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Lectures and Programs

There are many ways to explore the depth and breadth of the Art Institute’s permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Artist Talks and Lectures

Artists Connect
Initiated as Metropolis in 1999, Artists Connect offered local artists a forum in which to discuss their work with the public, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the collections of the Art Institute to their own practice. The series fostered an understanding of the intimate relationship between living artists and those of the past and illuminates the sometimes surprising ways in which an artist's inspiration evolves into important original work.  The series concluded in 2013 and podcasts of past lectures can be found here.

Artist Talks
Hear renowned contemporary artists speak about their individual practice and other subjects in talks that explore the genesis of their work and the work’s relationship to the ideas that generated it.

Scholars explore a specific research topic in lectures relating to the Art Institute’s collections or exhibitions. These talks give greater insight to our audiences wishing to delve deeper into the history, context, conservation, or iconography of a given subject.

Classes and Courses

Art and Yoga
This monthly program includes a 30-minute gallery component, where participants focus on artistic forms and their surroundings, then moves to the studio, where a yoga instructor continues the program for a full hour.

Studio Programs
Studio programs facilitate wide-ranging and creative experiences based on the collections or special exhibitions as a point of departure. Using the artworks as a point of departure, engaged in hands-on explorations of the various media and methods evident in the artworks in the galleries. Member sketch classes involve sketching from works in the museum’s galleries under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Concerts and Performances

Experience programs featuring music and art commentary highlighting works from the museum collection. Programs include concerts in the acoustical splendor of Fullerton Hall with organizations such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

These unique programs feature art-inspired performances in both Fullerton Hall and in the galleries. Join us for a selection of readings, theatrical presentations, and dance performances. Collaborations include programs with Chinese Fine Arts Society and the Poetry Foundation.

Seminars and Symposia

Seminars offer the opportunity for close study of a chosen theme, area of the collection, or special exhibition through gallery discussions, lecture and panel sessions, or visits to the museum's study collections.

Often held in conjunction with exhibitions or sponsored in collaboration with local universities or curatorial support groups, one- or two-day symposia take place at the museum throughout the year. Distinguished scholars from museums and universities speak about special exhibitions, re-installations of the collection, or specific works.

Histories Remixed

This new series presents innovative thought leaders who are rethinking, reshaping, and reinterpreting the history and practice of contemporary art, culture, and institutions. All events are free with museum admission.

The series is organized by Huey Copeland, associate dean for academic affairs, The Graduate School, and associate professor of art history, Northwestern University.

Save the Date

Performance: Alicia Hall Moran
March 3 at 6:00
Fullerton Hall
Singer Alicia Hall Moran, known for brilliantly combining diverse musical styles, presents a response in song to the works featured in Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions.

Conversation: Rachel Kushner and James Benning
April 28 at 6:00
Fullerton Hall
Novelist Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers) and artist and filmmaker James Benning (North of Evers) explore how their work aims to inhabit and reanimate political and cultural touchstones of the European and American avant-gardes.

Past Events

Lecture: Jim Enote
October 22, 2015
Fullerton Hall
Jim Enote, director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center in New Mexico, reframed how Western institutions collect and display Zuni objects in light of recent collaborations that advance understanding of Zuni culture.