Art on Display: The Top 5 Art Galleries in Chicago

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Art- or the expression of human emotion on canvas- is a major part of haute culture. Examining and interpreting a prolific work takes psychology and philosophy, a sensory experience of intellect and feelings. Here are a few of the best spots to ponder the bigger picture.

1 Museum Of Contemporary Art

One of the nation's largest facilities devoted to the art of our time, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) offers exhibitions of the most thought-provoking art created since 1945. The MCA documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the MCA boasts a gift store, bookstore, restaurant, 300-seat theater, and a terraced sculpture garden with a great view of Lake Michigan.

220 E. Chicago Ave. 312.280.2660.

2 Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded in 1879 as both a museum and school. Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world.

111 S. Michigan Ave. 312.443.3600.

3 Rotofugi Gallery

Rotofugi Gallery is focused on work by both established and emerging artists in the fields modern pop, illustration art and character/toy design. As a partner/adjunct to Rotofugi Designer Toy Store, they often show artists well-known in the designer toy community. Over the years they have exhibited works by an impressive list of artists ranging from local Chicago artists to nationally and internationally known creators including Frank Kozik, Amanda Visell, Tara McPherson, Martin Ontiveros, Jeremiah Ketner, Ken Keirns, Coarse, Tado and more.

2780 N. Lincoln Ave. 773.868.3308.

4 Mars Gallery

A turn-of-the-century warehouse loft originally occupied by the Empire Butter and Egg Company, Mars specializes in contemporary pop art and outsider artwork. According to parapsychologists, the gallery space itself is located directly on top of one of the Earth's "energy vortex circles." During the 1960's and 70's, the space was used as an underground nightclub, featuring many famous bands and happenings of that era. The gallery's clients include Betsey Johnson, Michael Jordan, MGM Films, Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Strictly Hype Records, Harley Davidson Inc, and more.

1139 W. Fulton Market. 312.226.7808.

5 Lillstreet Art Center

Founded in 1975, Lillstreet Art Center is a large community of artists and students working side-by-side in a friendly environment which encourages and inspires artistic growth in the individual. Lillstreet Art Center supports the arts through an artist residency program, gallery, studio space, education, and an outreach program. Classes for all ages and all skill levels are offered in Ceramics, Painting & Drawing, Metalsmithing & Jewelry, Printmaking, Textiles, Glass, and Digital Arts & Photography.

4401 N. Ravenswood. 773.769.4226.

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