The MCA is pleased to present the first solo US museum exhibition of work by Assaf Evron (Israeli, b. 1977). Running concurrently with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the exhibition features new and recent works that dwell at the interstice of architecture, ornamentation, place, and image. A former photojournalist, Evron applies what he calls a “photographic logic”—his camera’s capacity to simultaneously document the resolutely volumetric world in all its plentitude and flatten it into an image—to subjects ranging from skyscrapers to underground quarries. Through acts of translation between three and two dimensions, the artist explores how built and natural environments are used as surfaces for projections of cultural, political, and economic ideologies and expressions of power.
This exhibition includes new works based on the artist’s photographs of structures and spaces in both Israel and Chicago that feature the meander, a ubiquitous decorative motif derived from the natural curves of rivers and streams. Untitled (Kikar Rabin, American Accents) (2019) references the Greek key motif, a type of meander, used on the stone pavement of Tel Aviv’s Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square)—the seat of city hall and the site of political protests, state-sponsored rituals, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Evron’s sculpture meditates on how the Greek key serves as both a surface announcing democratic ideals around civic assembly (associated with ancient Greece) and an urgent reminder of what the artist considers to be Israel’s deep and ongoing democratic failures. For a series of related photographs, Evron trained his lens on some of Chicago’s iconic skyscrapers, including the southern and eastern facades of the Monadnock Building, the world’s largest office building at the time of its construction in 1893 and an early testament to the technological ingenuity and capitalist ambition during a period of rapid modernization and urbanization. Evron invites viewers to compare the historic and continued significance of the Greek key and other decorative surfaces that meander and meet as images across the world, accruing new significance in each encounter.
The exhibition is organized by Charlotte Ickes, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow. It is presented in the Dr. Paul and Dorie Sternberg Family Gallery and Ed and Jackie Rabin Gallery on the museum’s third floor.
Generous support is provided by Sandra and Jack Guthman Chicago Works Exhibition Fund, Cari and Michael J. Sacks, and The Artis Grant Program.