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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Chicago, IL
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Atrium Project: Federico Herrero
Aug 11, 2018–May 5, 2019

In Alphabet, a site-specific commission for the MCA atrium, Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero (b. 1978) paints the museum’s second-floor entrance with his characteristic color blocks to create a large, abstract landscape. Jumping from the atrium wall to the facade windows, the mural offers an immersive experience that—similar to a real landscape—dramatically changes with the shifting seasons.

Herrero sees his paintings, which range from small canvases to monumental urban spaces, as open-ended landscapes that are never finished, always growing and morphing into something new. In a sense, these works grow beyond the canvas or vertical wall and make their way to the horizontal surfaces of the floor and ceiling, extending his abstract color fields into urban spaces and public life.

Alphabet is organized by José Esparza Chong Cuy, Pamela Alper Associate Curator. It can be seen from the MCA’s public plaza and second-floor atriu

Chicago Works: Mika Horibuchi
Jul 17–Dec 2, 2018

Chicago-based artist Mika Horibuchi is interested in tricks and slips in visual perception. The curtains, window blinds, and optical illusions she uses as subjects often conceal as much as they reveal. Drawing equally from art history and psychology, she uses techniques such as hyperrealism and trompe l'oeil—in which an image is rendered in detail so true to life that it appears three-dimensional—to walk the line between honesty and deception. In the artist’s words, “A slight betrayal of expectations is at play.”

The exhibition is organized by José Esparza Chong Cuy, Pamela Alper Associate Curator, with Nina Wexelblatt, Curatorial Assistant, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is presented in the Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg Family Gallery and Ed and Jackie Rabin Gallery on the museum’s third floor.

I Was Raised on the Internet
Jun 23–Oct 14, 2018

I Was Raised on the Internet focuses on how the internet has changed the way we experience the world. Due to new types of gaming and entertainment and the rise of social media and alternative modes of representation, the everyday is no longer what it used to be. The ways we interact with each other have shifted through the connected nature of telecommunications devices across the internet, including mobile applications, social media platforms, and large search engines that have become everyday tools for individuals from all walks of life. New modes, not only of seeing but also of feeling, have emerged in response to this.

I Was Raised on the Internet documents a specific moment in time, beginning with 1998 and extending to the present, and focuses on the shifts that have occurred since the millennium. The nearly 100 works in the exhibition span photography, painting, sculpture, film, and video, as well as emerging technologies and interactive elements, which include interactive computer works and virtual reality. Among these are new adaptations of major bodies of work, as well as new commissions from some of the most significant artists working with these ideas today.

The exhibition seeks to put into language the idea of the “millennial’”—in the truest sense of the word—extrapolating the terms used by artists and creative practitioners in relation to the internet, including the so-called post-internet phenomenon. Fittingly, the viewer is an active agent, engaging new forms of networked behavior and participating both in the gallery space and beyond, through additional digital works hosted online. I Was Raised on the Internet plays with the dystopic connotations of our online multiverse but also is a direct reaction to the utopic beginnings of the world of computing.

The exhibition comprises five sections, each describing a different mode of interaction between the viewer and the art object: Look at Me considers new, more fluid forms of identity that have flourished in a world where social media has led to a performance of the self and a networking with others. Touch Me traces the limits of translating information and digital images into real space. This chapter focuses on art’s fluid boundaries between two- and three-dimensions, and addresses the ways individuals are increasingly seeing touch and sensuality as entirely new constructs in the world of the internet. Control Me addresses the pervasive culture of surveillance and data collection that network technology enables. How do we create a visual vocabulary for state control, and what future can this vocabulary enable for us as citizens? Play with Me documents the ways in which art grapples with the move toward immersive and interactive technologies developing today, in which the visitor is not merely a passive viewer but an active agent in the work. Finally, Sell Me Out focuses on corporate culture and consumerism. Artists take up ideas from marketing, such as brand identity, with a critical eye to expose, critique, and participate in our late capitalist landscape, and to imagine new futures for the labor of buying and selling. Additionally, viewers can access each section’s online works through an exhibition website.

This exhibition is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art and the Turner Gallery.

Artists featured in I Was Raised on the Internet include:
Sophia Al-Maria
American Artist
Anna Anthropy
Cory Arcangel
Jeremy Bailey*
Zach Blas
Nate Boyce
Ingrid Burrington
Cao Fei
Antoine Catala
Jon Chambers*
Shu Lea Cheang
Ian Cheng
Chris Collins
Petra Cortright
Douglas Coupland
Simon Denny
DIS*
Aleksandra Domanović
Stan Douglas
Constant Dullaart
E. Jane
Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin
John Gerrard
Goldin+Senneby
Óscar González-Díaz*
Matthew Angelo Harrison
Erin Hayden
Porpentine Charity Heartscape*
Mashaun Ali Hendricks*
Femke Herregraven
Shawné Michaelain Holloway*
Joel Holmberg
Juliana Huxtable
Oliver Laric
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Sara Ludy
Rachel Maclean
Eva and Franco Mattes
Takeshi Murata
Jayson Musson
Mendi + Keith Obadike
Laura Owens
Trevor Paglen
Heather Phillipson*
Angelo Plessas
Jon Rafman
Sean Raspet
Tabita Rezaire
Tabor Robak
Evan Roth
Jacolby Satterwhite
Ben Schumacher
Bogosi Sekhukhuni
Elias Sime
Daniel Steegman Mangrané
Hito Steyerl
Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann*
Thomson & Craighead
Josh Tonsfeldt
Francis Tseng
Amalia Ulman
Harm van den Dorpel
Artie Vierkant
Andrew Norman Wilson
YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES

* Commissioned work
Online Section: The exhibition continues online with web-based artworks and new commissions


The Commons Artist Project: Joan Giroux
May 1–Oct 7, 2018

Various translucent maps, assembled into the three-dimensional shape of houses, are arranged on a table covered with more maps.
Joan Giroux, eco-monopoly ii (detail), 2002. Sculptural installation; 264 × 36 × 12 in. (670.56 × 91.44 × 30.48 cm). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Whose land is it anyway?

For nearly twenty years, Joan Giroux (American, b. 1961) has considered the nature, identity, and ownership of public green space in her work. Early conversations about climate change, especially during the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, were central to Giroux’s first work on public land ownership. Titled eco monopoly, the piece was presented in a symposium of artists, educators, and environmentalists advocating to save a public park in Yokohama, Aomori prefecture, Japan. The site-specific project took the form of an interactive, sculptural board game that visually layered public green spaces above maps showing densely populated areas with these open areas removed.

Giroux’s project for the Commons is partially inspired by recent land-rights activism in Chicago and across the United States. Using mapmaking and analog games, the artist invites visitors to consider their role in shaping the future of open spaces in our cities and in preserving public natural resources. Her project focuses on local environmental questions, with an interest in how Chicago’s residents and government define and maintain public land in the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Visitors are invited to join the artist and each other throughout the summer to play, imagine, and learn about our local ecologies. Through the exhibition, Giroux asks, “What can we do to prevent the loss of open green spaces threatened by political forces and commercial development?”

The Commons Artist Project: Joan Giroux is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Curator of Public Programs. It is presented in the MCA’s new civically engaged space, the Commons, on the museum's second floor.

Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography
Apr 28–Dec 30, 2018

Images surround us daily—from art to advertising and social media. But how do these images relate to reality? Chicago-based photographer Kenneth Josephson (American, b. 1932) changed the way we think about pictures. His so-called conceptual photography pushes the boundaries of the medium, demonstrating that photographs are not neutral; on the contrary, they convey an idea in addition to a picture. Josephson’s work focuses on the unique qualities of a photograph, specifically how it is cropped, reproduced, circulated, or archived. Using visual techniques such as taking photographs of photographs, his images often comment on themselves with a wry sense of humor.

Josephson has spent his career carefully examining the building blocks of photography and has influenced artists of all kinds. He was exposed to the experimental pedagogy of László Moholy-Nagy as a student at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design, where he also studied with pioneers of photography Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Josephson later went on to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for nearly 40 years. The title, Picture Fiction, which comes from a work in the exhibition by Robert Cumming, distills Josephson’s skill at bending the truth in order to expose the inner workings of photographic images.

Drawn largely from the MCA’s permanent collection, Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography considers the artist’s work in the larger context of conceptual art. Core to the exhibition are four major series made roughly between 1960 and 1980: Images within Images, Marks and Evidence, History of Photography Series, and Archaeological Series. The exhibition also highlights links between Josephson and other contemporary artists working in photography, film, and sculpture—including Roe Ethridge, Jessica Labatte, Marlo Pascual, Jimmy Robert, and Xaviera Simmons. Together, their work illuminates the ways images make meaning today.

The exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, and Lauren Fulton, former Curatorial Research Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

It is presented in the Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries on the museum's second floor.

The artists featured in Picture Fiction include:
Vito Acconci (American, b. 1940)
John Baldessari (American, b. 1931)
Walead Beshty (English, b. 1976)
Gary Beydler (American, 1944–2010)
Anne Collier (American, b. 1970)
Robert Cumming (American, b. 1943)
Jan Dibbets (Dutch, b. 1941)
Roe Ethridge (American, b. 1969)
Dan Graham (American, b. 1942)
Rodney Graham (Canadian, b. 1949)
Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006)
Leslie Hewitt (American, b. 1977)
Joseph Jachna (American, 1935–2016)
Kenneth Josephson (American, b. 1932)
Barbara Kasten (American, b. 1936)
Joseph Kosuth (American, b. 1945)
Jessica Labatte (American, b. 1981)
Laura Letinsky (Canadian b. 1962)
Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007)
Matt Lipps (American, b. 1975)
Duane Michals (American, b. 1932)
Joyce Neimanas (American, b. 1944)
Nic Nicosia (American, b. 1951)
B. Ingrid Olson (American, b. 1987)
Lisa Oppenheim (American, b. 1975)
Gabriel Orozco (Mexican, b. 1962)
Marlo Pascual (American, b. 1972)
Jimmy Robert (French, b. 1975)
Edward Ruscha (American, b. 1937)
Melanie Schiff (American, b. 1977)
Xaviera Simmons (American, b. 1974)
Buzz Spector (American, b. 1948)
John Stezaker (British, b. 1949)
Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
William Wegman (American, b. 1943)
Funding

Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation..

Picture Fiction is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Generous support is provided by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, Suzette Bross and Allen E. Bulley, III, and Farrow & Ball.
Terra Foundation for American Art logo.

Otobong Nkanga: To Dig a Hole that Collapses Again
Mar 31–Sep 2, 2018
Featured images

A black tapestry speckled with silver arrowheads depicts two pairs of orange legs, one wearing a skirt, with flat, geometric shapes in place of torsos and heads. The pair is connected at the hip and each stands on a crystalline mound.
Otobong Nkanga, In Pursuit of Bling: The Transformation, 2014. Tapestry; 71 7/10 × 71 in. (182 × 180 cm); edition of 5, aside from 1 artist’s proof. Courtesy of Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam and Galerie In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc, Paris.

Born in Nigeria and now based in Antwerp, Otobong Nkanga explores the contested social and political histories of colonialism, with a particular focus on the relationship between Africa and the Western world. She does this through performance, drawing, photography, and installation—examining how raw minerals are transported through various covert economies and how they are transformed into desirable consumer objects.

Nkanga is fascinated with what she has referred to as “glimmer” and “shine,” the surface qualities of natural resources such as mica, a mineral that is used in makeup and turned into an object of seduction. This interest has led the artist far and wide, studying the intense mining of the world’s natural resources since the rise of late capitalism. One of the primary means by which the artist’s interest manifests is through the body. In Nkanga’s works on paper and her tapestries, the body becomes a border implicated within the field of mining.

Nkanga acts as a cultural anthropologist—tracing the violent means by which contested minerals and objects are exhumed from their natural environments, such as Nigeria and Namibia—and considers how they are transported to the West. Through her work, the artist re-imagines our relationship to our everyday environment.

Otobong Nkanga’s first ever US survey exhibition, To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again, takes its name from the “Green Hill” in Namibia. The name is a direct translation of the town that houses it, Tsumeb, one of Namibia's "rare gems."

The exhibition is organized by Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery on the museum’s second floor.

Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen
Through –May 20, 2018
Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum’s fourth floor

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is proud to present the first major survey of the work of groundbreaking, multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell (American, b. 1943). The exhibition spans the New York–based artist’s five-decades-long career, featuring early figurative paintings, pure abstraction and conceptual works, and personal and political art that emerged in the aftermath of a life-threatening car accident in 1979. The exhibition traces themes and visual experiments that run throughout Pindell’s work up to the present.

Trained as a painter, Pindell has challenged the staid traditions of the art world and asserted her place in its history as a woman and one of African descent. Since the 1960s, she has used materials such as glitter, talcum powder, and perfume to stretch the boundaries of the rigid tradition of rectangular, canvas painting. She has also infused her work with traces of her labor, such as obsessively affixing dots of pigment and circles made with an ordinary hole-punch. Despite the effort exerted in the creation of these paintings, Pindell’s use of rich colors and unconventional materials gives the finished works a sumptuous and ethereal quality.

The work she has created since 1979, when the accident left her with short-term amnesia, engages the world beyond the painting studio. Expanding on the experimental formal language she previously developed, Pindell has explored a wide range of subject matter, from the personal and diaristic to the social and political. Her Autobiography series transforms postcards from her global travels, which she used to reconstruct her memories, into photo-based collages. Other bodies of work, such as her Rambo series, respond to broader cultural concerns and critique sexism, racism, and discrimination at large.

The exhibition also highlights Pindell’s work with photography, film, and performance, mediums she has used to explore her place in the world. Her chance-based experiments include photographing her drawings juxtaposed over a television screen, as well as creating Free, White and 21 (1980), a performance for film based on her personal experiences of racism. The exhibition also includes Pindell’s most recent works from the last two years, which draw on the beauty and innovation of her approach to abstraction to build upon contemporary conversations around equity and diversity.

Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen is cocurated by Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the MCA, and Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Heaven and Earth: Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons
Through Dec 16, 2018

For the MCA’s 50th anniversary, we are bringing together two of the most important artists in the museum’s history, as well as icons of the last 100 years. Heaven and Earth: Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons finds common ground between these seemingly disparate artists, with Alexander Calder’s weightless sculptures nominally representing “heaven” and Jeff Koons’s celebrations of the mundane and concrete as “earth.” This pairing highlights both artists’ interest in playing with balance and gravity to make compelling sculptural statements, while reveling in the contrasts between high art aspirations and mundane material choices.

Calder (American, 1898–1976) originally made a name for himself in the 1920s for inventive bent-wire portraits and later his extraordinary and performative circus sculptures. He is best known, however, for the delicate floating sculptures of metal and wire that have come to be known as “mobiles”—a term coined by Marcel Duchamp. The MCA has extensive holdings of Calder’s work that have been regularly shown for decades, and in 2010, the museum produced a major exhibition titled Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form Balance Joy.

In the early 1980s, Koons (American, b. 1954) ushered in an influential new era of art with works that borrow from liquor advertisements or posters of basketball legends, as well as over-the-top celebrations of household goods like vacuum cleaners, in order to redefine the boundaries of taste. His star power was recognized early on and the MCA organized his first museum exhibition in 1988, and revisited his work with a major survey in 2008. Thanks to many generous gifts, the MCA collection holds his work in depth.

This playful and unexpected pairing of two of the most recognized artists of the modern era have an extended presence in the MCA’s galleries and will be updated periodically with substitutions by both artists.

This exhibition is organized by James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Michael Darling. It is presented in the McCormick Tribune Orientation Gallery on the museum’s second floor.

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