I am fresh off of the heels of Art Basel and Miami Design Week and have a huge desire to jump into Chicago’s art scene. To prepare for the year ahead, I’ve gathered a list of highly anticipated art exhibitions that I cannot wait to see.
From an interactive pop art exhibition with iconic pieces to the first solo show of a Black multidisciplinary artist at a prominent Chicago museum: These are the 7 Chicago Art exhibitions to look forward to in the new year.
Check out the full guide below and don’t forget to save this list for the future!
2023 Chicago Art Exhibitions
The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago is an exhibition that addresses photography in the context of Africa’s long 1960s. Focusing on Ghana, Mali, and South Africa, this exhibition features various elements of photography that were produced or articulated amid resistance, revolution, new nationalist and transnational movements, and the stuff of daily life therein. This project explores documentary visions cultivated through the international circulation of print media and transnational dialogues and examines the multiple lives of single images made by photographers. (February 23rd – July 9th, 2023; The Smart Museum of Art, www.smartmuseum.uchicago.edu).
First Kings of Europe is an unprecedented collaboration between museums in Southeast Europe and North America that will take place at the Field Museum of Chicago. Experience the transition from egalitarian farming villages of the Early Neolithic Period to the world of rulers in the Iron Age with hundreds of artifacts from southeastern Europe. The exhibition presents an exceptionally rich variety of objects and contexts that emerged during these ancient times. However, many of the objects have never before been presented outside of their own country, let alone in North America. ( March 31, 2023 – January 28, 2024; Field Museum https://www.fieldmuseum.org/)
Gio Swaby is a multidisciplinary artist whose textile-based practice explores the intersections of Blackness and womanhood. The spring exhibition at the Art Insitute of Chicago is Swaby’s first solo museum show and brings together seven of Swaby’s series from 2017 through 2021, along with approximately 15 new works, including her largest work to date, a commission for the US Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas. The title of the show, Fresh Up, is a Bahamian phrase often used as a way to compliment someone’s style or confident way of being. Swaby has remarked, “It holds a lot of positivity and joy. Finally, it also speaks to the tone of confidence and power that I want to create with these works. I love that it is a way to form connections through a simple phrase.”( April 8 – July 3, 2023; Art Insitute of Chicago; www.artic.edu)
SHIFT at the Museum of Contemporary Photography explores how music changes in form and interpretation as it moves across time, bodies, and place. Folk songs are used for propaganda, pop hits are deployed as tools of torture, and cultural origins are erased – or reinvested – in particular songs, instruments, and genres. At the same time, music can also become a site of play, serendipity, and healing. This exhibition combines video, sound, and photography to transform the museum’s galleries into a unique choral mélange. (April 13 – August 6, 2023; Museum of Contemporary Photography;www.mocp.org).
Celebrating the work of over 3,000 artists, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art offers an incredible week of dynamic programming and unforgettable events you won’t want to miss at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. The exposition draws upon the city’s rich history as a vibrant international cultural destination, while engaging the region’s contemporary art community and collector base. (April 13- April 16, 2023; Navy Pier; www.expochicago.com).
Scheduled to open in the summer of 2023, Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art the exhibition will feature a presentation of over 200 original works by iconic American artist Andy Warhol. The works, loaned through the Bank of America Art in our Communities® program, will spotlight over 11,000 sq. ft. of interactive experiences including a Biographical exhibit, Video installation, 150+ photos taken by Warhol, Children’s Print Factory, Studio 54 experience, and a Central Park-inspired outdoor space. ( June 3 – September 10, 2023; Cleve Carney Museum of Art; http://www.theccma.org/warhol).
Opening in June of 2023 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gary Simmons: Public Enemy is the first comprehensive career survey of the work of multidisciplinary artist Gary Simmons. Among the most respected artists of his generation, Simmons has played a key role in situating questions of race, class, and gender identity at the center of contemporary art discourse since the late 1980s. The selected works, which will cover over 30 years of work, will offer audiences a timely opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of the complex and profoundly moving work of this groundbreaking and influential artist.( June 10–November 1, 2023; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; http://www.mcachicago.org)