Louis Sullivan in Chicago

For those who may not know, Louis Sullivan was a brilliant architect who left his mark all over Chicago, but most notably in the downtown area. My favorite of his notables are the former Carson, Pirie, Scott building on State and Madison and the Chicago Stock Exchange. The latter was torn down years ago but the original trading room lives on in the Art Institute of Chicago. But I digress…..

I am happy to brag that there are not one but TWO exhibits going on right now in Chicago to honor this wonderful architect. One is a photography exhibit at the Art Institute. The other is a mix of murals and fragments of buildings at the Chicago Cultural Center. My favorite of the two is the one at the Cultural Center. It includes oversize photo murals of the Stock Exchange Trading Room which was rebuilt inside the Art Institute. I was amazed at how accurately the room has been rebuilt. I’ve been a volunteer at the Art Institute for the past 8 years and have been in that room many times for one event or another. To see it in these mural photos from the late 1800s, exactly as it exists today, was FASCINATING! The exhibit reminds me of how lucky I am to be a Chicagoan, and to have acquired the appreciation of the wonderful architecture and architects like Sullivan and his contemporaries who contributed their brilliant expertise to the culture of this city.

Sadly, I have not yet had the opportunity to view and truly appreciate the photography exhibit of Sullivan’s work at the Art Institute. But if you’re an architecture buff, these 2 exhibits are “must-see”! And only 4 blocks away from each other on Michigan Avenue. The exhibit at the Cultural Center is FREE. The one at the Art Institute is NOT free – except on Thursday or Friday from 5pm-8pm. General admission is $18 per person. That includes the entire museum, including the Sullivan exhibit, the Trading Room, and the museum’s permanent exhibit of architecture “Fragments of Chicago’s Past”; and of course, the museum’s world famous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

It’s not “luck” that I live Downtown and volunteer my time to the cultural venues and events that are around me. It was careful planning and conscious choice! But I am lucky to have been born and raised in such a fabulous city!

Here are links to the venues I’ve mentioned for the Sullivan exhibits:

Art Institute
“Looking After Louis Sullivan”, through 12/12/2010

Stock Exchange Trading Room – Usually open during regular museum hours.

Chicago Cultural Center
“Louis Sullivan’s Idea”, through 1/2/2011
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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