The Renaissance Society, the non-collecting museum on the fourth floor of Cobb Hall, has undergone many transformations in its more than century-long existence.
Begun in 1915 at the University of Chicago to “stimulate study of the art of the present time,” the museum became one of the country’s most important contemporary arts institutions, featuring works by Gaugin, Matisse, Picasso and Calder. In the last half-century, it has premiered projects by prominent artists, including future UChicago faculty Jessica Stockholder and William Pope.L.
Today, its reputation for ambitious exhibitions has made it a destination for artists seeking to experiment and have their work seen on a global scale. Among the recent successes are works featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Art Institute of Chicago.
“We give artists a chance to produce new work,” said Solveig Øvstebø, the Renaissance Society’s executive director and chief curator since 2013. “We are so happy to see that the artworks often go on to live their lives in other institutions and museums, where they are encountered by even more audiences.”