This month in Chicago, get in the holiday spirit with art events featuring gingerbread and a winter walk through a sculpture garden. Plus, look for other happenings highlighting Andy Warhol, natural history, a drawing rally, and more.
How to Draw in Museums at the Smart Museum of Art
Better familiarize yourself with the museum’s current exhibition, “Meleko Mokgosi: Bread, Butter, and Power,” through a series of drawing exercises that respond to the artist’s monumental installation of panel paintings. You’ll closely examine Mokgosi’s brushwork while learning about running themes in his work, such as feminism and democracy.
Details: December 5
Audubon and Natural History Art Collections Tour at Joel Oppenheier Gallery
Specializing in natural history and sporting art made over the past 300 years, this gallery has an especially rich collection of original prints by John James Audubon. Join this free tour, led by a gallery specialist, to get up close to and learn about some of the ornithologist’s illustrations.
Details: December 7
Fun With Gingerbread Architecture at Chicago Cultural Center
Step up your gingerbread house game this winter at this free event, which will guide you to build classic Chicago structures—from a worker’s cottage to a two-flat. When you’re done, make sure to explore the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which has overtaken all four floors of the Cultural Center.
Details: December 8
Screening of Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf at Graham Foundation
If you aren’t familiar with Dutch garden designer Oudolf, this is a great opportunity to treat your eyes to his living art of creative planting schemes and radical landscaping. This documentary explores his creative process and covers some of his signature public works, from the High Line in New York City to Chicago’s own Lurie Garden.
Details: December 12
“Reminiscence” at One After 909
The gallery is celebrating 18 months of programming with this special group exhibition of artists who work in a variety of media. Each one makes art that examines his or her cultural background and country of origin, so this show is one of both personal and collective reminiscence.
Details: December 13
Winter Walk & Holiday Party at Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
If you are able to take a day trip from the city, head to this sprawling sculpture park on 100 acres of open prairie, on the campus of Governors State University. The special tour will take you on a brisk walk through the 30 large-scale works by Mark di Suvero and Martin Puryear, among others.
Details: December 14
Lumpen Drawing Rally at Co-Prosperity Sphere
Ever been to a live drawing/sale? Experience this ultralively, delightfully weird one in honor of Lumpen Radio’s third anniversary. Artists will draw in one-hour shifts, with their works selling for $50 a pop to benefit the multilingual radio project.
Details: December 14
In Progress: Darling Shear at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
As part of the museum’s special programming that features works in progress, the Chicago native presents parts from a new performance on sensuality and healing from trauma. More than a dancer, Shear has long cultivated a practice that is deeply informed by fashion and movement-based therapy. Expect to encounter something immersive yet deeply personal.
Details: December 17
Warhol: From Elf to Grinch and Back Again at the Art Institute of Chicago
You might think you know Andy Warhol, but do you really know Andy Warhol? Join art critic and Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik for this lecture on the Pop artist’s many sides, held in conjunction with the museum’s ongoing Warhol retrospective.
Details: December 18