One reason I absolutely love this time of year is the abundance of lists. Best music, best restaurants, best movies, best internet memes...I'm a huge fan of compilations. So I couldn't resist asking the 2011 blog contributors (thanks guys!) about their favorite Art Institute and non-Art Institute exhibitions of the year. And, of course, what AIC exhibition they're most looking forward to in 2012. So take a look and then let us know what some of your favorite art moments of 2011 were in the comments. And, as always, thanks for reading!
Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Curatorial Fellow, Prints and Drawings
Favorite AIC exhibition: I'm quite biased, but Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life was good fun, with all sorts of ribald alterations and additions being made to some seriously beautiful printed objects. Kings, Queens and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France was even shinier and full of reliquaries, paintings, and other amazing things.
Favorite non-AIC exhibition: Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe! This groundbreaking show on prints and scientific inquiry has lots of hands-on bells and whistles, including model sundials, anatomy flap prints and other instruments. It opened at Harvard in September 2011, and will luckily be here in Chicago at the Block Museum from January 20–April 8, 2012.
Most excited for in 2012: Prints and Drawings will have two blockbuster exhibitions, one on Italian Renaissance drawings from a private collection and another on some of our most popular contemporary works. My department will also contribute to the Lichtenstein exhibition!
Erin Hogan, Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Favorite AIC exhibition: For me, the year's stand out exhibitions really belonged to the Department of Prints and Drawings. John Marin's Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism and Windows on the War both piqued my interest and inspired me to read every piece of copy associated with each. Being behind the camera filming Alexis Petroff recreate the stencil painting process for the TASS posters made that show come alive for me. On the same note, filming the frame conservators recreate original Marin frames also gave me a deeper appreciation and understanding of John Marin's process. But my absolute favorite is the current exhibition Timothy H. O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs. The intersection where adventure, science, art, and naturalism meet was the life of of this westward expansion-era survey photographer. O'Sullivan's photographs were taken at roughly the same time as John Muir's first visit to the Sierra Nevada and some even predate Muir's exit from the Midwest. Gritty views of Mono Lake, Donner Pass, Pyramid Lake, and the Wasatch Mountains, along with images of the mining and railroad industry and geothermal formations captivate the eye as much as the imagination. (Ed. note: the great outdoors are obviously already an interest of Tom's.) Favorite non-AIC exhibition: Hands down, it was Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Cultural Center is a regular spot to brown bag it at lunchtime and I found myself eating as quick as I could so I walk through the galleries. The back story of the discovery of her posthumous archive was amazing. Her photographs project the feeling of being alone in a crowded room and I find it so culturally relevant. It truly was some of the best street photography I had ever seen.
Most excited for in 2012: Roy Lichtenstein. I also always look forward to Architecture and Design exhibitions, as they always transform the gallery experience.
Susan Augustine, Head of Reader Services, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
Favorite AIC exhibition: Hyperlinks.
Favorite non-AIC exhibition: Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan at the National Gallery in London
Most excited for in 2012: Museum wide, it's Roy Lichtenstein, but what I'm really most excited about is getting new content management software for the web site!!
Troy Klyber, Intellectual Property Manager
Favorite AIC exhibition: Windows on the War.
Favorite non-AIC exhibition: Two favorites were Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Joseph Cornell-themed exhibition at the MCA Chicago.
Most excited for in 2012: Roy Lichtenstein.
Carolina Kaufman, Education Technology Manager
Favorite AIC exhibition: TASS all the way. It was fascinating.
Favorite non-AIC exhibition: Chocolate Around the Worldat the Field Museum.
Most excited for in 2012: Roy Lichtenstein.