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A Look Back at 2016

2016 was an exciting year for the Art Institute, and we wanted to take a moment to reflect back on some of the highlights of the past year:

Exhibitions spanned the years and the globe, showcasing everything from fine paintings to fine jewelry.

Van Gogh’s Bedrooms brought together the three versions of The Bedroom for the first time in North America, examining their creation and their significance to Van Gogh himself. The three works, while similar, reveal entirely distinct details. About 36 works by the artist were on display, offering deep insight into his complex inner life.

Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem stitched together the artistic legacies and histories of renowned writer Ralph Ellison and photographer Gordon Parks. Bringing Ellison’s words to life, Parks’ photography depicts Harlem in detail, with imagined evocative images suggesting Ellison’s protagonist from his 1952 novel Invisible Man.

America after the Fall took a deep look at a tumultuous period in American history: the 1930s. From the wryly nostalgic works of Grant Wood to the melancholic landscapes of Hopper to the desert details of Georgia O’Keeffe, artists shared their viewpoints of the American experience between the economic crash of 1929 and the beginning of World War II.

Kemang Wa Lehulere: In All My Wildest Dreams marks the artist’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. His work speaks to what he calls the “deleted scenes” of South African history. Many of the works are ephemeral, existing only in the Art Institute’s galleries and nowhere else. The exhibition is on view in the Modern Wing through January 16.

Our collection welcomed some newcomers with our end-of-the-year Gifts to the City, among them a Qing-dynasty altar set, Sebastiano del Piombo’s Christ Carrying the Cross, and Yoko Ono’s MENDED PETAL.

We expanded our access through technology and tools like a new mobile app and JourneyMaker. The Art Institute of Chicago’s Official Mobile App brings together audio tours with the stories behind the artwork to give you a fun, unexpected experience of our collection and special exhibitions. JourneyMaker, available in the Ryan Learning Center, lets families design their own tours of the museum, centered around different themes.

Our civic programming grew with events such as the Gathering, a series that brings artists together with the public to discuss the impact of art on everyday life. Likewise, our Live Arts programming brought musicians, artists, writers, and performers of all sorts to the museum, opening dialogues between the works on the walls and the performances at hand.

Our many thanks for your support and enthusiasm throughout such an exciting and dynamic year. Look forward to what’s coming next, and happy new year!

Edward Kemeys. Lions, 1893. Gift of Mrs. Henry Field, 1898.1a-b. ® The Art Institute of Chicago.