Smart Museum of Art

Smart Museum of Art Admission is always free! As the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, the Smart is home to thought-provoking exhibitions and an exquisite collection of more than 15,000 objects, including modern masterpieces, millennia-old Chinese artworks, rich examples of Renaissance painting, and provocative works of contemporary art.
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Admission is always free. Mission The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago opens the world through art and ideas.

The South Side of Chicago has been and continues to be defined by the visionary work of Black artists, educators, schola...
06/05/2020

The South Side of Chicago has been and continues to be defined by the visionary work of Black artists, educators, scholars, activists, and others; a powerful legacy of celebrating Black identity and actively working against those who seek to extinguish it. At the Smart Museum of Art, we recognize that we have a responsibility, especially in being here, to stand in solidarity with movements that stand with Black lives—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade—but we must do more. We must be an agent in supporting our community and in dismantling exclusionary and oppressive systems. We pledge to reflect on, question and shift our own practice—in our programs as well as in our operations—to build on these values through action.

As an art museum, on a university campus, the Smart believes that art creates and expresses meaning in our lives; through it we not only see the world, but also imagine it anew. We affirm our commitment to becoming a museum that engages the most critical issues of our time, of our place—an institution that listens to and acts on behalf of our community and staff; an institution that stands against the injustice and violence of systemic racism.

This week’s coloring page features Ma Qiusha’s Wonderland: Black Square, made of black stockings stretched over concrete...
05/29/2020
The Allure of Coloring: Ma Qiusha

This week’s coloring page features Ma Qiusha’s Wonderland: Black Square, made of black stockings stretched over concrete shards.

The coloring sheet was drawn by artist and museum educator Erik L. Peterson. “While drawing Wonderland: Black Square, I found myself following the fissures and cracks with my pen, and my mind wandered to plate tectonics,” says Erik. “I imagined the earth’s crust moving and shifting, stretching, sliding, cracking and splitting. Was I drawing a crumbled sidewalk after an earthquake, a broken pane of stained glass in a nearby church, or the Earth’s rumbling giants underneath?”

If you post your creations to social media, be sure to include the hashtag #theallureofcoloring so we can find your work and share it with the world!

This week’s coloring page features Ma Qiusha’s Wonderland: Black Square, made of black stockings stretched over concrete shards.

"Although his fingerprints look randomly placed on the scrolls, there seems to be a pattern to them. Zhang Yu's fingerpr...
05/28/2020
Object chat: Fingerprints

"Although his fingerprints look randomly placed on the scrolls, there seems to be a pattern to them. Zhang Yu's fingerprint scrolls, to me, forge a synergetic relationship between painting, performance, installation, and body art."

In a new Object Chat on the updated Allure of Matter website, Smart curatorial intern Alexandra Nickolaou takes you on a virtual visit to Wrightwood 659 to talk about Zhang Yu's "Fingerprints" (2008). By making faint imprints on long, draped scrolls of paper, Zhang's work is a subtle testament to material's connection to the body.

Be sure to check theallureofmatter.org often for new talks, activities, virtual events, and things to read.

In this object chat, Alexandra Nickolaou takes us on a virtual visit to see Zhang Yu's Fingerprints at Wrightwood 659.

Join the Fundred Dollar Bill project and use your creativity for a future free of lead poisoning!Designed by 2019 MacArt...
05/26/2020
Chicago Fundred Initiative: A Bill for IL | Smart Museum of Art

Join the Fundred Dollar Bill project and use your creativity for a future free of lead poisoning!

Designed by 2019 MacArthur Fellow Mel Chin, the Fundred Project is an ongoing collective art project that “calls attention to the danger of childhood lead poisoning and reminds us that every child’s future has value.” The Smart Museum of Art is bringing the project to Chicago and will be collecting hand-drawn Fundred Dollar Bills to display on locations across the city as part of our summer 2021 exhibition 'Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40.'

Participate from home—check out fundred.org/chicago for templates and instructions about where to send your creation.

Using creativity to fight lead poisoning as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40

"Though many organizations have followed suit and opened their archives to the public, performers are nothing if not inv...
05/22/2020
Site-specific performances moved us beyond the black box

"Though many organizations have followed suit and opened their archives to the public, performers are nothing if not inventive, and have found ever more creative ways of sharing their work."

In a piece highlighting the creative ways performers are reaching audiences, the Chicago Reader features dancer and Reader critic Irene C. Hsiao's "Score for an Unfinished Dance," which is up now on the updated The Allure of Matter website.

Structured as a series of movement instructions, Hsiao's score expresses "the feelings of so many of us whose lives and plans have been upended by a virus we cannot see but which has brought the globe to its knees."

Read the score, watch an excerpt, and learn more about the exhibition that inspired it on our updated Allure of Matter website:

https://theallureofmatter.org/score-for-an-unfinished-dance/

Now on pause in the pandemic, what comes next for Chicago's vibrant scene?

"One of the more perversely enlightening movie-watching experiences of our 'stay at home' Chicago theater-going time..."...
05/18/2020

"One of the more perversely enlightening movie-watching experiences of our 'stay at home' Chicago theater-going time..."

Cine-File Chicago on 'From Soil, Sand, and Salt Crystals,' a program that features films that emerge from material interactions between moving images and natural processes. Inspired by 'The Allure of Matter' and co-presented with Film Studies Center and the University of Chicago Cinema and Media Studies department, the film program is streaming through May 28. Read the review: https://www.cinefile.info/cine-list/2020/05/15/052120

In a new Smart blog, museum educator Kathy Fitzgerald writes about Walt Kuhn's "The City" in the context of self-isolati...
05/14/2020
About The City | Smart Museum of Art

In a new Smart blog, museum educator Kathy Fitzgerald writes about Walt Kuhn's "The City" in the context of self-isolation:

"Walt lived from 1877–1949. He was an American painter and an organizer of the famous Armory Show of 1913, which was America's first large-scale introduction to European Modernism. Although there is no mention of it in his history, he clearly lived through the 1918 pandemic. He would have been 35. Where was he then? Did he carry out his artwork in some dank studio secluded from everybody else?"

Access this and other opportunities to read, learn, and create on our new Smart at Home website: https://bit.ly/2T6E9cx

Lead Museum Educator Kathy Fitzgerald reflects on Walt Kuhn's painting The City, and the city outside.

05/09/2020
Employment | Smart Museum of Art

The University of Chicago students, we have some professional development opportunities for you!

UCHICAGO STUDENTS:
The Feitler Center For Academic Inquiry is hosting two professional development workshops in the coming weeks:

May 14 – Arts Careers Workshop https://bit.ly/2SKqBDs
May 22 – Resume/CV Workshop https://bit.ly/2L5VKNz

UCHICAGO PHD STUDENTS:
Applications for the Smart's PATHS internships are now open. Internships range from curation and public practice to medical humanities and academic engagement. Applications due June 29th. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2SLzRqP

Job, internship, and other opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art

"Leaf's view of the world is one of inter-relating public and private theaters of existence." — Dennis AdrianWe are cele...
05/08/2020

"Leaf's view of the world is one of inter-relating public and private theaters of existence." — Dennis Adrian

We are celebrating legendary artist June Leaf in the Chicago Tribute section of the Frieze Art Fair, with a selection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture from the Smart's collection and artist's studio. Organized by the Smart Museum with Hyphen, the June Leaf viewing room is open today through May 15.

The virtual viewing rooms in the Chicago Tribute section of Frieze pay homage to pioneering women artists of Chicago, selected by DePaul Art Museum director Julie Rodrigues Widholm. The Smart holds nineteen works by June Leaf in our collection—a number of which were gifted by the late art historian, critic, and educator Dennis Adrian (1937-2018).

Browse the viewing room: https://frieze.com/fairs/frieze-viewing-room

Looking for new family activities while you shelter in place? Join us for a "cardboard caves" virtual family day! Artist...
05/07/2020
Cardboard Caves

Looking for new family activities while you shelter in place?

Join us for a "cardboard caves" virtual family day! Artist and museum educator Erik L. Peterson teaches you how to construct cool caves and bulbous boulders out of cardboard boxes. This hands-on artmaking project is inspired by Zhan Wang’s artwork Gold Mountain, which includes a large rock made from stainless steel. Learn more about Zhan Wang here: https://bit.ly/2SMAHUe

Activities like this one are designed to bring the fun and innovative hands-on artmaking of the Smart Museum’s monthly family days into your home through a series of instructional videos. The projects are inspired by the art and artists in the exhibition The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China, and, where possible, make use of materials and tools that you might already have around home or in your recycling bin.

Learn how to build a cool cave and construct bulbous boulders out of cardboard boxes in this hands-on project inspired by Zhan Wang’s Gold Mountain!

This March, in collaboration with our friends at the Oriental Institute and the UChicago Library, the Smart donated a ca...
05/05/2020
UChicago Together

This March, in collaboration with our friends at the Oriental Institute and the UChicago Library, the Smart donated a cache of PPE to our colleagues at UChicago Medicine. Supplies usually worn by art conservators and archivists would now be in the hands of medical professionals working to save lives. In this difficult moment, it is more important than ever to acknowledge our bonds to one another, and to act in support of those who need it most.

Today is UChicago Together, an opportunity for the UChicago community to act as one by supporting students, faculty, health care workers, and each other. We invite you to join us in seizing this opportunity to make a difference – however you are able. Your contribution could be a gift to University-wide emergency funds, or a message of gratitude to UChicago Medicine doctors, nurses, and staff. However you contribute, you will be proof that The University of Chicago always gains strength when it works together.

To read more about our recent PPE donation, read an article from UChicago Arts here: https://bit.ly/2YBA2J9

Expansive yet delicate, "Wave of Materials" is composed of xuan paper, a traditional material that has been used by Chin...
05/01/2020

Expansive yet delicate, "Wave of Materials" is composed of xuan paper, a traditional material that has been used by Chinese painters and calligraphers for over a millennium. Artist Zhu Jinshi sources these sheets of custom-made paper from a rural Chinese paper mill that uses traditional methods to transform elm bark, rice, or bamboo into soft yet textured sheets of xuan paper. Here, Zhu negates the original function of xuan paper; it can no longer be used as a surface for painting and instead becomes a material in itself.

theallureofmatter.org offers a way to experience this incredible exhibition from home. Watch artist interviews, look at process images, and learn more about your favorite pieces.

In a new object chat, curator Simone Levine takes us on a virtual visit to see Liang Shaoji’s "Chains: The Unbearable Li...
04/30/2020
Object chat: Chains: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

In a new object chat, curator Simone Levine takes us on a virtual visit to see Liang Shaoji’s "Chains: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Nature Series, No. 79" at Wrightwood 659.

The video is part of the extended content presented on our recently re-launched website for the special exhibition The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China.

Check the revamped Allure of Matter website often — more updates are on their way in the coming weeks.

In this object chat, Simone Levine takes us on a virtual visit to see Liang Shaoji's Chains: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Nature Series, No. 79

In a new blog post, Smart Curatorial Fellow Leslie Wilson reflects on last Winter's exhibition "Down Time: On the Art of...
04/29/2020
Inside “Down Time” | Smart Museum of Art

In a new blog post, Smart Curatorial Fellow Leslie Wilson reflects on last Winter's exhibition "Down Time: On the Art of Retreat," connecting the show's themes of resilience and restoration to the stay-at-home position we find ourselves in now:

"Of course, none of us foresaw the moment in which we currently find ourselves with so many of us forced into 'down time' in the confines of homes and temporary shelters as the result of a global pandemic. At the same time, so many of us are within those spaces and busier than ever, balancing remote work with childcare, working day and night to seek new employment and secure benefits, and wading through anxiety about the future. And then there are those of us working in essential capacities, overtime and with increased risk. In a world transformed—if only temporarily—by coronavirus, what on earth is 'down time'?"

If you're looking for something to do in your down time, our "Smart at Home" page offers virtual visits, digital resources, and hands-on activities: https://bit.ly/3cT48f0

In a world transformed—if only temporarily—by coronavirus, what on earth is “down time”? Curator Leslie Wilson reflects on matters of observation, attention, longing, and love in two works from the Smart’s permanent collection.

Looking for something to do? This week’s Allure of Coloring page features gu wenda’s united nations: american code (1995...
04/23/2020

Looking for something to do? This week’s Allure of Coloring page features gu wenda’s united nations: american code (1995–2019), a house-like structure composed of braided and felted human hair. Find this and other stay-at-home activities on our new Smart at Home page: https://bit.ly/3cSI7x9

This piece is colorful and meticulously detailed, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your art-making. If you could build a house like this, what would it look like? What would it be made of? As always, don't forget to post and tag your creations with #theallureofcoloring so we can share them with the world!

Congratulations to blues singer and Smart Museum educator Katherine Davis on recently earning an Esteemed Artist award f...
04/23/2020
Smart Museum educator and blues singer wins Esteemed Artist award from city

Congratulations to blues singer and Smart Museum educator Katherine Davis on recently earning an Esteemed Artist award from the city of Chicago. In addition to her work as a docent and educator at the Smart, Davis performs in clubs like Kingston Mines and Blue Chicago. She also runs Blues in the Schools, a music education program for students across the country.

Read more about what inspires and motivates this esteemed artist in the Hyde Park Herald:

“[Ma Rainey] was one of the first blueswomen who represented all of the migrants coming to the cities to get work. She was the spokesperson to the people who needed to know what was going on in the communities down South ... But the fact was that they were strong women and they had the support of the community of their people. I felt like that was something I was supposed to do with my blues.”

Katherine Davis has been learning the piano at home the last month. In fact, she’s been learning the piano for years, despite the fact that, as a blueswoman, she’s tended

04/20/2020

Our Allure of Matter website is new and improved! We've refreshed this digital resource to be a centralized spot for all upcoming content relating to The Allure of Matter: Material Art From China. In the coming weeks, it will host an array of virtual experiences and at-home activities.

More content is on its way, but for the time being you can check out Allure of Matter co-curator Wu Hung's address from the from the 2020 US-China Forum. Professor Wu's comments get to the core of how "material art" is so integral to the trajectory of modern Chinese art.

As always, the website is full of original interviews, behind-the-scenes images & videos, and artist profiles that allow you to virtually experience this incredible exhibition.

Are you looking for a creative outlet while you shelter in place?The Allure of Coloring is a way to experience The Allur...
04/16/2020

Are you looking for a creative outlet while you shelter in place?

The Allure of Coloring is a way to experience The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China from the comfort of your living room. This week’s coloring page features Chen Zhen’s Crystal Landscape of Inner Body (2000), a work that evokes the centuries old Daoist concept of “internal alchemy” by rendering internal organs in crystal.

If you post your creations to social media, be sure to include the hashtag #theallureofcoloring so we can find your work and share it with the world! Print the sheets out and use coloring tools like pencils or crayons, cut up an old magazine and make a collage, or use a digital coloring app on your device. Remember—when it comes to coloring, there are no wrong answers!

Print out the sheet here: https://bit.ly/3brSUh6

04/14/2020
Family Day: Pop Bottle Boats

Is your family looking for a creative outlet while you shelter in place? Though our April family day has been cancelled, you can still get creative with the Smart at home!

Artist and museum educator Erik L. Peterson brings the fun and innovative hands-on artmaking into your home in a series of instructional videos that illustrate how to make art out of materials in your recycling bin.

This week, in the first of our virtual family days, learn how to make a floating toy boat. Like the other upcoming videos in the series, this activity is inspired by the material explorations in the exhibition The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China.

Get creative with the Smart Museum of Art at home. Turn recycled plastic soda bottles into floating toy boats! Materials: -- Bottles -- Wooden dowels or sticks --…

Our new Smart at Home webpage offers virtual visits and digital resources that bring Smart programming to wherever you a...
04/09/2020

Our new Smart at Home webpage offers virtual visits and digital resources that bring Smart programming to wherever you are sheltering in place! LINK: https://bit.ly/2VeJPl7

Looking for something new to read? Check out an interview with Chicago art collector and UChicago alumnus Patric McCoy, or read essays written as a part of last Winter's Down Time: One the Art of Retreat.

Interested in our current exhibition (presented jointly with Wrightwood 659) The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China? Take a look at artwork photos, artist interviews, and behind the scenes documentation of the artists' various methods.

Want to do something with your hands? Try our #TheAllureofColoring challenge, or build a boat out of soda bottles as a part of our first virtual family day.

Address

5550 S Greenwood Ave
Chicago, IL
60637

Take the Red or Green Line to Garfield Boulevard. Exit and transfer to the eastbound #55 Garfield bus. Exit the bus at Ellis Avenue and walk half a block south on Ellis. The Smart is on the left, set back from the street in the center of the block. or Take the #6 Jackson Park Express bus to 55th Street. Transfer to the westbound #55 Garfield bus. Exit bus at Ellis Avenue, cross to the south side of 55th Street, and continue south on Ellis for half a block. The Smart is on the left, set back from the street in the center of the block. Other bus routes, like the #2 Hyde Park Express and #4 Cottage Grove also have stops within walking distance.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(773) 702-0200

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The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago is a site for rigorous inquiry and exchange that encourages the examination of complex issues through the lens of art objects and artistic practice. Through strong community and scholarly partnerships, the Museum incorporates diverse ideas, identities, and experiences into its exhibitions and collections, academic initiatives, and public programming. The Smart first opened in 1974. Admission is always free. Mission The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago opens the world through art and ideas.