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Past Exhibitions

A red abstract painting in a polygon shape

Ted Stamm: In Transit

June 27–August 6, 2023

This small, focused exhibition celebrates the work of Ted Stamm (1944–1984), an artist whose gregarious practice expanded abstract painting into his everyday life.

A black and white photograph of two people dancing close together, their heads almost touching, the man in a suit and shoes and the woman in a dress and barefoot.

not all realisms

February 23–June 4, 2023

not all realisms addresses photography in the context of Africa’s long 1960s—amid resistance, revolution, new nationalist and transnational movements, and the stuff of daily life therein.

An abstract terracotta-colored image

The Metropol Drama

February 23–July 9, 2023

The Metropol Drama proposes another way of looking at our aesthetic, economic, and emotional history—an amalgam we call “cosmopolitanism.”

Monochrome Multitudes

September 22, 2022–January 8, 2023

This exhibition traces “the monochrome” as a fundamental if surprisingly expansive artistic practice.

Drawing of a male nude from side, posed looking over shoulder

Museum as Classroom

September 22, 2022–January 8, 2023

Organized by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, this presentation features clusters of artworks that were selected for individual courses across disciplines at the University of Chicago—ranging from “Art and Feminism” to “Seeing Through Drawing.”

Unsettled Ground: Art and Environment from the Smart Museum Collection

March 22–June 26, 2022

How has the environment shaped artistic practice, and how can artistic form teach us to understand our local and planetary environment in new ways? Organized by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, this exhibition speaks to a generative conversation between art and the environment across multiple scales of time and space.

Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine

February 15–May 15, 2022

Featuring more than 85 paintings and works on paper, This House Is Mine centers Bob Thompson’s brief but prolific transatlantic career within expansive art historical narratives and ongoing dialogues about the politics of representation, charting his enduring influence.

A bulbous ceramic sculpture made from vase fragments with gold joints

Porcelain: Material and Storytelling

February 15–March 6, 2022

Porcelain is an artistic medium as well as a material substance. It can be used to represent figures and to tell stories in two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms, and its own materiality can also be made into the subject of artistic expression.

Thick smears of paint partially cover a photograph of a seascape

Smart to the Core: Medium / Image

September 23–December 12, 2021

Presented as primary source material for the University of Chicago Core sequence "Media Aesthetics," this exhibition seeks to interrogate the ethical, political, and epistemological debates about images and perception.

A painting of multiple characters marching alongside a car in subdued but vibrant colors

Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40

Presented in multiple venues and neighborhoods throughout Chicago

Presented in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, this multi-site exhibition uses the idea of “the commons” to explore the current socio-political moment, in which questions of inclusion, exclusion, ownership, and rights of access are constantly being challenged across a wide array of human endeavors.