Skyscraper exhibit mixes gravity-defying architecture and art

This summer, the Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates the iconic structure of the skyscraper in the city that is considered to be its birthplace.

Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity

Museum of Contemporary
220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago
(312) 280-2660
Cost: Suggested admission: , students with
ID and seniors, free kids 12 and under, members and military
personnel. Free Tuesday for Illinois residents.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday-Sunday. Closed Monday and major holidays.


Kids will love a city skyline made out of red pony beads, felt-tip drawings of Chicago and entire cities made of fabric that dramatically unfurl from suitcases. While you might want to avoid certain areas, such as Vito Acconci’s, since they explore the phallic imagery of skyscrapers, there are plenty of playful, kid-friendly works on display.

Taking advantage of its view of the city, the museum even set up an area where kids can build their own Chicago skyline by sticking translucent shapes against glass windows.

“There is a certain sense of make-believe to a lot of the art,” says Michael Darling, chief curator of the exhibit. “It’s like making some great, sparkling illusion out of something fairly basic.”

And fairly basic it is. From Erector set pieces to refrigerators and Ikea supplies, this exhibit has skyscrapers built out of just about anything.

“A large portion of the exhibit is very colorful, fantastical, and whimsical,” says Darling. “It has a fun spirit that I think kids will love.”

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