Countless art galleries are scattered around the United States, beaming with opportunities for contemporary artists: Los Angeles, Palm Beach, and New York. Yet, the Chicago art scene stays in the shadows when tourists come along.
Chicago’s Art Scene Keeps Creators Together
But it doesn’t mean that the Chicago art scene is not worth checking out! Moreover, it’s full of incredible spaces, pulling itself apart from other cities on the coast. That said, world-class museums seem to take up a significant part of Chicago. “Chicago has a history of great collections,” gallerist Rhona Hoffman shared with Artsy. “The Art Institute of Chicago’s collection of Impressionists were gifts from Chicago collectors who came back from Europe and brought the Impressionist paintings.” Hoffman created her own space back in 1976 and managed to push forward many women artists. They included Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, and Cindy Sherman. Now, Chicago artists Julia Fish, Judy Ledgerwood, and Michael Rakowitz are represented by Hoffman.
She emphasized that New York and Chicago art scenes are completely different. While New York's big space lets creators stick to their corner, the latter keeps the community tied together. Emanuel Aguilar, founder, and director of PATRON agrees. “A lot of gallerists who aren’t in Chicago are surprised to hear that everyone in Chicago is pretty collaborative and friendly with each other,” he said. “Even if we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, we find ways to work together and coordinate and benefit the community at large instead of just on our own.” The Chicago art scene is indeed less aggressive, but it carries even more dedication and motivation than New York.
What To Check Out In Chicago
Artists from Chicago show innovation. They want to show off fresh ideas and embark on a new creative journey, challenging the American art scene in general. At the same time, the result is always high-quality. Of course, galleries are not the only thing this city has to show. The Art Institute of Chicago is, perhaps, the most hyped-up museum on the coast. Visitors can check out world-known artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Grant Wood. Jewish painter Marc Chagall is also there, inspiring surrealist Israeli Jewish artists around the globe. Local gallerists like Hoffman also recommended MCA Chicago and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. They carry unexpected multidisciplinary works.
In case you don’t like to spend hours staring at art in museums and galleries, there’s a lot to explore in the city itself. First of all, walk down to La Catrina Café. That artistic space will greet you with a colorful mural, then let you inside the world of local Chicago artists. At the same time, visitors can try the café's delicious coffee, as well as grab a bite in the middle of sightseeing. Secondly, Chicago boasts several unique art schools. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been a huge influence on Chicago’s art scene, pushing forward an idea of new technology.
In the end, it’s best to go on a random trip in Chicago, where it’s so easy to stumble into “unique and weird art experiences,” said Kate Sierzputowski of EXPO Chicago.