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


  • Heaven and Earth: Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons
    Small white circles connected by thin wire balance opposite a thicker orange wire weighted by an orange rudder-like shape hanging from the edge of a white table.
  • Atrium Project:Lorna Simpson
    White icicle-like formations layered above plumes of blue smoke fill two side-by-side panels.
    1. Long Billowing blue smoke fills the bottom of two side-by-side panels. Layers of white icicle formations obscure black-and-white newspaper clippings in the middle sections of each panel. Behind the forms, a wash of black, grey, and white fills the tops of each panel.
  • MCA Screen:Paul Pfeiffer
Projected on the wall of a dark room is the image of two monitors, one playing a boxing match, the other showing multiple bars of sound waves.
  • Felix
    A gigantic cat skeleton stands in the center of a large atrium with its back arched and its tail pointed straight up in the air.
    1. Long A cat skeleton stands two-stories-tall and ready to pounce, with its spine arched, tailbone on end, and fanged mouth hanging open. It is poised on all fours in the middle of a dimly lit, blue-tinged large gallery space and its white form is dramatically illuminated as if caught in the night.
  • We Are Here
    Three pairs of shoes sit below three raised black boxes that support six wooden heads. The closest head is hollowed out, others have light-skinned faces emerging from the wood, but the third has a long pointed beak-like form.
  • Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West
    An architectural arched gateway is shown, installed within a modern gallery space. The arch is made from bricks in a range of different blues with golden yellow accents and decorated with stylized animals.
  • Commons Artist Project:Edra Soto: Open 24 Hours
    Thirteen colorless glass bottles and two green bottles, each a different shape and size and without a label, stand in a cluster in front of a white wall.
  • Woman with a Camera
    A square, wooden board precariously balanced on books leans against a white wall in a room with a hardwood floor scattered with photos.
  • Chicago Works:Amanda Williams
    A bright red-orange house is boarded up, standing next to an empty urban lot during sunset.
    1. Long A view of a house from the street at early sunset shows green grass, vacant lots, bushes, and tress. The house's windows are boarded up, and the house appears to be vacant. The entire house—except for the soffit, which is black, and parts of the upper facade, which are white—is painted a vibrant shade of red-orange.
  • little lower layer
    Dark gray, cloud-like shapes spread diffusely across a field of deep blue. Near the center, a starburst shape of deep red and orange emerges. Tiny white dots cover the entire image, occasionally connected to one another by faint dotted white lines.
  • Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg
    A red, white, and silver cartoon mouse character is positioned diagonally so that its round head, bulbous ears, smiling grin and large friendly eyes fill the square canvas.
  • Tania Pérez Córdova: Smoke, nearby
    A piece of glass is folded into quarters with green edges facing up, resting on a white surface. A smoking stick is wedged into the top fold. There is a dark, round shadow behind the sculpture on the right.
    1. Long A sheet of hard glass is folded over and bent in two as if it were a plastic bag. A smoking stick rests between the green lips that comprise the edges of the glass. A dark circular shadow dominates the area to the right of the glass, a stark contrast to the white background.
  • 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.
  • Eternal Youth
    A shadowed figure leans over a partially nude youth, who is smiling with his eyes closed. They are both in a bed with gray sheets.
  • Chicago Works:Chris Bradley
    A yellow banana rests on top of a column made up of three silver paint cans and two bags of ice. 
The bags of ice are sandwiched in between the paint cans.
  • 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.
  • Merce Cunningham: Common Time
    Three dancers in colorful leotards and a triangular structure of colored banners are covered by two dancers’ silhouettes that reveal an orange-red room with three dancers and crowds of people.
  • 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.