Art Institute of Chicago: Temporary Exhibitions

Chicago, Illinois
Photo: Deepal Kanti Das

For over four decades, VHA has worked closely with the Art Institute of Chicago on the design of special exhibitions.  While the content and scale of the shows varies, in each we strive to present the objects so that their essential characteristics are readily understood, and their relationship to the exhibition’s themes are clear.

Van Gogh's Bedrooms

Temporary Exhibition Design, 2016

Vincent Van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles held special significance for the artist, who created three distinct paintings of this intimate space. This exhibition brought together all three versions of The Bedroom for the first time in North America, offering a pioneering and in-depth study of their making and meaning to Van Gogh in his relentless quest for home.

The exhibition included 33 works by Van Gogh plus dozens of related objects, books, paintings and works on paper. These objects were arranged in a series of traditional galleries, appropriately scaled to the work and organized to support the show’s curatorial intent. Interspersed among these more traditional settings were several digital interventions, designed in collaboration with Blue Cadet, a Philadelphia-based design studio.

Photo courtesy of the Art Institute
Photo courtesy of the Art Institute

Most notable of the digital experiences was a full size replica of the bedroom at Arles. With period appropriate furnishings and scrim-like walls that form a canvas for rich digital projections, the bedroom reconstruction provides the visitor with an immersive and intimate look at the bedroom and the artist’s motivations for creating the paintings.

Photo courtesy of the Art Institute

VHA provided complete exhibition design services, working closely with numerous departments within the museum as well as outside digital designers and furniture vendors.

Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840

Temporary Exhibition Design, 2015

Presenting over 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America, this exhibition was the first to explore the rich and complex art and culture of Ireland during the long 18th century.

The museum's vast temporary exhibition space was transformed into a more traditional gallery layout, appropriate to the 18th century objects and paintings on display. Details such as crown moldings, elaborate door casings, and Ionic columns contribute to the rich historical setting.

The exhibition included new illuminated casework for silver and gold objects, as well as new furniture display platforms.


Other Selected Exhibitions

The Radiance of Jade and the Crystal Clarity of Water

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Van Gogh & Gauguin: The Studio of the South

Worlds Seen and Imagined: Japanese Screens from the Idemitsu Museum of Arts

Songs on Stone: James McNeill Whistler and the Art of Lithography

The Art of the Sepik River

Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age

Claude Monet: 1840-1926


Photographer: Bill Zbaren (Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design), Bob Thall (Van Gogh and Gauguin)