The Renaissance Society was founded in 1915 by University of Chicago faculty members as a laboratory of creative experimentation and a space of discovery. A non-collecting museum of contemporary art, we have been at the forefront of presenting artistic innovation from around the world for nearly 100 years. We support artists through the commissioning new work and producing exhibitions, publications, and interdisciplinary public programs. At the center of all of the Renaissance Society’s offerings is the evolving question of what art is in the present moment, and what art can be.
Throughout its history “the Ren” has been known for presenting vital practices from across the world: the first US exhibition of Alexander Calder’s mobiles in 1934; the Chicago debuts of Bruce Nauman, Joseph Kosuth and Jenny Holtzer in the 1970s and 80s; key solo exhibitions by Mike Kelley (1988), Isa Genzken (1992), Felix Gonzales-Torres (1994), Kerry James Marshall (1998), Joan Jonas (2004), Danh Vo (2012), and Nora Schultz (2014).
Today the Renaissance Society maintains this commitment to ambitious artistic experimentation, primarily through the production of new work, and to fostering a rigorous and interdisciplinary discourse around it. In addition to our exhibition program, we host an eclectic range of concerts, performances, lectures, screenings, and readings.
Admission to the gallery and events is always free.