In support of 500 Ways of Looking at Modern, the Art Institute has assembled a wide array of family programs, gallery talks and tours, performances, readings, and lectures as we look at “modern” from the perspective of actors, artists, curators, dancers, museum directors, musicians, poets, and scholars.

Many events are free of charge and occur on Thursdays at 6:00 in Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago, except where noted.

Concerts and Performances

CSO Concerts
Feast your ears this season as the popular Chicago Symphony Orchestra chamber music series at the Art Institute continues with Modern in Mind, highlighting renowned composers and artists of the last century. Art commentary provides an intriguing glimpse into the cultural atmosphere and musical traditions that helped create the modern aesthetic.

Selected Sundays at 2:00 p.m. in Fullerton Hall. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (312) 294-3000.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Residence
Art and dance come together this season as dancers and artistic staff from HSDC draw inspiration from works of art at the Art Institute and then set it into motion. Join us throughout the year for a unique series that includes lectures, art commentary, and dance.
CSO Preview Concerts at the Art Institute
Enrich your concert experience at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by attending a special concert preview at the Art Institute. Enjoy art commentary that sheds light on the life and times of that evening’s featured composer, and then listen to a highlighted composition presented by CSO or Chicago Symphony Chorus members.

Family Programs
Families can explore the modern together through art-making activities, family exhibitions, gallery walks, self-guides, interactive games, and much more! All programs start in our state-of-the-art and thoroughly modern Ryan Education Center.

Gallery Talks and Tours
Get a fresh perspective on modern, day by day. Join a museum education lecturer in the galleries for a modern-themed talk about an artist, style, movement, or titled topic, or take a tour of Modern Wing highlights. Gallery talks and tours are offered daily and run between 45–60 minutes.

Don't have an hour? Join a 30-minute Express Talk about one work of art on Wednesdays at 12:00, Thursdays at 5:30, and Fridays at 2:00.

Lectures and Conversations

Expand your knowledge this season as leading museum directors, scholars, historians, and writers discuss issues surrounding the influence and implications of modernism in our two lecture series: Rethinking Modernism and Directing Modern Museums. Featured lecturers include T. J. Clark from U. C. Berkeley, Helen Vendler from Harvard, Alex Ross from The New Yorker, Glenn Lowry from the Museum of Modern Art, and many other notable presenters.
Gain insight into the art, life, and creative process of noted artists and performers through moderated conversations, featuring photographers Liz Deschenes and Galen Gerber, maestro Pierre Boulez, artistic staff from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and performing artists from Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In addition to readings by poets C. D. Wright and Derek Walcott, which celebrate the influence and legacy of the modern, the Poetry Foundation collaborates on a series of readings exploring the depth and breadth of modernist literature in all its forms. Actors from Goodman Theatre perform excerpts from novels, poems, and plays, and are occasionally joined by dancers from Hubbard Street, who improvise in reply.

Join our panel of renowned scholars and experts for full days of lectures and in-depth discussion. Topics include "Contemporary Art at the Art Institute: Case Studies of Selected Works on View," "Modern Constructions: Creating Architecture and Design Collections,"and our collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, "Beethoven: The Modernist?"

Hubbard Street dancers Kellie Epperheimer and Christian Broomhall in Griffin Court. Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg.
Visitors enjoying the Ryan Education Center.
CSO musicians performing in Fullerton Hall.