Here's Our Can't Miss List in Chicago for May

By Fiona Good-Sirota | April 29, 2021 | Culture Migration

Fill the alfresco season with these hot new exhibitions, installations, events and dining options in Chicago and beyond.

“Ven a la Luz (Come into the Light),” a work by Daniel Popper in Tulum, Mexico; Popper is set to install five of his large-scale sculptures in Chicago this spring. PHOTO BY PHOEBE MONTAGUE
“Ven a la Luz (Come into the Light),” a work by Daniel Popper in Tulum, Mexico; Popper is set to install five of his large-scale sculptures in Chicago this spring.


The Morton Arboretum’s Human+Nature outdoor art exhibition is the first major U.S. exhibition by famed South African artist Daniel Popper—and his largest show to date anywhere in the world. Debuting this spring, the show features five 15- to 26-foot-tall sculptures crafted from glass-reinforced concrete, fiberglass and steel. Among them is a towering interpretation of a female figure, characterized by diverse human facial traits interwoven with root structures and large-scale hands. Says Popper, “All of the sculptures celebrate the human connection to trees.” 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle,


Chicago tap dance collective M.A.D.D. Rhythms celebrates its 20th anniversary with May events honoring National Tap Dance Day. One highlight? The M.A.D.D. Virtual Tap Experience returns for a second year, commemorating the rich culture of tap and cultivating community with a series of classes and performances as part of the company’s May festival. On May 25 (National Tap Dance Day proper), M.A.D.D. will host a copresentation with Chicago Tap Theatre called Bridging the Gap, One Step at a Time. Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive,


The Chicago History Museum has made a breathtaking acquisition of over 1,800 photographs by prolific 20th century Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier, whose expansive oeuvre was discovered only after being purchased at auction in 2007. The never-before-seen color slides and transparencies, which display life in Chicago from the 1950s through the 1970s, will be on view via the museum’s virtual image portal and the Vivian Maier:In Color exhibition, opening May 8. Says curator Frances Dorenbaum: “Vivian Maier’s photographs show moments of what looks to be a dynamic, multifaceted life in which she prioritized her passion for taking pictures.” 1601 N. Clark St.,


Iconic Lincoln Park tapas bar Cafe-Ba-Ba-Reeba! gets a little sister with the unveiling of Lil’ Ba-Ba-Reeba! in River North. The outpost offers dine-in, carryout and delivery, and brings beloved menu items to the table including signature pintxos, tapas and a selection of classic sangrias. Favorites from executive chef Eric Jorgensen include spicy potatoes, bacon-wrapped dates and baked goat cheese, as well as dishes unique to the new location such as rioja-braised short rib with manchego mashed potatoes and more. 441 N. Clark St.,


Art on theMART and Chicago Public Schools present Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021, a joint project showcasing the artwork of CPS students as an animated projection on the facade of theMART. “We are inspired by the incredible dedication, focus and innovation of the CPS class of 2021,” says Julia deBettencourt, executive director of arts education for CPS. Premiering May 20, the show can be experienced from the historic Chicago Riverwalk and on Wacker Drive every evening at 9 and 9:30 (accompanying audio is available). Wacker Drive between Wells and Orleans streets,;


Art lovers have two reasons to check out Hyde Park Art Center this spring, with a pair of major exhibitions worthy of notice. Curated by the art center’s director of exhibitions and residency programs, Allison Peters Quinn, The Metamorphosis of Gabriel Villa (through July 18) showcases the artist’s installations and clay sculptures, which are inspired by Mexican traditions and Chicago’s urban landscape. Planting and Maintaininga Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed (May 3 through July 24) features Majeed’s work honoring the South Side community. 5020 S. Cornell Ave.,


Photography by: PHOEBE MONTAGUE