Production Site: The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out


  • A colorful landscape painting shows a city intersection.
Ryan Gander, Felix provides a stage # 8 - (Eleven sketches for ‘A sheet of paper on which I was about to draw, as it slipped from my table and fell to the floor’), 2008. Poster paper, series 8 from a series of 11 (each unique with 1 artist’s proof); 118 × 177 in. (300 × 450 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Rodney Graham, Artist in His Studio, 2006. Transmounted chromogenic development print, edition of 20, aside from 5 artist’s proofs; framed: 35 × 30 in. (89 × 76.2 cm)
Courtesy of Donald Young Gallery, Chicago
Rodney Graham, Dead Flowers in my Studio, 2009. Painted aluminum lightbox with transmounted chromogenic transparency, edition of 5, aside from 1 artist’s proof; 52 1/8 × 40 5/8 × 7 in. (132.2 × 103.2 × 17.8 cm)
Courtesy of Donald Young Gallery, Chicago
Kerry James Marshall, Black Artist (Studio View), 2002. Ink-jet print on paper; 45 × 50 in. (113 × 125.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Robert and Sylvie Fitzpatrick, 2006.9. © 2002 Kerry James Marshall
Photo © MCA Chicago
A colorful landscape painting shows a city intersection.
  1. Long A colorful landscape painting depicts the Chicago intersection of Indiana Avenue and Pershing Road in the South Side community of Bronzeville. The painting depicts a clear sky with cirrostratus clouds. On the left side of the frame, birds fly overhead in an arrow formation over two large apartment towers. One is made out of bricks the other of glass and steel as lush full trees peer over an adjoining brick storefront businesses Your School of Beauty Culture and Rothschild Liquors, including a parking lot. On the sidewalk are groups and individuals of ebony-skinned pedestrians going about their day. A lone man in a brightly colored yellow jacket jets across the street, just dodging a blurry, fast-moving car from oncoming traffic. In the upper-left corner, the sun is rising from the east, hitting the edge of a building blurred by the strong reflection of splitting light into beams overhead, creating a diamond pattern. The light beam covers most of the scenery on the right side. There are three large brightly colored hexagons that are slightly translucent and reflect the background of the scene, and five black hexagons.
Kerry James Marshall, 7 am Sunday Morning, 2003. Acrylic on canvas banner; 120 × 216 in. (304.8 × 548.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange, 2003.16. © 2003 Kerry James Marshall
Photo © MCA Chicago
Tacita Dean, still from Section Cinema (Homage to Marcel Broodthaers), 2002. 16 mm film (color with optical sound); 13 minutes, continuous loop
Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris, and Frith Street Gallery, London
Andrea Zittel, studio at A-Z West
© Andrea Zittel. Courtesy of the artist and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Andrea Zittel, studio at A-Z West
© Andrea Zittel, Courtesy of the artist and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
William Kentridge, still from Balancing Act from 7 Fragments for Georges Melies, 2003. 16 mm film including live-action film, animated drawings, and video. Video and DVD transfer; 1 minute, 20 seconds. Drawing, photography, and direction: William Kentridge; editing: Catherine Meyburgh
Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Amanda Ross-Ho, Frauds for an Inside Job, 2008. Mixed media; overall dimensions variable
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, and Mitchell Innes and Nash, New York
Nikhil Chopra, Yog Raj Chitrakar VIII, 2009. Ephemeral work. Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Amanda Coogan


Throughout art history, artists have reflexively looked at the very site where art work is produced—the studio—as a source of inspiration for their work. Production Site reexamines the artist’s studio as subject, presenting work that documents, depicts, reconstructs, or otherwise invokes that space, revealing how the studio functions as a place where research, experimentation, production, and social activity intersect.

The exhibition reflects and addresses the pivotal role of the studio in artists’ practice while alluding to its enduring status in the popular imagination. The works that comprise Production Site include multi-channel video projections, photographic light-boxes and installations, and life-sized fabrications of artists’ studios—real and imagined—that either extol the virtues of the studio or problematize the preconceived and often highly romanticized notions associated with it. The exhibition provides the viewer with an unprecedented and illuminating look at how some of the most compelling artists of our time have demystified, remystified, and reconsidered this site within the physical and conjectured space of the work of art.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 9 and 10, Mumbai-based Nikhil Chopra performs Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing XI in the MCA galleries. Chopra brings the artist’s studio into the gallery using a variety of costumes, props, and wall drawings that he creates during the performance. These remain in the gallery as an installation for the duration of the Production Site exhibition. During his performance, Chopra assumes the fictional persona of a Victorian-era figure named Yog Raj Chitrakar, who is based loosely on his grandfather. His last name, Chitrikar, literally translates into picture—or mask-maker in Sanskrit. Chopra inhabits this character for the two days, changing into masculine and feminine costumes that challenge assumptions about race and gender. While performing, Chopra makes drawings that reflect on Production Site, blackening the walls with his obsessive charcoal drawings to emphasize the studio as a place where an artist’s internal anxieties and struggles are confronted and resolved.

Production Site is presented as part of Studio Chicago, a yearlong collaborative project that focuses on the artist’s studio through October 2010. It is organized by MCA Curator Dominic Molon.







Support for Production Site: The Artist's Studio Inside-Out is generously provided by Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, Mary Ittelson and Rick Tuttle, Jack and Sandra Guthman, Anne and William J. Hokin, the Joseph G. Nicholas Foundation, and Howard and Donna and Stone. Generous support for interpretive resources and programs is provided by Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel, with additional support from Lynn and Allen Turner.

Official Airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Studio Chicago. A collaborative project that explores the artist’s studio.