Spend a day at The Art Institute of Chicago: See MATISSE: RADICAL INVENTION before it's too late.

If you haven’t been to The Art Institute of Chicago in a while, this summer is the perfect time to take another look. 

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The Modern Wing.

If you go before June 21, make sure you see the blockbuster Matisse exhibition, free with price of museum admission.  The exhibit explores a three year period in the artist’s life from

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1913 through 1917, revealing how Matisse began to turn down color for form in order to focus on the construction of the pictorial aspect of his art.
 
There are two ways to enjoy this thoughtful collection of 117 pieces of the Henri Matisse (1869-1954) works featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints from this important period. 

BEFORE LUNCH.

If you are a serious art lover have lunch before you view the exhibit. If you want to immerse yourself in the exhibition, plan to take the audio tour and read all the wall text. Study and compare his works and note carefully the dates.  Perhaps most important to the exhibition is Gallery Seven dedicated to Matisse’s work during 1916, a very difficult year for France and the artist during World War I.  The art in this room features some of the most pivotal works of the artist’s career. Look closely at the surfaces of the art to get a feel for the change Matisse was creating. You’ll be able to observe surfaces thick with the trails of repeated reworking, products of his attempt to reconsider and adjust his approaches to familiar motifs.  Plan to put aside at least one and half hours to view the exhibit.

If you are a casual viewer, with limited time, go before lunch. The exhibit opens at 11:30a.m. weekdays and 11:00a.m. weekends.  Walk through the galleries and enjoy the art. Read the wall text, or not.  Make sure to see “Bathers by a River” and “The Moroccans” and remember those names as they are central to this period of change.  You should easily be able to get through the exhibit in 45 minutes. Then you are ready for lunch.

LUNCH.

There are several choices for lunch:

The newest and priciest is Terzo Plano on the 3rd level of the Modern Wing.  The menu features seasonal, organic foods with a modern Italian flair. It is headed by signature Chef Tony Mantuano, who has been delighting Chicagoans for many years at the four-star Italian restaurant, Spiaggia.  Dine inside or outside on the covered piazza overlooking Millennium Park–the view is spectacular.  Reservations are recommended. (312) 443 8650.

If the weather permits and you don’t want to stick to a schedule, take your lunch among the luscious greenery of the Art Institute’s gardens at the new North Garden Bistro.  Select from a straightforward choice of sandwiches, small salads, chips, desserts and cold drinks. 
Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy the view.  Michigan and Monroe. Open 11:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.  Through September 3.

The casual Garden Cafe is another easy choice offering a deli station, a grill for burgers, a pizza station and a dessert station.  Lower level near the Columbus Drive entrance. Open daily from 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.

THE REST OF THE DAY.

Check out the day’s schedule for Gallery Talks, free with Museum admission. Stroll through the museum and visit the new exhibits and old favorites including the Art Institute’s amazing collection of Impressionist paintings. 

Explore, the Modern Wing, completed in May 2009, and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano,  The open airy 264,000 space is home to the museum’s collection of 20th and 21st century art.

When you are ready to leave, a nice way to top off the day is to exit over the silvery, steely, 620-foot long Nichols Bridgeway that gives spectators a bird’s eye view of the Lurie Garden’s and leads to Millennium Park where there is more to do.  www.artic.edu

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EXHIBITION HOURS:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:30a.m. to 5:00p.m.
Friday: 11:30a.m. to 8:00p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

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