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Indexs. About MOCA...................................................................................1 Mission.............................................................................................2 Vision...............................................................................................3 Historical Timeline.........................................................................4 Location..........................................................................................6 The building....................................................................................7 Architecture....................................................................................8 Programs.......................................................................................10 Dance.............................................................................................10 Live art...........................................................................................10 Music...............................................................................................11 Talks................................................................................................11 Collections.....................................................................................12 Featured work...............................................................................13


W H

This section profiles the MCA's many artists,teens, teachers,members,volunteers, staff, trustees, and visitors. We believe that the diversity of ideas and the multiplicity of voices that these community members bring to our conversation are key to the museum's vitality. In fact, many members of our community belong to more than one category. We're proud of the fact that artists who exhibit in our galleries are also participants in Family Day or members of our Board, that interns become staff members, and that many of our social media followers are members of the museum. We value these interesting, long-term relationships, and hope to showcase them as part of Who We Are.

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The MCA is an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time. The museum boldly interweaves exhibitions, performances, collections, and educational programs to excite, challenge, and illuminate our visitors and offer insight into the creative process. The MCA engages diverse audiences and creates a sense of community by providing a place to contemplate and discuss contemporary art and culture and issues of our day.

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The MCA is an artist-activated and audience-engaged contemporary art museum. We generate art, ideas, and conversation around the creative process. We are a cultural leader of local necessity and international distinction.

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Historical timeline MCA hosted solo exhibitions of Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, kicking off a decade during which we solidified our unique blend of exhibitions and programming and transitioned from a Kunsthalle to a collecting museum.

MCA opened its doors in 1967, in a small building at 237 East Ontario Street (the former Playboy headquarters).

1969

1964

1970

1967 In 1964, a group of collectors, art dealers, artists, art critics, and architects united with a shared belief that the city of Chicago deserved a contemporary art museum dedicated to exploring the new.

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1971

In 1969, we became the first building wrapped by Christo in the United States. That same year, we also organized the influential Art by Telephone, for which our staff executed art works onsite following the instructions phoned by artists.

Exhibitions included compelling locally inspired shows like Murals for the People. in which four artists turned the MCA’s galleries into their workspace to create wall-size panels that are exhibited in various Chicago neighborhoods,


Bodyworks (1975) exemplified our multidisciplinary approach by supplementing the exhibition with a series of films and in-gallery performances by artists, most memorably Chris Burden’s Doomed.

By the 1980s and early 1990s, MCA became further established as an important platform for experimental contemporary art. The museum hosted Jeff Koons’s first solo museum show.

1978

1972

1996 1980s

1975 Major displays of the works of Lee Bontecou.

Major displays of the works of Frida Kahlo.

In 1996, a building designed by Berlin architect Josef Paul Kleihues opened on the summer solstice, welcoming more than 25,000 visitors during a 24-hour public preview.

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Overlooking Lake Michigan to the east and the historic Water Tower to the west, the MCA is located in the heart of Streeterville. Nestled between two neighborhood parks—Seneca and Lake Shore—we are proud to be an asset to our local community, and we care deeply about being a good neighbor. Below is an overview of information and programs that benefit our neighbors.

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It’s been one month since a demo permit for Chicago’s old Museum of Contemporary Art building was issued and crews are making short work of the structure. The low-rise building at 237 E. Ontario may have disappeared somewhat into the background after years of vacancy, but the structure has an interesting history and can trace its roots back to a 1908 brick-clad building that first housed a wholesale baking facility.

According to Shifting Grounds, the site served as gallery space and even offices for Playboy before receiving an extensive post-modern makeover overseen by Chicago architect Laurence Booth in 1979. The MCA left the location in 1996 in favor of a new space several blocks north at 220 E. Chicago Avenue. In its place, developer Tishman Realty is planning a new 19-story “Aloft Mag Mile” hotel.

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Architecture In May 1991, the MCA selected Josef Paul Kleihues to design our new home. It was Kleihues's first commission in the United States, and a fitting one for someone who admired the architectural traditions of Chicago, especially architects William Le Baron Jenney, David Adler, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, John Root, and the firm of Holabird & Roche.

The most iconic feature of our facade is the main staircase. Teeming in the summertime with locals and visitors alike, the front entrance is inspired by the original propylaea—or gateway—of the Acropolis. It also references the Altes Museum in Berlin, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which has a similar wide stair in the center. To enhance the MCA Plaza’s function as an extension of the museum, the entrance features two plinths on either side of the staircase that are used as bases for sculptures. Similar to the plinths on the exterior of the museum—which expand the gallery space, declaring to passersby the building’s purpose—the architectural layout of the museum also draws attention to its purpose: the display of art. Kleihues’s design focuses the majority of the exhibition spaces in the center of the building, the heart of the museum. Kleihues wanted the 45,000-square-feet galleries of the museum to enrich visitors’ experiences of art instead of competing with the works on view. 9.


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Programs MCA programs offer something for everyone. Sometimes experimental or off-beat, they are always thoughtful and provocative. Many events are free with museum admission, others require a moderate fee.

Dance Cutting-edge dance, theater, and music from Chicago and around the world push the boundaries of performance in the intimate Edlis Neeson Theater.View classical works on the stage, improvised performances in the sculpture garden, or contemporary works on the staircase. Dance at the MCA happens everywhere and for everyone.

Live arts

The MCA is a vital platform for experimentation, where visitors experience art and performance throughout the museum. 11.


Music Using sound, lights, and video, performers from around the world create new experiences that expand your concept of music. The MCA doesn’t employ any in-house writers, which means that we often draw from our talented staff to write such things as magazine articles, blog posts, and ad copy. Our Editor Lindsey Anderson reflects on the creative process surrounding writing for our Freedom Principle campaign. Before coming to the MCA, I’d written for a few print publications and websites, but I had no experience writing copy for ads. For that reason, I am always equal parts perplexed and intrigued when I hear our communications team talk about our marketing strategies. As they throw out words like “proof points,” “call to action,” or “visual storytelling” and start passing around creative briefs, I start to feel like I’m on the set of Mad Men.

Talks Innovative thinkers and makers discuss contemporary art and ideas. Nothing is off limits. Our talks bring speakers from a wide range of disciplines together to investigate, share, and explore art and contemporary culture. From conversations in the galleries to more formal lectures, innovative thinkers and makers discuss contemporary art and ideas. Nothing is off limits. 11.


Collection

Nicholas Africano, American, b. 1948 I Get Hurt, 1980 Acrylic, magna, oil, and enamel on Masonite

The MCA’s permanent collection includes more than 2,500 artworks that span media and movements from the 1920s to the present. Although not on permanent display, works from the collection appear regularly in our many rotating exhibitions. The entire collection, with images and descriptions, is presented here for the first time. Explore it by artist, title, or creation date.

Enrico Baj, Italian, 1924–2003 Baj chez Picasso, 1979

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As a relic of a moment in American history associated with chicanery and paranoia, this [work] is a bold assertion that truth lies on the surface. When Andy Warhol made a screen print to be sold in aid of the Democrats’ presidential bid, he chose to do a portrait not of George McGovern but of his opponent. Warhol’s poster image of Richard Nixon is not even a caricature; it is a portrait, derived from a photograph, not distorting Nixon’s features except through color. Nixon’s face is acidic green, colliding shockingly with an orange background, almost like classical Indian art in its chromatic intensity. It captures the way Nixon in the flesh looked like a cartoon, his head too big for his body. But that’s all in the way of satire. Andy Warhol, Vote McGovern, 1972

“His blacks have variations in hue and richness—some are bluish, purplish, others are neutral. And though these differences are deliberate and very striking, it is a very difficult thing to reproduce with ink on paper.”

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Painter), 2009.

On this page you'll find a rotating selection of works from the permanent collection, chosen by members of our community, including curators but also teachers, artists, and staff members. They tell us about a work that has recently caught their eye and why, sharing their reflections on what they see and what you might look for.

Featured work 13.


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