MCA Chicago extends Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Exhibition
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MCA Chicago extends Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Exhibition
Installation view, Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, MCA Chicago Feb 29-May 10, 2020. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

CHICAGO, IL.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago announces the extension of the popular Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago exhibition until September making it part of the re-opening of the museum following its temporary closure from the COVID-19 crisis. Drawn from the public and private art collections of Chicago and anchored by Chicago's supportive network of artists, collectors, and cultural organizations, Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago provides an opportunity for audiences to connect with the art and community of Chicago. This exhibition offers visitors a sense of healing through the ability to contemplate and reflect on world-class works of art from our community, as well as inspiring us to reconnect with our creativity. As MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn put it in her letter online, "Creativity is not cancelled."

The MCA is launching the new Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Virtual Gallery, an online extension of the major exhibition Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago that features dynamic arrangements of art from different movements and historical contexts installed in colorful, layered, and textured scenes that incorporate Olowu's designs. The Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Virtual Gallery provides unprecedented online access to the MCA galleries, featuring floor-to-ceiling video footage of the exhibition that viewers can watch while listening to the audio experience produced for the exhibition. Speakers Olowu and MCA Senior Curator Naomi Beckwith give insight into the ideas behind the exhibition, interwoven with deep dives into select artworks, and quotes from interviews with pioneering artists Roger Brown, Richard Hunt, Kerry James Marshall, Shirin Neshat, Lorna Simpson, and Jack Whitten from the MCA archives. It can be accessed at

The Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Virtual Gallery is part of the larger Commons Online digital initiative produced by the MCA as a virtual extension of the museum's community engagement space that brings MCA programs and resources to audiences online. Inspired by the Commons programming and vision to foster connections between artists, audiences, and ideas, the online experience offers links to live streams, video documentation, community discussions, and exhibition-related media, including access to never-before-seen archives as well as resources for contemporary art-based learning and curricula.

A singular portal to the scope of the museum's online experiences, the Commons Online offers new content each week as the museum translates its programs to the virtual space and expands its digital presence while the museum is temporarily closed. The MCA's goal with this platform is to reflect the same sense of social belonging that artists and visitors create together in the Commons, and to demonstrate the MCA's commitment to staying connected with audiences around the most relevant issues of our time.

Featured content on the Commons Online includes the Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago Virtual Gallery; engaging at-home artmaking activities; virtual programs on Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Zoom; fan favorites from the MCA's exhibition archives and collection; offerings from the MCA Store, and more. The Commons Online also incorporates links to resources for artists during this crisis, and invites visitors to engage in conversations taking place on social media.

The museum has already produced several virtual events in tandem with artists. Drag Queen Story Time, originally scheduled as a live event at the MCA, was restaged on Zoom where Chicago artist Denali performed and read to the audience from her favorite books from the MCA Store. In another live-streamed program, MCA Associate Curator Tara Aisha Willis facilitated a Virtual Studio Visit with New York-based artist Autumn Knight, generating over 17,000 online engagements,

For the museum's monthly Family Day in early April, the Family Day team created a program of activities and content for families to enjoy from home. It included offline and "live" elements including an artmaking activity that invited participants to create a still life in a window at home, inspired by Wolfgang Tillmans's Window Caravaggio from the MCA Collection. Participants were invited to attend a live movement workshop through Zoom in coordination with performance artists Ione Sanders and Marcela Torres, where families could move and play alongside the artists.

The MCA recently hosted one of its Dialogue Series programs on Zoom, bringing together artist Pope.L with collaborators from Flint, Michigan, as well as scholar Rachel Havrelock and Chicago water activist Jenny Kendler, in a conversation about generational inequality and the environment. A premiere program that invites artists, thought leaders, and audiences to take part in discussions on a chosen topic, the 2020 Dialogue Series explores the theme of cultural inheritance and culminates with Dialogue Keynote: Kerby Jean Raymond on Wednesday, May 20 at 6 pm.

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