Free and open to the public

Closed for reinstallation

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Past Exhibitions

A porcelain wall sculpture

Ruth Duckworth: Life as a Unity

September 21, 2023–February 4, 2024

This exhibition positions Ruth Duckworth as an innovative Chicago sculptor, deeply engaged in the natural world and responding to artistic developments in the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s. 

Smart to the Core: Poetry is Everything

September 21, 2023–February 4, 2024

This exhibition examines the practice of poetry as a form of communication, linguistic innovation, political performance, and embodied presence—considering how poetry can be a lens for understanding humanity. 

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.

Painting of a veiled figure speaking on an ornate telephone

Calling on the Past: Selections from the Collection

March 21, 2023–February 4, 2024

Calling on the Past invites visitors to experience the Smart Museum’s collection anew, through a sensory exploration of color, texture, and form.

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.