Luc Tuymans (audio tour)


Interested in the lingering effects of World War II on the lives of Europeans, Luc Tuymans explores issues of history and memory, as well as the relationship between photography and painting, using a muted palette to create canvases that are simultaneously withholding and disarmingly stark. Drawing on imagery from photography, television, and film, his distinctive compositions make ingenious use of cropping, close-ups, framing, and sequencing, offering fresh perspectives on the medium of painting, as well as larger cultural issues.

The MCA’s Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm and artist Luc Tuymans provide insight on the exhibition.

Over the past fifty years, artists have increasingly engaged the presence of the audience in the conception, production, and presentation of their work. Without You I’m Nothing comprises works drawn from the MCA Collection that demonstrate a cultural shift towards a greater engagement for the individual in the public realm.

Susan Musich, Programmer of Interpretive Programs, provides insight into the exhibition.

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy pairs the work of Alexander Calder with the work of seven contemporary artists whose practices are bound to Calder’s legacy as modern sculptor. While a well-known, even beloved figure in art, Calder has not previously been considered an important point of reference for contemporary artists. This is the first exhibition to explore Calder’s significance for an emerging generation of sculptors, reconsidering his influence and his innovation through a presentation of his own work alongside the work of contemporary artists.

MCA Curator Lynne Warren, and contemporary artists Nathan Carter, Aaron Curry, Kristi Lippire, Jason Meadows, and Jason Middlebrook provide insight on the exhibition.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) was one of the greatest American thinkers of the 20th century—and a visionary for the 21st century. Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe is the first major US exhibition of Fuller’s work in 35 years and is a testament to his fascinating mix of utopian vision and organic pragmatism. A combination of models, sketches, and other artifacts—many on view for the first time—represent six decades of the artist’s integrated approach to housing, transportation, communication, and cartography.

Buckminster Fuller’s grandson, Jaime Snyder, provides insight on the exhibition.

Artists in Depth presents concentrations of work by artists whom the MCA has collected in depth, or whose pieces in the collection are definitive examples of their singular aesthetic. This installment showcases the work of artist William Kentridge and features his film History of the Main Complaint along with a group of drawings used to create the film.

MCA Chief Curator Elizabeth Smith, Director of Collections and Exhibition Services Jennifer Draffen, and Senior Preparator Brad Martin examine the exhibition from multiple angles: interpretation, installation, and caring for the artworks.



For more than 30 years, Jenny Holzer’s work has paired text and installation to examine emotional and societal realities. Her choice of forms and media brings a sensate experience to the contradictory voices, opinions, and attitudes that shape everyday life. The 1990s heralded a turn in Holzer’s practice toward greater visual and environmental presence. In this exhibition, which centers on her work from the mid-1990s to the present, Holzer joins political bravura with formal beauty, sensitivity, and power.

Jenny Holzer’s studio assistant David Breslin provides insight on the exhibition.

Everything’s Here: Jeff Koons and His Experience of Chicago is an exhibition drawn largely from the MCA Collection that focuses on the art and artists Jeff Koons was interested in and influenced by during his formative years as a young artist in Chicago.

MCA Curator Lynne Warren shares her insights into the artists featured in the exhibition.

Karen Kilimnik


Karen Kilimnik’s work cultivates an unabashed sense of romanticism yet it retains a knowing criticality and awareness of the personal desire that we invest in both vaunted works of visual art and the more fleeting intrigue of celebrities and superstars. It also draws on the literary traditions of gothic mystery and fairy tales, presenting narratives that unfold over the course of a series of related paintings. Her expansive approach to cultural forms and the convincing inventiveness of her installations has had a profound effect on many young artists working today.

MCA Curator Dominic Molon and a series of artists, collectors, and academics explore different paintings within the exhibition.

Collection Highlights


Collection Highlights, a survey of contemporary art from the MCA’s unique perspective, charts our evolution as a major contemporary art institution over our 40-year history through many of the most significant works in the MCA Collection.

MCA Chief Curator Elizabeth Smith, Director of Collections and Exhibition Services Jennifer Draffen, and Senior Preparator Brad Martin examine the exhibition from multiple angles.

Gordon Matta-Clark’s Legacy


This retrospective celebrates the brilliance and radical nature of Gordon Matta-Clark’s work in various media: sculptural objects (most, notably, from building cuts), drawings, films, photographs, notebooks, and documentary materials. Matta-Clark’s work has particular relevance for Chicago. He created his last major work on the site of the MCA’s original building in 1978. The project, titled Circus orThe Caribbean Orange, consisted of massive cuts into a neighboring townhouse before its annexation and renovation into galleries.

In this lively conversation, artists Mark Dion, Sarah Oppenheimer, and Rirkrit Tiravanija join landscape designer Walter Hood to discuss Gordon Matta-Clark’s influence on contemporary architecture and design and how he continues to inspire their work.