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AP Art History Students Explore the Arts in Downtown Chicago

On April 19, sixty-seven students in AP Art History visited the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute of Chicago to view their latest exhibitions. This field trip supported their study of global contemporary art, the final unit in AP Art History. It also served as a review of artworks from the first and second semesters. Much of the work the students encountered addressed themes of identity, a focus of the Dumbach Great Art curriculum.
Once in downtown Chicago, the group's first stop was at the Museum of Contemporary Art to explore the "Nicole Eisenman: What Happened" exhibit. While walking through the exhibit, students were encouraged to use the skills they have learned in class to make personal connections to the works and consider new points of view presented by the artists. They looked for themes of portraiture, self-portraiture, and identity and thought about how materials, processes, and imagery support the ideas and narratives of the artist. They also looked for works that have personal meaning to them or relate to their own ideas about identity.

"At the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nicole Eisenman's paintings had themes of isolation within a crowd and the effects of technology on our lives and social interactions. Even though her paintings had elements of abstraction, I understood the message easily and believe she is skilled in portraying relatable scenes for our day and age," reflected Grace Ingles '26.

After lunch, the students walked to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Africa, Americas, and Asia Galleries. They also viewed the European art collection, before finally exploring the Modern Wing.

"I have been to the Art Institute before, but this trip was different. It was more engaging and exciting to see artworks from the different styles and time periods we have been studying in AP Art History. I had a new perspective walking through the museum and a new vocabulary to use when viewing the different works of art," shared Tommy Gardy '26.

"At the Art Institute, it was so exciting to see similar works from our 250 list. Since this field trip was in the spring, we had learned about so much already and I was able to find a similar artwork or the same artist in each gallery including the American, African, Asian, and European arts. It was also so interesting to see side-by-side paintings from the same artists to fully understand their style," added Ingles.

The Dumbach Scholars Honors Program is an enrichment program designed to enhance the curriculum of Loyola's most gifted and motivated students. The program is grounded in small group Socratic discussions of humanities and arts topics. For more information, click here.

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