Exhibitions

Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power

  • Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art
    Fourth Floor
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
    map

Content warning

The artwork For Chicago includes flashing light effects that may affect photosensitive visitors.

Text

Our lives are shaped by language and communication. Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power looks at the ways artists since the 1960s have used words to challenge our ideas about all of the messages we read, write, hear, and speak daily as well as their forms. In this innovative exhibition, artists remix conventional modes of communication, challenging our perceptions of language and, by extension, power.

Direct Message has four sections of works that redefine how we understand communication.

Text

The exhibition also includes a screening of three short works organized by Christy LeMaster, Assistant Curator of Performance and Public Practice, and a workshop space created for ongoing conversation and workshops hosted by the MCA’s community partners organized by Gibran Villalobos, Assistant Curator of Performance and Public Practice.

This exhibition is organized by former MCA Assistant Curator Grace Deveney, with MCA Curatorial Assistant Jack Schneider.

Extended Exhibition Description

Funding

Lead support for Direct Message: Art, Language, and Power is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris: Caryn and King Harris, Katherine Harris, Toni and Ron Paul, Pam Szokol, Linda and Bill Friend, and Stephanie and John Harris; Zell Family Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; and the Nancy Lauter McDougal and Alfred L. McDougal Exhibition Fund.

Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.

Generous support is provided by Vicki and Bill Hood.

Other Works in the Exhibition

  • Seven black-and-white illustrations hang on a white wall. While some depict what appears to be images of violence, others show mundane objects like a bed, cart, and raft.
  • A square of warm, earthy scribbles of color is mounted on a background of gray similar smudges and scribbles.
Seven black-and-white illustrations hang on a white wall. While some depict what appears to be images of violence, others show mundane objects like a bed, cart, and raft.
Eugenio Dittborn, Dust Clouds, Airmail Painting No. 99 (detail), 1992. Paint, stitching, and photographic silkscreen on fabric. Seven sections, overall: 165 ½ × 275 ¾ in. (420 × 700 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2014.16.a-n. © 1992 Eugenio Dittborn
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
A square of warm, earthy scribbles of color is mounted on a background of gray similar smudges and scribbles.
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (from the portfolio Dante’s Inferno), 1964. Print on paper. 16 15/16 × 34 ½ in. (43 × 87.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert B. Mayer, 1991.60.31. © 1964 Robert Rauschenberg
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago