The MCA’s exhibitions feature the art of our time in every possible media by artists of local and international renown. Explore the variety of MCA exhibitions on view now, coming up next, or from our rich past. Images in this section are published for educational use under the umbrella of the Fair Use doctrine.

Past exhibitions


  • Atrium Project:Joyce Pensato
    A collage on paper featuring two sets of black and white cartoonish eyes and mouths, on top of which are affixed two photographs of a young Abraham Lincoln, the whole composition splattered with drips of black and white paint.
  • Riot Grrrls
    Bright yellow organic shapes with black triangles of varying sizes appear in the foreground of this painting, while red streaks and smeared handprints appear in the background.
  • Above, Before & After
    A black box containing an image of white box is mounted on the side of a thick black frame. The entire piece is intersected by a horizontal blue line, which appears to be painter's tape.
  • Basim Magdy: The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings
    A colorful geometric shape against a starry background floats above a figure wearing a bright orange-and-green jumpsuit and a colorful semi-circular headdress.
    1. Long A three-dimensional geometric shape floats in a starry night sky, taking up most of the upper two-thirds of the painting. The shape is multi-faceted, with 7 faces showing. Each face has has a gradient of vibrant colors ranging from yellow to green, blue to pink, and red to black. The faces are flat and matte, stark against the spray-painted starry night sky. Behind the shape, we see black and grey stripes creating a shadow of the shape. The ground is white, as if it is covered by snow. There are four round-edged rectangles along the ground, in pastel colors. A small lone figure stands in the bottom center of the painting, wearing an orange jumpsuit with green side stripes, red gloves, dark blue boots, and a striped, semi-circular hat. The figure stands directly under the geometric shape, looking at us, and is dwarfed by the size of the geometric shape.
  • Witness
    A person stands silhouetted in front of a square wall of fluorescent light in a dark space.
  • Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination
    A gallery installation featuring three videos of dolphins underwater projected on the walls and floor. The projectors are visibly suspended at varied heights in the magenta-colored room.
    1. Long A view of a spacious gallery that is dark magenta and lit by blue video projections. Three videos of dolphins swimming in the water are projected on the walls and floor from suspended projectors, creating the impression that the viewer is swimming below and looking up at the dolphins. A fourth projection on the floor shows the silhouette of an ambiguous person swimming in scuba gear.
  • BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works:Andrew Yang
    Just right of center, an organic round shape in a hazy light gray seems to emerge from a jet black background. It hovers around or behind a bright white spot at its center.
  • MCA Screen:Camille Henrot
    A frog sits on a cellphone, partially obscuring its lit screen; the cellphone rests on a person's outstretched palm.
  • The Making of a Fugitive
    Twenty six black-and-white photographs of Patricia Hearst in four rows, with a letter of the alphabet—from A to Z—in white superimposed over each one.
  • Johnston Marklee: Grid Is a Grid Is a Grid Is a Grid Is a Grid
    Digital model of the grid-based architectural installation in the MCA Cafe
  • The Propeller Group
    A person with a cow skull for a head stands in a forest, wearing a white shirt streaked with red and with arms outstretched.
  • Kerry James Marshall: Mastry
    In this painting, a woman painter holds a paint palette in front of a paint-by-numbers portrait. Her skin is as black as the as the solid black background; she stares confidently into our eyes.
    1. Long This painted portrait depicts a young woman with jet-black skin holding a long, thin paintbrush up to a colorful, messy painter’s palette. She is shown in a three-quarter pose, gazing directly at the viewer. Her face, which is central to the square composition, stands out against a large, white, canvas, almost blending into the pitch-black background to her right. Closer inspection reveals, however, that her skin is subtly rendered, with various shades of contours and highlights. She wears two large hoop earrings, three small hoop earrings, and an oversized, boxy, high-collared jacket made of stiff fabric. Her voluminous hair—black with an ochre sheen—rises in thick coils on top of her head. The canvas to her left shows a partly finished paint-by-number self-portrait; in it, her likeness is broken up into smaller segments with pale-blue outlines and numbers. She has outlined many of the segments and filled them in with colors from her palette: orange, blue, yellow, pink, brown, and a few shades of green. The paint-by-number canvas does not accurately represent the color and pattern of the jacket she wears, which features mustard yellow sleeves and collar and deep blue and maroon and light yellow stripes.
  • MCA Screen:Phil Collins
    Against a tropical backdrop, a person in a blue-and-white wrestling mask holds a microphone up to their mouth.
  • Surrealism: The Conjured Life
    Two creatures with human legs and fish heads nestle together while seated on a stone by the seashore.
  • Kathryn Andrews: Run for President
    A black and white image of a laughing clown appears on a panel of red, white, and blue vertical stripes inside a gray frame. Inside the frame, above the image, a cubbyhole is filled with holiday lights and campaign buttons in red, white, and blue sections that mirror the stripes below.
  • BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works:Ania Jaworska
    An illustration of a black column with a letter form covered in patterns spelling "Hi" protruding from the top
  • MCA Screen:Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys
    Installation view of video projection: a bright yellow object with sunglasses and tan fuzz that resembles a beard