The opening of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new wing and re-hung collection draws near:
the debut of the $283 million, 264,000-square-foot Modern Wing comes just a week before the Art Institute raises its general admission price from $12 to $18 — all while the country is mired in a deep recession, and museums nationwide are retrenching.
So the new Modern Wing — and, really, the new Art Institute, because everything is being reinstalled — presents a test case. Is this lavish offering, to be unveiled at a May 9 gala, a misreading of the times and people’s willingness to pay a premium to view great art in a stunning new building? Or is the world-renowned art museum making a statement: that temporary economic conditions can’t thwart Chicago’s ambition and commitment to its cultural life?
“It’s an indication that Chicago can still do things,” Art Institute director James Cuno said. “It can dream ambitiously and deliver on that dream.”
Art Institute’s New Wing a Modern Test of the Times (Chicago Tribune)