Presented in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, this exhibition explores the relationship between art and the built environment—the everyday structures we have built around us.

Building/Environments offers a significant reconfiguration of the Smart’s collection as well as our own interior environment, opening up new perspectives on beloved artists and art objects. It mixes approximately 100 works from across eras, cultures, and media to question the ways we occupy and perceive the built environment. The objects are loosely organized into three thematic sections that look at cities and urban spaces; household objects and domestic spaces; and utopian visions.

The Smart Museum collects works of art—more than 15,000 and counting—to support academic and artistic study, inspire new ideas, and provide a setting for reflection and conversation by our diverse audiences. Each year, under the banner Conversations with the Collection, we put a different selection of works on display. Through these annual reinstallations, we hope to share more treasures from the collection, while also investigating new narratives and themes.

Building/Environments marks a moment of transformation and experimentation. Over the last decade, the Museum has primarily presented its collection according to temporal and geographic affinities. Recognizing that a more global approach might warrant further examination, we are bypassing those traditional divisions to create a single cross-historical, cross-geographic installation.