Chicago is a city that thrives on exceptional architecture and design. You may have taken a boat trip to learn the basics, but if you’re looking to delve deeper into the built environment and the world of design, you’re in for a busy fall, especially with the Biennale of Chicago architecture in full swing.

Many design-focused museum exhibits open this season, ranging from a mid-century exhibit in Mies van der Rohe’s restored McCormick House to one exploring the true meaning of the Midwest.

Elmhurst Art Museum

The McCormick House – Past, Present, Future

September 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020

The Elmhurst Museum of Art is also home to Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, one of only three residences the famous architect designed and built in the United States. This fall, the house will host a new exhibition, curated by interior designer Robert Kleinschmidt, focusing on classic mid-century furniture. Visitors can also expect to see historical images of the house’s residents, as well as information about recent restoration efforts.

Museum of Modern Art

The shape of the future

October 19, 2019 – April 5, 2020

This exhibition, which features works from the MCA’s permanent collection, coincides with the Chicago Architecture Biennale. Visitors can expect to think of global modernism, “as a setting for utopia and the speculative creation of the world, marked by traces of labor, political fantasy and cultural turmoil”. The art will focus on the stories and ideologies of the built environment.

Routes and Territories

November 2, 2019 – April 19, 2020

Focusing on human migration in Latin America, Routes and Territories examines colonialism and how communities are affected when forced to move. In the exhibit, you can see deeply personal stories of how the physical earth can hold memory and history.

Driehaus Museum

Eternal Light: Sacred Stained Glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany

September 7, 2019 – March 8, 2020

Drawing Louis Comfort Tiffany’s ecclesiastical stained glass from collections across the country, the Driehaus Museum displays a wide range of his stained glass. The collection focuses on windows from 1880 to 1925 and aims to show his signature styles within the context of the period. One of the sections on display concerns Tiffany’s contributions to the Chicago World’s Fair.

DePaul Museum of Art

Architectural Notes

September 12, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Artist Julia Fish curated this exhibit of the Chicago and Rome architectural works of the Burnham brothers, Douglas Garofalo and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. It focuses on “the visual and conceptual function of ‘annotation’ shared between the three: overt or subtle forms of text and notes integral to or integrated into the visual representation of architectural images. »

Julia Fish: Bound by the Specter

September 12, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Along with the above, works by Julia Fish from the last decade will be exhibited. Fish used his home to make drawings on paper, creating “a subjective response to objective information.”

Remember where you are

September 12, 2019 – February 23, 2020

Looking at heritage and place, this exhibition features four emerging artists based in San Antonio and Chicago. Their work includes performance, sculpture and textiles.

Field Museum

State of water: our most precious resource

September 13, 2019 – January 12, 2020

This exhibition will feature photos of often hidden architecture and infrastructure featured prominently in Brad Temkin’s book, State of water: our most precious resource. “These images speak to the importance of water and celebrate design ideas, showing inventiveness in infrastructure and architecture that no one ever thinks of, supporting our need to accommodate nature,” Temkin said. in a press release.

Wright Wood 659

Ando: museums and galleries

October 3, 2019 – December 14, 2019

Known for his mastery of concrete, light and shadow, architect Tadao Ando is the subject of this exhibition highlighting his work designing museums and galleries, including Wrightwood 659 in Lincoln Park. There will be both photos and prints, as well as a detailed model of Naoshima Island.

Chicago Art Institute

In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mid-Century Mexico,

September 6, 2019 – January 12, 2020

The works of Clara Porset, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Cynthia Sargent and Sheila Hicks have never been shown together before, as they all belong to different generations. In this exhibition you can see a range of their work from furniture and interior design to sculpture, textiles, photography and prints – all of which represent Mexico.

The Newberry

What is the Midwest?

September 20, 2019 – Tuesday, December 31, 2019

This exhibit in the Newberry Library’s newly renovated public gallery features maps, artwork, archival photos, and more to challenge “enduring assumptions, stereotypes, and narratives about the Midwest.” Incorporating 400 years of history and diverse storytelling collections, What is the Midwest? shows that the area is much more than a homogeneous arid space between the coasts.


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