The Art Institute of Chicago’s Free Thursday evenings (sponsored by Target) will end after May 26th. I read about the change earlier this week in a post by Time Out Chicago’s arts writer, Lauren Weinberg. I didn’t link to her post here at the time because Weinberg’s criticism of the AIC for this move didn’t seem entirely justified, to my mind, given that the Museum was not cutting free hours altogether, only changing their dates and times (which, for some, makes them less convenient). This morning, I was happy to read a lengthier piece posted by Weinberg that contained a fuller explanation of the Art Institute’s decision after speaking with its director of public affairs Erin Hogan. Although Weinberg asserts that her larger critique of the Institute’s move was fair, she adjusts some of her facts surrounding the public’s overall access to free admission – and that seems fair enough to me. I like that Weinberg is taking such a strong stance on this issue. I also think Erin Hogan rocks for being forthright and available to address any and all arguments against the AIC’s decision. Read all the details in Weinberg’s interview with Hogan and decide for yourself. And, you know, this should go without saying but, if you can afford to become a member of the Art Institute, the MCA, and other local Chicago museums – you should dole out the cash and do so. These cultural resources need it just as much as WBEZ does.

Claudine Isé

Claudine Isé has worked in the field of contemporary art as a writer and curator for the past decade, and currently serves as the Editor of the Art21 Blog. Claudine regularly writes for Artforum.com and Chicago magazine, and has also worked as an art critic for the Los Angeles Times. Before moving to Chicago in 2008, she worked at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH as associate curator of exhibitions, and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as assistant curator of contemporary art, where she curated a number of Hammer Projects. She has Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California.