I Pity the Fool Who Missed Mr. T

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Mr. T visits Kathryn Andrews: Run for President, MCA Chicago Photo: Analú M. López, © MCA Chicago

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With his Mohawk game on point, actor/wrestler/rapper/motivational speaker/bodyguard/all-around badass Mr. T visited Kathryn Andrews: Run for President last week, thrilling visitors and MCA staff alike.

on Mr. T’s visit

His draw: a floor-to-ceiling, blown-up photograph from December 1983 when he became the White House Santa Claus. The image, which occupies a large part of the exhibition, conflates celebrity and politics, two major themes explored in the exhibition.

Many thanks to Mr. T for being so generous with his time and so gracious that day: He struck poses for photos with anyone who asked and even reprised his Santa role, bringing bags of his “Mr. T in your Pocket” voice boxes (which play 6 of his trademark phrases). He also shared many stories of his time in Chicago with staff and we learned he’s a longtime MCA fan. When he worked as a bouncer on Ontario Street, he would frequently visit the museum before a shift; Curator Lynne Warren recalls seeing him in the gallery frequently.

Come back any time Mr. T!

Mr. T came back for a fight. #MrT #kathrynandrews #mcachicago #ateam #mcateam

A photo posted by Amanda Abernathy (@aaahmanduh) on


I grew up on the South Side of Chicago . . . If my friends could see me now.

—Mr. T


Mr. T with MCA preparators Photo: Analú M. López, © MCA Chicago


Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator Naomi Beckwith stops to say hello to Mr. T Photo: Analú M. López, © MCA Chicago