in 2018, designing both the uniforms and dresses worn in the opening ceremony. Dr. Geum’s dramatic sculptures of elegantly posed forms embody the fusion of timeless Asian aesthetics and philosophy with contemporary air. They are constructed of paper-wrapped or enamel coated wires, gems, beads and silk. Starting with a central focal point, Dr. Geum works outwardly in a concentric manner reminiscent of a spider. As the artist weaves, twists and bends wire two-dimensionally, intricate forms and unintentional patterns emerge. The natural tensions of interlacing wire push and pulls out until ¬-figurative shapes begin to take form.

  • Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Co-ops

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Co-ops

    As there are no reservations in Illinois, most tribal based businesses are not well known in this area. While many people are familiar with the arts, crafts, and casinos, there are many other products and services offered by Indigenous businesses today.

    The Mitchell Museum is proud to present the latest exhibit showcasing Indigenous-owned businesses, tribal co-ops and enterprises; Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Entrepreneurs about the expansion of tribal initiatives that support tribal sustainability and the incorporation of tribal values into business models.

    The exhibit also covers the challenges that many tribal entrepreneurs face, their unique opportunities based on their sovereign nation status, and the programs that offer them support. Learn about the various products and services offered by tribal enterprises and Indigenous entrepreneurs, from Ioway Honey to buffalo meat Tanka Bars!

  • LOOP

    Navy Pier
    600 E. Grand Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    LOOP

    Experience Loop, a free, interactive art installation for all ages, in Polk Bros Park!
    Members of the public are invited to sit down inside and activate the illuminated musical mechanism, causing beautiful images inspired by 13 fairy tales to come to life. Loop is sure to spark children’s imagination and revive their parents’ childhood memories.

  • Pop América, 1965–1975

    Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
    40 Arts Cir Dr
    Evanston, IL 60208
    Pop América, 1965–1975

    Pop América, 1965–1975 challenges and reframes familiar notions of Pop Art by bringing together artists from North, Central, and South America, as well as the United States and the Caribbean. Pop América is the first exhibition to unify Latin American expressions of Pop and explore how its bold and colorful imagery, references to mass culture, and representations of everyday objects, signs, and symbols were embraced by artists working across the hemisphere. The exhibition makes a timely and critical contribution to a deeper understanding of this period and the impulses behind Pop Art from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

  • The Arts

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    The Arts

    Art is why we’re here. Chicago Children’s Museum formed in 1982 in response to cuts in arts education funding in the Chicago Public Schools. Since then, we’ve developed and expanded our arts programming for children, culminating in the new Art Studio, unveiled in the summer of 2018.

  • Frederick Douglass AGITATOR

    American Writers Museum
    180 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd floor
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Frederick Douglass AGITATOR

    Frederick Douglass was passionate about the written word. In his first memoir, he called learning to read his “pathway from slavery to freedom.” Denied access to words during the first part of his life, he spent the rest of his life crafting them. Over the course of his long life, he wrote three memoirs, one novella, and thousands of essays and speeches (not to mention countless letters and poems). Frederick Douglass AGITATOR highlights excerpts from his speeches and writings, some recorded by students from Young Chicago Authors. Other excerpts include Douglass’ speech on Haiti at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and The Reason Why pamphlet he and Ida B. Wells distributed to protest African-American exclusion from the fair.

    Douglass was an early adopter of photography. He immediately recognized its potential to present an image of black people different from that of the slave. Between 1841 and his death in 1895, Douglass sat for dozens of portraits, becoming the most photographed American of the 19th century. A large photo mosaic of Frederick Douglass made out of dozens of his portraits welcomes visitors to the exhibit.

    Artifacts in the exhibit include Frederick Douglass’ inkwell and glasses, on loan from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, an AWM Author Home Affiliate.

  • Into the Void: Prints of Lee Bontecou

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Into the Void: Prints of Lee Bontecou

    The images of Lee Bontecou (American, born 1931) are unmistakably hers: black voids, cosmic orbs, floating serrated teeth, mutant flowers, and strange, hybrid forms. They reflect a post–World War II angst and existential fear brought on by the arms race and nuclear threat, coupled with awe at a technology capable of space travel. While best known for her wall reliefs that bridge the divide between painting and sculpture, Bontecou produced a series of important prints between 1962 and 1982 at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), a workshop founded by Tatyana Grosman in West Islip, New York, in 1957. This exhibition is the first show devoted to Bontecou’s prints since 1975 and is drawn from the Art Institute’s complete edition and significant archive of her ULAE production.

  • Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Summon your inner child as you peek inside Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures. This permanent exhibit fosters the art of collecting and features nearly 100 collections of tiny objects, including miniatures, trinkets, artifacts and curiosities donated by founder and curator Michael Horvich.

  • The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis

    Between 1900 and 1930, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) traveled from Mexico to the Arctic, compiling a vast store of information covering more than Indian tribes, in the form of 40,000 photographs, 10,000 recordings of songs and stories, and several volumes of field notes. The published result, The North American Indian (1907), spanned 20 volumes of illustrated text, accompanied by 20 photo portfolios.

    Most critics agree that the work is an impressive achievement, and that Curtis overcame many obstacles, including difficult field conditions and a chronic shortage of funds, to complete such a comprehensive project. However, opinions diverge about the value and integrity of his undertaking. Do these photos have merit beyond the world of art? In his quest to preserve “vanishing” tribes, Curtis promoted, and helped to shape, the public’s view of Indians as “noble savages.” Because he staged many of his scenes with overly fancy accessories or culturally inaccurate details, some scholars have criticized his work. However, others praise Curtis’ genuine interest in the Native people he photographed, in an era when tribes had been forced onto reservations and children sent to government-run boarding schools that stripped them of their language and traditions.

  • Play It Safe

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Play It Safe

    Step into the boots of a firefighter and discover a whole new way to Play It Safe. Put on authentic gear, slide down the pole, drive the truck, and put out the “fire.” Practice escaping from the smoke-filled “Get Low and Go” bedroom. This exhibit is too important — and fun — to miss!

  • Bob Dylan: Electric

    American Writers Museum
    180 N. Michigan Ave.,
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Bob Dylan: Electric

    Bob Dylan: Electric spotlights Dylan’s writing – song, poetry, and prose – between his 1965 Newport Folk Festival performance and 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Items on display include Bob Dylan’s personal copy of Catcher in the Rye and an original 1965 Newport Folk Festival program autographed by Dylan. The exhibit’s keystone piece is the electric guitar Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The performance, referred to as “The Newport Incident”, is his first ever live performance with a full, electric band and marked a dramatic shift in his writing and popularity.

  • Ornamental Traditions: Jewelry from Bukhara

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Ornamental Traditions: Jewelry from Bukhara

    Located in present-day Uzbekistan, the Emirate of Bukhara (1785–1920) was an important center of Islamic religion and scholarship and a major oasis on the famous Silk Road that traversed Central Asia from ancient times. As such, it was highly diverse—home to the majority Uzbek and Tajik populations in addition to communities of Arabs, Jews, and Turkmens who played a role in the emirate’s vibrant trade. Over time, Bukhara developed its own iconic style of jewelry characterized by intricate blue enamelwork that mirrored the region’s blue-glazed, tiled architecture. Russia’s colonization of Bukhara in 1866 brought with it more advanced enameling techniques, allowing for increasingly complex designs.

    In almost every context, the jewelry of Bukhara embodied great meaning and was rarely considered mere decoration. Large, ornate suits of jewelry were thought to protect the wearer from evil spirits, particularly during important events like weddings, and were the strongest assertion of a person’s power and wealth. Throughout Uzbekistan, such objects were designed to be worn as sets rather than exist as singular pieces.

  • PURCHASED LIVES: THE AMERICAN SLAVE TRADE FROM 1808 TO 1865

    Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
    9603 Woods Dr
    Skokie, IL 60077
    PURCHASED LIVES: THE AMERICAN SLAVE TRADE FROM 1808 TO 1865

    urchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865  illustrates the pain and injustice of the American domestic slave trade, illuminating just how widespread the practice of slavery was in American life, as well as its impact on enslaved families across the country.

    This exhibition, originally curated by The Historic New Orleans Collection, showcases more than 75 original artifacts, slave narratives, and oral histories. Through interactive displays, visitors engage directly with historical records by tracking the shipment of more than 70,000 people to New Orleans. Purchased Lives also contains a collection of “Lost Friends” ads placed after the Civil War by newly freed people attempting to locate Illinois family members.

    Illinois Holocaust Museum consistently uses special exhibitions to tell stories of inhumanity and resilience, both historical and present-day. Purchased Lives, combined with its related programming, facilitates a broader conversation about the legacies of the American slave trade and their manifestations in today’s world.

  • Kids Town

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Kids Town

    Shop in the grocery store, change a tire, wash the car, and drive a CTA bus in this cityscape built just for kids. This urban neighborhood promotes role-playing, problem-solving, emerging literacy, and creative exploration through fun and absorbing activities. Nurse a baby or relax with a toddler in the semi-private Caregiver Nook. Includes special area for babies and toddlers.

  • Rembrandt Portraits

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Rembrandt Portraits

    Rembrandt complicated the genre, constructing identities through props, lighting, and ambiguous settings—leaving us to ask, “What is a portrait?” This spring, two portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn are visiting the Art Institute from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. The paintings, Portrait of a Boy and Self-Portrait, join the Art Institute’s own Old Man with a Gold Chain and Young Woman at an Open Half-Door for a look at Rembrandt’s approach to portraiture—one that is decidedly more complex than it may first appear.

  • Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018

    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
    756 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60642
    Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018

    Organized by Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018 presents a survey of the living, New Zealand-based artist’s work. This major exhibition brings together more than 60 of her drawings, along with memorabilia from the personal archive of her sister, Petita Cole. The exhibition includes drawings that span her output from her early colorful mashups of Donald Duck and cartoon imagery to her detailed graphite abstractions to her most recent brush work created during a summer residency at the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton, N.Y. The exhibition will be the first major presentation of King’s work at Intuit and the first museum exhibition to include personal objects.