Renaissance Society Chicago

Best Art Galleries in Chicago

November 22, 2020 (Last updated)

4 min read

When you visit Chicago, after this pandemic of course, there is a ton of art to see. While you could just visit the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art and likely be mostly fulfilled, but if you are indeed an art lover, you will want to explore some of the other excellent art galleries found throughout the city. From sculptures, photographs, paintings, and interactive works to galleries devoted to performance art, video game art, and contemporary paintings, here are some of the best art galleries hidden throughout Chicago. 

Renaissance Society

When it comes to galleries near the University of Chicago, this is the only one that matters. The goal of the university is to expand the definition of a renaissance. The focus here is avant-garde, and many avant-garde stars will have their only show in the city at this museum. The high ceiling and white walls create a vibrant environment perfect for any artist. One of the best parts is all of the shows here are free. 


Intuit offers a nonprofit organization in the United States devoted to presenting contemporary and outsider self-taught art. It is the only organization of its kind in the country. This gallery is an excellent resource for scholars, students, and art enthusiasts. Intuit has a permanent collection that contains over 1100 works of art and offers many educational programs. 

Corbett vs. Dempsey

Corbett vs. Dempsey was founded in the year 2004 by John Corbett and Jim Dempsey. The museum reflects the diverse interest of its owners, including film, jazz, modernist traditions, and middle American approaches to both contemporary and abstract art. The gallery emphasizes digging up talent that has yet to be discovered and often features fantastic regional art, including occasional live performances from notable musicians. 

Stony Island Arts Bank

Theaster Gates purchased this vacant bank from the city for just one dollar and then turned the building into a cultural institution. Visitors will find art displayed on the ground floor, the archives of Johnson Publishing, and can flip through music from legend Frankie Knuckle’s record collection. 

Richard Gray Gallery

Richard Gray Gallery is located in Hancock Center. The gallery hosts rotating exhibitions from artists who work mostly with sculpture and paint. Richard Gray was a local art dealer who founded the museum. He was best known for helping secure Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, for the Field Museum. 

Comfort Station

Comfort Station is a small building located in Logan Square that was built during the early 1900s. The preservation team took over the building in 2010 and created a community art space. There are art exhibitions, film screenings, and live music hosted here throughout the year. 

Kavi Gupta Gallery

This wonderful gallery showcases mid-career and emerging international artists from all types of media. This includes work from Theaster Gates, who encompasses performance, installation, and urban interventions; Tony Tasset, a multi-media artist; Angel Otero, a painter from Puerto Rico; Clare Rojas, a folk art painter; and many more. 

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

The Rhona Hoffman Gallery was founded in the year 1976 as the Young Hoffman Gallery. The gallery recently moved from West Loop to West Town. This art gallery specializes in art from all media, focusing on socio-political art. Young and emerging artists are exhibited alongside more established artists. During the early years, it was one of the first galleries to show work from women artists such as Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, and Sylvia Plimack Mangold. Some of the more notable artists who have shown at the gallery include Lorna Simpson, Fred Sandback, Richard Tuttle, Kehinde Wiley, Sol LeWitt, and many others.  

Monique Meloche

Monique Meloche was an assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary art. She also worked at Kavi Gupta Gallery and the Rhona Hoffman Gallery before she became an art dealer and opened up her space in 2001 in Fulton Market. Her gallery is now in West Town and is one of the top destinations for intriguing contemporary art forms. 

Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center has a mission to make contemporary art approachable. The art center provides engaging exhibits and offers many community programs such as a residency program, artist talks, and studio classes. Hyde Park Art center was created in 1939 and is the oldest alternative exhibition in all of Chicago.

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