As summer heats up, Chicagoans are flocking to the city’s cultural institutions for a respite from the sun’s rays. Fortunately, the MCA’s standout summer exhibition, The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, keeps it cool all season long.
An explosion of color and sound, The Freedom Principle takes visitors on a multisensory trip through time and space—from Chicago in the 1960s, when African American artists pushed boundaries in painting and music, to contemporary studios around the world, where a new generation of artists is responding to those who came before them. This genre-bending exhibition is driven by three core principles: experimentation, improvisation, and collectivity.
The MCA has always embodied the same principles, and they are especially evident this season.
Earlier this year, we awarded our latest annual audience engagement residency to eighth blackbird, a Grammy-winning ensemble whose members light up MCA Stage with their illuminating, improvisational works. Now, they will bring their brilliance into our 3rd-floor exhibition galleries. And we continue to invite jazz icons to perform at Tuesdays on the Terrace, where they dazzle audiences of all ages with their often-improvised sets.
A spirit of collectivity permeates our collection shows like S, M, L, XL and Out of Office. Similarly, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Faheem Majeed honors an artist who views collaboration as a necessary component of his artistic process.
And, of course, the MCA has always been a bastion of experimentation. Exhibitions like Keren Cytter and MCA Screen: Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys feature the works of bold artists who are reimagining art for twenty-first-century audiences, while talks by hometown heroes like Jeff Tweedy exemplify innovation and excellence.
So, as the temperature outside continues to climb, remember that you can always find relief from the summer sun at the MCA, where this season’s standout programming—anchored by The Freedom Principle‘s offerings—promises to keep the museum cooler than ever. It also signals to visitors that the museum will continue to remain committed to the principles of experimentation, improvisation, and collectivity for years to come.