Art Institute of Chicago
Museum / School

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. The permanent collection has grown from plaster casts to nearly 300,000 works of art. Together, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum are now internationally recognized as two of the leading fine arts institutions in the United States.

Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano and opened in 2009, the Modern Wing is the new home for the museum’s collection of 20th and 21st century art. A decade in the making, this 264,000 square-foot building makes the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the United States. The Modern Wing allows the Art Institute to take its rightful place as one of the world’s great collections of modern and contemporary art.

Authored Articles
Past Forward: Architecture & Design
Sep 11, 2017 – Dec 31, 2019
This fall the Art Institute opens a new installation devoted to the museum’s seminal collection of architectural drawings and...
Space Force Construction
Soviet Art Put to the Test
The October Revolution of 1917 changed the course of world history; it also turned Russia into a showcase filled...
Invisible Man
Gordon Parks / Ralph Ellison
In honor of Black History Month, today's feature presents Parks and Ellison's collaboration and shared vision of black life...
Vivian Maier: Works in Color
Jun 1 - Sep 13, 2020
Deepening the understanding of Maier’s oeuvre and her keenness to record, these works capture the street life of Chicago...
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
70 year Anniversary
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family...
Robert Motherwell / Open
May 17 – July 21, 2018
Templon presents paintings never before shown in Paris by the master abstract artist, Robert Motherwell. The exhibition will feature...
Expo Chicago 2018
Sep 27–30, 2018
Expo Chicago hosts leading international art galleries alongside one of the highest quality platforms for contemporary art with programs...