Chicago, Illinois – Home to one of the best art collections in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago stands tall in the realm of important art museums of the 21st century. It was voted #1 Museum in United States in 2013 by the TripAdvisor.com users.
Close to my hometown of Peoria, I remember many visits to this venerable institution growing up. My most recent trip to Chicago did not allow for a visit inside, but the time I spent exploring Millennium Park allowed me some great views of the new wing.
The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession’s highest ethical standards and practices.
The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879, a critical era in the history of Chicago as civic energies were devoted to rebuilding the metropolis that had been destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. Its first collections consisting primarily of plaster casts, the Art Institute found its permanent home in 1893, when it moved into a building, constructed jointly with the city of Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. That building, its entry flanked by the two famous bronze lions, remains the “front door” of the museum even today. In keeping with the academic origins of the institution, a research library was constructed in 1901; eight major expansions for gallery and administrative space have followed, with the latest being the Modern Wing, which opened in 2009. The permanent collection has grown from plaster casts to nearly 300,000 works of art in fields ranging from Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art. Together, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago are now internationally recognized as two of the leading fine-arts institutions in the United States.
Mexico City is home of one of the most stunning new museums opened since 2010. Although information about the museum is only available in Spanish via the institution’s website, the architecture of the museum merits it a special page in my blog.
From Wikipedia: The Museo Soumaya is a private museum in the Nuevo Polanco area of Mexico City. Admission to the museum is free. It is owned by the Carlos Slim Foundation and contains the extensive art, religious relics, historical documents, and coin collection of Carlos Slim and his late wife Soumaya, after whom the museum was named.
The museum holds works by many of the best known European artists from the 15th to the 20th century. It contains a large collection of casts of sculptures by Auguste Rodin.
The museum was founded in 1994. In 2011 it opened a new location which cost over $70 million to build. The new building, a shiny silver cloud-like structure reminiscent of a Rodin sculpture,was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, who is married to a daughter of Carlos Slim, and engineered with Ove Arup and Frank Gehry.
WEBSITE (in Spanish ONLY)
FACEBOOK (no page available)
Founded in 1982 by a group of Chicago Public School teachers with a starting budget of $900, the National Museum of Mexican Art is the only Latino museum in the country that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
What to expect
With 7,000 objects, the National Museum of Mexican Art’s permanent collection is one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the country.
Tours / Technology
All year round, the Museum’s Education Department offers English, Spanish or bilingual tours of our permanent and temporary exhibitions. Tours are tailored to all ages (including parents) and offer visitors an opportunity to learn about art and culture through the artwork on display and the thematic content explored by the exhibition. In addition, visiting artists will often offer live demonstrations of artistic techniques featured in the exhibitions.
The Museum strives to maintain, preserve and acquire works for its collection that reflect the diversity and quality of Mexican art in the following categories: Pre-Cuauhtémoc, ephemera, textiles, folk art, prints and drawings, photography, and paintings and sculptures.
Admission is FREE. Memberships available. ADA compliant.
American Alliance of Museums