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Grand Tour of the Art Institute


The Art Institute’s modular architectural history—previously discussed by Erin Hogan—makes the building an excellent subject for a “traveling salesman” problem. So, for the benefit of any art-loving puzzle nerds reading ARTicle, I humbly submit the following.

Your mission is to find a continuous path in, through, and around the museum that visits all of the 21 objects listed below. The catch is that you may not use any door, threshold, elevator, or flight of stairs more than once. Detailed rules are listed below.

I promise that there is at least one solution, but I cannot promise that this will be an easy problem to solve. For your convenience, here is a floor plan with dots showing the locations of the objects. Please post your solutions, or any questions, in the comments below. Good luck!


- Your path must start at one of the objects on the list. You can ignore your path into the museum and to your starting point. From the starting point, you must then visit all of the objects on the list (not necessarily in the order listed below).
- You may exit and reenter the building, if necessary. There are entrances/exits at the following locations: Michigan Avenue, Monroe Street, Columbus Drive (by the Rubloff Auditorium), and the Nichols Bridgeway (Millennium Park).
- You may not pass through any doorway or threshold more than one time. You may enter a particular gallery more than once, but only if you are able to do so via a different way than before. For example, if you leave Griffin Court of the Modern Wing through the glass doors leading toward the Rice building (housing the American Art collection), then you may reenter Griffin Court again, but not via the glass doors.
- You may not use any elevator, bridge, or a particular flight of stairs more than one time each. Note that each staircase may have more than one flight of stairs, e.g. using a flight of stairs from the lower level to the first floor does not preclude you from using the same staircase to take the flight of stairs from the first level to the second level.
- “Employees only” or “By appointment only” areas and passages are off-limits.
- In addition to the floor plan, you may wish to refer to the Art Institute’s online Pathfinder application (also available in the museum).


- An object in a dead-end gallery won’t work in the middle of your path.
- Elevators and entrances/exits are your friends.
- Draw your path before you try to walk it.


Joseph Cornell, Soap Bubble Set, 1948. (Gallery 397)
Chinese, Couch-Bed, late Ming/early Qing dynasty, 17th century. (Gallery 108)
Congo, Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi), Early/mid-19th century. (Gallery 50A)
Frederic Edwin Church, View of Cotopaxi, 1857. (Gallery 171)
Gaston Lachaise, Woman (Elevation), Modeled 1912-15 (Cast 1927). (Gallery 271)
Jason Lazarus, Recordings ("Big Storm" January 30, 1967, Mom), 2009. (Gallery 188)
Bruce Nauman, Clown Torture, 1987. (Gallery 295C)
Frank Memkus, Whirligig, entitled "America", c. 1938/42. (Gallery 227)
Berthe Morisot, Woman at Her Toilette, 1875/80. (Gallery 201)
Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier, The Madame B Album, 1870s. (Gallery 1)
Auguste Rodin, Adam, modeled c. 1881. (Gallery 235)
Claude Monet, Stack of Wheat, 1890/91. (Gallery 243)
Scott Burton, Chaise Longue, 1983. (Bluhm Family Terrace / Terzo Piano)
India, Karttikeya, God of War, Seated on a Peacock, Ganga Period, c. 12th century. (Gallery 141)
Abraham Janssens, Jupiter Rebuked by Venus, c. 1612/13. (Gallery 208)
Buddhist Votive Stele, Western Wei dynasty (A.D. 535-557), dated A.D. 551. (Gallery 101)
James Castle, Untitled, 1950/77. (Gallery 124)
Greek, Attica, Funerary Stele (Grave Marker), c. 330 B.C. (Gallery 155)
Chinese, Horse, Tang dynasty, (A.D. 618-907), 1st half of 8th century. (Gallery 105)
Jackson Pollock, Greyed Rainbow, 1953. (Gallery 289)
Pierre-Jacques Volaire, The Eruption of Vesuvius, 1771. (Gallery 218 - and see above)