Exhibitions

The Shape of the Future

  • Carol & Douglas Cohen Gallery
    Fourth Floor, North Side
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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Featured images

  • In a complex but quiet scene, a tennis court occupies the foreground. Behind the court are a line of modernist buildings, with the Egyptian pyramids looming in the distance.
  • What appears to be a faded, scratched poster displaying tall waterfront residential buildings is missing large sections, as if it peeled off of a wall.
  • A model of a minimal, white building with floor-to-ceiling windows reveals an interior that holds a mound of dark, organic material.
  • In what appears to be an aged photograph, a dark-haired person reclines on a lounge pool float in front of a large yard and house.
In a complex but quiet scene, a tennis court occupies the foreground. Behind the court are a line of modernist buildings, with the Egyptian pyramids looming in the distance.
Richard Misrach, Tennis Courts and Pyramids, Giza, Egypt, 1989/1995. Chromogenic dye coupler print. 40 1/8 × 49 7/8 in. (101.9 × 126.7 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Bernice and Kenneth Newberger Fund, 1996.37. © Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Photo: James Isberner, © MCA Chicago
What appears to be a faded, scratched poster displaying tall waterfront residential buildings is missing large sections, as if it peeled off of a wall.
Yto Barrada, Palissade de chantier (Building Site Wall), 2009/2011. Chromogenic print. Framed: 34 5/8 × 34 5/8 in. (87.9 × 87.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, restricted gift of Kay Torshen, 2018.17
© Yto Barrada, courtesy Pace Gallery; Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Beirut; and Galerie Polaris, Paris. Photography courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery
A model of a minimal, white building with floor-to-ceiling windows reveals an interior that holds a mound of dark, organic material.
Mary Brogger, Earthwork, 2000. Wood, glass, and birdseed. 38 × 16 × 6 ½ in. (96.5 × 40.6 × 16.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of the Susan and Lewis Manilow Collection of Chicago Artists, 2004.6
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
In what appears to be an aged photograph, a dark-haired person reclines on a lounge pool float in front of a large yard and house.
Jack Pierson, In every dream home a heartache, 1990. Chromogenic development print 30 × 20 in. (76.2 × 50.1 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Restricted gift of The Dave Hokin Foundation, 1995.119.4. © 1990 Jack Pierson
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Text

The Shape of the Future features works from the MCA permanent collection that reckon with the dubious dream of a universal design language. Coinciding with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the exhibition explores global modernism as a framework for utopia and speculative world making, marked by traces of labor, political fantasy, and cultural turmoil. Highlighting the histories and ideologies embedded in the built environment, these artists reveal the complexity—and at times absurdity—of the modernist project as a collection of disasters and reveries.

The exhibition is organized by Nina Wexelblatt, Curatorial Assistant. It is presented in the Cohen and Stone Family Galleries on the museum’s fourth floor.