Earthly Delights

Images

Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Odile and Odette I, 2005–06. Chromogenic development print, edition 3 of 5, aside from 1 artist’s proof; print: 63 ½ × 49 in. (161.3 × 124.5 cm), framed: 70 × 55 ¾ in. (178 × 141.5 cm). Collection of Margot and George Greig. Photo: © The artist/DACS, London/Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai.
Lari Pittman, Untitled #14, 2003. Oil, lacquer, and Cel-Vinyl on gessoed canvas over wood panel; 76 × 102 in. (193 × 259.1 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange, 2003.25. © 2003 Lari Pittman. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Michelangelo Pistoletto, Il Bagno Turco (The Turkish Bath), 1971. Screen print on polished aluminum; 27 1/8 × 38 13/16 in. (68.9 × 98.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Joseph and Jory Shapiro, 1992.43. © 1971, Michelangelo Pistoletto; courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Odile and Odette II, 2005–06, Chromogenic development print, edition 3 of 5, aside from 1 artist’s proof; print: 63 ½ × 49 in. (161.3 × 124.5 cm), framed: 70 × 55 ¾ in. (178 × 141.5 cm). Collection of Margot and George Greig, © The artist/DACS, London/Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai.

About

Earthly Delights brings together the work of eight artists who share a belief in the critical power of beauty. Drawn primarily from the MCA’s permanent collection, and made between 1949 and 2006, the paintings, sculptures, and installations in this exhibition embrace the decorative in defiance of prevailing artistic trends. By reveling in pleasure, exploring private moments, and exuding sensuality, these works challenge the primacy of rationality and logic in modernism.

As they explore the connections among art, decoration, and design, the artists in Earthly Delights insist on the intrinsic value of beauty by engaging with social issues. Lynda Benglis’s and Carol Bove’s sculptures address the exclusion of women from the history of minimalism. Works by Nick Cave and Yinka Shonibare, MBE, delve into gender and racial politics and the legacy of colonialism, as well as the histories of performance, music, and dance. Paintings and installations by Balthus, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, and Lari Pittman question taboos related to sexuality.

Irreverent and playful, this eclectic group of artists subvert the conservatism of minimalism and other twentieth-century movements that eschewed making art in pursuit of pleasure. Earthly Delights reveals the way beauty can be used as a conceptual tool.

Earthly Delights includes works by Balthus, Lynda Benglis, Carol Bove, Nick Cave, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lari Pittman, and Yinka Shonibare, MBE.

This exhibition is curated by Abigail Winograd, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.