Blog: MCA DNA Index

A #DayofFacts

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Jenny Holzer, In a paradisiac climate everything is clear …, 1980–82. Enamel on metal; 21 × 23 in. (53.2 × 58.4 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Gift of Anne and William J. Hokin 1990.2.1
Photo © MCA Chicago

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Museums, libraries, archives, zoos, and many other organizations around the world are sharing mission-relevant facts today as part of the #DayofFacts. The intention of the campaign is to remember that these institutions are “trusted sources for truth and knowledge,” as stated on the #DayofFacts website. The MCA is sharing some of the facts from our own history and exhibitions today, read on to discover more.

FACT: 52 collection works have been supported by the NEA

John Cage, A Dip in the Lake: Ten Quicksteps, Sixty-two Waltzes, and Fifty-six Marches for Chicago and Vicinity, 1978

Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts supported the purchase of 52 works in the permanent collection.


All by:

FACT: 2,500 artworks were made available by IMLS

Kerry James Marshall, Mementos, 1998

Our permanent collection of 2,500 works (and counting) was digitized and made publicly available online thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

FACT: 48 artworks explored the US’s sociopolitical atmosphere in Violence!

Installation view, Violence! In Recent American Art, MCA Chicago

In his catalogue essay for the 1968 MCA exhibition Violence! In Recent American Art, curator Robert Glauber named six general types of violence in American society that the artists in the exhibition were addressing: war violence, racial violence, personal violence, gun violence, psychological violence, and the climate of violence.

Some of the works used light-hearted parody to address political critique, such as Ellen Lanyon’s (American, 1926–2013) self-explanatory L.B.J. Doll (1967), which envisioned the president as an overly patriotic puppet with movable appendages, and Jim Dine’s (American, b. 1935) Drag: Johnson and Mao (1967), which lambasted the masculinist authority of presidential power by depicting newspaper images of Johnson and Chairman Mao in women’s makeup.

The exhibition took place just a few months after the 1968 DNC protests in Chicago, though the exhibition was conceived of much earlier. It sought to address the same social instability and unprecedented violence embodied by the the War in Vietnam, police brutality, and racial violence that the protestors were also responding to. Several artists expressed their dissent to the police brutality at the 1968 Democratic Convention by refusing to show in the city. In the exhibition's catalogue, MCA Director Jan van der Marck thanked the artists involved in the boycott and called their decision “commendable and courageous.”

FACT: 150 CPS schools get free artist-led tours

Multiple Visit Program field trip, Theodore Herzl School of Excellence, May 3, 2016. Installation view, Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, MCA Chicago, Apr 23–Sep 25, 2016

Each year, thousands of students from nearly 150 CPS schools engage with contemporary art through our free, artist-led tours.

FACT: Every hour the sun gives the earth more energy than is used annually worldwide

Earth Simulator

The sun is the only renewable resource with the ability to give all the energy we need on a global level. Designs for harnessing solar power were featured in the 2006 exhibition Massive Change. Conceived by the internationally renowned designer Bruce Mau, the exhibition invited viewers to consider the dynamic future of design culture and the real choices we must make.

One of the big ideas explored in the exhibition came from historian Arnold Toynbee. He believed that the well-being of a civilization depends on its ability to respond creatively to challenges, human and environmental. From the introductory essay to the exhibition catalogue: “Although optimism runs counter to the mood of the times, there are extraordinary new forces aligning around these great challenges, around the world. If you put together all that’s going on at the edges of culture and technology, you get a wildly unexpected view of the future. Massive Change charts this terrain.”

Alongside the exhibition, the MCA held a program called Nurturing Nature. Copresented along with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, this family-friendly event explored how to keep the Earth healthy and strong, and taught attendees how to make their own composting bins.

FACT: Executive Order 9066 called for the evacuation and imprisonment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor

Dorothea Lange, An officer inspecting a woman’s suitcase, 1940s

The US War Relocation Authority hired Dorothea Lange to document the lives of the Japanese Americans living in internment camps. She was hired with the intention that her photographs would show that the government was not mistreating people. The photographs had the opposite affect revealing the humanity of the people in camps and the indignity of the camps. Those photographs were displayed at the MCA in 1973 in the exhibition Executive Order 9066.

FACT: 15,000 items were looted from the Iraqi National Museum

Michael Rakowitz, Bearded Male with Long Hair, Missing Eye (Kh. VIII 269) (Recovered, Missing, Stolen Series), 2009

In the aftermath of the US invasion, some 15,000 objects were stolen from Iraq's National Museum. Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz has taken on a lifelong project to fabricate at full scale the more than 7,000 items still missing. Titled The invisible enemy should not exist, it will be featured in the artist's first US museum survey at the MCA this summer.

Charming, Chiming, and Cheeky Choices from the MCA Store