Best of the Modern Wing
Here's why we love the new addition to the Art Institute.
Renzo Piano designed it. When the Art Institute tapped the Pritzker Prize–winning Italian architect to design the Modern Wing in 1999, Piano had only a couple of finished museums on his résumé. (It helped that one of them was Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou.) During the past decade, however, he’s completed elegant additions to Atlanta’s High Museum and New York’s Morgan Library & Museum. The New York Times’ architecture critic calls Piano’s 2008 California Academy of Sciences “a reaffirmation that human history is an upward spiral rather than a descent into darkness.” The light-filled Modern Wing should keep Chicago’s architectural cachet from disappearing into the Spire’s black hole.