7 Unmissable Art Exhibitions To See In Chicago In 2020

Chicago’s internationally renowned museums and galleries have plenty to offer visitors year-round, but here’s our pick of the top art exhibitions to see in Chicago in 2020. Wander through permanent collections to see art by the likes of Picasso and Chagall, but keep an eye out for rotating exhibits, too.

From modern art to the classics, culture vultures will feel right at home in this city.

Best Art Exhibitions To See In Chicago In 2020

1. Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection – The Art Institute of Chicago

Don’t miss out on seeing this incredible collection of art from one of America’s foremost art dealers, Richard Gray, along with his wife, the art historian Mary L. Gray. It’s a remarkable collection of drawings representing 700 years of Western art.

Alongside famous names – Rubens, Boucher, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Seurat, Van Gogh, Degas, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, de Kooning, and Hockney – are many others less familiar to the public.

Image result for . Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection - The Art Institute of Chicago

2. Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces – Museum of Contemporary Art

Mika Rottenberg’s colourful works explore themes of labor, technology, and the interconnectedness of human and machine. This exhibit showcases the artist’s mesmerising videos and installations, including her newest work Spaghetti Blockchain. The experimental, ASMR-style video is the focus of the exhibition and explores both new and traditional idea of materialism.

2020 Dates: Now – March 8th

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3. Chicago Works: Deborah Stratman – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

This great exhibit displays the artist’s film The Illinois Parables. The movie tells the history of the region through 11 chapters, addressing everything from the ‘resettlement’ of the Cherokee people, to the invention of the nuclear reactor at the University of Chicago, to the deadly police raid of Chicago’s Black Panther headquarters.

It discovers how belief, force, technology, and government mark the land, and how the landscape in turn marks those who call it home.

2020 Dates: March 17th – July 26th

4. The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China – Smart Museum of Art

Since the 1980s, Chinese contemporary artists have used all sorts of materials in their work. From plastic, water, and wood, to hair, gunpowder, and Coca-Cola. This unique exhibit brings together works from the past four decades in which conscious material choice has become a symbol of these Chinese artists’ expression.

Expect large scale installations as well as smaller, delicate pieces.

Art Exhibitions Chicago 2020

2020 Dates: February 7th – May 3rd

5. Above and Beyond – National Veterans Art Museum (on display at The Harold Washington Library)

Above and Beyond is a Vietnam War memorial that is made up of 58,307 dog tags. Each dog tag represents a person in the Vietnam War and is arranged in date order of death. And, each dog tag shows their name, date of death and military branch. It’s haunting, and is the only memorial other than The Wall in Washington, D.C. to list all those killed in action during the Vietnam War.

The work is currently on display at the Harold Washington Library, so swing by there to check it out. There’s also some other great exhibits in the National Veterans Art Museum itself!

Art Exhibitions Chicago 2020

2020 Dates: Now – April 15th

6. In Real Life – Museum of Contemporary Photography

This photography exhibit seeks to examine the real-world impact of computer vision. It focuses on AI, from the murky ethics of data collection and surveillance to the racial and gender biases of facial recognition technology. Through the lens of seven artists working with a range of digital media, In Real Life shows the relationship between humans and technology.

Expect to have your mind blown with thoughts on how AI changes how we see the world- and our humanity.

Art Exhibitions Chicago 2020

2020 Dates: January 16th – March 29th

7. The Impressionist Pastel – The Art Institute of Chicago

This beautiful exhibit has pastels by four artists whose work was shown in the Impressionist exhibitions in Paris between 1874 and 1886: Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Eva Gonzalès, and Berthe Morisot. The painting’s subjects range from scenes of modern life, such as ballet performers and a woman working in a hat shop, to intimate moments of bathing and women with children.

2020 Dates: Now – March 8th

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Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder and global head of content of Big 7 Travel, 26-year-old Sarah created the company through her passion for discovering the world's best food and travel experiences. Formerly based in Dublin, Ireland, she now travels the world sharing her finds with our readers - a community that loves travel just as much as we do.

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