Blog: MCA DNA Index

Confessions of an Art Skeptic

Featured image

Installation view, Chicago Works: Amanda Williams, MCA Chicago. Jul 18–Dec 31, 2017. Work shown: Be The Girl with the Turned On Hair, 2017. Ultrasheen Conditioner and Hairdress; 3 × 2 x 1 in. (2.54 × 5.08 × 7.62 cm). Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago


On any given shift, a museum security guard stands in front of an artwork for one hour. (This is approximately 210 times longer than the average visitor spends looking at an artwork, according to museum researchers.*) These prolonged periods spent in the galleries afford museum guards the opportunity to contemplate and analyze the art that they are committed to protecting. That’s what David discovered this week on a visit to the MCA. He tweeted his experience with one of our guards, Joyce, who opened his eyes to a deeper meaning behind the seemingly simple installation of a jar of Ultra Sheen in Chicago Works: Amanda Williams. Read the entire thread below.

We're proud of the members of our security team. If you’d like to share a similar experience, let us know on Facebook or on Twitter @mcachicago.


Tweet 2

Tweet 3

Tweet 4

Tweet 5

Tweet 6

Tweet 7

Tweet 8

Tweet 9

Tweet 10


* The number (214) is based on research published by Jeffery and Lisa Smith in Empirical Studies of the Arts 19, no. 2 (2001) and factors in the typical length of a gallery post seen at museum's across the US (3600 seconds/17 seconds).

Frank O'Hara: In Poem, in Paint