The Art Institute strives to present exhibitions and programs that increase knowledge and appreciation of a variety of artists, media, styles, and periods having regional, national, and international significance. Exhibitions and programs result from in-depth research and planning and take into consideration the museum's diverse audience. The museum depends on partnering with corporations to carry out its mission and provide visitors with a truly singular experience. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the following exhibitions. For additional information, please contact George Martin at (312) 443-3125 or

Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine

November 3, 2013–January 20, 2014

Depictions of food in art frequently celebrate the pleasures of eating: elegant orderly arrangements of cookies or cakes, lavish and overflowing arrays of fruits, or the remnants of a gluttonous feast all convey man’s passion for consumption. Yet still-life paintings of edibles also speak volumes about their cultural context. The topic of food allowed American artists both to celebrate and critique their developing society, expressing ideas relating to politics, race, class, gender, and commerce and how these categories defined American identity. Through 75 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts related to the table from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, this exhibition will explore the art and culture of food, investigating the many meanings and interpretations of eating in America. As today’s professional and home chefs increasingly turn toward local, organic food, and as American society ponders its history as a fast-food nation, this exhibition on the historical art of eating couldn’t be more timely.

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes No. 1, 1967. Restricted gift of the Society for Contemporary Art.

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938
June 29–October 12, 2014

This is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the breakthrough years of the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte, creator of some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary images. Covering the years 1926 to 1938, it will trace significant strategies and themes from the most profoundly inventive and experimental period in the artist’s long, productive career. Displacement, transformation, metamorphosis, and the “misnaming” of objects, as well as the representation of visions seen in half-waking states, are among Magritte’s key tactics during these seminal years.

Under the direction of Anne Umland, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art; Josef Helfenstein, director of the Menil Collection; and Stephanie D’Alessandro, the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator, Department of Medieval through Modern European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, some 80 paintings, collages, drawings and objects will be presented, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work.

Other Venues
The Museum of Modern Art, New York: September 22, 2013–January 13, 2014
The Menil Collection, Houston: February 13–June 1, 2014

René Magritte. Time Transfixed, 1938. Joseph Winterbotham Collection.


Ireland on a World Stage, 1690-1840
March 17 – June 7, 2015

Ireland on a World Stage, 1690–1840 will present 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America to provide a richly layered overview of the Emerald Isle during its first “Golden Age.”

The seeds of this exhibition were first planted by Desmond FitzGerald, the Knight of Glin, who in his 2007 book Irish Furniture outlined his vision for:

 … a major exhibition on Ireland’s decorative arts of the 18th century, which would include furniture [and] bring together the common threads of the different fields. It would give an overview of the shared patrimony with England and the Continent and show the high level of craftsmanship achieved in Ireland at that time. A show of this stature would waken up the world to a staggering array of art that was manufactured in Ireland during this period.

Surprisingly, such an exhibition has never before been undertaken on either side of the Atlantic. Ireland on a World Stage, 1690-1840 will expand on the Knight of Glin's vision to also include paintings, sculpture, and architecture in addition to bookbindings, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, and textiles.

Made by John Kirkhoffer, Secretary Cabinet, 1732. Gift of Robert Allerton.


Upcoming Exhibitions from the Department of Prints and Drawings

The Artist and the Poet
February 1–June 2, 2013

Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy
June 22–September 29, 2013

Martin Puryear: The Prints
July–September 2013

Upcoming Exhibitions from the Department of Photography

Irving Penn: Underfoot
January 19–April 28, 2013

Abelardo Morell: Wonderlands
June 1–September 2, 2013