Saying goodbye to summer is a whole lot easier when you consider all that’s coming in the new cultural season—like these eight absolute must-see and-do happenings for fall.
Hebru Brantley’s latest work in an exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum.
Art and architecture aficionados have a particularly sweet fall ahead of them. At the Renaissance Society, there’s the Jennifer Packer exhibition “Tenderheaded” (September 9 through November 5, 5811 S. Ellis Ave., 773-702-8670; renaissancesociety.org), figurative paintings that toy with abstraction and read like fading frescoes, or the imprints of shadows. On a poppier front, graffiti and cartoons inform the freewheeling imagery of Chicago’s own Hebru Brantley, whose trademark goggled kids suggest a marriage of Speed Racer and Margaret Keane’s wide-eyed waifs of the 1960s, and who gets a solo show, “Hebru Brantley: Forced Field,” at the Elmhurst Art Museum (September 9 through November 26, 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, 630-834-0202; elmhurstartmuseum.org). “Make New History” is the theme of this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial (chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org), which includes installations in the Chicago Cultural Center such as Caruso St. John’s evocation of Gertrude Stein’s Paris salon. Expo Chicago (September 13–17, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., 312-867-9220; expochicago.com) is also setting up shop across the city, including a much-anticipated installation in the Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American History (September 6 through January 7), arguably the least known of Daniel Burnham’s buildings. “It’s a pop-up from an amazing venue in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo, with work from Chicago artists and artists from abroad,” notes Expo president and director Tony Karman. “They’ve never done it in the US before.”
Also at the Pier, Chicago Shakespeare Theater christens its versatile new stage, The Yard, with The Toad Knew, a mysterious musing on siblings from Swiss-born James Thiérrée and his Compagnie du Hanneton (September 19–23, 800 E. Grand Ave., 312-595-5600; chicagoshakes.com). At the Auditorium, the groundbreaking Shen Wei Dance Arts troupe makes its Chicago debut with a program including a take on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (September 23–24, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., 312- 341-2310; auditoriumtheatre.org). Arthur Miller’s 1955 play A View from the Bridgegets a new rendition, too, from Belgian director Ivo van Hove, whose CV includes stagings of such cinematic milestones as Pasolini’s Teorema and Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage. His Tony-winning take on Miller’s blue-collar Brooklynites comes to the Goodman Theatre (September 9 through October 15, 170 N. Dearborn St., 312-443- 3800; goodmantheatre.org). And before the urge to hibernate hits, drop by the Bean in Millennium Park on October 1 for an unprecedented civic gesture courtesy of Pulitzer Prizewinning composer David Lang: crowd out, a choral piece for 1,000 voices performed by folks from across the city (201 E. Randolph St.; crowdoutchicago.org). Sounds like an outstanding autumn.