Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Chicago, IL

MCA Building exterior at night. Photo: Peter McCullough, © MCA Chicago

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
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Atrium Project:Orkideh Torabi
Through Jan 2, 2022
Kovler Atrium, Second Floor

Orkideh Torabi (Iranian, b. 1979) continues the MCA’s Atrium Project series with Peach House’s 5 Bucks Morning Special (2020). Torabi rendered a vividly detailed bathhouse filled with characters based on men she encountered during her upbringing and visits to Iran. Inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings, Torabi depicts the rooms of the bathhouse in a split-scene style. After transferring paint dye onto cotton fabric, Torabi dries it with an everyday hairdryer, resulting in the saturated colors in her artworks. For this exhibition, in which her work is presented at a larger scale than it has been before, Torabi’s work on cotton fabric has been transferred to vinyl.

Now based in Chicago, Torabi purposefully paints men—often with bulbous features, clown-like expressions, and exaggerated limbs—in humorous situations. Through her work, Torabi seeks to rebalance patriarchal societies using humor.

Peach House’s 5 Bucks Morning Special is organized by Bana Kattan, Pamela Alper Associate Curator, in the second-floor atrium.

Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River
Through Sep 12, 2021
Bergman Family Gallery, Second Floor, South Side

announcement: El contenido de esta exposición se encuentra disponible en español y en inglés.

This exhibition's content is available in both Spanish and English.

About this exhibition in Spanish

Desde el Fondo del Río

Por medio de su práctica de estudio y de su trabajo de campo con comunidades ribereñas afectadas por los proyectos de infraestructura a gran escala, Carolina Caycedo (colombiana, n. 1978; vive y trabaja en Los Ángeles) crea obras que abordan la relación del ser humano con la naturaleza. Trabajando en primera línea de la lucha por la justicia social y medioambiental, la artista recolecta materiales, experiencias, objetos y sentimientos para crear su obra multidisciplinaria.

Carolina Caycedo: Desde el fondo del río analiza los últimos diez años de la práctica artística de Caycedo y se encuentra protagonizada por Represa/Represión (2012– ), un proyecto multimedia en curso que examina el impacto que las represas hidroeléctricas y otros grandes proyectos de infraestructura tienen sobre las comunidades y el medioambiente. Además, la exposición presenta a las poderosas Cosmotarrayas, una serie de esculturas hechas con redes de pesca producidas como resultado de su trabajo de campo en zonas de Colombia, Brasil y otros países, donde la privatización de las vías fluviales ha alterado irrevocablemente la capacidad de vivir y trabajar de las comunidades locales. La exposición incluye video, dibujo, escultura y fotografía, y reflexiona sobre la importancia del proceso y la participación en la obra de Caycedo.

Inspirándose en filosofías indígenas, la obra de Caycedo nos desafía a comprender la naturaleza no como un recurso a ser explotado, sino como una entidad viviente y espiritual que une a las personas más allá de las fronteras. Su enfoque innovador integra su práctica de creación artística en el estudio con acciones en las comunidades afectadas por la minería, la construcción de represas y otros proyectos de extracción de recursos llevados a cabo por corporaciones y gobiernos. La obra de Caycedo invita a los espectadores a considerar el ritmo de crecimiento insostenible que impone el capitalismo y la manera en que podemos reafirmar nuestra resistencia, solidaridad y biodiversidad cultural y medioambiental.

Esta exposición ha sido organizada por Carla Acevedo-Yates, curadora Marilyn y Larry Fields, con Iris Colburn, asistente de curaduría. Se presenta en la Galería Familia Bergman, ubicada en la segunda planta del museo.

About this exhibition in English

From the Bottom of The River

Through her studio practice and fieldwork with riverside communities impacted by large-scale infrastructure projects, Carolina Caycedo (Colombian, b. 1978; lives and works in Los Angeles) makes work that addresses humanity’s relationship with nature. Working on the front lines of social and environmental justice, she gathers materials, experiences, objects, and feelings to make her multidisciplinary work.

Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River surveys the last ten years of Caycedo’s artistic practice and prominently features Be Dammed (2012– ), an ongoing multimedia project that examines the impact of hydroelectric dams and other major infrastructure projects on communities and the environment. It also features Caycedo’s powerful Cosmotarrayas, a series of net sculptures produced through fieldwork in rural areas of Colombia, Brazil, and other countries where the privatization of waterways has irrevocably altered the ability of local communities to live and work. The exhibition encompasses video, drawing, sculpture, and photography and reflects the importance of process and participation in Caycedo’s work.

Informed by Indigenous philosophies, Caycedo’s work challenges us to understand nature not as a resource to be exploited, but as a living and spiritual entity that unites people beyond borders. Her innovative approach integrates her art-making practice in the studio with actions in communities affected by mining, damming, and other resource extraction projects by corporations and governments. Caycedo’s work invites viewers to consider the unsustainable pace of growth under capitalism—and how we might bolster resistance, solidarity, and cultural and environmental biodiversity.

The exhibition is organized by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator, with Iris Colburn, Curatorial Assistant. It is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery on the museum's second floor.
Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River

Dan Peterman: Sulfur Cycle 2.0
Through Sep 11, 2021
Turner Gallery, Fourth Floor, Southwest Side


“‘Sulfur Cycle’ now resides in the walls of the current museum. Although never formally acquired by the museum as an artwork the ton of sulfur is permanently, yet invisibly, on display.”
Dan Peterman

About the exhibition
In Sulfur Cycle 2.0, Dan Peterman (American, b. 1960) excavates the walls of an MCA gallery to reveal that the museum itself is built in part with materials produced from fossil fuels. Through this investigation, Peterman asks the viewer to think more deeply about the systems that fuel their lives: whether for their car, their home, their workplace, or their city.

In 1994, the MCA hosted Options 48: Dan Peterman, featuring a multimedia artwork titled Sulfur Cycle. The artwork was composed of six stacks of synthetic gypsum drywall, which collectively contained one ton of sulfur captured from coal-burning power plant emissions—thereby diverting this airborne pollution from entering the atmosphere. After the exhibition, Peterman intended for the drywall to be used in the construction of the building that currently hosts the museum, at 220 E Chicago Ave.

Peterman revisits this request in Dan Peterman: Sulfur Cycle 2.0 by removing pieces of the gallery walls in search of the original drywall. Using the museum building itself, Peterman demonstrates how capitalism reorganizes nature—and how fossil fuels are so ingrained in our production and consumption cycles, they disappear into the environment we occupy.

Dan Peterman: Sulfur Cycle 2.0 is organized by Jack Schneider, Curatorial Assistant, and is presented in the Turner Gallery on the museum’s fourth floor.

The Long Dream
Through May 2, 2021
Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art: Fourth Floor

Please reserve your admission ticket online prior to visiting.

Artists help us see our world more clearly. What aspects, which might have gone ignored in the past, can they help us see now?

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a renewed reckoning over racial justice and inequality, The Long Dream invites visitors to see the city of Chicago, the world, and themselves, through the eyes of more than 70 local artists whose work offers us ways to imagine a more equitable and interconnected world.

Named after the 1958 novel by socially committed author Richard Wright, The Long Dream brings together work by both emerging and established Chicago artists, and includes painting, performance, sculpture, video, and sound art. The exhibition extends beyond the gallery walls into the digital space, culminating in a live arts event in January where artists from across the exhibition will share their work.

The Long Dream is organized collectively by the Artistic Division, which includes the museum's curatorial, learning, and content teams. It is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum's fourth floor.
content warning

The artwork How much does this moment weigh for you? includes a bright, motion-activated light that may affect photosensitive visitors

artists in this exhibition
Alberto Aguilar (Mexican and American, b. 1974)
Madeleine Aguilar (Mexican and American, b. 1998)
Candida Alvarez (American, b. 1955)
Jeanette Andrews (American, b. 1990)
Selva Aparicio (Catalonian, b. 1987)
Lise Haller Baggesen (Danish, b. 1969)
Sarah Bastress (American, b. 1989)
Jonas N.T. Becker (American, b. 1982)
Dawoud Bey (American, b. 1953)
Nick Cave (American, b. 1959)
Mariano Chavez (American, b. 1974)
Diane Christiansen (American, b. 1958) and Jeanne Dunning (American, b. 1960) with Steve Dawson (American, b. 1965))
Jessica Christy (American, b. 1986)
Mike Cloud (American, b. 1974)
Bethany Collins (American, b. 1984)
Experimental Sound Studio (collective, established 1986)
Brendan Fernandes (Canadian, b. Kenya, 1979)
Julia Fish (American, b. 1950)
Joanna Furnans (American, b. 1980)
Max Guy (American, b. 1989)
Andres L. Hernandez (American, b. 1974)
Paul Heyer (American, b. 1982)
shawné michaelain holloway (American, b. 1991)
Jesse Howard (American, b. 1952)
Aaron Hughes (American, b. 1982)
Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford (American, b. 1983)
Manal Kara (Moroccan and American, b. 1986)
Jin Soo Kim (American, b. Korea, 1950)
Wesley Kimler (American, b. 1953)
Kirsten Leenaars (Dutch, b. 1976)
Riva Lehrer (American, b. 1958)
Tony Lewis (American, b. 1986)
Tonika Lewis Johnson (American, b. 1979)
Damon Locks (American, b. 1968)
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (American, b. Spain, 1961)
Derek McPhatter (American, b. 1979)
Miller & Shellabarger (American collective, established 1993)
Devin T. Mays (American, b. 1985)
Cae Monāe (American, b. 1993)
Corinne Mucha (American, b. 1983)
Floating Museum (American collective, established 2016) with Cecil McDonald Jr. (American, b. 1965)
Ryan Nault (American, b. 1991)
Jeroen Nelemans (Dutch, b. 1974)
Gladys Nilsson (American, b. 1940)
Jim Nutt (American, b. 1938)
William J. O'Brien (American, b. 1975)
OTV – Open Television (collective, established 2015)
Chris Pappan (Kanza/Osage, Lakota, b. 1971)
Kamau Amu Patton (American, b. 1972)
Nereida Patricia (American, b. 1996)
Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaican, b. 1980)
Claire Pentecost (American, b. 1956)
Jefferson Pinder (American, b. 1970)
Cheryl Pope (American, b. 1980)
William Pope.L (American, b. 1955)
Quarantine Times (American collective, established 2020)
Eduardo F. Rosario (Puerto Rican, b. 1988)
Jason Salavon (American, b. 1970)
Moises Salazar (American, b. 1996)
Farah Salem (Kuwaiti, b. 1991)
Darling “Shear” Squire
Andy Slater (American, b. 1975)
Edra Soto (Puerto Rican, b. 1971)
Leonard Suryajaya (Indonesian, b. 1988)
Selina Trepp (Swiss and American, b. 1973)
Jina Valentine (American, b. 1979)
Kevin Weil (American, b. 1990)
Rhonda Wheatley (American, b. 1972)
Amanda Williams (American, b. 1972)
Bernard Williams (American, b. 1964)
Sadie Woods (American, b. 1978)
Derrick Woods-Morrow (American, b. 1990)
SANTIAGO X (Koasati and Chamoru, b. 1982)
Guanyu Xu (Chinese, b. 1993)
Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez Pueblo and Korean, b. 1971)
Nate Young (American, b. 1981)
Kiki Jia Qi Zhen (Chinese, b. 1996)
Label Writing Project

Continuing The Long Dream’s exploration of equity, the Label Writing Project invites Chicago community members to author artwork labels in the gallery. Offering this powerful point of connection to people outside the museum provides insights into the role of art in our city and offers a unique opportunity for personal reflection to the visitor.

Chicago Works:Omar Velázquez
Thro9ugh July 25, 2021
Ed and Jackie Rabin Gallery, Third Floor, North Side, Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg Family Gallery, Third Floor, North Side

In his first solo museum exhibition, artist and musician Omar Velázquez (Puerto Rican, b. 1984) presents recent paintings and sculptures that address the intersection of painting, music, and folklore.

In a series of large-scale paintings, Velázquez—who lives between Ponce, Puerto Rico and Chicago—explores the lush, tropical landscape through vibrant colors and thick oil paint smears, known as impasto, creating surreal scenes from memories, dreams, and his daily walks and drives through the Puerto Rican countryside. In Velázquez’s paintings, the landscape and its creatures are mystical entities that reveal the dark legacies of colonialism and the experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora.

The exhibition also features string instruments, carved by Velázquez, in the shape of tropical fruits. These instruments accompany small-scale paintings of Jíbaro music album covers, a popular style of string music from the mountainous regions of Puerto Rico. Presented alongside Velázquez’s work are two sculptures made by fellow artists and musicians Rafael Ferrer (Puerto Rican, b. 1933) and Carmelo Martell Luciano (Puerto Rican, 1907–1990), tracing a genealogy of Puerto Rican artists who share Velázquez’s interest in shape, color, and sound.

Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez is organized by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator, with Iris Colburn, Curatorial Assistant. It is presented in the Sternberg and Rabin galleries on the museum’s third floor.
Artists in this exhibition

Artists Featured in the Exhibition Include:
Rafael Ferrer (Puerto Rican, b. 1933)
Carmelo Martell Luciano (Puerto Rican, 1907–1990)
Omar Velázquez (Puerto Rican, b. 1984)

The Location of Lines
Aug 29, 2020–Feb 21, 2021
Carol & Douglas Cohen Gallery:Fourth Floor, North Side
Marion & Jerome H. Stone Gallery: Fourth Floor, North Sid

About the Exhibition
Lines are the first gesture in writing, drawing, and sculpture making them central to representation. While we often describe lines as definitive—“a line in the sand,” or “crossing the line”—artists in this exhibition play with these limits, revealing how they can change and move.

Taking the title from a Sol LeWitt artist’s book, The Location of Lines further examines the form of a line in the context of space and politics. Through a variety of representations in the prints, drawings, photographs, and videos that make up the exhibition, viewers are invited to reconsider the line and its meaning, both in imagination and in reality. These uses span from the abstract to the concrete: the line as a form, as a symbol, as a concept, and ultimately as a geographic border. Each artwork reveals how lines, limits, and borders are constructed and how they can change. After all, for those in power, lines can be erased just as easily as they are drawn.

The exhibition is organized by Line Ajan, Barjeel Global Fellow. It is presented in the Cohen Gallery and Stone Family Gallery on the fourth floor.

Francis Alÿs (Belgian, b. 1959)
Latifa Echakhch (Moroccan, b. 1974)
Mona Hatoum (British-Palestinian, b. Lebanon, 1952)
Alfredo Jaar (Chilean, b. 1956)
Emily Jacir (American, b. 1973)
Edward Krasiński (Polish, 1925–2004)
Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007)
Ana Mendieta (American, b. Cuba, 1948–1985)
Annette Messager (French, b. 1943)
Howardena Pindell (American, b. 1943)
Zarina (Indian, b. 1937)

Alien vs. Citizen
Through Feb 21, 2021
Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries, Second Floor, North Side

How do you know what you are worth?

Inspired by conversations about the visas awarded to "aliens of extraordinary ability" and other merit-based immigration policies, Alien vs. Citizen considers how an individual’s value is understood in relationship to community. The exhibition asks us to think about the way a person’s value is determined in the United States, through mechanisms including citizenship, work, and personal relationships. The artworks are organized around these three ways of estimating worth, inviting us to consider the cultural biases embedded in each.

The exhibition is organized by Interim Senior Curator January Parkos Arnall with Line Ajan, Barjeel Global Fellow. It is presented in the Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries on the museum's second floor.

Monica Bock (American, b. 1960)
Jennifer Bornstein (American, b. 1970)
Stephanie Brooks (American, b. 1970)
Mary E. Carlisle (American)
Enrique Chagoya (Mexican, b. 1953)
Larry Clark (American, b. 1943)
Dora García (Spanish, 1965)
Cathy Lynn Gasser (American)
Melissa Goldstein (American, b. 1961)
Ramiro Gomez (Mexican-American, b. 1986)
Doug Hall (American, b. 1944)
Gabriel Kuri (Mexican, b. 1970)
Claire Fontaine (French Collective)
Glenn Ligon (American, 1960)
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (American, b. Spain, 1961)
Kerry James Marshall (American, b. 1955)
Hương Ngô (American, b. Hong Kong, 1979)
Christina Quarles (American, b. 1985)
Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008)
Andres Serrano (American, b. 1950)
Sandrine Sheon (French, b. 1964)
Yinka Shonibare CBE (British, b. 1962)
Catherine Smith (American, b. 1950)
Nedko Solakov (Bulgarian, b. 1957)
Thomas Struth (German, b. 1954)
Hồng-Ân Trương (American, b. 1976)
Gillian Wearing (British, b. 1963)
Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953)
Eric Wesley (American, b. 1973)

July 17–Nov 15, 2020
McCormick Tribune Gallery: Second Floor, North Side

.paint examines how the traditional art form of painting is being redefined with digital tools, opening up unprecedented new possibilities. By merging and maintaining the craft of painting with digital technologies including photoshop, mobile devices, and inkjet printing, these artists bridge the physical and digital worlds.

.paint is organized by James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Michael Darling, with Harry C. H. Choi, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.

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