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Art Tue Dec 08 2009
It's not easy shopping for the artistic type, and sometimes thinking outside the box goes beyond the time-consuming holiday shopping list. Don't worry; we've done the leg work at various artist-centric gift shops around the city--and of course, online--along with a few ideas to motivate an eclectic shopping spree:
ShopColumbia, 623 S. Wabash, 1st Floor
This mini shop of student art from Columbia College carries quite impressive photographs, unique stationary, stylish dresses, eclectic fashion accessories and bags, interesting silk-screen prints (I found one with a squid fighting a polar bear), and a plethora of art of various media. The shop, which opened a little over a year ago, is an opportunity for students to make money off their art year-round. While the online shop isn't set up yet, the shop on campus is like an art-instillation in itself, with a claw-machine of t-shirts and vending machines of buttons.
Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop, 224 S Michigan Ave.
This shop is filled with some surprisingly hilarious home accents, from ice trays in the shape of the Titanic with little icebergs and dentures to a wall clock of mathematical equations and an alarm clock with wheels (that'll run away blaring if you hit the snooze). Their book selection is quite impressive too, many dedicated to the architecture of unique buildings all over the Windy City, as well as eras of history and notable architects.
Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop, 111 S Michigan Ave.
The newly remodeled Art Institute gift shop houses wall art, stationary, jewelry, home decor, scarves, ties and holiday ornaments inspired by many of the masterpieces housed in their galleries. The wall art ranges from framed (or rolled up) posters, reprints on canvases and matted prints. Beyond the typical Starry Night-inspired ties and Frank Lloyd Wright note cubes, there is a large department store-sized jewelry counter. Here you can find jewelry sets, rings and clever earrings inspired, for example, by dancing cats by Edward Gorey, water lilies by Claude Monet and Daisies by Georgia O'Keeffe, to name a few. The Modern Wing has a great shop as well on the other side of the museum with more architectural and home décor pieces.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Store, 220 E Chicago Ave.
For the modernist art collector, or if you're looking to give an unforgettably creative gift, the Museum of Contemporary Art carries many conceptual designers. They're more a shop of conversation-starters like the plushy, stuffed-animal-like viruses and microorganisms, water-powered alarm clocks, Jeff Koons beach towel and a handbag made out of soda-can-tabs, to name a few. There are also tons of gift-ables for kids, from colorful art books and DIY kits to stuffed animals and Hector Serrano-inspired temporary hand-puppet tattoos.
Chicago History Museum Store, 1601 N. Clark St.
Who wouldn't want a Chicago-style hot dog or a deep-dish pizza ornament hanging from their Christmas tree? -or for that matter, a glittery Chicago Theatre Marquee or John Hancock Tower ornament. For all things Chicago, The Chicago History Museum's got you covered. Most notably, there's a wide range of vintage travel posters and hyper-local coffee table books.
Adler Planetarium's The Infinity Shop, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
For the sky-watchers and stargazers in your life, planetary figurines, historical instruments and celestial globes make for memorable gifts. If you thought it was impossible to quantify a black hole into a glass paperweight, you might get stuck with gifting Uranus, no seriously, cheep pun aside, both available, alongside others. And yes, that's a "future astronaut sippy cup" in the accessories section. The shop itself carries a larger selection, including top-of-the-line telescopes and sundials.