United States

5811 South Ellis Avenue
Phone: 773 702 8670
Fax: 773 702 9669
Website: http://www.renaissancesoc

The Renaissance Society

Founded in 1915, The Society's mission is to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art through exhibitions, publications, and events.
The Society presents art seldom seen
in the midwest, giving the public opportunities to investigate the most recent developments in contemporary art. At the same time, the museum is equally committed to fostering the development of Chicago's own rich artistic resources.
All programs are guided by the goal of maintaining The Society's integrity as one of the finest resources of vanguard art in the nation.

Permanent Collection

The Renaissance Society is a non-collecting institution.


Scott Short January 7 - February 18, 2007
Chicago-based painter Scott Short (USA, b. 1964) has a simple and highly refined method for arriving at abstract compositions. He places a piece of colored construction paper on the scanning bed of a black and white photocopier and makes a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, a couple hundred times. Within a few generations the photocopied image become monotonous fields of black and white static which Short faithfully and painstakingly reproduces on canvases varying in size. This very restricted economy provides Short a wealth of visual effect in which value, arrived at through the textural interplay of black and white, becomes as rich and complex a phenomenon as color itself.

Previous Exhibitions

Avery Preesman September 17 – October 29, 2006
Preesman’s (Curacao, b. 1968) sculptures and paintings partake of a formalism that is architectural in its reverence for structure and archeological in the handling of materials. His wall-mounted, plaster-caked cage forms and painterly grid-based abstractions are suffused with nostalgia for a modernism that is aging with soul if not grace. In addition to exhibiting several recent paintings and sculptures, Preesman will create two major site-specific works that engage the gallery’s floor and windows.

Ben Gest November 12 – December 22, 2006
In his new body of work, Chicago-based artist Ben Gest (USA, b. 1975) turns from group portraits to individuals. As formal portraits taken at informal moments, the sitters are caught in fleeting but nonetheless deep bouts of introspection. Although seamless, Gest’s portraits are constructed from dozens if not hundreds of digital photographs. The result is a composition that is akin to Mannerist painting in its subtle exaggeration of space. More than illustrate the sitter’s psychology, Gest’s new photographs capture the demeanor given to private thought as it marks the withdrawal from a public self.

Exhibitions (6)

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Forthcoming exhibitions

Allora & Calzadilla March 4 – April 15, 2007
The work of this San Juan, Puerto-Rico-based collaborative [Jennifer Allora (USA, b 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (Cuba, b. 1971)] is distinguished by an adroit mix of poetry, play and politics. Although it has assumed many forms, their work is unabashedly social, adeptly engaging a given locale. While the issues and events of a particular region illustrate globalization in general, concrete representation counters abstraction. Whether it is their ongoing investigation into Vieques, an island formerly used as a bombing test site by the U.S. military; a rumination on the fate of wildlife under Puerto Rico’s burgeoning industrialization; a paean to a poetry of social protest; or humorously facilitating spontaneous public speech with oversized pieces of chalk, Allora and Calzadilla’s work is a critique of sociopolitical agency in the face of increasingly remote authority.

Katharina Grosse April 29 – June 10, 2007
Garish, aggressive, dazzling and sublime all at once. That is Katharina Grosse’s (Germany, b. 1961) work in nutshell. This Berlin native’s paintings are not things but sites. For the past decade, Grosse has been applying swaths of bold colors directly to walls and floors using powered spray guns. More than art for art’s sake, her installations are specifically paint for paint’s sake, as paint and painting take on an immaterial quality that seemingly obliterates its architectural support. Her installation at The Society will be designed around the gallery’s windows and its 30-foot high neo-gothic ceiling.



Opening hours

Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 pm.

Getting there

Exit Garfield Green Line and head southeast.


ADA accessible.
Publications available for purchase - ask in office.

Museum internal and external photos (1)

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News and events

For each exhibition, The Renaissance Society schedules concerts, readings, and lectures. For example, in December Charles Bernstein will read his poetry, and in October Tiger’s Milk, an electro-acoustic music ensemble, will perform in the gallery. More event information and exact dates will be announced on the web site.