Jump to content


A museum of contemporary art is different from the general art museum where the values of the past are enshrined. Instead it is a place where new ideas are shown and tested.

—Essay by MCA founders, “From Dream to Reality,” 1966

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to contemporary art. Here, the public can experience the work and ideas of living artists and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time.

Since our inception in 1967, it has been our mission to exhibit new and experimental work in all media, paired with ambitious learning programs. In 1974, the MCA expanded its mission to include collecting and preserving contemporary art for future generations with the inauguration of a collection that has grown to include more than 2,000 works.

The MCA engages audiences of today and tomorrow, working closely with our community to create space for dialogue, learning, and growth. Learn more about who we are, the museum’s commitments, and our Community Partnerships and Engagement program.

Vision and Mission

Museum of Contemporary art facade looking east

The MCA is an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time.

Who We Are

Direct Message Opening Preview Events, 2020

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lawson Photography

Press Room

Rows of black folders with a white logo that reads "MCA-CHIC-AGO" are lined up to repeat "MCA."

Press kits featuring the new identity for the Vision Campaign Press Preview

Photo: Braxton Black for Jeremy Lawson Photography © MCA Chicago

The press team is always happy to accommodate the needs of the media.


Reopening Preview Weekend – February 28, 2021

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lawson Photography

Explore our job openings or find out more about other ways to get involved through internships and volunteering.


Two young people sit at a table with a PRESS sign. They smile at someone cut off by the frame.

Interns welcome the press for a preview of Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

MCA internships provide valuable opportunities to learn how nonprofits operate in the company of like-minded young professionals. Many of our former interns go on to careers in museums and other cultural organizations. On occasion, they even join the MCA staff.


Members of A Long Walk Home and Teen Creative Agency sit and stand on a lawn

TCA and Girlfriends Leadership Institute at event in the MCA Garden on May 22nd, 2021.

Photo: Vivian Zamora

The MCA is deeply committed to supporting the community that we live in and serve, and we are constantly working to encourage voices that can lead to social change. Partnerships and Engagement is a program intentionally designed to partner with diverse, Chicago-based organizations to foster creative collective experiences. Our partners below include grassroots organizations and historically underrepresented communities and groups. These partners host conversations, workshops, talks, and gatherings that provide space for Chicagoans to collaborate on projects. Centering community voices throughout the development of exhibitions and programs, MCA Partners provide meaningful feedback on the museum’s ongoing work and mission.


An aerial photograph captures views of the MCA, Lake Michigan, and surrounding buildings.

Designed by architect Josef Paul Kleihues and completed in June 1996, the MCA's cast aluminum and limestone facade stands out against the surrounding glass towers

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Josef Paul Kleihues(1933–2004) was born in Westphalia, Germany, and studied architecture in Germany and France. He taught in his native country as well as at New York's Cooper Union. After Germany's reunification in 1989, he participated in Berlin's “critical reconstruction,” which advocated following the preexisting scale but with contemporary construction methods and materials. Kleihues established a reputation for bringing functionalism to classical proportions in his elegant buildings—as the MCA so graciously exemplifies.


Black and white photo of a man jumping inside a gallery-like space. His movement is simultaneously projected on a small television.

Bruce Nauman, Jump. Museum staff member carrying out Nauman's telephoned instructions to perform a movement in front of a video recorder. The videotape was played back during the exhibition in the spot where it was filmed

Photo © MCA Chicago

In 1964, a group of collectors, art dealers, artists, art critics, and architects united with a shared belief that the city of Chicago deserved a contemporary art museum dedicated to exploring the new. The institution's founders originally conceived of the museum as a Kunsthalle, or a noncollecting “art hall” that organized and hosted temporary exhibitions of new and experimental artists.


The MCA deeply believes in the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA), and we are committed to enacting structural change by turning our beliefs into actions across key areas of the museum including our staff, collection acquisitions and programming, Board of Trustees, and institution-wide work. This page will be updated to reflect both our past commitments and their results, as well as our commitments to future work.


The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is generously supported by its Board of Trustees; individual and corporate members; private and corporate foundations, including Good Chaos and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and government agencies. Museum capital improvements are supported by a Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Programming is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

Free admission for anyone 18 and under is generously provided by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky.

The MCA is a proud member of Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.