Best Guide to Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

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Contemporary art is popularly known as “the art of today.” It usually refers to art produced from the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is specially built and devoted to the art of the present times. It is unique and fascinating at the same time, and so the masses greatly admire it.  

There are different contemporary art forms, namely painting, photography, theatre, video art, sculpture, dance, music, etc. And Chicago is an innovative and compelling center for such art.

If you are interested in contemporary art and thinking of visiting the famous Chicago Museum, skill is still determining what it might entail. Here is Why you should Visit the Museum of Contemporary. 

1. Why is Contemporary Art so Popular?

Contemporary art is quite popular for many reasons. The artists use current affairs, issues, and trends around them as the main subject. 

With this, they create innovative and distinct pieces using their amazing artistic skills.

It can be any art that draws attention to things of great entertainment or intellectual value. Art enthusiasts can learn, explore, research, and interact with like-minded people about contemporary art.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Source: Shutterstock

Contemporary art gained a lot of fame during the post-World War II era. In 1910, artist Rogic Fry started the Contemporary Art Society in London. Pop artconceptualismand minimalism are some contemporary art types.

The ability to appreciate art stems from the ability to understand the different perspectives that drives art. 

It is believed that there are three perspectives for any art form – the insider perspective, the aesthetic perspective, and the opposing perspective. Knowledge about these perspectives can give one significant exposure to understanding a certain artwork.

2. Famous Contemporary Artists Before Your Visit

Contemporary artists are blessed with the unique skill of making their art pieces look as young and raw as possible.

Following are the names of a few famous contemporary artists who have won many hearts and praises for their amazing artworks:

  1. Takashi Murakami
  2. Cecily Brown
  3. Jean- Michel Basquiat
  4. Jeff Koons 
  5.  Yayoi Kusama
  6. Anselm Kiefer

3. History and Significance of Chicago’s M.C.A.

M.C.A. is a non-profit organization funded privately by its programs and exhibitions. It functions as a tax-exempt museum.

 Woman look at the The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh painting in Art Institute of Chicago.
By: Bumble Dee/Shutterstock

Josef Paul Kleihues is the architect who did an amazing job of designing and developing the M.C.A. building.

M.C.A. Chicago was established in 1967 and is one of the world’s largest and most popular contemporary art venues. M.C.A. has been displaying great artwork for nearly 50 years now.

After a conference of art enthusiasts in 1964, it was agreed that Chicago needed a modern art museum. These folks felt deeply about this and worked tirelessly to make it a reality.

Initially, the museum was used for temporary exhibitions based on the German kunsthalle model.

The museum’s collection has many post-World War II visual art exhibits and many other renowned and precious objects. One of the country’s oldest and largest art museums is the Art Institute of Chicago

4. Notable Exhibition and Events

This museum annually holds many art exhibitions annually, highlighting that it is also an artist-run gallery with exhibitions. It features amazing contemporary works from local and international artists.

The exhibits are changed frequently and are displayed in rotations. M.C.A. supports and appreciates new art forms and new artists. 

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Source: Shutterstock

Among the remarkable debut exhibitions held at the museum are Frida Kahlo‘s first U.S. exhibition and the first solo museum exhibition of Jeff Koons.

  • When Koons organized another exhibition flaunting some of his best art pieces, it broke all existing records.
  • M.C.A. hosted a traveling exhibition, The Perfect Moment, organized by the Institute of contemporary art Philadelphia.
  • M.C.A. recently opened a curated exhibition by Duro Olowu called “Duro Olowu: seeing Chicago,” with more than 350 artworks.
  • Takashi Murakami holds the record for the most attended exhibition for his outstanding art exhibition organized in 2017.
  • M.C.A.’s collections have more than 3000 books on art and about 2700 objects. In addition, the collection includes amazing works from 1945 to the present.
  • The F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Experience is an event venue in Chicago with wonderful set recreations from the famous American sitcom Friends. You can see the iconic Monica Geller kitchen, Joey and Chandler’s apartment, and Friends’ most renowned hangout spot, the ‘Central Perk.’ 

5. M.C.A. Stage

M.C.A. Stage was founded in 1996 with M.C.A.’s new four-story building. In its 15-year history, it has successfully organized many local, international, and national events.

Talented Female Artist Works on Abstract Oil Painting, Using Paint Brush She Creates Modern Masterpiece. Dark and Messy Creative Studio where Large Canvas Stands on Easel Illuminated
By: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Theatre, music, dance, and short films are the art forms featured by the M.C.A. stage. Artists Up close‘ is a type of after-show talk session the M.C.A. holds to engage its audience by involving them in discussions and workshops.

It features leading performers and artists from all over the world.  They perform their respective work in M.C.A.’s 300-seat theatre

In 2008 the M.C.A. celebrated its 40th anniversary. The museum included artworks from Carlos AmoralesAdam Pendleton, and Tony Oursler.

Some of the prominent exhibitions which were held at M.C.A. are- 

  • The long dream
  • Alien Vs. citizen
  • Hide and Seek
  • The location of the lines
  • Fragments of a crucifixion

6. Why Should You Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago?

The contemporary art museum in Chicago has a lot to offer its visitors. The diversity in the artwork will impress you.

The M.C.A. brings culture and art together; it sparks creativity among budding artists and is inspirational.

There are amusing contemporary artworks that can make you laugh and lift your mood. On the other hand, there are also serious artworks that will make you ponder the issues the artist has tried to highlight through their work.

7. Where is it, and What are the Charges for a visit

The famous Contemporary Art Museum, Chicago, is located one block east of Water Tower Place in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Every Tuesday, M.C.A. currently serves free admission to Illinois residents.

M.C.A. has multiple online programs for art enthusiasts to enjoy the immersive art environment. Some of them are free. But it is closed on Mondays.

Ticket fares vary based on your age. Adults have to pay the full ticket cost. Senior citizens are given a concession on ticket prices. 

Free entry is provided for small children, youngsters till 18 years of age, M.C.A. staff, and students of Columbia College Chicago.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Source: Shutterstock

Closing Thoughts

The exhibitions at M.C.A. feature artworks of contemporary art by artists of international, national, and local renown.

By creating a separate website dedicated to the exhibitions, the M.C.A. made a platform for preserving and publishing art pieces from its 50-year natural history. 

Besides the common art form of paintings, you can also witness 3D models, documentaries, narrative shorts, and many others. The visit will surely allow you to experience and appreciate something new, aesthetic, and unique.

Whichever artform sits close to your heart, you’ll find something you connect with at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

If you wish to know more about Chicago, check out this article on the best suburbs of Chicago.

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