Art Institute raises admission to $18, Chicagoans inexplicably shocked
How did you think they were going to pay for the Modern Wing? You should have seen this coming.
But Joe Marnen of Lincoln Park didn't. He told the Sun-Times, "I wouldn't pay nearly $20 to see this." Now, Joe, by "this," are you referring to the Art Institute's 300,000 masterpieces in every medium, which trace the development of civilizations around the world? Or the modern art, which frightens you because it requires more intellectual effort than the crappy movie you paid $10 to see last weekend?
Dozens of people criticize the admission hike (which also raises fees for students and seniors to $12) in comments on Chicago Breaking News, noting that "their kids could paint that." Really? Then why don't they have gallery representation? It's not too late for them to be inspired—admission remains free for kids under 12.
On the other hand, it's ridiculous for Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner to claim that the Art Institute "still remains accessible to the citizens of Chicago," citing its weekly free hours (Thursdays, 5–8pm, and Friday evenings in the summer) and days (all of February). Those free hours are great, but the museum's presumably going to cost $18 when you want to bring your visiting parents or stop by on a whim. (Has anyone ever managed to check out a free pass for the Art Institute from the library? I've never laid eyes on one.)
So, yes, this sucks and it's going to alienate some people from the museum. But if you're angry because the Art Institute isn't free, or as cheap as the Louvre, blame the man my brother-in-law spotted outside the museum on his last visit—the one wearing a T-shirt that said "Taxes are stealing."