On October 21-22, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago celebrates its 50th anniversary with MCA Hearts Chicago, a free, weekend-long event consisting of programs, talks, workshops, and interactive artist projects that draw on the history of the MCA
Highlights include the opening of the major 50th anniversary collection exhibition, We Are Here, as well as a special guest performance by rapper Lupe Fiasco, and a beer garden with Chicago-inspired cuisine on the sculpture garden terraces.
The MCA's new multi-purpose learning environment, the Commons, opens to the public on Saturday, creating a dynamic public space for risk-taking and open dialogue at the heart of the museum.
Throughout the day on Saturday, pop-up talks by major cultural figures in Chicago, such as rock musician Billy Corgan, notable writer and critic Chris Jones, fashion icon Ikram Goldman, and actress Cheryl Lynn Bruce, take place across all spaces of the museum; in addition to a conversation with singer and activist Jamila Woods in the theater. The day culminates with a museum-wide 'happening' event headlined by rapper, producer, and entrepreneur Lupe Fiasco for a concert in the atrium. The evening also includes Chicago dishes and craft beers in the sculpture garden, as well as DJ sets by CumbiaSazo! and performances by Kaycee Ortiz and theMIND. Visitors are encouraged to attend the evening happening in art-inspired attire.
Sunday programming honors the MCA's 50th anniversary with a focus on the museum's history and future. The MCA curatorial team engages the public in gallery talks based on the themes in We Are Here, and Chicago artist Alberto Aguilar presents a history of furniture in MCA exhibitions on the museum's front plaza. Inspired by the seminal 1969 MCA exhibition Art By Telephone, in which artists communicated instructions over the phone to MCA curators, local artist Brendan Fernandes presents the dance-based work Art by Snapchat, activating museum spaces with choreography conveyed via social media.
Additionally, a pop-up food truck serves free Iraqi fare on the front plaza for Enemy Kitchen, a project activated periodically throughout the run of Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West. The dishes are served on paper plates that are exact replicas of the ones used in Saddam Hussein's former residence, showing how hospitality--such as a warm meal--can ease feelings of distrust and hostility. Rakowitz's first-ever US museum survey, Backstroke of the West deals with the complex relationship between the east and west, in an effort to close wounds from the mutual tolls of countries at war.
Presented in collaboration with No Small Plans Productions, MCA Hearts Chicago takes place Saturday through Sunday, October 21 to 22, and is organized by MCA Curator of Public Programs January Parkos Arnall.