Art Institute of Chicago’s iconic lions are taking a short leave from their Michigan Avenue watch

Art Institute of Chicago’s iconic lions are taking a short leave from their Michigan Avenue watch

What’s more Chicago than the famous lions that guard the doors of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue entrance. People walking by the Art Institute of Chicago starting next Tuesday, June 14 will do a double take as they see two very empty spaces on either side of the AICs Michigan Avenue entrance.

One of Chicago’s most beloved attractions the iconic Art Institute lions will be removed for restoration.

The lions who have been part of the fabric of the city since 1893 have appeared in many guises including Chicago Cubs caps, Chicago Bears helmets, holiday wreaths and even pandemic masks.

Weighing in at over two tons each, the Instagramable felines deinstallation is expected to be a big deal. But a spokesperson for the Art Institute of Chicago promises they will be safe and return soon looking better than ever.

Just like other artworks in the Art Institute’s collection, these bronze sculptures made by Edward Kemeys require expert care to preserve them for generations to come. 

Both lions will be removed from their plinths by a crane on the morning of June 14, placed on a truck, and taken off-site to undergo treatment with one of the AIC’s longtime conservation partners. Treatment will include a thorough steam cleaning and the application of protective wax coating.

WHEN:         Tuesday, June 14                       Deinstallation is scheduled to begin at 9:00
                      Front steps, Michigan Avenue entrance   


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