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Back to School: Our Favorite Things
Ando gallery

Ando gallery

Thomas Cinoman

The Ando Gallery at the Art Institute

In 1989 Tadao Ando, a self-taught architect known for marrying Western modernist materials with traditional Japanese aesthetics, was given his first U.S. commission: to design a gallery for the display of Japanese screens at the Art Institute of Chicago. The room, 1,689 square feet tucked into the corner of the Asian galleries, subverts many of the cues that would typically announce a space displaying priceless works of art. Instead of a heavily ornamented archway, there’s a standard set of two-way push doors, which open on to an array of 16 one-foot-square columns made of the same dark-stained oak as the floor. These take up half the gallery space, filtering out light and noise from outside and nudging visitors toward the other half, which Ando left empty but for a few low-slung benches against a wall. The solid/void dichotomy repeats in the space’s lighting: jars, screens, and other Japanese art pieces are housed in lighted floor-level glass cases arranged along two walls, illuminating the room as if by night-light. The acoustics encourage visitors to enjoy the art for as long as they’d like in silence—or to simply enjoy the sense of being off the clock and out of sight in an undemanding pocket of carefully designed space. 111 S. Michigan, 312-443-3600. —Tamara Faulkner

We also want to hear your stories about your favorite people, places, and things in the city--go here to share them with the rest of the class.


A & T Grill
Elizabeth M. Tamny

All Rise Gallery
Liz Armstrong

The Ando Gallery at the Art Institute
Tamara Faulkner

Bartender Ballet at the Violet Hour
Mike Sula


The Basement of After-Words
Monica Kendrick

The Blue Crab Lounge at Shaw’s
Michael Lenehan

The Butcher Shop
Noah Berlatsky

Deborah Butterfield’s “Ben”
Ryan Hubbard


The Diary of Virginia May Garcia
Noah Berlatsky

The Fern Room at the Garfield Park Conservatory
Martha Bayne

Fine Wine Brokers
Kathie Bergquist

The Grid
Bill Savage


Hideout Dance Parties
Martha Bayne

Jazz Record Mart and Dusty Groove
Peter Margasak

Jollyball at the Museum of Science and Industry
Noah Berlatsky

Ken Dunn
Mick Dumke


The Lobby Bar at Second City
Albert Williams

Lost & Found
Kathie Bergquist

Manhattans at the Matchbox
David Hammond

Matinees at the Music Box
Adam Langer


Marina City
Lynn Becker

The Mausoleum at Rosehill Cemetery
Kerry Reid

Monday Night at Sidetrack
Zac Thompson

Monday Night Farm Dinner at Lula Cafe
Peter Margasak


Moo & Oink
Mike Sula

Music Box Massacre
J.R. Jones

The Murals at the 18th Street El Stop
Brenna Ehrlich

The Newberry Library
Harold Henderson


The North Branch Trail
Jennifer Sodini

Open Mike at Gallery Cabaret
Julia Rickert

Outdanced!
Liz Armstrong

RUI: Reading Under the Influence
Kathie Bergquist


Silent Summer Film Festival
J.R. Jones

Sunday Transmission at the Hungry Brain
Peter Margasak

The Sweet Spot at the Empty Bottle
Miles Raymer

Textile Discount Outlet
Tasneem Paghdiwala


The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute
Albert Williams

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater
Albert Williams

Wil Hasbrouck
Harold Henderson

The Window Seat at Letizia’s
Emerson Dameron


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