1980s Gallery Talk: Gregg Bordowitz


Gregg Bordowitz

Gregg Bordowitz
Drawing by Amy Sillman © 2007

Artists and scholars lead gallery conversations based on the major themes of This Will Have Been: Art Love and Politics in the 1980s. Gregg Bordowitz discusses the artworks in “Desire and Longing,” which explore the development of appropriation art in relation to the emergence of queer visibility brought on by the AIDS crisis.

Gregg Bordowitz is a writer and artist featured in This Will Have Been. Currently, he is developing a performance lecture, “Testing Some Beliefs,” which he has delivered in several galleries. He directed and wrote an opera titled The History of Sexuality Volume One By Michel Foucault: An Opera, which premiered in October 2010 in Vienna, Austria. His most recent book, General Idea: Imagevirus, was published by Afterall Books in 2010. A collection of his writings titled The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings 1986-2003 was published by MIT Press in the fall of 2004. For this book, Bordowitz received the 2006 Frank Jewitt Mather Award from the College Art Association. In addition, he has received a Rockefeller Intercultural Arts Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, among other grants and awards. His films, including Fast Trip Long Drop (1993), A Cloud In Trousers (1995), The Suicide (1996), and Habit (2001) have been widely shown in festivals, museums, movie theaters, and broadcast internationally. Professor Bordowitz is currently the Chair of the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and he is on the faculty of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

Culture Catalysts: Laura Letinsky


Laura Letinsky

Laura Letinsky. Photo courtesy the artist.

Get to know the work of a different Chicago-based thought leader each month. Meet the artists featured in our Chicago Works series and others who influence arts and culture in Chicago.

A native of Canada and current Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago, Laura Letinsky is the second artist to be featured in the MCA’s Chicago Works series. A photographer known for her still lifes, she received her B.F.A. from the University of Manitoba, and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art. Letinsky has exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Casino Luxembourg; Galerie m Bochum, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nederlands Foto Institute; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago, and her work has been adopted into collections at Art Institute of Chicago; J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her work has been featured in After All, Damiani Publishers (autumn 2010), Now, Again, Galerie Kusseneers, 2005, Hardly More Than Ever, The Renaissance Society, 2004, Blink, Phaidon Press, 2002, and Venus Inferred, University of Chicago Press, 2000. She is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.

Screening and Talk: Scott Reeder’s Moon Dust


Scott Reeder

Scott Reeder: Moon Dust, 2012.
Courtesy of the artist.

Moon Dust is a soon-to-be released, feature-length film directed by Scott Reeder. Set 100 years in the future, it tells the odd, compelling, and heartbreaking story of a failing luxury hotel located on the moon. The film is a glimpse into the daily life of the permanent residents/employees of the hotel and the few well-to-do tourists that still bother to visit. Influenced by the films of Jacques Tati and Jean Cocteau, the architecture and design of the Bauhaus, and more recent architecture from the 1970s like Kurokawa Nakagin’s Capsule Tower, the film expands on a vision of the future that is firmly rooted in the past.

Reeder shows an excerpt from the full length film that has never been publicly screened before. MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm joins him after the screening to discuss the film on the occasion of the closing of Reeder’s Chicago Works exhibition.

Culture Catalysts: Stephanie Izard


Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard. Photo: Anthony Tahlier.

Get to know the work of a different Chicago-based thought leader each month. Meet the artists featured in our Chicago Works series and others who influence arts and culture in Chicago.

Stephanie Izard was born in the Chicago suburb of Evanston but grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, where her parents got her hooked on food with their themed dinner parties, weekly menus posted on the fridge and a life-changing trip to Epcot where she couldn’t wait to get home and recreate the crepes she ate in “France.” As much as she loved cooking (and eating), she went the traditional route first and got a sociology degree from University of Michigan. Soon thereafter, she discovered that all she really wanted to do was cook. After graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, she worked at several restaurants, including the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, before making the decision to return to Chicago in 2001. Stephanie is the winner of season four of Bravo’s Top Chef, owner and executive chef at Girl and the Goat, author of her first cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats, and Drinks.

Culture Catalysts: Hamza Walker


Hamza Walker

Hamza Walker. Photo by Dawoud Bey

Get to know the work of a different Chicago-based thought leader each month. Meet the artists featured in our Chicago Works series and others who influence arts and culture in Chicago.

Writer, curator and, since 1994, Director of Education for The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Hamza Walker has played a pivotal role in Chicago and beyond. Prior to his position at The Society, he worked as a Public Art Coordinator for The Department of Cultural Affairs. He has written articles and reviews for such publications as TransNew Art ExaminerParkett, and Artforum. For several years before its closing, he served on the board of Randolph Street Gallery and is currently on the boards of Noon, an annual publication of short fiction, and Lampo, a non-profit presenter of new and experimental music. He has served on numerous panels, locally, nationally and internationally and is the recipient of the 1999 Norton Curatorial Grant. 

David Hartt and Linda Johnson Rice in Conversation


David Hartt

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Join artist David Hartt and Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company, for this engaging conversation presented on the occasion of Hartt’s MCA Screen installation, Stray Light. For this work, Hartt obtained unprecedented access to Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company building, filming and photographing its iconic architectural and interior designs. In this conversation, moderated by Kymberly Pinder, Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hartt and Rice discuss the social, cultural, and economic complexities surrounding the company and its headquarters. Recorded Sat, Dec 10, 2011, 3 pm.

CHF: Art by Telephone and Other Adventures in Conceptualism


Art By Telephone

Art By Telephone LP exhibition catalogue. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Publication Archive

In 1969, the brand-new Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago mounted a landmark exhibition—Art by Telephone—that took its title literally. Artists phoned in their works of art, which were then created on-site to their specifications. Iain Baxter& was one of the participating artists then, and he returns to Chicago this fall for his retrospective at the MCA. In a conversation with art historian Hannah Feldman, Baxter& recalls not only Art by Telephone but also additional milestones in conceptualism. Recorded Sat, Nov 5, 1-2 pm.

CHF: The Subversive Artist


Naomi Beckwith

MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith. Photo by Paul Mpagi Sepuya.

Siebren Versteeg in conversation with Naomi Beckwith
part of the Richard Gray Visual Art Series

Artist Siebren Versteeg, whom New York Magazine called “every Harry Potter–loving/Hackers-watching/anti-capitalist computer geek’s idol,” writes his own software code, avails himself of online media and commercial databases, and creates high-tech works that critique the very sources he uses. In a way, his art shows us that our digital reality is not so real. So far his approach has resulted in works such as Dynamic Ribbon Device, which renders the Associated Press’s Internet feed in the shape of the Coca-Cola logo. He discusses his work and the role of the artist in the digital age with Naomi Beckwith, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The Dialogue 2011


The Dialogue

The Dialogue: The MCA Chicago’s annual conversation on museums, diversity, and inclusion; September 15, 2010. Photography © Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Photographer, Jacob Boll.

On Wednesday, September 7, the MCA hosted the fourth iteration of The Dialogue, our seminal fall event that turns the MCA Theater into a live chat room. Together we delved into pressing issues of diversity and inclusion facing museums today. This year we focused on Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the early 1990s that is changing the way we experience everything. As this generation comes of age, values related to self-identity, including notions of race and culture, are shifting profoundly. Museums and cultural organizations must attempt to understand these profound changes and their implications to develop a new sense of where and how people produce and engage with art. This might mean that organizations, such as the MCA, should not only rethink who and what we present but also the very ideologies that underlie our collecting, presentation, and interpretive activities.

Grounded in new ethnographic research of Chicago Millennials, the preliminary findings of which were shared by the Museums in the Park Marketing Committee, this dynamic evening featured Hennessy Youngman, YouTube’s most followed art theorist; Chicago’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Michelle T. Boone; and our newest curator, Naomi Beckwith, formerly of The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Recorded Sept 7, 2011, 6 pm.

Lorna Simpson


Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson: 1957 / 2009 (detail), 2009. Courtesy the artist and Salon94, New York.

Renowned for photographs, videos and text-works that challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history, and memory, Lorna Simpson discusses her process and her most recent work, placing it in context within the larger span of her practice. Over the last five years, Simpson has been creating works that draw from an archive of photographs from the 1950s, complicating the historical images by creating her own replicas of these, posing herself to mimic the originals. The MCA Chicago organized Lorna Simpson’s first traveling museum exhibition in 1992, and most recently featured early works by the artists in the exhibition Rewind 1970s to 1990s: Works from the MCA Collection. Her work is included in the upcoming 2012 MCA exhibition This Will Have Been: Art, Love, and Politics in the 1980s. Recorded Saturday, April 2, 2011, 3 pm.