The Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago is offering Columbia students, faculty, and staff the unique chance to experience all that the museum has to offer without paying a dime. On November 7th, attendees will be able to explore the MCA’s many permanent and traveling exhibitions, attend Education Programs, and enjoy snacks from the museum’s new restaurant, Marisol.
Currently, the MCA is host to exhibitions such as Woman With A Camera, which features photographs by 16 different women from different cultural backgrounds. Included are works by Catherine Opie, Laurie Simmons, Carrie Mae Weems, Anne Collier, Xaviera Simmons, and Mickalene Thomas. Through photography, these artists explore our media-saturated culture by way of politics, history, and identity.
The MCA is also presenting Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz’s exhibition Backstroke of the West, which uses instillations and performances to address the viewer’s complicit relationship to the political world around them. Rakowitz’s works include Enemy Kitchen, a pop-up food truck that serves Iraqi food made from recipes created by the artist and his mother. The name Backstroke of the West, which refers to a mistranslation of The Revenge of the Sith that was used on bootleg copies of the film in China, speaks to Rakowitz’s fascination with translation as a means of crossing political and cultural lines.
Also present is the uniquely Chicago exhibit Chicago Works: Amanda Williams. Williams uses images of the city’s iconic architecture in her sculptures to convey the effect context has on the value of material, and by extension, the value of the city itself. Williams has created many works in the past that call attention to the racism and classism at play in the devaluation of South Side neighborhoods. Chicago Works includes debris from eight demolished South Side houses that Williams called attention to with her breakout project Color(ed) Theory.
For a look back on all that the museum has offered in the past, the MCA is presenting To The Racy Brink. This exhibit takes a look back at the first decades of the MCA’s history, focusing on their encouragement of risk-taking and artistic experimentation. The exhibition includes the first showing of footage from Chris Burden’s iconic 45-hour-long performance Doomed (1975). Also on display are a series of films revealing the MCA’s earliest programming, including Christo’s first wrap of a building in the US, Wrap In, Wrap Out (1969).
These exhibitions, and many more, can all be enjoyed free of cost on November 7th at 6-9 PM at 220 E Chicago Ave. Tours begin at 7 and 7:30, Evening Education Programs begin at 6, and attendees will receive a 10% discount at the museum store.