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21c Museum Hotel Chicago Launches the “Art of” Series, Created to Showcase the Art Apparent in Everything

The “Art of” series first launched in June 2022 with the Art of Fashion, which brought together eight Chicago-based fashion designers to celebrate their artistic flare, followed by the wildly successful Battle of the Bartenders event on August 31, to highlight the impressive and balanced art of mixology. At the conclusion, bartender Jesse Sexton of The Berkshire Room won the right to put his “I Say Tomato” cocktail on the menu at 21c Chicago’s iconic Lure Fishbar. The regular sell-out events, classes and experiences focus on bringing creators to 21c Chicago, the only multi-venue contemporary museum dedicated to 21st-century art, with on-site galleries open to the public around the clock, with vibrant, thought-provoking and buzzy experiences that make art not only accessible, but enjoyable. 

“We created the ‘Art of’ series as a way to show people that there truly is art in everything,” said Nigel Barker, creative consultant and brand ambassador, 21c Museum Hotel Chicago. “From fashion, to mixology, to photography, dance, cinema and beyond, the arts are on full display at 21c and we’re quite serious about the importance we place on having fun celebrating beautiful artists and creators that surround us through our ‘Art of’ series events, activations and experiences,” he said. “And we welcome 21c guests, locals, visitors and the community to take part in these vibrant experiences.” 

The fall/winter season brings a host of events, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get “Behind the Lens” with Nigel Barker himself, through the “Art of Photography” in September. October also brings the not-to-be-missed “Art of Movement,” a performance, dance party and book signing with the inimitable visual artist Brendan Fernandes. 

“I am a fierce advocate of the arts and our ‘Art of’ series is the perfect opportunity to expose more people to the life-changing power of art in all its forms,” said 21c Chicago Museum Manager Juli Lowe. “We hope the ‘Art of’ series becomes something people look forward to and come back to experience time and again, because they’ve had an exciting, eye-opening or even unexpected experience attending a previous event—each one is so different and the quality of exhibition, performance, and craft highlights the vibrancy of Chicago’s local art scene.” 

Art of events slated for September - November 2022 include: 

September: The Art of Photography - Behind the Lens with Nigel Barker 
: September 29, 5:00-9:00pm 

Join internationally renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker as he takes you behind the lens to discuss his career from America’s Next Top Model, photographing celebrity magazine covers to advertising campaigns.  The event will showcase his greatest work and include a masterclass and photo walk of downtown Chicago. Nigel will share decades of experience photographing the fashion industry, urban landscape, and how he stays inspired. Following his presentation, Nigel and his team will guide participants on a photo walk from  21c Museum Hotel sharing advice and tips on how to capture the narrative of Chicago from the big picture to the details and help unlock the hidden beauty in the everyday. Following the photowalk, participants will return to 21c to share their photographs on a digital gallery wall and have the opportunity to get their portraits shot by the one and only Nigel Barker.

October: The Art of Movement - Dance Party with Brendan Fernandes and Re/Form Book Signing 
When: October 21, 6:00-10:00pm

Join 21c and Brendan Fernandes for an immersive museum program featuring an artist talk, performance, book signing, and dance party! The night will commence with a conversation between Fernandes and Nigel Barker, 21c Chicago’s Creative Ambassador. Immediately following will be a special performance of Révérence by Joffrey Academy Dancers, alongside a book signing of Fernandes’ forthcoming monograph, Brendan Fernandes: Re/Form. The dance party will kick off at 8pm with DJ Harry Cross, alongside a champagne and wine bar with beverages from Peroni, Casa Dragones and Jarritos. 

November: The Art of Cinema (event listing to come soon) 
When: Friday, November 4, 11, 18, 7:00-9:00pm

21c Chicago is offering rotating feature films throughout the month of November including, Nowhere Boy a 2009 British biographical drama film directed by Sam Taylor-Wood in her directorial debut (video work on view in Gallery 6); Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace follows the artist as he steps out of his comfort zone to create a series of paintings of women for the first time (painting on view in lobby from this series, artist is known for painting President Obama); and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay), a 2019 French historical romantic drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma, starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. Set in France in the late 18th century, the film tells the story of a lesbian affair between an aristocrat and a painter commissioned to paint her portrait.

The local community and visiting guests of 21c Chicago can also expect to see a holiday-centric market this December, with an array of vendors to be announced in the coming month. In 2023, the “Art of” series will expand to include an exploration on the Art of Wellness, Art of Love, Art of Sustainability, and more, each paired with a notable partner and activations for guests and residents to enjoy. The full calendar of 2023 themes will be announced early next year. 

With over 10,000 square feet of gallery space in the museum, 21c Chicago has created a unique avenue to celebrate local artists in addition to its signature events, with past highlights including Elevate at 21c, exhibitions and activations with local artists, Curatorial Conversations, live music pop-ups with Sofar sounds, bimonthly Jazz Jam Sessions, live storytelling, and Chamber Music Masterworks with Roosevelt University. The upcoming schedule includes performances by Blue Alice, Brendan Fernandes, and Fabulous Freddie; along with yoga and brunch, a hands-on cocktail class, as well as rotating art and wine tours with Museum Manager Juli Lowe. For a schedule of museum events, please visit 21cchicago.com. 

About 21c Museum Hotel Chicago

21c Museum Hotel Chicago is a one-of-a-kind contemporary art museum and boutique hotel, located just steps from Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile shopping district in River North. 21c Chicago is the ninth location for 21c Museum Hotels,  21c is the only multi-venue contemporary museum dedicated to 21st-century art, with on-site galleries open to the public around the clock, and commissioned design site-specific installations by Chicago-based artists, including wallpaper by Nick Cave and his partner Bob Faust, and a video projection by Colleen Plumb. The 297-room hotel is the ideal home base and gathering place in Chicago, with an array of unique meeting and event venues, including over 10,000 square feet of gallery space. Curated by 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites, the current exhibition on view at 21c Chicago, Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art, features more than 90 works of art by 55 artists from around the world in an exhibition that illuminates the intersection of celebrity, commerce, technology and the media. 21c is also home to the Chicago outpost of the Soho seafood hotspot Lure Fishbar from acclaimed Mercer Street Hospitality. Lure Fishbar Chicago offers the freshest fish selections from around the globe, complete with a raw bar and rotating oyster selection, plus signature dishes. The 262-seat, AvroKo-designed restaurant has quickly become a dining destination from happy hour, to late night in River North. 

About 21c Museum Hotels

21c Museum Hotels are a multi-venue museum located in nine cities. One of the largest contemporary art museums in the U.S., and North America’s only collecting museum dedicated solely to art of the 21st century, each property features exhibition space open free of charge to the public, combined with a boutique hotel and restaurant. It was founded in 2006 by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson; philanthropists, preservationists, and collectors, committed to expanding access to contemporary art as a means of catalyzing revitalization and civic connection. 21c presents a range of arts programming curated by Museum Director, Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites, including both solo and group exhibitions that reflect the global nature of art today, as well as site-specific, commissioned installations, and a variety of cultural events. The organization collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and organizations worldwide, including Speed Art Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Creative Capital Foundation, Creative Time, and others.


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