Art in Free Spaces

The MCA’s grounds include a variety of free spaces, and there is art by artists of local and international renown in all of them. Explore the temporary and semi-permanent projects on view now in the Atrium, the Commons, the Sculpture Garden, the Street, and our restaurant, Marisol.

Chris Ofili, The Sorceress’ Mirror

Marisol's private dining room. Work shown: Chris Ofili, The Sorceress' Mirror (detail), 2017. Watercolor and charcoal on paper; 23 x 41 3/10 in. (58.7 x 105 cm)

Photo: Kendall McCaugherty © MCA Chicago

The MCA commissioned British artist Chris Ofili (b. 1968) to design an immersive artwork for Marisol. The vibrant wall painting in the private dining room is based on this watercolor study depicting a sorceress in a cave, two figures, and a mythical beast. Ofili also designed the restaurant’s color scheme and the flowers and birds on the walls and windows. The work exemplifies the blending of the imagined and the real in Ofili’s works.

Pedro y Juana, From the Tropics with Love

Photo: Kendall McCaugherty – Hall+Merrick Photographers, © MCA Chicago

Mexico City–based architecture firm Pedro y Juana (Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss) created the site-specific installation From the Tropics with Love for the Commons. The installation includes an urban garden consisting of 221 planters and lamps (named Brunhilde,

Thomas Schütte, Ganz Grosse Geister (Big Spirits XL), 2004

Three yellow sculptures of abstract human figures stand as if communicating with each other outdoors in an urban setting.

Thomas Schütte, German, b. 1954
Ganz Grosse Geister (Big Spirits XL), 2004
Enamel on cast aluminum
Three figures, each: 16 ft. high (4.9 m)
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Edlis/Neeson Art Acquisition Fund, 2005.1.a-c

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Jene Highstein, Floating World, 1986

Photograph of a person-sized rounded outdoor sculpture made of grey, textured stone

Jene Highstein, American, 1942–2013
Floating World, 1986
Norwegian Labrador blue granite
Height: 8' 4; circumference: 17' 11 appro×.
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Dittmer, 1994.5

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Erin Shirreff, Sculpture for Snow, 2011

A matte black geometric sculpture juts out from the snowy ground. Two of its faces, one square and one triangular, are perfectly covered by a white layer of snow.

Erin Shirreff, Canadian, b. 1975
Sculpture for Snow, 2011
Painted aluminum
136 1/2 × 54 × 115 1/2 in. (346.7 × 137.2 × 293.4 cm)
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of anonymous donor, 2017.40

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago