While I was in Illinois over the holidays, I took a day to go downtown on my own to see The New Contemporary art exhibit at the Art Institute Chicago. It snowed as I drove into the city, but it made the iconic stone lions in front of the museum all the more festive with their fresh pine wreaths around their necks.
On my way up from the Grant Park parking structure, I chatted with a woman who had also driven into the city on her own to visit the Art Institute. She was there to see the David Adjaye architecture exhibit before it closed. As we approached the front of the museum, we noticed the long line waiting to get inside from the cold. My new acquaintance kindly ushered me in past the line and treated me as a guest on her museum membership.
Once inside, I beelined for the new Modern Art wing and then took my time exploring the Art Institute’s largest gift to date, estimated at over $400 million and featuring a wide range of contemporary artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein. If you’re in the Chicago Area, it’s a must-see collection. After seeing the exhibit, I continued on to the David Adjaye exhibit, where I learned much about his contribution to architecture across the world.
I allowed time for the Greek art, the Marc Chagall stained glass windows, and the Asia sculpture collection. I saw the ancient stone sculptures from Cambodia and Thailand with new appreciation, having recently visited both countries and spent time exploring the historic temples. I ended my day with all my favorite European art displays, which included Paul Cézanne, Auguste Rodin, Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the massive A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat.