As the newly appointed director of the Art Institute of Chicago, I feel deeply honored and privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to the leadership and history of this remarkable institution—a place I have made my professional home for nearly 20 years. In that time, the museum has changed and grown exponentially. Physically our building and global collection have increased in size and scope, and philosophically we continually adapt to the world around us and find creative and relevant ways to engage our global audiences. This website, along with our blog and social media channels, is just one way that we extend our reach.
Amid all this change and expansion, the museum has stayed true to its founding mission of 1879: to collect, preserve, and interpret works of art of the highest quality from across the globe for the inspiration and education of our visitors. Today our collection comprises approximately 300,000 works of arts—ranging from ancient art through to work being created by today’s foremost artists—and our visitors number 1.5 million annually from across Chicagoland, the country, and the world. Located in the heart of Chicago, just a block from Lake Michigan and adjacent to Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute is composed of eight buildings and covers nearly one million square feet. Our eleven curatorial departments and over 500 employees not only care for our illustrious permanent collection but also present 30 special exhibitions and hundreds of gallery talks, lectures, performances, and events every year. Enhancing all this is our research library for art and architecture, one of the finest in the country, and our state-of-the-art conservation facilities that both safeguard our collection for future generations and continually uncover new and exciting revelations about it.
We, of course, hope that everyone can come experience all the Art Institute offers in person at some point—ideally again and again. But there are a host of ways to interact with the many riches of the museum right here on our website, whether you are seeking information on planning your visit or using our latest digital resources to research from thousands of miles away. Welcome to the Art Institute of Chicago.
James Rondeau President and Eloise W. Martin Director
11 hours 36 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—In 1963 Melvin Edwards began Lynch Fragments, a series of welded steel assemblages made in response to the tumultuous social climate of the Civil Rights movement. The title of the series evokes the horrifying images of racist mob violence, yet Edwards’s works distill the subject into a powerful sculptural language, fusing modernist abstraction with a sense of personal and collective history.
Afrophoenix No. 1—one of the earliest objects from the series—exemplifies how the artist physically transformed found objects and brought them together in poetically suggestive, tension-filled compositions. Here the formal arrangement of steel elements evokes an equestrian bridle and bit. Chains, hammers, nails, spikes, and screws magnify the sculpture’s associative power, recalling implements of labor and torture. At the same the title references the mythological phoenix—alluding to death, rebirth, and transformation.
See Afrophoenix No. 1 (1963) by Melvin Edwards in Gallery 289D.
16 hours 1 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Modern Velvet: A Sense of Luxury in the Age of Industry
With their plush, inviting, and varied textures, the velvets featured in this exhibition showcase the diversity of modern velvet as well as the effects of industry on its production. As industrial innovations at the turn of the 19th century allowed for faster production and encouraged the use of less costly materials, designers and manufacturers of velvet sought to maintain its association with wealth, luxury, and splendor.
Learn how this elegant fabric has inspired designers for centuries, with a wide range of examples from the 19th century to present day—closing March 19.
1 day 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Just like the museum's collection comes from artists around the world, so does the Museum Shop’s assortment of products. We source exclusive products from artisans that are inspired by the cultures, mediums, and techniques represented in our museum collection. View our assortment of unique items from India.