New Museum Wing Tests Cash-Strapped Modern Days

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 1:13 PM CDT
The Art Institute of Chicago's new Modern Wing will connect with Millennium Park and its BP Bridge designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Art Institute of Chicago's new $283 million modern art wing isn't just expensive—it's also expensive to visit, reports the Tribune. The museum plans to bump its ticket prices from $12 to $18 a week after the 264,000-square-foot wing's May opening, a move that has recession-minded critics crying foul. "Who's going to be able to go to it?" asked one museum member.

But museum heads defend the price hike, the Art Institute's first in five years. "Eighteen dollars is half a cab ride to O'Hare," said director James Cuno. "It's not very much to pay for the extraordinary experience." That experience will soon include the Modern Wing, a project that began in 1999 as a 75,000-square-foot addition to bridge railroad tracks. It grew to include a bridge to Millennium Park, an open-air sculpture garden, and a new restaurant.