The MCA always strives to present artists who will shape our culture in the years to come, as well as those already transforming it. This season is exceptional in extending the museum’s proud history of “firsts.”
William J. O’Brien is the Chicago-based artist’s first comprehensive museum exhibition, and is accompanied by O’Brien’s first monograph. Isa Genzken: Retrospective, which opens April 12, is the influential artist’s first major museum survey in the United States, and is co-organized by James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Michael Darling with curators from the Museum of Modern Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo demonstrates how Kahlo—who had her first US solo museum exhibition at the MCA in 1978—was decades ahead of her time in exploring gender, the body, and national identity. Artist in residence Goshka Macuga’s Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy finds new meaning in a play by German art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929), bringing this forgotten text to public attention for the first time since its only performance in 1896.
MCA Stage continues to chart new territory this season, welcoming Mikhail Baryshnikov as an actor in Man in a Case, an adaptation of two Chekhov short stories directed by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater. The experimental theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service—which had its Chicago debut with Gatz on MCA Stage in 2008—returns with Arguendo to revisit a landmark 1991 Supreme Court case addressing free speech and erotic dancing. This spring also heralds the eagerly anticipated US premiere of French choreographer Maud Le Pladec’s Democracy, while excitement about Kyle Abraham’s haunting dance The Radio Show has only grown since Abraham received a MacArthur “genius grant” last fall.
This season’s educational programs include new collaborations with the Hideout, Read/Write Library, Chicago Film Archives, and the Center for Book and Paper Arts as well as lectures by notable artists and influencers like Tacita Dean and Anne Pasternak.
The Chicago Tribune named The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology one of the city’s top ten exhibitions of 2013, and the MCA’s other ongoing exhibitions—CITY SELF, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Lilli Carré, MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol, and MCA DNA: Alexander Calder—continue to garner critical acclaim.
The MCA’s talent for identifying the most important artists of today and tomorrow is no accident: It reflects our staff’s savvy engagement with all aspects of contemporary culture in Chicago and beyond.