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Chicago Art Institute Stairs © Mike Norton
Chicago Art Institute Stairs © Mike Norton

10 Must-Visit Art Galleries In Chicago

Picture of Melissa Pearce
Melissa Pearce
Updated: 11 January 2017
With a prolific art, music and theater scene, the windy city of Chicago has a rich and diverse cultural history. Its exciting contemporary art scene is in a constant state of movement, with galleries working together and combining forces in order to create a platform on which art and the public can communicate and assimilate new ideas. With this in mind, we have chosen some of the best art galleries the city has to offer.

Carl Hammer Gallery

With 33 years of experience in both organizing and curating the fine arts, Carl Hammer Gallery forms close relationships with its visitors in order to help them enjoy and understand art and to enhance their experience of it. Since its initial opening in 1979, the gallery has seen three locations and has had varying objectives. Upon first opening, the gallery concerned itself with the Outsider Art movement, and gradually began to incorporate mainstream contemporary pieces into its collection over the years. Today they grapple with issues of national and global identity and the human condition.

Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 North Wells St, Chicago, IL, USA 312 266 8512

Richard Gray Gallery

Exhibiting works from 20th century post-war art to contemporary pieces, Valerie Carberry Gallery centered itself around the display of American Art since its opening in 2002 and has since merged with the Richard Gray Gallery. Whilst varied in their display of nationally established artists, the gallery illustrates a clear expertise in the areas of early 20th-century abstraction and modern sculpture, which they display with understanding and clarity. An active representative of the Chicago art scene in addition to their impressive collection of works, Richard Gray take part in national exhibitions annually such as Art Basel Miami and The Art Show New York.

Richard Gray Gallery, 875 N.Michigan Ave., Suite 3800, Chicago, IL, USA 312 397 9990

Art Museum Gallery ©Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Art Museum Gallery ©Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Atlas Galleries

Opened in 1967, Atlas Galleries has built a solid reputation over the years within the Chicago Art scene. Exhibiting modern and contemporary works of fine art, the gallery was founded by the Petr family. Working closely with collectors, the gallery strives to offer consultation services to help manage collections of both professional and amateur stature. Since its opening, the gallery has set up a second space in the city and this allows them to fully display works by important figures in art history alongside contemporary masters of today.

Atlas Galleries, 900 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, USA 312 649 0999

Catherine Edelman Gallery

Focusing solely on the medium of photography and displaying works from artists with an experienced background as well as those new to the art, Catherine Edelman Gallery aims to display photographs made using a range of different techniques. The gallery is concise and coherent in their focus on a single medium, and hold one-person exhibitions featuring a specific body of works. With a focus on education, the gallery holds six exhibitions annually and organizes ‘The Chicago Project’ in which photographers in the early stages of their careers are given the chance to display their works to a wider audience.

Catherine Edelman Gallery, 300 W.Superior St, Chicago, IL, USA 312 266 2350

Zolla/Lieberman Gallery

With an impressive history, the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery moved to its first occupancy in the River North Gallery District (as it is now known) and was one of the original galleries to set up in this now bustling arts and cultural part of Chicago. Hosting multiple exhibitions simultaneously within its large open space, works are presented in a way in which spectators can absorb themselves fully. Respected widely, the gallery displayed early works of acclaimed sculptor Deborah Butterfield, when she was just at the cusp of her successful career, and they continue to invest in exciting up and coming artists.

Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, 325 West Huron, Chicago, IL, USA 312 944 1990

Art Gallery floor © Kim Siever

Art Gallery floor ©
Kim Siever

Jean Albano Gallery

The Jean Albano Gallery presents new and provocative contemporary works of art in media scattered across the board including painting, sculpture, mixed media, made objects and textiles, to name just a few. Regularly holding monthly exhibitions of artists from both national and international backgrounds, the gallery is also known for its displays of group showings. The warm and welcoming gallery space serves as an ideal backdrop for the absorption of their eclectic range of works from artists coming from all levels professionally.

Jean Albano Gallery, 215 W. Superior, Chicago, IL, USA 312 440 0770

Gallery 400

Gallery 400 is one of the most exciting and spirited university galleries accessible to the public. In its display of art, design, and architecture, it has a broad program of events from educational lectures to video screenings and exhibitions. Experimental at the core, the university gallery encourages performance arts and developmental practices. Engaging directly with the public in the debate and presentation of contemporary art, Gallery 400 aims to make works accessible and enjoyable to visitors and increase understanding by including works from ranging intellectual and cultural backgrounds.

Gallery 400, College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago, 400 South Peoria St (MC 034), Chicago, IL, USA 312 996 6114

Openning art exhibition ©harpreet singh

Opening art exhibition ©harpreet singh

ArchiTech Gallery

Displaying works of architectural art across the history of the medium, ArchiTech is a unique and fresh gallery exclusively dealing with artists who are driven by the world that surrounds them. They trade commercially with artists and collectors and work with prints, drawings, and photographs by architectural artists. In addition to this, the gallery also presents historical architectural artifacts, plans, and documents from one of Chicago’s most prominent industrial artists, Alfonso Iannelli. Combining hundreds of years’ worth of architectural art, the gallery is appropriately placed in the beautifully built city of Chicago.

ArchiTech Gallery, 730 North Franklin St, Suite 200, Chicago, IL, USA 312 475 1290

Art Gallery ©Matthew

Art Gallery ©Matthew

Schneider Gallery

Exhibiting contemporary photography exclusively, Schneider Gallery has well over 20 years of professional experience in the field. The gallery prides itself on displaying photographic pieces in new and fresh ways, such as within sculptural arrangements. Past exhibitions have also seen the gallery deal with a range of current issues such as femininity within Western culture, exploring different photographic techniques and the ways in which these can be manipulated through intimately profiling subjects, in addition to analyzing historical viewpoints of portrait photography.

Schneider Gallery, 770 N LaSalle St Suite 401, Chicago, IL, USA 312 988 4033

Exhibiting contemporary photography exclusively, Schneider Gallery has well over 20 years of professional experience in the field © Courtesy of Schneider Gallery

Exhibiting contemporary photography exclusively, Schneider Gallery has well over 20 years of professional experience in the field © Courtesy of Schneider Gallery

4Art Inc

4Art Inc aims to display the most diverse and creative works of fine art that Chicago has to offer. The gallery is run by photographer and mixed media artist Robin Monique Rios, who in creating a space for her own creative outlets has also provided a welcoming and personable location in which artists can benefit from her support, professional advice, and guidance. Rios promotes the notion of artists coming together as a community and bringing art to the people in a captivating and provocative way. 4Art is located on the fourth floor of the Zhou B Art Center, itself a cultural landmark which has just celebrated ’10 years of Art Innovation’. Every third Friday of the month, the Zhou B Art Center holds an artist’s reception in which people can explore the five levels of the space.

4Art Inc., 1029 West 35th St, #403, Chicago, IL, USA 773 254 5100

Art Gallery ©Valerie Hinojosa

Art Gallery © Valerie Hinojosa