11 can’t-miss exhibits at Chicago museums in 2022

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Chicago is a city full of history, art, culture — and you’ll find a lot of all those things in our acclaimed cultural institutions. And lucky for us, they’ll be unveiling a slate of jaw-dropping exhibitions all year long. Here’s our list of just a few of the Chicago museum exhibits that are worth a visit in 2022. 

The Art of the Brick

Museum of Science and Industry

Feb. 10 – Sept. 5, 2022

A must-see for kids and everyone’s inner-child! This critically acclaimed collection of creative pieces is the world’s largest display of LEGO art. Presented by contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya, the exhibit’s intriguing works are all constructed using only LEGO bricks.

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FRIDA: Immersive Dream 

Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germania Club

Feb. 24 — May 28, 2022

Imagine yourself inside the stunning works of renowned 20th century Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Best known for her compelling self-portraits and radiant pieces inspired by life in her native country, this immersive art installation features some of the artist’s best-known works, brought to life through vivid projections.

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Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories

A rendering of Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories
The Field Museum’s newly-renovated Native North America Hall exhibition titled Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories is scheduled to open May 20, 2022.

Field Museum

Opens May 20, 2022

Chicago’s renowned Field Museum has partnered with indigenous groups to debut a groundbreaking new renovation of the museum’s Native North America Hall. The co-curated exhibit will feature stories told in Native American people’s own voices, supported by contemporary art, poetry, photography, and historical objects.

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Nick Cave: Forothermore

Hasselblad H3D by Nick Cave at the MCA
Hasselblad H3D by Nick Cave

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

May 14 – Oct. 2, 2022

Nick Cave, the internationally renowned Chicago artist known for his vibrant and multi-disciplinary approach, receives his first career-spanning retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This immersive collection will contain new and previously unseen works, along with site-specific installations like the mesmerizing Spinner Forest.

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Auvers, Panoramic, 1873-75, Paul Cézanne
Auvers, Panoramic, 1873-75, Paul Cézanne

Art Institute of Chicago

May 15 – Sept. 5, 2022

The new exhibit, curated with London’s Tate Modern, celebrates the expansive works of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. The exhibit will feature 90 oil paintings, 40 works on paper, and  sketchbooks from the artist, who is regarded as a source of influence for later greats like Monet and Picasso. The Art institute promises that the show will “reframe Cézanne, a giant of art history, for our own time.”

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Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott

Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott
Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott

Chicago Cultural Center

Now through May 22, 2022

The Chicago Cultural Center will host the first ever comprehensive retrospective of 20th century American painter, Robert Colescott. Colescott’s large-scale works took a critical look at societal issues like race, gender, and social inequality and delivered his message with satire and wit.

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Hyde Park Art Center DREAM exhibit
Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center

Now through March 20, 2022

This exhibit features the works of 20 local artists who completed the Art Center’s professional development program, now in its 10th year. This program connects participants to supportive peer networks, guest artists, gallerists, critics, and professionals, who help push these up-and-coming artists to evolve their practice and raise their work to the next level.

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Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Now through March 12, 2022

In this new exhibit, featured artists like Emilie Gossiaux and Alison O’Daniel employ their work to critique society’s idea of disability. This collection features thirteen different artists, with varied levels of ability and experience. The compiled bodies of works cover everything from personal relationship to intersectional thinking and non-normative identities.

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Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine

Smart Museum of Art

Feb. 15 – May 15, 2022

Only 29 at the time of his death, visionary 1950’s Black painter Bob Thomas had a brief but incredible career. This presentation of his work
 borrows its name from a lesser known painting of his, and is meant as an homage to Thompson’s unique take on European painting styles and his impact on the modern art world.

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Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part

Museum of Contemporary Photography

March 3 — June 26, 2022

Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part advocates solidarity for global artists of color and Black diasporic artists. Two exhibits are  intertwined as one, with fifteen artists together in a shared space. The goal of this exhibit is to break with the more frequent tradition of separating “minority” artists and communities in exhibition spaces.

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Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture & Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo

DePaul Art Museum

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​March 10 – Aug. 7, 2022

Remaking the Exceptional marks 20 years since the opening of the United States’ extralegal prison at Guantánamo Bay. This exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists and activists, who use their work to examine the local and international ramifications of state violence by highlighting the connections between policing and incarceration in Chicago and the ramifications of the “Global War on Terror.”

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More notable Chicago exhibits to check out in 2022:

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