Emerge Selections 2018

Deana Lawson, Sons of Cush, 2016. Ink-jet print mounted on Sintra; framed: 44 × 55 ¼ in. Courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.
Sadie Benning, Blow Up 3, 2017. Wood, aqua resin, casein, and acrylic gouache; 79 × 54 in. (200.7 × 137.2 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photo: Matt Grubb.
Petrit Halilaj, Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it’s night!? (beige), 2017. Qilim carpet from Kosovo, flokati, polyester, chenille wire, stainless steel, and brass; body and wings: 90 ½ x 59 × 12 5/8 in. (230 × 150 × 32 cm), length including tail: 196 7/8 in. (500 cm). Courtesy of the artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Otobong Nkanga, In A Place Yet Unknown, 2017. Tapestry: woven textile, copper metal container, ink, and dyes; 104 5/16 × 39 5/16 in. (264.9 × 99.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.


Every year, Emerge—a group of donors who support the museum's acquisition and education programs—selects and collectively funds the purchase of one major work by an artist not currently represented in the MCA's collection. This year, in collaboration with the MCA curatorial team, Emerge members proposed works by Sadie Benning (United States), Petrit Halilaj (Kosovo), Deana Lawson (United States), and Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria) for consideration. These works are on view throughout the museum.

The four artists selected this year engage in deeply personal practices to explore themes of labor, love, and loss. Benning's lustrous painting on wood poses an idiosyncratic challenge to the history of abstraction; Halilaj fuses a childhood memory with his homeland's artisanal traditions; Lawson's portrait of a man with an infant captures a fleeting moment of intimacy; and Nkanga's textile documents her process of writing and revising poetry.

Emerge members cast their final vote in late April to determine which of these artworks will be the next addition to our collection.