The Renaissance Society is an independent, non-collecting museum of contemporary art located on the campus of the University of Chicago. Founded in 1915 to encourage a greater understanding of culture—in the broad sense of the term “renaissance”—we present exhibitions, public programs, and publications that advance the ideas and expressions of our time.
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 Holzer 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 supporting ambitious artistic experimentation, primarily through the commissioning of new works, 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.
In 2015 the Renaissance Society marks its Centennial with a special program of exhibitions, events and collaborations, celebrating the last 100 years and looking ahead to the next 100+. A new publication considers the institution from a variety of art historical, cultural, and theoretical vantage points, and we will also launch a new website and visual identity to mark the occasion.