On View

In the Galleries

Sarah Charlesworth: Stills

Gallery 188, Modern Wing
September 18, 2014–January 4, 2015

August Sander

Gallery 189, Modern Wing
September 18, 2014–January 4, 2015

Photography Is ______________.

Gallery 10, lower level
October 11, 2014–April 12, 2015
From press pictures to artist’s books, tiny stereo cards to monumental installations, anonymous snapshots to fine-art prints, local life architecture to scenes set in London or Okinawa, the photographic takes many forms, has many uses, and is at home around the world. It can be nearly anything, anywhere.

Photography Is is made possible by the generous support of the Black Dog Fund and Stuart Family Fund. In-kind support is provided by Tru-Vue, Inc.

Giulio Paolini and the Unfixed Photograph

Gallery 1, lower level
October 11, 2014–April 12, 2015

The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, 1960–1980

Galleries 283–285, Modern Wing
October 26, 2014–January 11, 2015

James Welling: Diary/Landscape

Galleries 2–3, lower level
November 1, 2014–April 12, 2015

Moyra Davey

Gallery 4, lower level 
November 1, 2014–April 12, 2015

John Gossage: Three Routines

Galleries 188–189, Modern Wing
January 22–May 3, 2015

Shatter, Rupture, Break

Galleries 182–184, Modern Wing
February 15–May 3, 2015


Riot of Modernism: A self-guided virtual tour

At the heart of the Gallery 10 display for Photography Is hangs a wall packed with more than 60 gems from the museum’s collection. These works span a century, from around 1890 through 1990, of modernist experiment: Atget to Mike Kelley, Surrealism to Vietnam, political activism to hilarious amateur snapshots. A lively, purposeful jumble, this wall of photographs, stretching nearly 60 feet, is just one way to organize the history of modernism.

Edward Steichen’s World War I album (coming soon)

Virtually leaf through the 84-plate album compiled by Steichen in 1919, just after he had completed his first tour of duty as chief of photography for the United States Armed Forces.


Irving Penn Archives

Launched in 2012, and updated twice since then, this award-winning site offers an extensive history of Penn’s life and career, drawn from his archival papers and 1,300 photographs in the Art Institute’s holdings.


Scroll through the complete history of an exhibition. Every memo, e-mail, and planning document connected to Parcours, a show conceived by artists Liz Deschenes (American, born 1966) and Florian Pumhösl (Austrian, born 1971) with Art Institute curator Matthew S. Witkovsky (American, born 1967). Parcours was on view in the Modern Wing’s Bucksbaum Gallery April 21–September 9, 2012.

Jindřich Heisler: From the Strongholds of Sleep

This online resource offers the first translation into English of a brilliant and radical photobook experiment that survives only in fewer than a dozen copies (one of which is held in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute). Heisler, a surrealist poet with a keen artistic sensibility, created this highly original book by writing poems, then setting up the letters on a tabletop and surrounding them with playful toys and objects. He had the arrangements photographed to make a book of true picture-poems. This resource was first developed for the exhibition Jindřich Heisler: Surrealism under Pressure, on view March 31–July 1, 2012.

The Three Graces

Named after the iconic Western art motif, The Three Graces was an exhibition held October 29, 2011–February 5, 2012, of over 500 anonymous found snapshots featuring trios of women. These photos, dating from the turn of the 20th century to the 1970s and largely American in origin, span decades during which photography skyrocketed in popularity among amateurs and handheld film cameras multiplied exponentially in number and variety. Search through these snapshots by date or theme to see the evolution of amateur photography and maybe even discover a familiar face.

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage

Playing with Pictures, which opened at the Art Institute in 2009, was the first exhibition to examine how Victorian women cut out newly available photographs and pasted them into watercolor designs to create whimsical and often surreal compositions. This web module explores the exhibition’s themes and selected works and offers a complete look at a rare object in the museum’s collection: the 114-page “Madame B” album.