Museums, libraries, archives, zoos, and many other organizations around the world are sharing mission-relevant facts today as part of the #DayofFacts. The intention of the campaign is to remember that these institutions are “trusted sources for truth and knowledge,” as stated on the #DayofFacts website. The MCA is sharing some of the facts from our own history and exhibitions today, read on to discover more.
FACT: More than 125 exhibitions have been supported by the NEA
Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts have helped support more than 125 MCA exhibitions since 1972. Highlights include:
- Chicago Imagist Art, 1972
- Leon Golub, 1974
- Alexander Calder, 1974
- Photographer and the City, 1977
- Claes Oldenburg, 1977
- June Leaf, 1978
- Frida Kahlo, 1978 (First US solo exhibition)
- Michael Asher, 1979 (Site-specific installation)
- Ancient Roots/New Visions 1979
- Options series (1975–95)
- Vito Acconci, 1980
- Philip Guston, 1980
- Chuck Close, 1981
- Roger Brown, 1981
- Robert Smithson, 1981
- Charles Simonds, 1981
- Laurie Anderson, 1982
- Yves Klein, 1982
- John Cage, 1982
- Nam June Paik, 1982
- Magdalena Abakanowicz, 1982
- Kenneth Josephson, 1983
- Louise Bourgeois, 1983
- Alternative Spaces, 1984
- Gordon Matta-Clark 1985
- Robert Ashley, 1985
- Jannis Kounellis, 1986
- Jenny Holzer, 1987
- Gerhard Richter, 1988
- Cuba-USA: The First Generation, 1991
- Robert Rauschenberg, 1992
- Lorna Simpson, 1992
- Meret Oppenheim, 1996
- Robert Heinecken, 1999
- Sol LeWitt, 2000
- Lee Bontecou, 2004
- Dan Flavin, 2005
- Richard Tuttle, 2006
- Jenny Holzer, 2008
- Olafur Eliasson, 2009
- Rashid Johnson, 2012
- Theaster Gates, 2013
FACT: 52 collection works have been supported by the NEA
Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts supported the purchase of 52 works in the permanent collection.
- Vito Acconci’s Gangster Sisters From Chicago, 1977
- John Cage’s A Dip in the Lake, 1978
- Martin Puryears’s Untitled, 1975–78
- John Baldessari’s Fish and Ram, 1988
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FACT: 48 artworks explored the US’s sociopolitical atmosphere in Violence!
In his catalogue essay for the 1968 MCA exhibition Violence! In Recent American Art, curator Robert Glauber named six general types of violence in American society that the artists in the exhibition were addressing: war violence, racial violence, personal violence, gun violence, psychological violence, and the climate of violence.
Some of the works used light-hearted parody to address political critique, such as Ellen Lanyon’s (American, 1926–2013) self-explanatory L.B.J. Doll (1967), which envisioned the president as an overly patriotic puppet with movable appendages, and Jim Dine’s (American, b. 1935) Drag: Johnson and Mao (1967), which lambasted the masculinist authority of presidential power by depicting newspaper images of Johnson and Chairman Mao in women’s makeup.
The exhibition took place just a few months after the 1968 DNC protests in Chicago, though the exhibition was conceived of much earlier. It sought to address the same social instability and unprecedented violence embodied by the the War in Vietnam, police brutality, and racial violence that the protestors were also responding to. Several artists expressed their dissent to the police brutality at the 1968 Democratic Convention by refusing to show in the city. In the exhibition's catalogue, MCA Director Jan van der Marck thanked the artists involved in the boycott and called their decision “commendable and courageous.”
FACT: 150 CPS schools get free artist-led tours
Each year, thousands of students from nearly 150 CPS schools engage with contemporary art through our free, artist-led tours.
FACT: Every hour the sun gives the earth more energy than is used annually worldwide
The sun is the only renewable resource with the ability to give all the energy we need on a global level. Designs for harnessing solar power were featured in the 2006 exhibition Massive Change. Conceived by the internationally renowned designer Bruce Mau, the exhibition invited viewers to consider the dynamic future of design culture and the real choices we must make.
One of the big ideas explored in the exhibition came from historian Arnold Toynbee. He believed that the well-being of a civilization depends on its ability to respond creatively to challenges, human and environmental. From the introductory essay to the exhibition catalogue: “Although optimism runs counter to the mood of the times, there are extraordinary new forces aligning around these great challenges, around the world. If you put together all that’s going on at the edges of culture and technology, you get a wildly unexpected view of the future. Massive Change charts this terrain.”
Alongside the exhibition, the MCA held a program called Nurturing Nature. Copresented along with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, this family-friendly event explored how to keep the Earth healthy and strong, and taught attendees how to make their own composting bins.
FACT: Executive Order 9066 called for the evacuation and imprisonment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor
The US War Relocation Authority hired Dorothea Lange to document the lives of the Japanese Americans living in internment camps. She was hired with the intention that her photographs would show that the government was not mistreating people. The photographs had the opposite affect revealing the humanity of the people in camps and the indignity of the camps. Those photographs were displayed at the MCA in 1973 in the exhibition Executive Order 9066.
FACT: 15,000 items were looted from the Iraqi National Museum
In the aftermath of the US invasion, some 15,000 objects were stolen from Iraq's National Museum. Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has taken on a lifelong project to fabricate at full scale the more than 7,000 items still missing. Titled The invisible enemy should not exist, it will be featured in the artist's first US museum survey at the MCA this summer.
FACT: 250 artworks highlight artists from the Middle East and South Asia
With over 250 works, Many Tongues: Art, Language, and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia, the most extensive contemporary exhibition in the West to feature artists from these two regions, traces shared histories of colonization and migration, and religion and tradition across the Middle East and South Asia.