Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave. Chicago
Admission: $12, $7 students with ID and
seniors, free kids 12 and under. Free all day on Tuesdays.
Hours: Closed Monday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday,
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Parking: Parking garage is nearby but
expensive. Consider public transportation if possible.
Food: Puck's Café is in the museum.
When I told people I was taking my kids to the Museum of
Contemporary Art, I got plenty of "Oh, be ready for a lot of weird
stuff" comments. And sure, there was weird stuff, but such fun
weird that we loved every minute of our visit. Yes, there are a few
paintings with giant colorful penises and pointy boobs, but I have
to tell you, my kids got such a delighted kick out of those too
that there was no need for any heavy "discussions" about the
We went specifically to see two exhibits that are especially
appealing to kids and will be at the museum through May: Jim
Nutt (through May 29) and Without You I'm Nothing (through
May 1). Jim Nutt is an American painter known for his imaginary
portraits of female heads. The 70 paintings at the museum are
colorful and amusing, very kid-friendly. We really liked the
paintings that were displayed side-by-side with the original pencil
sketch Nutt used to create the finished products. My kids also
liked how approachable this art was-when we brought home a book of
Nutt's artwork, they sat down to create their own version of these
For very young kids, a trip to the first floor's exhibits of
Without You I'm Nothing are probably the best part of the trip. An
entire room is devoted to interactive art kids can climb on, slide
on, sit in and listen to. Kids can't get enough of climbing on the
giant, 2-sided shell or tunneling into the little rectangular
Don't miss the rest of the museum while you're there. From
wooden robot sculptures to a talking head stuck underneath a
mattress, there's plenty to amuse, intrigue and question. The best
part was how eager my kids were to get their own ideas down on
paper after our visit-exactly what you hope would happen when you
expose your kids to art.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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