As we prepare for the long hibernation ahead (and the meat of the NFL season), it's worth clinging to scraps of cosmopolitan culture. Yes, the fall and winter is primetime for Chicago's museums but knowing where to locate free indoor public art is a critical enhancement. Fact is, most public art is commissioned for the great outdoors. And some of it is better understood as memorial. There are many private stores of art too, from larger-than-life office tower lobby fluff pieces that serve a corporate mythology to the impressive collections of moneyed social clubs (Union League, University Club, Arts Club).
Since there's so much to see and since we've already put out a public transit art map and a sort of 'guerrilla' art map focused on underpasses, we elected this time to stick to indoor hotspots. Anchoring the list are addresses with sizable collections: Harold Washington Library; Chicago Cultural Center; and both airports. From there we move about the downtown in an effort to keep things centralized. Take a few minutes when passing a site, or a few hours when needing to commune. Also, you might not travel for it but most branch libraries house a modicum of art.
·Under the Overpass: Public Art in Challenging Spaces [Curbed Chicago]
·Expanded: A Transit-Friendly Tour of Public Art [Curbed Chicago]