Huge news for art lovers in Chicago this summer! The Art Institute of Chicago will be opening a fantastic new special exhibition of twentieth century art, organized around one of the most iconic surrealist painters of the age – René Magritte. This exhibition, “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938,” focuses particularly on the artist’s most experimental and inventive period, with a collection of pieces that illuminate the evolution of his artistic philosophy.
Best known for its clean lines, simple shapes, and unexpected elements, Magritte’s work has emerged over the years as some of the more memorable and thought-provoking surrealist art. Paintings that couple simple images with words or short phrases, like “The Treachery of Images,” brought him fame in the first part of his career. Magritte’s evolving exploration with disturbing or unexpected distortions of reality across multiple media remains one of the hallmarks of his oeuvre, and has brought many of his pieces to the forefront of surrealist exhibitions. The Art Institute of Chicago’s own “Time Transfixed” (the cover image for this article) is an excellent example of the Magritte’s increasingly self-aware artistic philosophy in the pre-WW II era.
“Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary” will pull together more than 100 pieces from the titular artist, from photographs and paintings to collages and even some commercial work. It’s the first large-scale museum exhibit to focus on this particular period on the artist’s life, making it a rare opportunity to see some of his lesser known, early work. The exhibit will be available from June 24 – October 13, 2014, so don’t miss out on your chance to explore the fascinating world of a surrealist legend.
The Art Institute of Chicago has an extensive collection of twentieth-century surrealist art in addition to its holdings on Magritte, including a number of lithographs and sketches by Salvador Dalí, collages by André Breton, and sculpture, lithographs, and sketches by Joan Miró. Fans of surrealist art will appreciate the disconcerting and provocative qualities of these artists, and perhaps find themselves inspired to rethink their notions of representation, authenticity, and even reality!
Art lovers in Chicago may also enjoy a visit to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, whose featured artists sometimes continue to explore the surrealist legacy of the twentieth century in their own work. Primarily featuring modern art from 1945 to the present, the MCA’s collections are an excellent complement to the Art Institute’s more extensive holdings. You haven’t done the art world in Chicago until you’ve seen both!