The Art Institute of Chicago Night Heist: An Evening with Charles Ray

When the clock strikes 5, the world-famous Art Institute of Chicago closes its doors to the public. However, for one night the spacious halls of the museum are transformed for an evening that is sure to be unforgettable. That evening is known as Night Heist.

Fresh of the heels of being named the number one museum in the world by TripAdvisor, The Art Institute of Chicago’s Evening Associates were going to show us why they are more than deserving of this title with their highly acclaimed annual event Night Heist. This budding group of young professionals raise money throughout the year to increase awareness of The Art Institute of Chicago, and with their 5th annual Night Heist, this has the entire city of Chicago vying for this coveted arty ticket.

Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

As one of the most highly anticipated event of the Summer, tickets always sell out with some individuals scrambling to find tickets through scalpers. The Evening Associates of the Art Institute promised to put together a night to remember and this year was no exception. This year, the chic affair was going to celebrate the museum’s newest exhibit Charles Ray Sculpture: 1997-2014

In the late hours of the evening hundreds of guests descended upon the museum ready to seize the night in their finest hues of black, white and metallic. Gowns and dapper suits mimicked the sculptures of the Charles Ray exhibit that they were about to experience.

Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

Before the main event begins, the VIP’s of the evening are escorted to the museum’s Terzo Piano and Bluhm Terrace where they are presented magnificent views of the city. Sounds of DJ Ryan Paradise fill the air setting the tone for the evening.  On the terrace, guests delighted in light hors d’oeuvre  such as Panko crusted crispy shrimp with an apricot and pineapple compote, petite glazed beef tenderloin with soy sauce, and mini white cheddar grilled cheese with fig jam. However, the finest of cocktails were the showstopper of the evening as they were directly inspired by the night’s exhibition.

The spectacle that had everyone eagerly waiting in line was the interactive drink station run by master mixologist Adam Seger. As he stands tall above the crowd, a cocktail is funneled through a peculiar contraption, and the beverage is topped off with fresh herbs. Sunshine yellow dandelions and forest green leaves were the perfect accents for the flavorful cocktail. For an event that is centered around art, even the drink was artfully well crafted. It was a great prelude for the magical evening that was to come.

Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

Lively conversations from the terrace continued, as they made their way to the next part of the evening; the tour of the featured exhibit. As guests are lead to the luxurious 2nd floor of the Modern Wing, they are formally introduced to the 19 works of Chicago-born artist Charles Ray. With a minimalist vibe and simple decor, each gallery only features a few of Charles Ray’s works allowing the viewer to not become too inundated with varying messages. Mirroring everyone’s attire the sculptures don hues of metallic silver and white.

In the traditional art world when one becomes acquainted with a sculpture, we typically think of Michelangelo’s David in marble. In this exhibit, Charles Ray introduces the viewer to a new type of medium through his excellent execution of aluminum. The peculiar choice of materials creates a remarkable image as we see the various stories of Charles Ray told through his sculptures.

Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

As the tour concludes, we are then lead to the main event, the great Night Heist. The modern wing is filled to the brim with chic young professionals. From beginning to end party goers were steadily trickling in.  To entertain the party, scattered throughout the soirée the sculptures of Charles Ray came to life and performed incredible acrobatic feats. Painted in silver, it was hard to tell whether they were sculptures or humans.Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

While taking in the many sites, whether that be dancing to the tunes of DJ Matt Roan, or marveling at the live sculptures; many food vendors are on display serving some of the finest dishes. Scrumptious bao buns, and savory burritos perfectly complimented the sculptured theme of black, white and metallic. Cocktails galore are presented throughout the venue as one has their choice in a tropical paradise with a tiki-inspired cocktail or some sparkling wine.  To commemorate this magical evening, guests fooled around with the photo booth where even the living sculptures joined in on the fun.

Art Institute of Chicago: Night Heist 2015

With a sold out party, more food than you can ever imagine and a remarkable display of the finest art; this year’s heist was definitely a success.