Exhibitions

Water After All

  • Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries
    Second Floor, North Side
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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Featured images

John Akomfrah, still from Vertigo Sea, 2015. 48 min. 30 sec. Purchased jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, with funds provided by the Pritzker Traubert Visionary Art Acquisition Fund, and by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2018
© Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
John Akomfrah, still from Vertigo Sea, 2015. 48 min. 30 sec. Purchased jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, with funds provided by the Pritzker Traubert Visionary Art Acquisition Fund, and by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2018
© Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
John Akomfrah, still from Vertigo Sea, 2015. 48 min. 30 sec. Purchased jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, with funds provided by the Pritzker Traubert Visionary Art Acquisition Fund, and by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2018
© Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Alfredo Jaar, Geography = War, 1991. Duratrans, light boxes, 55-gallon metal barrels, and water. Dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Lipschultz and Maremont Corporation by exchange, 1992.89.a-ddd
© Alfredo Jaar. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong, New York, Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
William Kentridge, Felix in Exile, 1994. 35mm film transferred to video. Dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Susan and Lewis Manilow, 2001.23
© 2001 William Kentridge, Photo © MCA Chicago
Judy Ledgerwood, Composition in Yellow and Grey, 1987. Oil and encaustic on canvas. 90 × 120 in. (228.6 × 304.8 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of Wendy and John Cartland, 1996.44
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Catherine Opie, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer (Lake Michigan), 2004–5. Chromogenic development prints: 4 prints, each: 49 ¼ × 39 ¼ in. (125.1 × 99.7 cm); framed: 51 × 41 × 2 in. (129.5 × 104.1 × 5.1 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange, 2006.1.a–d
© 2004 Catherine Opie, Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Carrie Mae Weems, Ebo Landing from the Sea Islands series, 1992. Gelatin silver prints and text panel. Three parts, each framed: 20 15/16 × 21 in. (53.2 × 53.3 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift from The Howard and Donna Stone Collection, 2002.67.a-c
© 1992 Carrie Mae Weems, Photo: Michal Raz-Russo, © MCA Chicago

Text

Water After All reveals a glimpse of the many connections between humans and water.

Primarily featuring works from the MCA Collection, this exhibition is centered around our recent acquisition of Ghana-born British filmmaker John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea. Presented in a spellbinding, three-screen installation, Akomfrah uses archival images, nature cinematography, and staged recreations; crossing time and space to reveal the poetic awe and horror of humanity’s relationship with water. The artworks surrounding Vertigo Sea expand the exhibition’s thematic focus, diving deeper into our reliance on, exploitation of, and contact with our precious environment.

To emphasize the timeless connection of humans and water, exhibition curators selected literary quotes that explore aquatic themes. These excerpts greet visitors in the galleries in preparation for viewing the beautiful and traumatic works featured in the exhibition.

Quote

“Naturally men are drowned in a storm, but it is a perfectly straightforward affair, and the depths of the sea are only water after all.”
Virginia Woolf

Curatorial Credit line

The exhibition is organized by Bana Kattan, former MCA Barjeel Global Fellow, and Nina Wexelblatt, former MCA Curatorial Assistant, with Jack Schneider, MCA Curatorial Assistant. It is presented in the Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries on the museum's second floor.

Funding

Lead support for Water After All is provided by The Pritzker Traubert Collection Exhibition Fund.