The Art Institute of Chicago

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The Art Institute of Chicago - Museum in Chicago.
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INFO The Art Institute Chicago, located next to Millennium Park, is the second-largest art museum in the U.S., and even frequent visitors haven’t explored all of its 300,000+ permanent pieces. Stone lions flank the entrance... ... read more

The Art Institute of Chicago Information

The Art Institute of Chicago - Museum in Chicago.

The Art Institute Chicago, located next to Millennium Park, is the second-largest art museum in the U.S., and even frequent visitors haven’t explored all of its 300,000+ permanent pieces. Stone lions flank the entrance to the main building, which was built in 1893 and has a classic museum feel, with soaring ceilings and hushed galleries. In 2009, the AIC added its Modern Wing, which is itself a piece of artwork. Renzo Piano designed the tour de force, which houses modern and contemporary art in a minimalist sunlit space.

Huge exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago draw in massive crowds to see works by superstars like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Roy Lichtenstein. Permanent pieces at The Art Institute of Chicago include iconic paintings like “American Gothic,” “Nighthawks,” and “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” a work composed of just dots. In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Cameron freaked himself out staring at the dots, while Ferris and Sloane shared a kiss in front of Marc Chagall’s stained-glass windows.

The Modern Wing includes celebrity chef Tony Mantuano’s Italian restaurant Terzo Piano. Additionally, the museum has two cafés. Admission to the museum is $18 for adults (Chicago residents $16), though there are numerous free days throughout every month. Special exhibitions usually have an additional fee.

The Art Institute of Chicago User Reviews

Average rating:
Always Something New to Discover at the Art Institute
Sara S. Feb 22, 2013
From well-known to obscure and the recently popular to historic charmers, it is not an exaggeration to say that virtually anything and everything can be found within the polished walls of the Art Institute of Chicago. Constantly hosting new and exciting exhibits from all corners of the globe it's nearly impossible to find an artist, culture, or nation that has not been represented. Whether looking for impressionists, tapestries, modern art or miniatures the Art Institute will provide the casual observer and the diehard enthusiast equally with hours of enjoyment, but appreciating fine art is not the only thing to do at this museum. Four separate dining experiences within the Art Institute provide attendees with an impressive variety of tasty fair from classic upscale cafeteria selections to gourmet bistro entrees served in their beautiful cafes. Fabulous shopping opportunities also await at the many gift shops scattered throughout the impressive institute, each providing different selected items relating to their neighboring exhibits. Guarded by lions only in effigy, this destination offers easy access with nearby bus stops, available parking, and it's a quick fifteen minute trip by foot from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center. Entry is also a breeze with a wide variety of available discounts for city/state residents along with special discounts available for seniors and children under the age of fourteen. Thursday evenings are free for all Illinois residents between five and eight PM and with the many transportation options it is easy to be on time. The sole fault with the Art Institute lies with one of it's greatest assets, it's size! With so much to see it is understandable how patrons may become misplaced. While it is often pleasurable to become lost in art, it is not as enjoyable to become lost in an art museum – but with so many rooms and hallways it is definitely just as easy. It is strongly recommended that attendees take one of the widely available maps provided by the Art Institute before trying to navigate the exhibits unaided. For this reason it may also be helpful to plan the viewing-route in advance. Whether intending to spend a few leisure hours or the entire day, the Art Institute of Chicago truly has something for everyone with it's impressive array of artists and it's expansive collections. Relics from the ancient world or or modern marvels, if you are only able to visit one museum in Chicago – make it the Art Institute, with each trip there is something new to discover and an old favorite to revisit.
Must see in Chicago
Wini L. Feb 20, 2013
Attending school in Chicago has its perks, one of them being able to visit the Art Institute for free. Being a Art History minor, this place is an Art Haven! The first time I went to the Art Institute I was delightfully surprised at how big the museum is, let alone how many collections and rare pieces they have on display. If you go make sure you allocate time accordingly, this place is huge, and you can easily spend a full day here. The modern wing is incredible! Very meta, the architecture of the wing is a piece of work itself, and inside houses many other extraordinary modern works, the Pollock was one of my favorites! On that note, due to its size it can be a little overwhelming. But there are many restaurants and cafes that you can stop by for a little brea, which are located inside the museum. I believe the pass, if you purchase one, is all day as well. So if all fails you can get cultured for a bit, hit michigan ave, and come back to the museum to escape the cold Chicago winters or humid Chicago summers!
Amazing art!
Elyse H. Dec 12, 2012
This place is an artgasm. I guess I was on a museum kick when I visited Chicago but the Art Institute is amazing!! There’s just so much to see. It’s so incredible that American museums can have all this art and from all time periods and places in the world. I loved trying to get through the whole museum in one day. It’s impossible! There’s so much to see and never enough time to see it all! If you ask me though I think the European Painting and Sculpture section and the Photography sections are really cool and it’s definitely a must to see those at least!!
Best museum in Chicago
Brinda G. Dec 12, 2012
No question it's in its own league. It's right up there with the other big art museums in the world, especially with the addition of the Modern Wing. Locals, getting a membership is so worth it—it’ll pay for itself very quickly, considering the high price of admission. I go to the AIC a lot and haven’t come close to seeing all of it. The permanent collection is especially known for its Impressionist art, and you’ll see plenty of iconic, instantly-recognizable masterpieces. The Modern Wing itself is basically a work of art, and being in the soaring, sunny space is an instant mood-lifter. Out-of-this world exhibitions and great events…definitely check it out.
Great art but somewhat overwhelming
Craig B. Dec 11, 2012
As a student in Chicago who was granted free admission to this museum, I should have gone to the Art Institute far more than I did and I absolutely regret it. On the few occasions when I did go, I was blown away. It's impossible to take on everything in a single day, so you have to limit yourself in order to not only really appreciate the masterpieces for what they are while but also to find something you'd never seen or heard of before. It feels a bit silly, but my only complaint about the Art Institute of Chicago is that it is showing too much all the time. Lend some of it out, put it in storage, do something, because it's really too bad when you're only able to get through half a museum in a day.
Incredible collection, beautiful space
Christina W. Dec 10, 2012
Having lived in both DC and Chicago, I have had my fair share of great museum experiences. Even with the entire Smithsonian at my disposal in DC, the Art Institute of Chicago is one of my all-time favorite museums. As a student in Chicago, I got free admission to the museum, so I spent way more time there than I would have otherwise. The layout is really great, the building is beautiful, and the galleries are so peaceful that it is easy to lose track of time. Highlights are definitely the Impressionist collection (best in the country), along with the new Modern wing. I loved their contemporary art collection even beforehand, but the new modern wing is just stunning. The architecture alone is enough to impress, let alone the artwork. This is absolutely a must-visit.
a MUST see for locals and visitors
Jackie D. Dec 4, 2012
The Art Institute is hands down one of the greatest art museums in the US. The building itself is magnificent and HUGE because of the massive collection that the institute has amassed over the years. I recently saw the Lichtenstein exhibit last fall and was amazed at the curation and amount of work that they compiled for it. I really enjoyed wandering through the museum and regret that I did not have that much time to spend there. This would be a great place to visit on a rainy day, or to cool off on a hot day for that matter, and explore the slightly lesser known works within.
Get your Art on
Amster M. Nov 19, 2012
All I can say is, Wow. The building is stunning, and I won’t even get into the great collection of art they have here. I came for a meeting at the café there actually, so I can recommend an iced late when you want to take a break (TIP: locals in Chicago can get yearly passes, and that includes free entry for one each time). We headed straight to the post war contemporaries, and even though the Edward Hoppers weren’t around I was still content with the Warhol and a few others I saw on show. The gift store is huge, and I always think a few postcards are good to have… because when it comes to photos you have to ask security first before snapping. Rules on photo taking vary piece to piece. But the place wasn’t slammed or packed, and it was a weekend afternoon, lots of natural light… a great experience.
A World Class Art Museum
Brian H. Oct 5, 2012
Growing up in Chicago I didn’t realize how spoiled I was to have the world class Art Institute of Chicago just a simple walk from the train station away. There are works from Monet, Cassatt, Van Gogh, Edward Hopper’s iconic “Nighthawks.” Also, Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” famously examined in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” There are also amazing miniature displays as well as various visiting exhibits – from historic works to modern video installations – constantly passing through. The museum is also located near Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain and several other points of interest within walking distance. The Art Institute is the perfect place to see some iconic works that most ages will be able to get something out of.
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