Monday, December 28, 2015

The Best of 2015: The Most Enjoyable & Enlightening Museums, Exhibitions and Attractions I Experienced

Like many, I predominantly visit museums and other tourist attractions while, well, being a tourist.

Which isn't to say I didn't find illumination within museums, exhibits and the like in & around Chicago, including Skokie, Elmhurst and Rockford.

But though each was relatively brief, trips to Mexico City, New York City, Detroit and Miami provided ample and enriching explorations, as the lists below exposit.

As with all of my Best Of lists, there are imperfections in terms of definition and delineation.

It seems apt to split museum and non-museum attractions, but while the latter could theoretically include ballparks, restaurants or live performances, I'm not looping such things in here.

And even in terms of the museum listings, in some cases I cite particularly great Special Exhibitions, while in others simply a visit to the museum itself. The point is more to highlight than to rank these, though in the case of Special Exhibitions, most have come and gone.

In the specific case of the Art Institute of Chicago, I have visited it for so long and so often--including a few times this year--here I will merely consider special exhibits I saw this year, although the museum as a whole could always rank near the top My Favorite Museums list.

My Favorite Museum Visits of 2015

1. Secretaria de Educacion Publico - Mexico City (Mexico City recap & photos) - Not technically a museum, but hundreds of murals by Diego Rivera adorn its courtyard walls. This also applies to some other venues I've included in this list, rather than the one below.

2. National Anthropology Museum - Mexico City

3. Frida Kahlo Museum - Mexico City

4. Templo Mayor Site & Museum - Mexico City

5. Chapultepec Castle - Mexico City

6. Detroit Institute of Arts, including the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit Exhibit (my review)

7. Ernest Hemingway House - Key West, FL (included in this Miami trip recap)

8. Norton Museum of Art - West Palm Beach, FL

9. Milwaukee Art Museum - Van Gogh to Pollack: Modern Rebels exhibit (works from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo) (my review)

10. Neue Galerie - New York, NY

11. Palacio de Bellas Artes - Mexico City

Honorable Mention

- Holocaust Memorial Center - Farmington Hills, MI (Detroit area)
- Museo Mural Diego Rivera - Mexico City
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens - Miami
- Light & Noir exhibit plus Museum Tour, Illinois Holocaust Museum - Skokie, IL (my review) - Exhibit ongoing through Jan. 10, 2016
- Museo de Arte Moderno - Mexico City
- Museum on Eldridge St. (a former synagogue) - New York
- DuSable Museum of African-American History - Chicago
- Native Haute Couture, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian - Evanston, IL 
Exhibit ongoing through January 2016
- Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, Art Institute of Chicago
Exhibit ongoing through Jan. 3, 2016
- Chicago Architecture Biennial, Main Exhibit, Chicago Cultural Center
- New American Paintings, Midwest Edition, Elmhurst Art Museum
My own online art exhibition on Stuart Davis 

Best Non-Museum Attractions Visited in 2015

1. Teotihuacan - anthropological site near Mexico City

2. Art Deco district - Miami Beach, FL

3. Key West Historic District - Key West, FL

4. Jungle Island - Miami

5. Carnegie Hall tour - New York

6. Anderson Japanese Gardens - Rockford, IL

7. Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe, IL

8. Lambs Farm - Libertyville, IL (photo gallery)

9. Metropolitan Cathedral - Mexico City

10. St. Mary of the Angels church - Chicago

11. House of Tiles - Mexico City

Honorable Mention

- Biltmore Hotel - Miami, FL
- Home architecture of Coral Gables, FL

Special Mention

Ebertfest Film Festival - Champaign, IL

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