CHICAGO, IL.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
is a partner of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, and in celebration of this city-wide cultural event, the MCA presents four exhibitions, four programs, and a pop-up shop of design objects. Each showcases architectural innovation within the contemporary art community. The MCA celebrates and cultivates the multidisciplinary ways in which artists work, and the exhibitions and programs that run concurrent to the biennial highlight the intersection of creativity and functionality that is integral to contemporary architecture and design.
Pop Art Design
December 19, 2015 - March 27, 2016
Pop Art is widely regarded as the most significant artistic movement since 1945. Reflecting on the cult of celebrity, commodity fetishism, and media reproduction that permeated everyday life in the post-war era, Pop Art continues to shape our society's cultural understanding to this day. A central characteristic of Pop Art was the dialogue between design and art, which is now being explored in Pop Art Design, organized by the Vitra Design Museum as the first-ever comprehensive exhibition on the topic. Works by such artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, or Mel Ramos are paired with design objects by Charles Eames, George Nelson, Achille Castiglioni, and Ettore Sottsass. This exhibition shows how design was an equal dialogue partner for Pop Art, in some cases even the lead impetus. At the same time, it demonstrates that many everyday objects and the Radical Design of the 1960s were serious facets of the Pop movement. Instead of merely celebrating the zeitgeist of an epoch, the exhibition seeks to take a more detailed look at the Pop phenomenon: the migration of motifs between art and design; the relationship between object and image; and how everyday life first came under the still-dominant influence of pop culture. This perspective holds particular relevance today as it examines Pop Art's relationship to our own daily lives and the consumer culture that remains so omnipresent. The Chicago presentation of this exhibition is organized by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling.
BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Ania Jaworska
August 25, 2015 - January 31, 2016
This exhibition is the first solo show of Ania Jaworska, a trained architect and designer, who explores the history of architecture and its relationship to society through two new projects that reveal a stage in the architect's process. In the first project, Jaworska creates a site-specific installation of large, monochromatic black sculptures that reference common architectural elements such as arches, obelisks, gates, and signs. Set in a dark gallery space and removed from their traditional context of community, place, and time, the sculptures lose their symbolic importance and function. Her approach to the visual language of architecture is marked by humor, irony, and a use of bold, minimalist forms. The exhibition also features a series of drawings commenting on the history and current state of columns, exploring their trajectory from symbols of power and status, to open-ended forms that are often deployed with irony or cynicism. The exhibition is organized by Grace Deveney, the MCA Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.
Johnston Marklee: Grid is a Grid is a Grid is a Grid is a Grid
October 1, 2015 - January 3, 2016
The Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee, led by principals Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, has been hired by the MCA to create a master plan for the museum that includes a redesign and relocation of the restaurant as well as changes to other public spaces. To coincide with the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, Johnston Marklee have designed an intervention in the museum's current café space that refers to the predominant grid of the building's original architect, Josef Paul Kleihues, as well as hints at some aspects of the renovations to come. Their immersive installation further emphasizes the proportions of the MCA's grid system by applying a repeating square graphic on the café walls, as well as creating a gridded translucent ceiling plane that cuts the double height space in half, hinting at a more intimate scale. This dropped ceiling plane alludes to one aspect of the Johnston Marklee redesign of the space, where a mezzanine floor may be inserted into this space to create rooms for artmaking and meetings above, and a social engagement space below.
MCA Chicago Plaza Project: Alexandre da Cunha
July 18, 2015 - July 24, 2016
Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha is the fifth artist chosen for the MCA's summer plaza project series. Da Cunha is known for finding creative ways to repurpose found objects-straw hats, plastic soda bottles, umbrellas-and the MCA Plaza is activated by three of his interactive pieces, one measuring thirty-feet tall, made from locally-produced concrete sewer pipes, and a concrete mixer. The materials have been repurposed from their typical locations-under Chicago's city streets or on the back of a cement truck-and made accessible for visitors to step inside or peer into and see shadows revealed as sunlight filters down into them. This exhibition is curated by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling.